Kitchen Staples and Suggestions
Newlyweds and newly-on-your-own individuals, write down essential ingredient lists for your staples to keep in the kitchen pantry, refrigerator, and freezer. Stock up with the basics. Keep your pantry and fridge stocked with necessary staples and ingredients for your favorite recipes.
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Start out with basic items to stock your kitchen pantry. Eventually, you’ll develop your own personal cooking style. Then you’ll discover different ingredients to have on hand in the kitchen.
Congratulations, newlyweds! Best wishes for a great life of adventure together, yummy meals cooked with love, and fun hospitality with family and friends!
Now that you’re married and there are two of you, food budgeting becomes important. When payday comes, bills have to be paid, rent or mortgage notes must be met, and groceries fall below the top of the priorities. But you’ll feel relief knowing you have the basic ingredients needed to last you both for a while. Read the Patty Cake’s Pantry blog for more on stocking a pantry on a budget.
Keep healthy snacks around. That’s another list you can write down – snacks you like. Learn which ones are good for you.
Don’t even think about buying junk food because one day you’ll find yourself on a low, and guess what. You’ll sit down and devour a whole bag of chips or cookies without a thought. There’s nobody there now to question you about it. Yes, I know you’re free to eat whatever you want. But is that really what you want? Think of how stuffing your mouth full of high-caloric foods makes you feel. Bloated? Miserable? Frustrated?
Adopt habits of snacking on celery and carrot sticks. Dip them in salsa or peanut butter. Still, moderation is a key with nutritious munchies. I mean, ten celery sticks and a half jar of peanut butter goes beyond the moderate amount.
Plan Ahead for the Monday or Holiday Blues
Monday and holiday blues tend to cause snack and sugar cravings (it’s the comfort food syndrome). It’s a good idea to stock up on walnuts or pecans (they keep longer in the freezer, incidentally) and chocolate chips for occasional treats.
Plan ahead so that you’re prepared when the blues make you feel like binging. Invite a friend for a meal when you can’t stand the thought of eating a meal alone. You’ve got this!
Cooking for Two
Cooking for two when you seldom prepared meals for one may seem daunting at first. Don’t panic. Of course, there can be times your other half isn’t home for a meal and you’ll have to eat by yourself. The Cooking for One section can apply to you as well.
Hopefully, neither of you are picky eaters. But if you are, you’ll figure it all out and learn how to cook to please you both. Should you experience meals that don’t match up to mama’s cooking, make an appointment with Mama to get the recipes!
As a newlywed, you probably received at least one cookbook as a wedding gift. However, here is a list (and links) of specific types of recipe books to consider:
- slow cooker recipes
- quick 30-minute meals
- pressure cooker recipes
- comfort foods
- easy and simple summer foods
- essential ingredients for easy recipes
Keep the following suggestions in mind when deciding on what to cook. You’ll manage to come up with something – even during lean times (they can happen when you least expect them).
Basic Kitchen Suggestions
- Make simple meals.
- Stock your pantry and refrigerator with basic staples.
- Use the recipe books you received as bridal shower gifts.
- Purchase a cast iron skillet (can cook in it on the stove or oven) if you don’t have one already.
- Learn which foods your other half loves.
- Learn which foods your other half doesn’t like.
- Thank the Creator for what you do have.
Do’s and Don’ts to Help You in Daily Life
Live by these do’s and don’ts to help you stay healthy, save money, and be grateful:
- Grocery Lists – Do make a grocery list and take it with you to the supermarket.
- Healthy Food – Do eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.
- Sugars – Do learn to cook and bake with natural sugars.
- Nutrition – Do learn the daily nutritional needs for you and your other half.
- Healthy Body – Do exercise.
- Attitude – Do smile at people.
- Daily Life – Do laugh and enjoy life.
- Grocery Shopping – Don’t go grocery shopping hungry if you plan on living frugally.
- Gratefulness – Don’t forget to say thank you.
- Recipe Adventure – Don’t be afraid to try new foods.
- Family – Don’t let busy schedules stop you from calling or texting your parents often.
- Commitment – Don’t stop loving.
What do you do for a meal when there’s very little in the pantry or fridge? First of all, you take inventory of what you have on hand. Then get creative.
Staples for the Pantry
Make a list of basic staples needed for your favorite foods and recipes. You should always keep certain items in stock such as the ones in the pantry list below.
- Herbs and Spices – See the herbs and spices list listed below the pantry list.
- Oils – Extra virgin olive oil and unrefined organic coconut oil are two good ones. Planning on baking a lot? Shortening is often used for baking (though butter or coconut oil works, too).
- Flour – Nut and seed flours with a low glycemic index are good choices. If you use white flour, use it in moderation. If you plan on baking often, research specialty flours like bread, cake, pastry and self-rising flour. Cornmeal (for homemade cornbread, for example) and cornstarch (use in sauces or pie fillings) are two items you may want to keep on hand.
- Sugar – Choose natural sugars (raw honey, pure maple syrup, etc.) rather than white sugar. Not concerned about going all-nutritious? Then consider stocking powdered sugar and brown sugar (especially during Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays).
- Cereals – Stay away from the sugar-coated kinds. Best nutritious oats are steel-cut oats and rolled oats. Cream of Wheat is a good choice.
- Baking powder, baking soda, and yeast
- Pure vanilla extract
- Peanut butter
- Unsweetened cocoa powder
Pantry Herbs and Spices
Eventually, you’ll come up with your own preferences for herbs and spices. However, start out with the basics.
Herbs (fresh is best, but good to have dried available)
- Basil (sauces, soups, salads, Italian food)
- Cilantro (Mexican food)
- Oregano (pizza, Greek and Italian dishes)
- Rosemary (so good mixed with olive oil and garlic for dipping bread)
- Thyme (good on cooked fresh green beans as well as other vegetables and Mediterranean dishes)
- Bay leaves – Add one when you start a pot of soup or stew but remove before serving.
- Black peppercorns (salads, meats, and anything you like pepper on)
- Chili powder (good for chili and Mexican dishes)
- Cumin (Mexican dishes)
- Curry powder (Asian and chicken dishes)
- Garlic powder (great for vegetables, meats)
Experiment with herbs and spices to find out what your preferences are. Make your own blend of spices and herbs. Look for the bulk section at supermarkets. They have small plastic bags and ties available to put the herbs and spices in. They should also have clear plastic bottles that you can buy. These work well for storing your blended herbs and spices.
Refrigerator staples listed below may vary from what you would use. So feel free to change this list according to your preference.
- Coffee Creamer
- Meat you plan to cook in two or three days
Breakfast doesn’t have to be the only time you eat eggs. Find egg recipes you like that make great lunch and dinner meals. Bake, boil, fry, or scramble the eggs. Or, make an omelet (the options seem endless).
Your refrigerator might have an ice maker, so eliminate #4 in that case. Perhaps, frozen pizzas don’t appeal to you (nice to have, though, on days you’re too tired to cook). Change the freezer list to suit your needs.
- Ground Beef
- Bag of Ice
- Frozen vegetables
Again, the pantry, refrigerator, and freezer lists in this blog post are basic. Adapt them to fit your kitchen needs and recipes. Definitely, though, write down grocery lists and take them with you to do your shopping. Otherwise, you’ll end up spending way more than what you intended to when you shop at the supermarket.
Looking for easy-to-cook recipes online? Speaking of those egg recipes mentioned earlier, try out the ones at Kitchen Southern Hospitality (I love EGGS and BREAKFAST any time of the day!). Check these out:
- Eggs and Grits
- French Fried Onion Spinach and Egg
- Fried Egg, Turkey Sausage, and Swiss Chard
- Vegetable Omelet Topped with Chili
Enjoy cooking and creating new recipes!
I’m so glad you visited my blog and hope you’ll come back! If you try out the egg recipes above, let me know which one is your favorite by leaving me a comment below.