*For a printable version, click here (although the links won’t be accessible in that view)

Canned Goods:

Diced tomatoes

(Hunt’s brand – mostly because I can buy cans in bulk at Sam’s Club)

Used mostly in Spaghetti Sauce, Homemade Pizza Sauce and quick homemade pasta sauces (i.e. can of diced tomatoes simmered with fresh garlic, onions, dried spices and a bit of chicken broth, and tossed with hot pasta, topped with freshly grated Parmesan cheese)

Tomato Paste

(Hunt’s brand – mostly because I can buy cans in bulk at Sam’s Club)

Used in Homemade Pizza Sauce and Spaghetti Sauce

Tomato Sauce

Used in many recipes, including this Chili Mac which is a great fill-in dinner when plans go awry

Chicken Broth

(Swanson’s natural goodness chicken broth with 33% less sodium)

Used in too many recipes to name

Black beans

Used in Balsamic Black Bean Salsa (great, quick appetizer) and easy dinners Slow Cooker Southwest Chicken Stacks, Crispy Southwest Chicken Wraps

White beans

Two best chilis: White Bean Chicken Chili and Creamy White Chili

Green chiles

I use green chiles in lots and lots of recipes but the main reason I keep them on hand is to add quick flavor to a meal where I may have forgotten to pick up a jalapeno or the green peppers in the fridge have gone bad (so much for planning!)

Dry Pantry Goods:

Spaghetti noodles

(Barilla Brand)

White long grain rice

Brown rice

I stock up on this now since I’ve found my new love: Baked Brown Rice


Couscous makes a great stand-in for other grains, like pasta and rice. I serve it often with meatballs and curries

Penne or elbow macaroni

(Barilla Brand)

I keep an extra box of pasta on-hand for quick, throw together meals (see the section of Diced Tomatoes for the easy sauce)

Cereal/Dry Pantry Snacks:


As much as I would like to be super-mom, hot breakfasts only happen about four times a week so the other three we rely on healthier cereals like Life, Cheerios, Shredded Wheat, etc. I keep about three boxes on hand at all times.

Light Pancake syrup

Pure maple syrup

I am attempting to convert my entire family over to the taste of pure maple syrup since it is a whole food and doesn’t have high fructose corn syrup in it – it is a gradual process. Most of them still prefer the above listed pancake syrup. Also, pure maple syrup is used in my favorite Granola recipe.

Oatmeal pancake mix

I use this mix at least three times a week. L
ove it.

Multigrain club crackers

Pretzel sticks

Saltine crackers


Wheat thins



Garlic Salt

Garlic Powder

Onion Powder



Chili Powder


Dried Basil

Dried Parsley

Fresh Black Pepper

Table Salt

Kosher/Coarse Salt

I use a tablespoon of coarse salt every time I boil water for pasta. I also use it for these soft pretzels and for any other recipe that calls for it.

Baking Goods:

Cooking Spray

I like the canola spray, personally.

Semisweet chocolate chips

(Nestles or Ghirardellis)

Too many numerous applications to list, including eating handfuls a day to cope with mid-winter blues.

Semisweet and bittersweet baking chocolate bars

(Ghirardelli or Baker’s brand)



Used in this Cornbread and for Homemade Pizza Making

Powdered Sugar

I always keep this on hand to sweeten whipped cream, make frostings, etc.

Quick Oats

I use this in baking, obviously, but I also use it for quick breakfasts – 1/3 cup oats cooked with 2/3 cup milk or water in the micro for 90 seconds and then drizzled with pure maple syrup…heavenly

Rolled Oats

Nonfat Powdered Dry Milk

Used almost exclusively in the Lion House Rolls

Potato flakes

(Idaho Spuds Brand)

Used in this Soft Wrap Bread and these amazing Dinner Rolls

Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

(Gold Medal or Pillsbury Brand based on Cook’s Illustrated recommendations – I buy whichever is cheaper)

Whole Wheat Flour

I grind my own from the white wheat I have in my food storage and store the ground wheat flour in the freezer in gallon-sized Ziploc bags


I buy generic on this or use it from my food storage

Dark brown sugar

Light brown sugar

Canola oil

Generic brand all the way, baby

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Red Wine Vinegar

Balsamic Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar

White Vinegar

Honestly, I don’t know if white vinegar belongs on this list since I rarely use it in cooking and usually use it to clean our humidifiers

Pure Vanilla Extract

(I buy this at Sam’s Club)

If you love me, please don’t use imitation extract, splurge on the real stuff – it makes a world of difference

Pantry Vegetables:

Fresh garlic

I keep at least three heads of garlic on hand at all times

Yellow Onions

At any given time, I probably have 6-7 yellow onions begging to be used


Flour Tortillas

For Enchiladas, lunch quesadillas, quick dinners, tacos with this Sweet and Spicy Chicken

Whole Wheat Bread

I’m starting to make my own since I am sick of paying mega-bucks to get loaves without high fructose corn syrup

Refrigerated Fruits and Vegetables:


Fresh lemons are a gift from the heavens. The zest or juice added to many dishes adds the perfect lightness you can’t achieve from anything else (plus freshly grated lemon zest in sugar cookies is dee-vine)

Fresh Parsley

Baby Carrots


Lunch, lunch, baby



Used almost exclusively in this Oatmeal Pancake Mix.

1% Milk

Not that you care, but we go through about 4 gallons of 1% milk a week. That will exponentially increase, I am sure as my four boys become teenagers.

Whole milk

I keep this on hand because I have a toddler who drinks it but it sure comes in handy when making a custard or pudding that calls for whole milk.

Heavy Cream

Don’t judge me. I use an exorbitant amount of heavy cream.

Sour Cream

Salted Butter

I don’t buy unsalted butter. I always keep several boxes of butter on hand for baking.

Smart Balance Spread

I use this on our toast, rolls, anything that we would “butter”

Large Eggs

Fresh Parmesan Cheese

(I’ve found the best bang for my buck is to buy this in a large wedge at Sam’s Club)

Fresh Parmesan cheese is an amazing pick-me-up food for dishes. Plus my five-year old loves to eat a big slice of it after school. He’s kind of weird. Like his mother.

Mozzarella Cheese

For pizza, mostly.

Sharp or Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese Block

Used in anything from after-school snacks to this corn chowder to macaroni and cheese.

String Cheese


Ground Turkey


For Meatballs, Meatloaf, Tacos, Asian Noodles, etc.

Ground Beef

I use ground turkey for everything but keep ground beef on hand for a portion of the meat called for in meatloaf and meatballs

Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts

Too many dishes to name…I cook with chicken a lot

Natural Lunch Meats

(Hormel Natural Choice)

For lunches and for this delicious sandwich


frozen peas

I use frozen vegetables mainly as a side dish for dinner but they come in handy for this Dumpling Soup and other applications


Again, used mostly for a side dish but I also use it for this Black Bean Salsa, Super Burritos and Corn Chowder, to name a few


Don’t judge me.


I always keep fresh ginger in the freezer. I peel it and chop it into about 1-inch segments and store it in a Ziploc bag. When a recipe calls for it, like almost any Asian dish I post, I pull out a chunk from the freezer and grate it frozen on my rasp grater