Most people keep basic things on hand:
- Flour, sugar, rice, beans, cooking oil, corn meal, pasta, canned tomatoes, peanut butter, and oats in the pantry
- Meats and frozen vegetables in the freezer.
- Cheese and butter keep for months in the fridge. (I have been known to buy 16 pounds of cheese at once when it is at its rock bottom price!)
- Produce like apples, onions, potatoes, carrots, celery, garlic, oranges, lemons, and sweet potatoes keep for several weeks. (TIP - Store onions and potatoes separately and they will keep longer!)
It seems like the items needed weekly, or at least bi-weekly are milk and fresh produce. To expand my repertoire of pantry meals, I've started keeping a few extras on hand. Maybe some of these ideas will be useful for you:
- Powdered milk in the freezer. (We don't drink milk, but if I ever need it for cooking, powdered milk is quick to mix up in the quantity I need.)
- I also like to keep powdered buttermilk or goat milk on hand. They keep quite a while in the fridge and are good for baking.
- Frozen and dehydrated diced green pepper (Several recipes I make require all pantry ingredients except for this one item, and I really do like the pepper! Bell peppers are also quite expensive out of season, so these options have been helpful when the peppers are not on sale.)
- Dehydrated onions and garlic. I begin nearly every meal sauteing onions and garlic. This way, if I run out, I have a backup! We are not big mushroom eaters, but I have heard dried mushrooms are nice also.
- I already wrote about my mung beans for sprouting. They are nice when fresh greens are hard to come by.
- Canned tropical fruit is quite good and refreshing. Read the label and make sure it does not include bananas. Canned bananas are nasty, trust me on that one! But the tropical fruit mix is really very nice and usually has pineapple, mango, and papaya. I often mix in mandarin oranges and extra pineapple. I always look for the kinds packed in fruit juice instead of syrup. If you have unexpected company, this makes a good quick dessert.
I'm planning to do an upcoming post on "Desperation Dinners"... You know, when you look at the clock and it is 5:15 already and you haven't even thought about what to make for dinner. You could order pizza or Chinese take-out, but you don't have to do that, because, *insert trumpet fanfare* - You've got Church Mouse's Desperation Dinner Plan!
:) Enjoy your weekend and try to stay warm!