A well-stocked pantry will be full of all the basic necessities for cooking meals. It will include dry goods as well as some canned or bottled goods. The reason a well-stocked pantry is important is because you can easily create a healthy variety of meals from what you have on hand. If you are careful and buy things at their lowest prices, you can be sure you are making the most of your grocery budget.
A well-stocked pantry can save many hours of driving to the store to get a few ingredients needed to complete a meal. With gas prices being crazy high, saving a few trips a month can save a lot! It can also help add extra foods to a meal to make it larger in the case of unexpected guests. Finally, a well-stocked pantry can keep away the temptation to buy food from a restaurant when dinner is rushed. A good homemaker will keep the pantry stocked with a few meals that can be assembled quickly.
Look through your kitchen cabinets or pantry and see what kinds of things your family keeps on hand. It is very likely you will find things like: flour, sugar, coffee, tea. You may also see things like beans, rice, canned tomatoes, cans of soup.
Look through your pantry and plan three meals that can feed your family using only the ingredients you have in the kitchen today. If you do not have the ingredients to make three meals, make a list of the basics you need to purchase to be able to do so.
Here are out three meals:
1. Spaghetti. I keep a few jars of pre-made sauce (homemade or store bought are fine), dried pasta noodles, and some canned fruits and veggies. I also keep meatballs in my freezer which can easily be added to the sauce to add protein.
2. Cream of chicken or mushroom soup, canned chicken (not my favorite, but it works in a real pinch), and egg noodles. I boil the noodles and heat the creamed soup and chicken together. Then I drain the noodles and add the sauce/meat. If I have time, I prefer to use ground beef. You can make it ahead and freeze it to add quickly to a recipe later. You can also use leftover chicken or beef from a previous meal.
3. Burrito wraps, canned re-fried or black beans, rice and salsa. If you have room, adding some tortilla chips are nice. Cheese is great to keep in the fridge as well.
Make a master list for your family’s pantry that you can use to hang inside and mark when things are low. Once you have made a draft of the list, keep adding things to it that come to mind. There are many websites with checklists you can use to glean ideas. Make a brief list of meals you can make from your pantry. Make this list neat enough to post inside your recipe binder or inside the pantry door.