They simply have been about "filling in the blanks" of what I have and what I need to put meals on the table. Which, of course, is a result of getting more organized on my pantry shelves.
I'm expect you have had the same experience. You know, when you look at the shelves in your kitchen or search your pantry and still feel as if there is nothing to eat for dinner?
I've learned what it really means to me is... I'm lacking items which can take what I have and transform them into a meal.
Some items in my pantry don't need anything else, for instance a jar of marinara sauce and a package of spaghetti will feed us although the meal may not be very exciting. ;)
But if I want to make pizza from scratch I could use the marinara sauce (should it be all I have) and if there are fresh or canned mushrooms, a few slices of bacon cooked and crumbled, chopped onions, and mozzarella cheese... then it is a wonderful meal.
Some of my favorite items for the pantry that can come together to make a meal are...
- Mozzarella cheese (stored frig or freezer)
- Other cheeses of all sorts (frig or freezer)
- Cream cheese (stored in frig, never freeze)
- Bacon (frig or freezer) - and/or -
- Bacon (shelf stable packaged)
- Sausage (frig or freezer)
- Frozen vegetables (some frozen veggies can be blended with broth to make soup)
- Frozen fruit
- Tortillas (corn and wheat) stored in frig or freezer
- Pie Crust (frig or freezer)
- Various kind of bread (in the freezer)
- Butter (frig or freezer)
- Chicken or vegetable broth - low sodium
- Canned beans
- "Cream of" soups or the ingredients to make your own
- Canned fish or meat
- Canned tomatoes
- Canned mild peppers
- Canned mushrooms
- Pizza and pasta sauce
- Jars of Salsa
- Pimentos in a jar
- Evaporated milk
- Sweetened condensed milk
- Pie filling
- Pumpkin puree
- Lemon curd
- Key lime juice in the bottle
- Graham cracker pie crust
- Chocolate chips (and other varieties)
- Various nuts
- Dried fruit like raisins, cherries, or cranberries, etc.
- Green Peppers (in the frig)
- Fruit in season (apples, oranges, bananas, etc.)
- Lemons (in the frig)
There are many other items which can be used to bring together a meal but these are "off the top of my head"... which can be a dangerous place to reside. :)
I hope this list helps you to start and continue one of your own.
Once again it gets down to prioritizing, organizing, and planning to have your pantry work best for your long term and everyday meal plans.