Friday, December 17, 2010

The essentials for a well-stocked kitchen

At this point in the holiday season you have, or should have, plenty of practice shopping for gifts. It's about time to get started if you've been procrastinating!

Many people like to cook more during the holidays, but before you start, make sure you have a well-stocked kitchen & pantry. While using FoodPair to help maximize the ingredients you have on hand, there are certain things you should try to keep stocked to avoid having to run to the store every time you fire up the stove.

1. Fruits & Vegetables

The staples: the best of the best in this category are garlic and onions. They appear in nearly every recipe, add a ton of flavor and are easy to store.

In addition, it's always helpful to have lemons or lemon juice on hand. Lemons brighten the flavor of soups, meats, seafood and salads, so squeeze away! We also like to have tomatoes for adding to sandwiches and salads. Plus, spinach (fresh or frozen) is good for salads and side dishes.

2. Dried and Canned Goods

In this category are all the things that seem to last forever: dried pasta, rice and canned soups and vegetables. Stock your favorites as a filling base for any meal. Soups are great on their own, but can also be used as bases for stews and casseroles.

3. Dairy

Dairy products are incredibly versatile and appear in a lot of dishes. In this category, it's always helpful to have butter and milk or cream on hand. Butter keeps for a long time, is a base to many recipes and is tasty on toast. Milk is also versatile and great for a quick bowl of cereal or oatmeal.

4. Dried Spices and Oils

For dried items and spices, salt & pepper are a must. After that, garlic powder, dried basil, oregano and cilantro always come in handy.

For making salad dressings and cooking, we like to stock olive oil plus a lighter vegetable oil (like canola) and balsamic vinegar.

So, there you have it. Next time you're in the supermarket bring our list to make sure your kitchen & pantry have all the essentials you need for your next meal. Feel free to fire up the FoodPair search engine for delicious recipes anytime you're feeling hungry!

Any other favorite ingredients or dishes you'd like us to highlight? Post them in the comments section or on our Facebook page! And while you're at it, "Like" us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to get helpful updates in your news feed.