Lake Atitlan, Panajachel, Guatemala

Friday, April 12, 2013

Keeping a Supply of Basics in the Kitchen

Continuing the A to Z for the Letter K was a tough one. I didn't have any recipes included in my book with kiwi or kale. My little grandson suggested I use my recipe for Karen's Cookies, but that one's a closely guarded secret. You have to marry into the family to get it.

Then I realized that keeping a supply of basics in the kitchen is essential to organization in making family meals. Otherwise it's chaos. My list of go-to basics is as follows, and nearly all of the recipes in my cookbook can be made from them:

Eggs, milk, butter
Cheese: Monterey Jack, Cheddar, Parmesan
Corn tortillas
Fresh vegetables in season: potatoes, cabbage, onions, carrots, celery
Fresh fruit in season: apples, oranges, grapefruit, melon, pineapple, peaches, pears, apricots
Canned tomato soup
Canned tomatoes and tomato sauce
Canned pineapple, peaches, mandarin oranges, applesauce
Dry beans: pinto, black and red, lentils
White rice
Soy sauce
Garlic cloves
Flour, sugar, brown sugar, shortening, cocoa, vanilla, baking powder, baking soda
Chocolate chips
Canned pumpkin
Powdered sugar
Cuts of beef, chicken and pork bought on sale and stocked in the freezer
Sunflower seeds
Sesame seeds

What are the cooking basics you keep in your kitchen?


  1. I think you've covered my basics list for what needs to be in the kitchen. I've realized that if I have all (or most) of the above, I can almost always find something to make.
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  2. Great list! If I have olive oil, lemons and garlic along with some pasta, I'm good to go.

  3. Lee, Sounds wonderful! My above list is for feeding a family. When I started the cookbook a year ago, it was my husband and me on our low-cal, empty-nester diet routine and I had to go out and restock so many things. The kids would come to the house and say, "What? You don't even have ketchup anymore?" I'm actually looking forward to going back to the simpler way he and I ate before....but I couldn't manage dinners for a growing, active family that way or there would have been mass rebellion :)

  4. I heard that tomatoes and onions are very expensive right now in Brazil. I guess your post reminded me of that.

  5. I'm with Lee - pasta, olive oil, lemon, garlic, and sauce for pasta. And I don't have much in the baking line - I gave up trying to bake cakes once the kids left home (they were always better at it than me anyway!)

  6. I am not so organized, I am a very scattered thinker (ADD?) I admire organized pantries, so much easier, I know. I need to get over the "It's 4 PM, what should we have for dinner." We are empty nesters plus.

  7. If we run out of onions or tomatoes, we're in trouble.

  8. We keep a lot of those things in the kitchen as well.

  9. Oatmeal, raisins, almonds, coffee and tea, canned tomatoes, pasta, canned salmon, eggs, cheese, milk, olive oil, seasonings, bouillon, frozen spinach, frozen homemade crepes.

    From that can come soups, drinks, breakfasts, etc.

  10. My kitchen is sorely lacking in those. And I'm not much of a cheese person either, so I rarely have cheese in the house, and when I do, it goes bad before it gets eaten.

  11. That is good list to keep in mind, Karen. Thanks.

  12. Hi Karen .. I don't the kid things - but all the standards oh yes .. I hate running out! And I can always rustle something up to eat ..
    Cheers Hilary

  13. Several things you mention I wouldn't keep, lots of things I would. No canned soups thou, make my own.



Comments are welcome!