I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Are you still eating leftovers? What do you do with your leftover turkey? My husband makes a killer turkey and rice soup, which I enjoyed years ago before I stopped eating poultry. I do miss that soup!
While we're talking food, I thought I'd share with you a few staples I like to keep stocked in the pantry at all times. They're things I may need at a moment's notice for supper, or foods that just "feel good" to have on hand, such as my favorite jams and teas. Here are my 10 favorite pantry staples:
- Bonne Maman preserves. You'll find a couple of jars in our refrigerator and an extra in the cupboard. All flavors are yummy, but my two favorites are orange marmalade and cherry -- fig is great too. My husband loves blueberry, strawberry and raspberry.
- Herbal teas. I stock a variety of Stash brand teas at all times. Lemon Ginger, Christmas Eve, and Mellow Moments (peppermint, chamomile, spearmint, lemongrass, cinnamon) are delicious. I gave up caffeine years ago, so when I crave a hot beverage, I reach for one of these. I keep a few bags stored in the vintage Hoosier cabinet tea canister shown below (I love shopping antiques stores for old jars!).
- Canned tomatoes. Diced or whole. I use them in so many recipes!
- Canned beans. Black, pinto, garbanzo, kidney, cannellini ... I use a lot of beans in our meals. They're a good source of vegetarian protein. If I were more disciplined, I'd use dried beans instead of canned. They're less expensive and better for you, I'm sure, but canned beans are super convenient. Which do you use: canned or dried?
- Vegetable broth. I use it in any recipe that calls for chicken broth.
- Spices. It's really important to have lots of spices on hand: curry (which we use in practically everything), crushed red pepper flakes, cumin, oregano, basil, thyme, parsley. For baking, I always have cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves and allspice in the cupboard.
- Vanilla extract. I only use Nielsen-Massey Madagascar bourbon pure vanilla extract. It's pricey, but worth it!
- Dei Fratelli pizza sauce. I've tried a lot of pizza sauces and this one is a nice blend of tartness and sweetness. I add dried oregano for some extra zing.
- Rice. We keep a variety on hand: brown rice, wild rice blend, Jasmine, Basmati -- even black rice, which looks dramatic on the plate and is a unique choice for a dinner party.
- Kalamata olives. Great on homemade pizza, and essential for making one of our favorite dishes, penne with tomatoes and olives.