Just because we need to engage in staying home, it doesn’t mean that we have to live on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches only! Let’s put our creative cooking hats on to prepare healthy stay-at-home meals using these pantry basics to have on hand.
Life has changed so quickly for every single one of us. And until this major health event passes, life in our kitchens is most likely to change as well. This event isn’t like stocking up for a snowstorm or hurricane – – which always have an end in sight.
So in this post, I just want to get down to brass tacks about what we should (or consider to) be doing to help get through this with our resources of time, money, and health that we have to do so.
Before you cook anything requiring a stove, oven, or appliance: Power is a must!
Hopefully, our power/utility companies will keep their valuable employees working, so we shouldn’t have to be concerned about gas or electricity (which can’t get sick). However:
- Having a generator on hand to power up your appliances is a great idea. We have two (one small and one medium-sized) generators.
- You need to have gasoline on hand to power them up so that they can do their job of cranking out electricity for you.
- For those who also use gas in the kitchens make sure you have enough delivered to your home or pick up a few containers.
- How about wood? Not a bad idea, especially if you have a wood-burning fireplace such as mine, OR if you’re lucky enough to have a wood-burning oven outside (which I wish I had).
- Don’t forget to have charcoal, wood, and/or gas for grilling food too!
Here are the basic foods that we should have on hand regarding pantry basics, my friends:
The basics that the U.S. government recommends to have on hand is for a 2-week supply of food for your pantry basics for a pandemic.
Since we live out on a country acreage, we have a full pantry with 2 freezers (yes, 2) to avoid endless long gas-waisting trips to town to shop for groceries . . . and also because I cook in large batches, along with canning and putting up food from our gardens in the summer.
Don’t just think that good pantry basics for a pandemic is only about “canned everything” which is full of preservatives that aren’t the best for our health. And we have to be taking care of our health above all else!
- Flour (for cooking and to make your own bread!)
- Sugar (all kinds including sugar-substitutes)
- Yeast (to bake bread)
- Coffee and tea
- Dried soup mixes
- Bread, tortillas, bagels, or English muffins (keep each in the freezer)
- PASTA, PASTA, PASTA (dried)
- Beans (Dried or canned)
- Dried or canned legumes and lentils
- Granola bars (the healthy ones)
- Cereals and granola
- Nuts (especially almonds) (these freeze really well too)
- Dried Fruits (assorted)
- Pancake mix (if you don’t want to make your own)
- Crackers (as healthy as you can find)
Produce (that keep well without refrigerating)
- Fresh fruit that keeps for a while (apples, oranges, grapefruit)
DAIRY for the Refrigerator
- Cheese, cheese, cheese! Hard aged cheese such as Parmesan, Pecorina, Manchego, and Asiago keep the best
- Orange juice and other juices that you enjoy
For the FREEZER
- Prepared meals if you use those
- Butter (yes, it freezes!)
- Cheese (yes, it freezes!)
- Pasta sauces
- Freshly made pasta (needs to be frozen if not eaten immediately)
- Frozen vegetables (corn, beans, broccoli, cauliflower, peas)
- Frozen fruits (blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and more)
- Believe it or not, my husband MUST have ice cream every day!
- Olive oil
- Balsamic and red wine vinegar, also regular apple cider vinegar
- Spices that you use the most
- Mustard, ketchup, and mayonnaise
- Salt and pepper
CANNED or JARRED FOOD
- Tomatoes (we can/jar tomatoes every summer to put up for winter), but I also like certain canned, boxed or tubed tomato products such as tomato paste and peeled tomatoes
- Tuna and Salmon
- Corn, beans, peas, etc.
- Jams and jellies
- Healthy pre-made salad dressings, the best are in the produce section
- Any specialty item that you normally use
This list is not complete, so I’ll continue to add in the next few hours and days. I hope that you find this list of pantry basics to be helpful for you and your loved ones during this time.
Please let me know if you want me to add your name to my daily prayers. You can leave your name in the comment box below. But if you want to be anonymous, just hit the ‘contact me’ button and let me know that way. It does not matter what faith you practice (or don’t), I will pray for you (us) at this time.
Stay positive and healthy everyone.