Salt? Check. Ramen? Check. Soggy paper bag containing three rotten apples? Check, check, and check! Sounds like you’ve got a full pantry – but do you have the right ingredients to whip up something quick and easy in an emergency? Whether you’ve got the flu, there’s a zombie apocalypse, or friends showed up unexpectedly at dinnertime, we’ll tell you about a few pantry essentials that will keep you fed when going to the store is not an option.
If you really do have this one, you’re off to a great start! Kosher salt – or coarse grain salt – is better than regular table salt for a few reasons. Because of the size and shape of the salt grains, they have less surface area, adding the right amount of saltiness to foods without overpowering them. This large surface area also makes it ideal for dry brines and rubs since it works better at drawing moisture out of meats. Kosher salt also doesn’t have iodine, which tastes gross.
Oil & Vinegar
If you do any cooking, chances are you already have a jug of vegetable oil ready to go, but if salad is ever on the menu, it’s good to have a nicer option. Grab some extra-virgin olive oil, and vinegar to go with it. Balsamic is never a bad choice, but you should also grab a light option to go with lighter foods. Red or white wine will work, and both are great in potato salad, as well.
Beans are never a bad idea. Pintos are great for Mexican dishes and they work well in chili and soups, too. White beans can make a good side dish but can also be pureed into a delicious spread. Canned tomatoes can be used for a wide variety of dishes, from homemade soups and stews to pasta sauce, marinades, and more. And don’t forget chicken broth! You’ll need it for your soups. Tuna’s also a great item to have. Who doesn’t love a tuna salad sandwich – or, better yet, a gooey tuna melt.
Chances are you already have some of this. Dried pasta seemingly never goes bad – although it probably loses some flavor (someone should really look into this!). Not only is it easy to prepare and delicious with tomato sauce, it can also be good in salads and certain soups.
Dried fruits like apricots and raisins not only make a great snack and low-cal dessert, they’re essential for Middle Eastern and Mediterranean dishes. Whip up something new and delicious using these everlasting sweet treats and show visitors why you’re the last-minute dinner party master!
Rice & Grains
Fill up glass jars or other stackable storage containers with a variety of long-lasting grains. Think couscous, polenta, long-grain rice, and barley. Using your chicken or vegetable stock, you can whip up a delicious base for the many dishes you’ll make with your other pantry staples.
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