How to Stock Your Pantry for Quick and Easy Meals

Today we all are pulled in several different directions at once. Add in surprise visits from relatives, and you could be pulling your hair out wondering what to do. Stock your pantry for quick and easy meals and you will be ready for a great meal anytime the urge strikes you. Plus, it really beats always eating takeout or dining elsewhere. Use these steps as a beginning and build on them.

Steps

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    Think about the space you have at hand. You can easily build menus in several variations from a few key ingredients within your pantry. None of these ingredients will do you any good if they are all cluttered in your pantry.
    • Keep taller items in back with shorter ones in front for easy view.
    • Boxes should be grouped together as should packages that slant to the middle at the top.
    • Rotate canned goods so the freshest purchases are at the back.
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    Imagine preparing your favorite foods any time you want. Envision the key ingredients for your favorite dishes and buy them as your pantry staples.
    • Pick up a few different varieties of pasta and sauces. Canned meats and dried sausage go well with any of these.
    • Keep appropriate cheeses in the refrigerator to go with the canned mushrooms you keep on hand. Mozzarella, cheddar and even cream cheese are a boon to your spur-of-the-moment meal preparations and last a long time.
    • Cooking and salad oils and flavored vinegars make regular salads exotic.
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    Picture what you can make from the ingredients you purchased in reference to the above step.
    • Spaghetti and marinara sauce are easy and quick. Another version with similar ingredients gives you rigatoni and sauce.
    • Egg noodles, canned chicken and Alfredo sauce from a jar quickly rival eating out when you add a can of sliced mushrooms. A quickly thrown-together salad finishes the meal.
    • Lasagna noodles in your pasta purchase combine with spaghetti sauce, mozzarella cheese and cottage cheese for homemade lasagna. Pizza you created yourself is a fabulous treat.
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    Ponder on the extras that make your presentation shine.
    • The above ingredients have you almost all of the way there. You still need dough for the pizza crust, onions, olives and peppers for several dishes.
    • Seasoned breadcrumbs, canned onion rings and tortilla chips make great garnishes for casseroles.
    • You will use broth, spices, dehydrated onion, pepper sauce, mustards, relishes and sun-dried tomatoes more often than you can imagine.
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    Assume you need to be quick. Much of the time you will be preparing a quick meal after a busy day.
    • An immediate choice when time is short would be freeze-dried meals. Just microwave a few minutes and you have dinner.
    • Canned soups go well with many ingredients for a casserole dish. Add meat and you have a one-dish meal.
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    Snack on microwave popcorn, pretzels or dried fruit. You don't need to keep fresh cookies around in case the urge hits you.

Tips

  • While it isn't your pantry, your freezer can come in handy here as well. Some delicious bread in the freezer completes any meal. Onions and peppers are available chopped in the freezer case of the supermarket.

Warnings

  • Use common sense in your purchases. You won't need two years' of pasta (or anything else for that matter) if you live alone.


Article Info

Categories: Meal Planning