I’ve always been one to have an easy meal on hand to just throw together when I hadn’t really planned anything else.  I considered this to be a well-stocked kitchen.  Actually, my “well-stocked kitchen” consisted of a box of spaghetti and a jar of pasta sauce and a few spices.  Now that we’ve been eating only real, unprocessed food, I have really become more conscious of what it means to have a well-stocked kitchen.  All of the items on my list are ingredients that I want to make sure I always have on hand so I can throw together a delicious, healthy meal in a matter of minutes.  And to be completely honest, I was shocked at how much better our food tasted than the standard pre-packaged convenience meal AND it took the same amount of time to prepare AND cost about the same.  So I thought I would share with you my list of staple pantry/refrigerator/spice rack items that I always keep on hand to make my life easier and healthier (and to avoid the temptation to just have a pizza delivered or go out).

Here is what you would find in my house:

Grains, Legumes

  • Pasta – various whole-grain, soba and rice noodles (be sure to read the ingredients….you don’t want anything enriched)
  • Rice – basmati, arbori, sushi, wild, texmati (Amazon has some great deals if you buy in quantity)
  • Quinoa, oats, millet
  • Lentils and dried, ready-to-eat bean mixes (great for slow cooker meals)
  • Canned beans – black beans, chick peas, kidney beans, cannelloni beans, red beans (again, read the label to make sure they don’t contain anything you don’t want)

Fruits, Vegetables

  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Potatoes
  • Sun-dried tomatoes, canned whole tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste

Herbs, Spices

  • Sea salt or kosher salt
  • Black pepper
  • Dried spices – cumin, chili powder, coriander, mustard seeds, red pepper flakes, saffron, ginger, paprika, turmeric, curry blend
  • Dried herbs – basil, mint, dill, rosemary, thyme, oregano, sage

Oils, Condiments, Flavorings

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Vinegars – balsamic, apple cider, red wine, rice wine, exotic flavors
  • Naturally brewed soy sauce
  • Coconut milk
  • Teriyaki sauce
  • Salsa (all natural)
  • Olives
  • Honey
  • Real maple syrup

Other

  • Chicken or vegetable broth
  • Marinara and other all-natural pasta sauces (another reminder to read the label)
  • Canned wild-caught salmon
  • Bags of various frozen vegetables – corn, green beans, broccoli (for times when the fresh produce doesn’t look that great)
  • Whole wheat bread crumbs
  • Frozen all-natural chicken breasts
  • Frozen all-natural grass-fed beef
  • Frozen fruits (blueberries, strawberries, raspberries – when fresh is not available)
  • Almond milk
  • Dark chocolate bars
  • Wine (I should say it’s for cooking but you can do what you want with it :))

Having these basic ingredients on hand allows me to whip up a quick and easy meal while still providing a healthy, budget-friendly meal for my family.

What other items do you consider to be staples of a well-stocked kitchen?

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