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A Pantry Staples Checklist

| Date Posted: 3/4/2015


After a full day of work and kids activities, the dreaded question at 6 p.m. is “what’s for dinner?”  Don’t run to the closest restaurant, save time and money by cooking at home instead.  A well stocked pantry and a little technology can take the stress out of cooking.  

Refer to our list of pantry, fridge and freezer staples to help you next time you are in a weeknight time crunch.


Pantry Staples:

  • Healthy oils – olive oil and vegetable oil
  • Vinegars – red wine and balsamic
  • Spices – basil, thyme, oregano, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, cinnamon and nutmeg
  • Canned tuna in water
  • Canned beans – black beans, great northern beans/cannellini, kidney beans
  • Low sodium chicken broth
  • Canned tomatoes
  • Jarred marinara sauce
  • Brown rice
  • Whole wheat pasta
  • All-purpose flour
  • Sugar
  • Fresh potatoes – both white and sweet
  • Garlic and onions
  • Nuts/Seeds
  • Peanut Butter
  • Bread crumbs
  • Jarred salsa


Fridge Staples:

  • Skim milk
  • Eggs
  • Butter
  • Plain Greek yogurt
  • Lemons
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Dijon mustard
  • Carrots
  • Shredded cheese
  • Tortillas
  • Fresh Greens – spinach, mixed greens, arugula
  • Fresh salsa


Freezer Staples:

  • Frozen veggies – peas, spinach, broccoli, edamame
  • Frozen fruit – strawberries, blueberries, bananas
  • Whole wheat English muffins
  • Meats – ground turkey, chicken
  • Seafood – shrimp, fish


Any easy way to think up a quick dinner is to choose a protein – beans, chicken or ground turkey, choose a whole grain or starch – brown rice, whole wheat pasta or potatoes and then add some veggies.  With a simple sauce or spice combination you are in business. 

There are a lot of great websites and apps that take the ingredients you have on hand and create recipes for you. 

One of my favorites is

They have a great search bar called “What’s in your Pantry?” 

Simply type in your ingredients and presto – recipes galore. 

For example, when I type in cannellini beans, whole wheat pasta and spinach, I find a recipe that will appeal to even the pickiest members of my family.


For more great meal ideas, sign up for a Healthy Kitchen class sponsored by FirstHealth Community Health Services.

Melissa Watford is a health educator for FirstHealth Community Health Services. For more information on programs offered through Community Health Services, call (888) 534-5333 or click here.

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