These items are essential pantry stock and don’t count as part of the weekly grocery budget.
When these items start to run out, shop around and buy them when you find a good price.
Pick one or two of your favorite types of rice; brown, white (instant), jasmine, basmati, wild.
Other grains that come in handy are quinoa and wheat berries
Pasta(s)-Keep at least two types on hand. I like penne, angel hair, and bow ties. I also try to keep one type of alternative pasta on hand, like rice noodles for Asian dishes or gluten-free recipes.
Balsamic vinegar is the most important, but other handy vinegars to keep on hand are:
- red-wine vinegar
- rice vinegar
- (plain) white vinegar.
Also, a recent discovery I’ve made is pinapple-salad vinegar. It has a sweet hint but makes a great light dressing used alone for cabbage, greens, or tuna as a substitute for higher-calorie mayo.
Oil(s)- Olive oil is another staple ingredient, but other helpful oils to keep on hand:
- canola (for baking)
- grapeseed oil (great for frying fish because of the higher burning point and lighter taste)
- Sea salt
- Herbs de Provence
- Boullion cubes (I prefer vegetable)
- Crushed garlic in a jar
- some type of Cajun, hot sauce, cayenne pepper, or whatever heat you prefer.
- Mustard (any variety)
- Butter (or, if you must, “butter”)
- Light mayo or miracle whip (in the small jar)
- Real maple syrup
- Jam or Jelly (any flavor)
- Cheese (laugh if you want, but I consider cheese to be a condiment. If you keep one type of cheese on hand at all times, a little bit can go a long way.)