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In Our House: Cooking Essentials

July 18, 2013

cooking essentials copy

I’m not a perfect cook, but I’m definitely a good cook. Not trying to toot my own horn, but there are very few complaints in our house about food. My friends and family ask a lot for recipes and tips, but it’s not always easy to do. Here are some of the hurdles I’ve been facing.

I’m really not that adventurous of a cook. I don’t know a lot of foods or recipes or ways to cook. I’m just learning to be adventurous in eating and trying to translate that to our kitchen. And most of our food is quite fattening 🙂

I’m also not a measuring cook. I’ve learned this is why I’m a terrible baker, haha. I throw things in and they work. It’s not magic, by any means; it’s experience. Things go wrong. Sometimes the food is just bland. Sometimes it’s a disaster and we order pizza instead. But that’s how we learn, right?

And so, this has lead me to writing this post to answer the question I’m often asked: what do you keep handy in your kitchen so you have what you need to “throw things together”?

Spice “Rack”: olive oil, canola oil, balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, basil, parsley, dill weed, Italian seasoning, paprika, onion salt, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, nutmeg, fajita seasoning

Pantry: Cans of veggies and beans, diced tomatoes, white rice, instant mashed potatoes (for thickening only!), lots of varieties of noodles, cream of mushroom soup, tomato soup, chicken stock, beef stock, onions, potatoes, flour, sugar

Fridge: sour cream, butter, some kind of white wine, a beer, milk, large jar of minced garlic, lemon juice, shredded Parmesan cheese, assortment of shredded cheeses, Velveeta

What essentials do you try to keep on hand?

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 18, 2013 10:55 pm

    Some of our favorites:

    grass fed butter
    cheap red wine (for cooking <— I am in LOVE with wine sauce
    fresh onions
    fresh bell/sweet peppers
    fresh tomatoes (IF they have flavor)
    kosher salt
    fresh ground black pepper
    bacon (uncured, nitrate/nitrite free)
    frozen fish fillets (not breaded)
    cheese (all varieties!)
    quinoa, brown rice, and pilaf
    creole/cajun seasoning (I put it on everything)
    (organic) better than bouillon bases (chicken and veggie)
    fresh greens (kale, collard, etc)
    olive oil
    (organic) unfiltered juice

    The only things we never keep in the house are canned vegetables and fruits (we only buy fresh or frozen), milk, potatoes, and white rice. We very rarely keep pasta in the house and when we do, it's whole grain. We have ridiculously large amount/variety of spices than spans an entire shelf in the cabinet and pantry and 2 spice carousels, lol. However, if I'm making tacos or fajitas I'll just whip up my own spice blends instead of using premixed packets.

    Matt is the inventive, adventurous cook in the house….I prefer to follow a recipe and then modify it to my own tastes.

  2. Ashley permalink
    July 19, 2013 12:50 pm

    Canned diced tomatoes
    Tomato sauce
    Sardines
    Dry beans prepared in crock pot, frozen
    Onion and garlic powder
    Dried sage, chipotle, paprika
    Oils, salt and pepper
    Better than bouillon soup bases
    Pasta, rice, and polenta
    Butter
    Vinegar
    Whole wheat flour
    Soy sauce
    Eggs
    2 lb block of cheese (cheapest way to buy)

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