20 items keep stocked for easy cooking + baking

DiPalo's Fine Foods in Little Italy is one of my go-to spots for this must-have staple:Parmesan
One thing that used to stop me from cooking is not having the right items stocked. I’d hem and haw that I didn’t have a crucial ingredient and then give up. (Or yes, sometimes my sweet husband would run out for me; he LOVES going to the supermarket.)

I’ve found that if I have the following ingredients I can make a dish or dessert on the fly no matter what fresh fruit and vegetables I have sitting around. So my suggestion to you is: stock up your pantry and refrigerator. It makes cooking dinner (and even an easy dessert) a simple task.

Here’s my go-to list:

Extra virgin olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
Tamari sauce
Chicken stock (I make it fresh and keep it frozen)
Fish stock (ditto)
Wine, both red + white
Sea Salt
Fresh pepper
Parmesan cheese
Mustard (great to add to homemade salad dressings and sauces)
Champagne vinegar
Sesame oil
Spices, so many, from Herbs de Provence to saffron to Chinese 5-spice
Quinoa + rice
Butter (European)
Flour, whole wheat, unbleached all-purpose and cake flour
Milk + cream
Chocolate, especially Sharffen Berger
Vanilla, particularly Nielson-Massey

With this list the amount of dishes and sweets you can make are endless, depending on what fresh items you have around the house. So I’d love to know: what are some of your favorite items that you like to keep stocked? Let me know in the comments below.

  1. Love seeing your list of essential kitchen goodies! It’s so interesting to see what things define our palates and add to our unique culinary point of view ūüôā

  2. Tracey, you’ve come up with¬†an excellent “top 20” list!¬† I¬†like that you pointed out¬†how keeping great, basic ingredients¬†on hand¬†makes all the difference — time-wise and inspiration-wise — great advice for¬†novice cooks, as well as seasoned veterans in the kitchen.¬†¬†My¬†pantry “musts” … pasta and olives. ūüôā

  3. Hi Tracey!

    Love this!¬† It takes the excuses out of not preparing some wonderful dishes at home.¬† When you have your essentials, you don’t need to head out for take out!


  4. I always have the same complaint. ¬†I never have those go to ingredients when I need them. ¬†Thanks for putting my grocery list together for me! ¬†Let’s see, what shall I make tonight for dinner?