We’ve been relying on our pantry staples a lot more while we’re limiting our trips to the grocery store during quarantine. Here are the items you’ll always find in the KERF pantry and how we eat them!
While we’re still managing to eat quite a few fresh foods during our Stay At Home time, we have definitely been relying on the items in our pantry a lot more lately. The bags of rice, cans of beans, and stash of nut butters is appreciated more than ever when our fridge is bare bones between grocery runs. Even during “normal” times, a well-stocked pantry helps us bridge our meal plan when the fridge is looking bare. Here are the staples we relying on the most, and how we turn them into meals. Plus here are links to some of my favorite pantry recipes over the years! Here’s what we always have on hand.
Our Top 10 Pantry Staples (And How We Eat Them)
It goes without saying that we always have old fashioned oats in our pantry. Actually we always have rolled oats, quick oats, and steel cut oats! I have an entire page dedicated to oatmeal recipes on KERF! Oatmeal/overnight oats may be one of the easiest pantry breakfasts; plus, we’re always using them in baked goods, too. They are one of the world’s most versatile foods for a good reason. Need a quick oat-based dinner? Try savory oats!
2) Peanut & Almond Butter
Do you panic when you run low on nut butters? We do! Especially since it’s a staple food for the kids too. Peanut and almond butter are the two nut butters we almost always have on hand, but as you know I’ve dabbled in all kinds of nut and seed combos over the years. And Trader Joe’s sunflower seed butter whenever I can get my hands on some (it’s one of my top 10 favorite nut butters). Not only do I always add a big dollop to my oats, but the kids are eating LOTS of PB&J right now. It’s nice to always have a couple jars of jam in the pantry, too. There’s also the option of homemade: Cinnamon Vanilla Almond Butter is great!
3) Canned Beans
Beans are my favorite canned good, and I love them all! Loaded with fiber and protein, they are one of the healthiest pantry staples around. I recently shared this beans and rice bowl (with canned pineapple!) – not only can most of the ingredients can be found in your pantry, but it’s an inexpensive, vegetarian, nutrient-balanced meal! I’ve been thinking about how I used to make these totally easy bean burgers back in the day. Need to make those again!
4) Spaghetti and Pasta Sauce
Spaghetti with pasta sauce (and ground beef from the freezer) may just be the easiest pantry dinner of all time. And the good news is that it’s one that Mazen loves and Birch can eat too. We always have whole wheat spaghetti in the pantry along with jars of marinara. (Once tomato season is here we can even make the sauce!) If I have any fresh or frozen spinach I add that to the sauce too.
5) Salad Toppers
Trader Joe’s is the holy grail for all things nuts, seeds, and salad toppers. Whenever I make my monthly trip, I make sure to stock up on candied nuts, sunflower seeds, garlic parmesan crisps (make delicious croutons!), dried fruit, and a few jars of marinated artichoke hearts. We always have some or all of the above in the pantry (although admittedly I probably won’t get to Trader Joe’s to restock these “extras” for a while. I’m glad I stocked up when I did.)
6) Canned Tuna, Salmon & Sardines
For lunches and the occasional light dinner, we keep several cans of wild fish in the pantry. Mazen has been known to eat a whole sardine – I haven’t offered him one in a while! Fish salads are great for lunch, and salmon patties can be a quick pantry dinner. Recipes to try: Curried Tuna Salad Recipe, Every Herb Salmon Salad, Salmon Quinoa Burgers, and the Very Best Sardine Salad.
7) Trail Mix & Bars
No pantry is complete without some sort of trail mix and/or granola bars, as I think nuts make the ideal snack due to their protein, fat, and satisfying salty crunch. Especially if you have kids in the house! I often grab a few bags of trail mix from Trader Joe’s or throw together my own mix in a large mason jar (there are always chocolate chips involved…) Mazen’s favorite bedtime snack is a handful of salty almonds. A few bar recipes: Coconut Clusters, Chocolate Coconut Balls, Baked Oatmeal Snack Bars, and No Bake Yerba Mate Bars.
8) Cereal & Granola
Cereal and granola are regular breakfast items in the KERF household, and once in a while, if Mr. Mazen is in a picky mood, he’ll have cereal for dinner if he refuses what we make. We always have bran flakes and granola for the adults, Cinnamon Toast Crunch for Mazen, and Cheerios for Birchie. I love when we have a fresh batch of homemade granola – more for a topping than filling a cereal bowl. Favorite recipes: Crunchy Caramelized Granola, Buckwheat Granola, and Turmeric Granola.
9) Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
Whole wheat pastry flour is my go to for healthy baking. If a recipe calls for all-purpose flour, I often sub in whole wheat pastry flour, which is ideal in baked goods. Recently made recipes include chocolate chip scones or sheet pan pancakes. Another easy-to-make whole grain flour is oat flour! Just grind oats in your food processor and you can bake with that or make no-bake recipes.
10) Rice & Grains
Rice is an easy base to add to any meal. We love bean and rice bowls! We typically have both white jasmine and short grain brown rice on hand to mix things up. Whenever I make a pot of rice, I like to make a little extra as it stores well in the fridge to have throw into lunches. Birch is also currently obsessed with buttered rice so we’ve been making extra for his meals too. We also usually have quinoa, grits, short whole grain pasta, and farro in the pantry for quick salady meals like this one and this one.
What pantry items do you always have on hand?
More Pantry Posts For You:
Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog says
Great list, Kath 🙂 Canned fish is my jam! Such an easy way to get protein in, and so budget-friendly as well! 🙂
Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
Amazing list! We keep canned beans, vegetables, and tomatoes plus a carton of chicken broth in the pantry as they are perfect for power bowls or soups. Rice, grains, and pasta plus pasta sauce, canned seafood, oats, cereal, pb, chocolate ;), nuts, dried fruit, tortilla chips, and crackers. Our lists are very similar.
Thanks so much for the recommendations and recipe links.
There are a lot of ideas here!
I hope you have a great week with some nice weather to be outdoors…
This is such a timely post! Friends and I were talking about earthquake kits on our Zoom meet up yesterday. It was actually something I was thinking about doing in January, right before coronavirus. The biggest problem with making the kits yourself is remembering to switch out good before they pass their shelf life. And also finding things that you will want to eat, possibly without heating. Since sheltering in place, I’ve been extending my time between grocery shops more and more, and getting creative with my pantry. Which is really pretty fun! So now my next goal is to create my earthquake kit by trying out items and figuring out what I could really down in an emergency. I like to buy shelf stable sauces (enchilada, tikka masala, etc.) to add fun to rice or grains and beans. I am curious about canned fish. I was never a fan as a kid, and I still don’t prefer salmon. Do you have a suggestion for a “non-fishy” tuna?
Kath Younger says
You must live in an earthquake zone! I’m afraid most tuna is quite fishy in my opinion…and sardines more so. Tilapia is pretty mild and some of the other white, flakey fish might be a good place to start.
Maybe you could try the new starkist chicken … I much prefer it to tuna. I can’t do fish but sometimes its nice to have “shelf-stable” meat! If that makes sense??
This is a favorite … https://starkist.com/products/chicken-creations-classic-bbq
The Many Thoughts of a Reader says
We always have pb. canned beans, diced tomatoes/green chilies, canned soup, pasta sauce, noodles, tortilla chips, trail mixes, oats, honey, and since Covid I’ve been adding a few cans of green beans and some fruit to our pantry for when we run out of some fresh.
Whitney W. Ryan says
Thank you so much for this post! I am frequently opening my cupboards and seeing a ton of pantry items with not a lot of recipe inspiration. 🙂 The recipes and tips were awesome! THANK YOU!
Lindsey @ Hanging with the Huangs says
We have the same staples! We always have oats, rice, peanut butter, ingredients to make chili, and canned veggies on hand. Oh, and chocolate chips, because you never know when a craving will strike! 😉
Albertina Geller says
I am personally not a huge fan of seafood so I don’t always that stocked but the rest are regular staples in the pantry along with some chips and cookies. Although I am always running low on those two ever since I have been in quarantine 😉
We stock up on canned beans (red kidney, white cannellini, garbanzos), diced tomato, tomato paste, beef and chicken broth at Aldi and Lidl when we we go shopping. Sometimes canned asparagus, water chestnuts and hearts of palm too. We also keep stocked up with olives, artichokes and roasted red peppers. And oatmeal.
ugh… canned artichokes… not asparagus! I only like fresh asparagus 🙂
Kath Younger says
Haha! Love artichokes…not sure about canned asparagus 😉