Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Building A Basic Pantry

I consider myself a rookie when it comes to running a household. I have had only about 3 years of practice in our little apartment in Manila.

Photo Credit: Women's Health Magazine


I had it so easy:


  • We lived in an apartment complex where it had a large grocery store in it. I can be spontaneous with cooking dinner because I knew I was only a few steps away from getting the ingredients.
  • Prices of grocery items there were so low. I can fill up a cart filled with a week's worth of meals for only about $50.
  • We also lived a couple of blocks away from a 'wet' market. How wonderful it was to have easy access to fresh fish that was caught literally that morning!
  • I had a helper who came in on certain days of the week to assist me in household chores. This meant that I was blessed to have someone do the food preparation for me.
  • On really busy nights, there was a cafeteria located also inside the our apartment complex. It only takes one quick phone call and I have someone knocking on our door with a freshly cooked dinner. And it was delicious food. The price? Only $2 per plate!


Now that we live in new city with a higher cost of living, I am starting to appreciate the importance of menu planning so that we can stay within our monthly food budget. I have been a big believer that planning is an integral part of stewardship -- God has blessed me and Robert with so much; and I want to be able to use everything He has given us in ways that give Him honor.

We are currently concluded our 21-day fast. On the beginning of February, the first order of business is to stock our pantry with cooking staples. I will be planning our menu based on what is stocked in the kitchen.

Lifestyle, culture, and dietary preferences determine what makes the 'staple pantry list.' By giving this a lot of thought, here is the list that I came up with.


  1. Olive oil
  2. Salt
  3. Pepper
  4. Sugar
  5. Soy sauce
  6. Vinegar
  7. Canned tuna
  8. Chicken broth
  9. Jarred spaghetti sauce
  10. Brown rice
  11. Whole grain bread
  12. Whole wheat pasta
  13. Tomatoes
  14. Garlic
  15. Onions
  16. Butter 
  17. Milk
  18. Dry cereal
  19. Eggs
  20. Cheeses - mozzarella, parmesan, American
  21. Carrots
  22. Whole kernel corn
  23. Sweet peas
  24. Lemon
  25. Dried fruits
  26. Nuts


Share with me:
What is your list of pantry staples?

4 comments :

Liz said...

Thanks for writing about this, I'm going to need this soon!

Samantha said...

You're welcome Liz! Glad this helped. Most budget-friendly recipes can be done from these staples. You just need to buy meat and fresh veggies from time to time. Are you moving into your own place soon? When are you FINALLY visiting Nashville? I heard it's really pretty here in the spring!

mrs muffinman said...

hehe i think i remember answering this question you had on formspring before. one of our pantry staples is canned tomatoes, use anywhere from stews to pasta sauce, tomato soup, or casseroles hehe :)

another staple, altho in the freezer not pantry... is ground beef. it freezes well and is perfect for last minute-anything -- meatballs, hamburgers, omelettes, "giniling" (turo-turo style w/ potatoes and bell pepper!) or arroz ala cubana...etc :)

here are a few of my fave bookmarked links on the topic!

Pantry Staples: Sweet
http://www.thekitchn.com/thekitchn/ingredients-pantry/kitchn-cure-what-every-pantry-needs-sweet-049017

Pantry Staples: Savory
http://www.thekitchn.com/thekitchn/ingredients-pantry/kitchn-cure-what-every-pantry-needs-savory-048909

Pantry Staples: Vegan/Vegetarian
http://www.thekitchn.com/thekitchn/ingredients-pantry/stocking-the-vegetarian-or-vegan-pantry-073562

Pantry Staples: Fridge
http://www.thekitchn.com/thekitchn/ingredients-pantry/weekend-project-stocking-the-fridge-069510

Essential Kitchen Tools
http://www.thekitchn.com/thekitchn/kitchen-spring-cure-2009/essential-kitchen-tools-a-roundup-of-basics-082461

:D

Samantha said...

Hi Diane!

Love all of the resources you shared! Thank you!!!