I don’t know about you, but there are certain items I always have in my kitchen. This list might fluctuate from time to time, but for the most part, these ten things have been in my kitchen for years. These are the things that I can base plenty of our meals around. They’re the things that help us stick to our budget, because most of them are frugal finds. And they’re the things that I go back to again and again because they work with the way our family eats. These are my top ten pantry staples.
With each of these pantry staples, I’m going to tell you a little bit about why we picked them, and I’ve got a few recipes for each one, because since these are what I use in my kitchen, obviously them appear in a bunch of my recipes. So here we go.
If you’ve been here for any length of time, you know oats are my grain of choice. I use them for all sorts of baking, for breakfasts, for snacks, and for all the muffins. Oats are my favorite, and I always have about 6 canisters on hand.
- all the muffins (Oat Flour Muffins, More Oat Flour Muffins, 5 Muffin Recipes free ebook)
- Oat Flour Banana Bread
- Oatmeal Breakfast Bars
- Real Food How To: Make Oatmeal (how to make a bowl of oatmeal really fast)
- Energy Bites
- Oat Flour Pancakes
- Peanut Butter Baked Oatmeal from Lynn’s Kitchen Adventures
I love peanut butter. It’s great in baked goods, it’s great for spreading on a carb to help fill bellies of children whose hunger is never-ending (can you tell we’ve been having growth spurts lately?), and it’s great even just off of a spoon. Less common but still delicious: as a base for a sauce.
Crushed tomatoes are a great base for any tomato sauce-y thing. If I’m thinking spaghetti, I’m thinking a red sauce, and to me, that starts with crushed tomatoes.
- Sausage Spinach Skillet
- Instant Pot Unstuffed Pepper Casserole
- Eat-Your-Veggies Spaghetti Sauce
- Spaghetti Squash with Sausage Tomato Sauce
For tomato flavor without quite as much punch as a big can of crushed tomatoes, my other favorite variety is diced. I always have a stack of these in my pantry, so I can make grilled cheese and tomato soup whenever the mood strikes. They’re good in plenty of other recipes too.
Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Flour
I think everyone who’s gluten free eventually picks a favorite flour blend, and this one is mine. It’s my go-to for baking, and I use it whenever I’m trying to revamp a wheat flour recipe.
Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
This might surprise some people, but I do keep all-purpose flour around. It really has 3 purposes in our house: pizza, bread, and biscuits. I found recipes for those things years ago, and I’ve been using them ever since. Plus my favorite Grandma Winter cookie recipe, because if you haven’t made those yet, you should.
- Homemade Pizza Night
- Grandma Winter’s Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Homemade Bread from The Simple Dollar
- Dinner Biscuits from Don’t Waste the Crumbs
Gluten Free Pasta
I alternate between the Skinner brand and the Aldi brand (not shown), mostly depending on whether I need 12 oz or 16 oz for a specific recipe. Both are made of rice, corn, and quinoa, and both are delicious. Not all gluten free substitutes hold up to the things they’re replacing, but I’m happy with the pasta.
- Gluten Free Mac and Cheese
- Grandma Winter’s Beef Stroganoff
- Easy Italian Pasta Salad
- Sausage and Roasted Eggplant Pasta
We stick with brown rice and jasmine rice, and we have specific uses for them both. Brown rice is what I typically use for casseroles, and jasmine is what I use when we’re serving something over rice. Most of the time. Rice is one of my favorite things to cook in the Instant Pot, because it always turns out perfectly!
- Instant Pot Chicken with Veggies and Rice
- Instant Pot Orange Chicken from Kitschen Cat (served with rice)
- Instant Pot Cheesy Chicken Rice Casserole
- Oven Baked Cheesy Chile Rice Casserole
- Garlic Butter Rice
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
This is my go-to cooking fat, and I use it for pretty much any recipe that starts with sautêing something over medium heat. (Which is how several of my recipes start). It’s also great for pesto and salad dressing, although I admit I don’t make those as often as I used to.
- Real Food How To: Make Pesto
- Real Food How To: Make a Simple Vinaigrette
- anything that starts with sautéing veggies
Every kitchen probably also has go-to seasonings, and these are mine. If I’m not following a specific recipe, salt, pepper, and garlic powder are what I reach for. Cooking up a chicken breast? These three. Fish in the oven? These three. Roasting veggies? These three. They’re easy, and they taste great together.
- Chicken Pepper Bake (uses these plus Italian seasoning)
- Double Smothered Chicken
- Chicken Bacon Sweet Potato Bowls
- Ham and Cheese Egg Bake
Obviously, you may have different staples in your kitchen, but these are my current top ten. What gets the most use in your kitchen?