Pantry essentials for easy home cooking, Part 3

With a well-stocked pantry, you can whip up a meal at any time. But what makes a well-stocked pantry? That’s what we’ve been talking about.Pantry-Cabinet

We’re not just talking about the things that go in the cupboard. There are items that need to be kept in other areas of the kitchen. For example, there needs to be a place to store root vegetables.

The well-equipped Bachelor’s Kitchen should have a cool, dark, well-ventilated area that mimics the conditions in an old fashioned root cellar. In there, we need to keep things like potatoes, onions and garlic. Many people think they can store these in the refrigerator. But that environment is too cold and will actually accelerate the deterioration of these hardy ingredients. Light is also an enemy as it causes the roots to sprout or change color.

The typical bachelor fridge is infamous for containing not much more than beer and a container of mustard. Sadly, that’s often not an exaggeration. Part of a well-stocked pantry means a few basic necessities in the refrigerator:

  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Butter or margarine
  • Ketchup
  • Mustard (yellow, Dijon, whole grain)
  • Mayonnaise
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Other cheese

The other part of the refrigerator is the freezer. Like the canned goods in the pantry cupboard, these are items you should always keep on hand. frozenveggiesFrozen vegetables are usually much better than canned and often much better than fresh, depending on the time of year. Ingredients like corn, spinach and peas are useful for so many dishes from breakfast to dinner. Frozen meats like ground beef and chicken breasts can provide an easy protein for a meal on the fly.

 

Flavors and ingredients that keep well and are nice to have on hand include:

  • Lemons
  • Fresh ginger
  • Canned chiles
  • Prepared horseradish
  • Anchovy paste
  • Almond extract
  • Vanilla extract
  • Cooking spray
  • Cornstarch
  • Honey
  • Brown sugar

With these ingredients, and the ones we mentioned earlier, you can make a meal at any time with almost no advanced notice. They are a lifeline when you can’t get to the store or there’s an emergency. Review your pantry to see if you have items you can turn to for a meal in a flash.

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