Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Home Cooking, Part 1: The value of a well stocked fridge and pantry

It's easy to feel overwhelmed by the plethora of ingredients presented in homecooked meals. Looking down the recipe one quickly feels their bank accounts emptying in order to fund the supply of both exotic and familiar foods that are vital to the success of the much coveted home cooked dinner steaming on the table, greeted by a wide eyed, smiled husband and hungry children.

It doesn't have to cost the earth however to home cook and it doesn't need to be fancy either. There is a small investment at the onset, but that is exactly what it is, an investment.

A well stocked fridge and pantry.

Filling the refrigerator and pantry with an assortment of commonly used items that are used for multiple recipes drastically reduces the cost of each meal when spread over the course of days, weeks and sometimes months.

Here is a good list starting list (much more could be added!):

• Dijon mustard • Olive oil • Red wine vinegar • Balsamic vinegar • Plain flour • Self-raising flour • Cornflour • Confectioners sugar • Brown sugar • Cocoa powder • A variety of dried pasta • Egg noodles • Chickpeas • Kidney beans • Tinned chopped tomatoes • Rice (your choice or a selection) • Almonds • Chicken, vegetable and beef stock cubes • Soy sauce• Dried Basil • Table salt • Black peppercorns • Ground cinnamon • Dried oregano • Bay leaves • Ground cumin • Chili powder • Curry powder • Baking soda • Vanilla extract• Baking powder • Nutmeg • Honey • Oatmeal • Mayonnaise • Ketchup • Cinnamon • Ginger • Cloves • Garlic • Cumin • Peanut butter • Butter • Sour cream • A selection of cheeses • Cream cheese • Whole wheat flour • Almonds • Yeast • Black Beans • Potatoes • Onions • Sea Salt • Table salt • Black peppercorns • Castor sugar • Dried oregano • Bay leaves • Ground cumin • Chilli powder • Plain Yoghurt • Coconut Oil • Lemon Juice • Apple Cider Vinegar • Bread Flour • Pearl Barley • Molasses • Cayenne Pepper • Vegetable oil • Tabasco • Eggs • Dried Thyme • Dried Rosemary • Ground sage • Dried oregano • Raisins • Various nuts/dried fruits • Maple syrup. • Worcestershire Sauce • Apple sauce

With these basic ingredients, you are ready to make *almost* any dish with the addition of the needed fresh fruit, vegetables and meat. In Home Cooking, Part 2. We'll talk about selection fresh produce and meat, how to shop for it and optimizing it's use with a meal plan.


  1. Thanks, Miss Rosie! I look forward to future posts... and I may use this list as a shopping list tomorrow :)

  2. The best place for spices and herbs is the bulk section at Central Market. They have little jars, you put the herb in little bags, weigh it and print a label. Esther loves doing this. You can get as much or more of what you need for pennies as opposed to paying several dollars for the ones in jars and containers.

  3. Oh and I am sure I missed things off and doubled up on some things on the list in my haste!