What Every Pantry Needs

I love to cook.  I enjoy trying new foods and new techniques in the kitchen.  Cookbooks and recipes for me aren’t set in stone.  They are merely idea starters.  Telling me “we have no food in the house” or “there’s nothing to eat” aren’t statements… to me they’re challenges.

That’s why I was intrigued when a friend of mine and his wife started a 6 week pantry challenge on their food blog: Eating Right…. Most of the Time.  Their goal was to make it 6 weeks only using items from their pantry (plus up to $30 a week spent on perishables).  It’s been fun to see some of the creative meals they’ve come up with.

Their project has got me thinking about my families pantry.  What I like to keep in it and everything I can cook from it.  That led me to the following list.

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Canned Tuna

Spaghetti Sauce

Alfredo Sauce

Boxed Pasta


Black Beans

Sloppy Joe Sauce

Cream of Mushroom Soup

Cream of Chicken Soup

Chicken Noodle Soup

Tomato Soup

Mushroom Pieces and Stems

Biscuit Mix

Italian Dressing

Ramen Noodles

Onion Soup Mix

Taco Seasoning

Freezer Pantry items:




Cheese (shredded & sliced)

Frozen Veggies

Stock up on these items when they’re on sale and you’ll not only save a ton of money but you’ll also be on your way to creating some healthy and nutritious meals.

So, what did I miss?  What are some must-have’s for your pantry?


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7 thoughts on “What Every Pantry Needs”

  1. Great list! Ours is almost identical. We also always have fresh onion, garlic & carrots in our panty. Our meats include a lot of pork (ribs, pork chops, pork roasts) and fish (salmon, orange roughy, cod). We very rarely eat out, so when we do, it’s usually included in a “date night”. I know it’s convenient for some, but “fast food” is simply not something we make a habit of. On those rare occasions that we DO eat any fast food, it’s the occasional pizza delivery, a Red Robin burger, or some wings from Buffalo Wild Wings. Like you, cooking is something I thoroughly enjoy doing, and coming up with new & different menu items is always fun.
    To keep dinner from being monotonous or boring, I make a habit of preparing at least one “fancy” dinner each week. (usually Friday or Saturday night)

  2. Hey, Chris! Thanks for taking the time to read this post and respond. I look forward to trying more seafood as it becomes cheaper and more plentiful during Lent. I like your idea of a “fancy” dinner on a regular basis. Sounds like something to try with my family.

  3. Must haves for our pantry include a lot more beans- black, white, kidney, pinto, garbanzo, and chili beans must always be on hand. I also have brown, basmati, and jasmine rice, quinoa, and brown rice noodles. We always have stir fry veggies and a bottle of stir fry sauce or hoisin sauce for quick meals. I also make sure to always have the ingredients for basic baking and bread making.

    1. Thanks for your comments, Cheryl. I definitely need to experiment with more/different kinds of beans. Glad you mentioned quinoa. That’s something I’ve meant to try but it always slips my mind.

        1. I have a recipe somewhere for a lentil stew that I made a few years ago and liked. Think I’ll look for it and make it again. We’re starting to get burned out on chili and that would be a good alternative.

  4. Great info Cheryl! I really need to incorporate more beans & lentils into our diet. They are such a diverse food that can be used so many ways, I have to remember to stop limiting our bean intake to just my chili recipe
    Adding beans/lentils to my grocery app now 🙂

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