Are you one of the one in five Americans who prefer cooking at home? Even before the coronavirus pandemic caused thousands of restaurants to close and forced people around the world to stay home, a survey published in February of 2020, found that a large portion of Americans prefer cooking at home to have more control over their budget and their health.
I began cooking regularly after I moved to Houston. Although going out to dinner has always been one of my favorite things, something about the portion sizes and type of food I was eating caused me to gain 15 pounds in a two month period. After I started cooking for myself, the weight I had gained began to drop off naturally. As someone who baked a lot growing up, but never cooked much, I had a lot to learn. One of the biggest things to think about when you begin your cooking journey is to have a fully-stocked pantry.
When I think of my pantry, I think of it in four different categories–spices, baking, starches and sauces.
Spices: The spices you use can make or break a dish. Outside of salt and pepper, paprika is my most used spice. The items I have listed below are my go-to spices.
Baking: I definitely have the baking bug. From brownies and blondies to chocolate cakes and scones, I love baking! It relaxes me and makes me feel so accomplished when the sweet treats I bake turn out well. Because I do bake on a regular basis, I always need to have lots of flour and sugar on hand. Outside of my baking, many of these ingredients are also needed for the savory cooking I do so I always make sure I have these items around.
Starches: It’s always important to have starches stocked in your pantry. I probably use rice most often…maybe two to three times a week so I always have lots of rice in my pantry. I also keep Annie’s Mac and Cheese because my husband loves it and regular pasta on hand to complete dishes.
Sauces: When I think of sauces, I’m really thinking of the ingredients I need to make sauces. These ingredients can be used for making so many different sauces and are required in many of the recipes I make.
Tomato Paste, Local Honey, Coconut Aminos, Rotel, Crystal Hot Sauce, Hatch Diced Chiles, Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce, Rice Vinegar, Fish Sauce, Red Wine Vinegar, Olive Oil , Vegetable Oil, Anchovy Paste, Beef Stock, Chicken Broth
What are your pantry must-haves? Let me know what you think of my list and happy cooking!