I LOVE my pantry. There are a few reasons why I love it so much – it has a light that turns on when I open the door, it is organised for how I think, and I can see what I have in it. Simple pleasures but these make life so much easier! I also love that the contents of my pantry suit me, so that even though I might be running low in ingredients towards the end of the week, my pantry is a virtual treasure trove of potential dinner delights.
When deciding what to stock in your pantry, there are a few keys to consider:
I’m a fan of meals that can be made from the usual contents of my pantry, fridge and freezer. So what are the quick pantry meals you can whip up with only a few basic ingredients? Some of my favourite ‘end of the week’ recipes rely heavily on items from the pantry, and only a few basic staples from the fridge or freezer (ie items I always have in there vs have to buy especially!!).
For example a quick cook from scratch meal is pizza. My sister taught me how to make these proper Italian style thin crust bases! All you need is flour (from the pantry) and natural yoghurt (which I always have in the fridge)! As for toppings it is whatever I have in the pantry (tomato paste, tuna, onion) or fridge (capsicum, cheese).
I am a big advocate of only keeping ingredients in my pantry that will work for multiple dishes. I would be a very rich woman if I had a dollar for every time someone said to me during a pantry declutter “I bought this ingredient because I wanted to try a recipe, but I didn’t know what else I could do with it so it has sat there ever since.” If you buy a ‘new’ ingredient – promise me you’ll find at least 2-3 recipes you will make – within 2 months. NO EXTENSIONS allowed!!
Choose low/no additive products
If you have packets in your pantry and you buy products from supermarkets it is important to know how to read labels and pick the best choices you can! Get familiar with the ingredients list for each of the products you buy on a regular basis and check to see if there are any questionable additives in them. Be sure to choose products that have an ingredients list that looks familiar – what would you expect to be in it if you made it yourself?
Write it down!
Taking time out to really look at your pantry and work out what quick meals you can make from scratch is a lifesaver when you’re trying to work to a food budget. It is often as we get towards the end of the week that we get tempted by takeaways because we ‘think’ we have nothing in our pantry! Putting down your ideas and recipes on paper before you hit panic stations later in the week at 4pm wondering if there is anything left to eat.
Planning out your tried and true pantry meals can really help you stretch your food dollar further .
Louise helps busy women solve the What’s for Dinner Challenge and learn more about what’s in the food we eat. Her amazing e-book, Too Busy To Eat Well, is available at the SAHM store (click here)
Home Economist @ http://www.mealplanningyourway.com/
Additive Alert Community Talks Presenter
Member of Home Economics Institute of Australia (HEIA)