5 Pantry Staples to Help You Get Dinner on the Table

My Pantry is my go-to, open store cupboard. It will have everything from my essential items, to open herbs and spices, open pasta, rice, etc and even those strange ingredients you bought on a whim when visiting the farmers markets (lemon infused truffle oil anyone?).

But there are 5 essential items that are always in my pantry – and most likely form part of my shopping list every week. These 5 items are critical in building my family meals and are a significant saving grace when there appears to be nothing to eat in the house (just ingredients lol!).

5 Pantry Staples to help you get dinner on the table.

I would add these 5 ingredients as staples to your weekly shop – and stock up on them in your stockpile when you can. Buy them in bulk when on special, and always have them on hand.

Without further adieu, here they are:

#5 – Pasta

Pretty obvious one right? But I want to be clear here. I’m talking ALL pasta. It is a good habit to get into – buy different pastas. Nothing spices up a boring old spaghetti bolognaise than serving it with fancy tricolor fettuccine or those really big shells that you can stuff with the sauce and melt cheese over the top. Yum.
Plus – they are super easy to make into a fast family meal.

For example, once you’ve cooked your pasta (al dente of course!) – then you can do the following very quickly:

  • Cheesy Pasta – stir through some butter, grate some Parmesan over the top. Voila! Dinner is served.
  • Heat some olive oil in a pan, lightly cook some sliced garlic and sliced chilli – stir the pasta through and you have a spicy, garlic-y pasta sauce. Add more olive oil to get it really yummy.

#4 – Canned Lentils

I am kinda obsessed with legumes – lentils especially. My little bub loves red lentils – but we all love brown lentils. Canned lentils are easy – open the can, add a few ingredients and you have a salad. Add some hot ingredients, a poached egg and you have dinner.

#3 – Bottled Lemon Juice

Now, I know, this is not very PC in the real food world. But we’re talking making life easy, right? And this makes life easy. When you don’t have a lemon – this stuff can really bring a meal to life. A squeeze of this over your pasta, your salad or into your dinner will often make the world of difference. And it’s fast. Just make sure you buy one that is pure lemon juice without any nasties added. And still buy lemons – we always want the real thing when it’s available – but occasionally life doesn’t give you lemons.

#2 – Chocolate

Enough said, right?

As a woman, we always need chocolate in the house. Are you reading this gentlemen? Always. Without question. There must always be chocolate in the house. Preferably the dark kind – hidden in the back of the pantry for those moments when you just need chocolate. And there are those moments. Plenty of them. Especially when there are kids in the house. Or parents. Or just you.

#1 – Tinned Tomatoes

I honestly don’t know where all my dinners would come from without the humble tinned tomato. So many of my meals start with a can of red, juicy whole tomatoes. I prefer the whole tinned tomato – I find the crushed ones are very mushy and I like to open the can and see the whole food included. Plus I read somewhere once that crushed tomatoes are just the runoff of the whole canned ones – and it kinda turned me off them. Who knows if that is true – it is likely not – but still, I prefer the whole ones. I also really love the tinned baby tomatoes – but these aren’t easy to find. My local supermarket stocks them in the ‘international food’ aisle for some reason. But they are delicious in pasta sauce.

I always have at least 4 tins of these in the house at all times. Because the likelihood is that I will generally cook a meal with these about once or twice a week. Be it spaghetti bolognaise, meatballs, red lentil soup, vegetable soup, and so many more recipes. These are my number one go-to pantry item.

And that my lovely readers, is it. My top 5 pantry essentials.

What are yours? What do you find are the best things since sliced bread for keeping in the house at all times? What do you use them for? What meals can you whip up with your essentials? Let us all know in the comments below.

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4 replies
  1. Kerry-Anne Milne
    Kerry-Anne Milne says:

    Definitely have pasta tinned tomatoes pumpkin potatoes and a nice block of Parmesan cheese!! Love to have a full pantry always!!

  2. Michelle
    Michelle says:

    I agree with pasta, especially with two toddlers! Pasta and frozen peas
    Are lifesavers for us, and a good quality basil pesto! 😀
    Tuna mornay was big growing up in my house and is now a staple for us too – so tinned tuna and flour are a must for me!

    • Jade
      Jade says:

      Frozen Peas are an absolute staple. I hadn’t considered pesto – but I may add that now! We often had Tuna Casserole (basically a mornay) when we were younger too – I still make it now 🙂


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