Pantry Basics

Stock Up To Save!

kitchen basics 2.jpg

A Fab & Fru Kitchen means always having quality basics on hand to whip up delicious and affordable meals right in your own home.  As we always say: Being prepared saves you money. If you order in less you’ll not only spend less but chances are you’ll eat healthier too!

food icon.jpgOut with the Old

Check the expiration date on all condiments, cans, boxed food and perishables in your kitchen and throw out the expired ones!  Take note of what you don’t use often, and don’t replace it.  If a recipe calls for it in the future, buy only what you need.  No one likes the idea of wasting food!

food icon.jpgSpices

Spices keep their flavor for about six months (salt, peppercorns, or chili pepper flakes last much longer).  So, when purchasing dried spices, buy them in smaller quantities unless you use a lot of a particular spice.

In my opinion, Dried Basil, Parsley, and Cilantro/Coriander are virtually tasteless.  When it comes to these herbs it’s worth the splurge to always buy fresh.  Better yet, grow your own – check out ourgardening article for more info!  Don’t worry, city dwellers – all you need is a window sill or fire escape for your “herban” garden.  By having tasty seasonings on hand, you’ll always be able to turn basics like eggs, rice, veggies and pasta into a mouthwatering meal that rivals your favorite take out food – without the MSG!

food icon.jpgTo Cook & To Clean

The best and most affordable cleaning supplies are also kitchen staples: White Vinegar and Baking Soda!  To clean everything from your vegetables to your bathroom floor, dilute white vinegar with water and go.  Baking soda is also a household wonder.  It’s mildly abrasive so it’s great when you need to scrub something – including brushing your teeth.  With vinegar on hand, you’re always able to whip up a delish salad dressing or marinade, in addition to washing your windows!


food icon.jpgDried Spices

  • Coarse Sea or Kosher Salt
  • Fine Kosher Salt (a salt grinder can be used to grind the coarse salt if needed)
  • Whole Black Peppercorns & Pepper Grinder
  • Ground Cayenne
  • Red Pepper Flakes
  • Ground Cumin
  • Cinnamon (ground or sticks)
  • Bay Leaves
  • Chili Powder
  • Curry Powder
  • Whole Nutmeg (to grind)
  • Dried Oregano
  • Dried Thyme

food icon.jpgLegumes & Grains

  • Rice (White or Brown)
  • Quinoa or Bulgur
  • Rolled Oats
  • Dried or Canned Beans (kidney, black, chick peas; dried beans are cheaper and preservative free.  Using dried beans instead of canned allow you to use the exact amount you want without letting the rest of the can go to waste.  If you don’t have time to soak your beans overnight, you can always boil them for 4 minutes and then let them sit in the hot water for an hour before draining)
  • Dried Lentils
  • Almonds, Pecans, or Walnuts

food icon.jpgOils & Condiments

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • White Vinegar (to cook & clean)
  • Dijon Mustard
  • Soy Sauce
  • Mayonnaise
  • Almond or Peanut Butter
  • Honey

food icon.jpgDairy

  • Milk
  • Plain Yogurt
  • Butter
  • Eggs
  • Block of Parmigiano-Reggiano for grating
  • A block of hard cheese of your choice

food icon.jpgProduce

  • Lemons
  • Garlic
  • Spanish or Yellow Onions
  • Potatoes of your choice for roasting or soups
  • All other fruits & veggies buy as needed

food icon.jpgFreezer Items

  • Frozen Chopped Spinach
  • Frozen Peas
  • Frozen Corn
  • Chicken Breasts
  • Cleaned Medium Shrimp

food icon.jpgCanned/Boxed Goods

  • Boxed Chicken or Vegetable Stock (Refrigerate after opening)
  • Canned Tuna in Water
  • Canned Tomato Paste (or tube of tomato paste)
  • Canned Whole Tomatoes
  • Canned Tomato Puree
  • Cereal of Choice

food icon.jpgThe Rest

  • Loaf of Bread
  • Plain Bread Crumbs (can make from toasted bread)
  • Long-Cut Pastas
  • Short-Cut Pastas
  • All-Purpose Unbleached Flour
  • Baking Soda (For baking & cleaning)
  • White Sugar
  • Brown Sugar
  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • A bar of dark chocolate

With these key ingredients, you can easily throw together a Fab & Fru breakfast, lunch or dinner.  It pays to be organized – no more looking in your fridge and wondering what on earth you’re going to have for dinner!  By changing your eating patterns and ordering in even a few times less per month than you normally would, you’ll start to see a delicious amount of savings adding up!

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Any Thoughts?