Monday, November 26, 2012

In the Pantry

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:
  1. 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.
  2. 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!).
  3. Canned tomatoes. Diced or whole. I use them in so many recipes!
  4. 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? 
  5. Vegetable broth. I use it in any recipe that calls for chicken broth. 
  6. 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.
  7. Vanilla extract. I only use Nielsen-Massey Madagascar bourbon pure vanilla extract. It's pricey, but worth it!
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Kalamata olives. Great on homemade pizza, and essential for making one of our favorite dishes, penne with tomatoes and olives.
So, what are some of your favorite pantry staples? Do share!


  1. Tea, tea, and more tea. Our cupboard wouldn't seem complete without lots of black, green, herbal and spiced teas. You never know what you're going to need on a cold day, so it's good to have every base covered!

  2. I've been eating turkey, stuffing and cranberry wraps. If truth be told, I'd be just as happy with the stuffing and cranberries. I make cranberry sauce made with fresh tangerine juice. I put it on everything from yogurt, to oatmeal to toast. LOVE it.

    When the weather turns cold, I live on Chai. Either Chai black tea in the morning or Chai Rooibos if I want to go caffeine free. Yogi is my favorite brand right now. It's got a lot of cardomom which is my favorite.

    1. Steve, do I have something for you! My next post is going to be a recipe for cardamom coffee cake. I made it on Friday and we polished it off this evening. We've been enjoying it morning, noon and night! I think cardamom is my new favorite spice.

      I also add leftover cranberry relish to yogurt and have it for breakfast. Yum! I think cranberry relish should be enjoyed year-round, not just at the holidays.

  3. I love all of the above, esp. the Bonne Maman! I also have a very large selection of herbal tea since my migraines have taken away my beloved coffee (caffeine). We cook A LOT so we have packed shelves. Most of all, I love having capers, tomatoes, anchovies, olives and oils, and pasta on hand as I love anything italian esp. pasta dishes!

    xo Terri

    1. Terri, have you seen the recipe for pasta puttanesca I posted? Here's the link: As you probably know, this dish has capers in it (love them!) and olives and garlic and tomatoes ... all yummy things.


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