Saturday, May 22, 2010

A well $tocked Pantry

It seems like every time I go to the grocery store the prices have risen yet again on the items I use most frequently. It is quite discouraging! And just today I had to pay $0.72 for a can of beef broth which, I can usually purchase on sale for 2/$1.00. I had to restock at the full price because I had "cleaned out the pantry, refusing to purchase items until the "cupboard was bare". I won't be doing that again!

Having a well stocked pantry accomplishes a few basic tenets of frugal cooking by keeping me out of the grocery store more than once a week and it allows me to purchase items in "bulk" when they are on sale. I always purchase enough of an item to tide me over until the next time it comes on sale. If you don't have an actual pantry in your kitchen an empty cabinet or a few shelves in the basement work fine as a substitute.

Determine what staples you use to prepare your meals and add or eliminate from my list to create your well stocked pantry. I have listed my pantry for our family of four and listed the minimum of each item I keep on hand. Volumes may differ according to your family size and personal food preferences. And remember, at any one time I may actually have 6 or 8 of each of these if (space permits) they are on sale.

Pasta sauce (I prefer Marinara-2 and Alfredo-2)
Canned tomatoes (homegrown, canned if possible)or 28 oz cans-2
Petite diced tomatoes-14 oz can-2
Canned tomato sauce, 28 oz-2 and 14 oz-2, 8 oz-2
Broth: Chicken 2, Beef, 2, Vegetable 1
Canned cream soups: Cream of Mushroom-2, Cream of Chicken-2
Canned Mushrooms-4
Soups your family enjoys for a quick lunch-6
Great Northern Beans-2
Home canned green beans-4
tuna-1, salmon-1
Brown rice -1, dried bean-1, white rice-1
assorted boxed rice mixes-6 (I only purchase these when they are on sale for $1.00, when they retail for $2.19), grits
Dried onion soup mix-4, ranch dressing mix-1, taco seasoning-2
flour-1, sugar-1
assorted cereal
cake mix-2 (flavors of your choice), brownie mix or dessert mix-1
muffin mix-4
chocolate chips-2
peanut butter (no one but me likes jelly)
assorted nuts for baking
vegetable oil-1, olive oil-1
assorted spices, as needed, baking soda, baking powder, salt, pepper, garlic powder
potatoes, onions and Sweet potatoes
pretzels, popcorn and crackers (I hate buying potato chips but my family holds me hostage),

I also stock my freezer when items come on sale
Whole chickens and chicken breasts
ground beef
shrimp and fish
meatballs and meatloaves I have prepared (I'll post a recipe in the future)
frozen vegetables (tomatoes, Lima beans, berries, diced potatoes, peppers, squash, etc.)
frozen pizzas-2, frozen dinners (Michelina's or Lean Cuisine for a a kids' lunch)-10
and a frozen pie crust or two

The fridge is stocked with condiments (ketchup, mayo, mustard, horseradish and assorted salad dressings, etc.) as well as milk,eggs, heavy cream, butter, sour cream and cheese. Lunch meat, fresh produce is purchased according to the weekly menu but we always have some apples on hand(they last a long time) and a large container of minced garlic in oil

We love to eat and I am always experimenting with new recipes. With a bit of planning, you can enjoy a delicious home-made meal, avoid a hefty pizza delivery fee and pocket the savings!

With a well stocked pantry you'll soon be eating better meals, enjoying them more and saving money! Bon Appetite!

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