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How well stocked do you keep your pantry?

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I just got a call from my sister telling me I need to bring a little side dish for a small family gathering tomorrow. So I go & check out the fridge, pantry & freezer and discover that they're all pretty bare. A quick trip to the store is a small nuisance, but certainly not un-doable. But it got me to thinking:

What would you be able to whip up (for, say, 8 people) out of just what you have on hand in your pantry?

Ideas for




snacks/hors d'oeuvre

I'm just wondering


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My pantry is ridiculous. I have so much stuff I'm beginning to think I have some kind of hoarding disorder.

Counting the actual pantry shelves, fridge, freezer and cabinets, right now I could make white bean soup, chili with kidney beans (my Texas Daddy would kill me), boneless pork loin or chops, chicken breasts, anything with bacon (I've got a TON of bacon in the freezer), Nueske's 10" hot dogs, lentil soup, meatloaf, any kind of pasta - tomato, olive oil based, cheesy, etc., pot roast, egg noodles, smoked sausage, smoked salmon, omelets/frittatas, homemade croutons, cornbread. I have frozen corn, peas and spinach. I have cans of tomatoes and lots of jarred tomato sauces. I have homemade tomato sauces in the freezer. i have a lot of canned tuna just sitting there staring at me. I could make biscuits, pancakes, pizza dough, foccaccia, scones, baguettes. I have fresh zucchini and red peppers, lots of onions and garlic. Tons of cheese.

I really have to get going on using this stuff up. :blink:

Edited by Basilgirl (log)

I love cooking with wine. Sometimes I even put it in the food.

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I could make spaghetti carbonara...I could make risotto. I could do a tossed salad; I could also make one of my favorite pasta salads, with tomato, corn, basil and red wine vinegar. I could make some refrigerator pickles!

Most of the time, I could also do any number of chicken dishes or cook up a steak, but I perilously low on meat right now - I think the only things even vaguely meat-like in the freezer are chicken stock and some chicken carcasses that I'll be using to make chicken stock when I run out.

"We had dry martinis; great wing-shaped glasses of perfumed fire, tangy as the early morning air." - Elaine Dundy, The Dud Avocado

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I could make spaghetti carbonara...I could make risotto.  I could do a tossed salad; I could also make one of my favorite pasta salads, with tomato, corn, basil and red wine vinegar.  I could make some refrigerator pickles!

Most of the time, I could also do any number of chicken dishes or cook up a steak, but I perilously low on meat right now - I think the only things even vaguely meat-like in the freezer are chicken stock and some chicken carcasses that I'll be using to make chicken stock when I run out.

We have a large pantry, another with shelves, 2 swing out doors and shelves in the outer doors, 2 upright freezers, 3 refgerators in the house and 1 in the garage. I couldn't begin to tell you what we could cook. Example--we bought baby backs on sale for 6-8 months. I smoked 8 lbs on the 4th and am doing 9 lbs for my staff pool party. I will still have 8 lbs. I'm doing a brisket for labor day. I'm ashamed.

Cooking is chemistry, baking is alchemy.

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My pantry is ridiculous. I have so much stuff I'm beginning to think I have some kind of hoarding disorder.


I really have to get going on using this stuff up.  :blink:

My hoarding disorder is hardly in doubt. :huh: I have a real weakness for Asian ingredients in particular. Oh, and spices. Lots and lots of spices.

Just this past week I've been trying to explore the various seaweeds lurking in my pantry. Make some dashi (konbu and bonito flakes), soak some wakame, mix in some miso, cube up some tofu. The miso and tofu were in the fridge, everything else from the pantry. I'd forgotten what a great vegetable wakame is, even re-hydrated from dry. (Actually, don't they use it that way in Japan?)

I've also got various cured meats in the fridge. I could whip up a cassoulet from stuff I've got in my kitchen - tarbais beans, duck confit, duck stock, duck fat, home-made garlicky sausage. I even have the rind from some pork belly to line the cassoulet. I could also do carbonara. Pasta, eggs, parmigiano, guanciale...

Lately I'm trying to restrain myself from buying stuff at the store when I know that I've got a ton of stuff to use up at home. Wish me luck.

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We just got a new fridge we have ...hot sauces, pickles, vodka and ice cream right now


must shop

The great thing about barbeque is that when you get hungry 3 hours later....you can lick your fingers


Avoid cutting yourself while slicing vegetables by getting someone else to hold them while you chop away.

"It is the government's fault, they've eaten everything."

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I should tell you that I did feel some frustration when I found how little I actually had. I actually had the opposite problem at the beginning of the year, and it was a resolution to not keep buying stuff unless we needed it.

I've apparently done too good a job at this. :laugh::wacko:

So let's add to the initial question -- what items do you always have on hand?

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I should tell you that I did feel some frustration when I found how little I actually had.  I actually had the opposite problem at the beginning of the year, and it was a resolution to not keep buying stuff unless we needed it.

I've apparently done too good a job at this.  :laugh:  :wacko:

So let's add to the initial question -- what items do you always have on hand?

Items to make bread, biscuits, crackers, cakes, pie crusts- flour(s), yeast, sugar, salt, oil(s), eggs, milk/cream, baking powder/soda, vanilla extract. Potatoes, garlic, onions, pasta, rice(s), black/red/white beans, lentils. Vinegars, dried herbs (esp. thyme, oregano and rosemary), spices (esp. ground chilis of some kind, cumin, cinnamon, nutmeg, peppercorns). A few frozen vegetables (corn and peas), frozen meat (pork, chicken and turkey), frozen stock (usually chicken and smoked pork and usually only during the colder months). Mustards, ketchup and mayo. I'm sure that I'm forgetting quite a few things but these are the most vital items in my pantry. :smile:

Shelley: Would you like some pie?


Twin Peaks

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Inspired by that use what you have thread, I'm now down from overflowing to full. It's either a hoarding disease (perhaps based on some genetic memory of pogroms?) or some bizarre desire to be able to walk into the kitchen and make anything I crave. There are a variety of noodles (asian and italian), rice (basmati, arborio, jasmine), couscous, kasha, flours, sugars (cane, turbano and vergoise), a world of condiments and spices that fill a fridge door, a pie-chest shelf and 4 small cupboard shelves. A canned tomato collection, beans and assorted oils and vinegars. The freezer is full of the usual suspects.

How about italian tuna pate and prosciutto-wrapped bread sticks drizzled with honey; penne caprese and farfalle with nut pesto; and balsamic-glazed chicken breasts with garlicky green beans? Maybe a tea-bar for dessert, because apparently there are about a dozen varieties and I drink mostly coffee during the day. Disease, did you say?

Edited by hsm (log)
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I am afflicted with this disease as well, however I'm glad I have such good company. Last year, in the aftermath of Hurricane Rita, a friend was talking to my boss who offered for us to pick up food at work (food was provided for any employee who needed it). She told my boss, "I don't think food is an issue". She knew what my pantry looked like. We ate very well, with a wide variety of dishes -and fed several neighbors as well as ourselves. I might add that we didn't have electricty for 16 days. :shock:

Right now, I'd serve:

apps - new potato slices topped with sour cream and caramelized onion and ham bits, stuffed celery.

main - roast turkey (I think there are 2 in the freezer - I really need to cook those)

sides - cornbread dressing, gravy, green beans

dessert - sweet potato pie

Come back tomorrow and I'll make some jambalaya, or fried chicken, some tuna salad sandwiches, chili over baked potatoes..... :wacko:

Stop Family Violence

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I have the hoarding bug too. I just hate it when I'm in the mood to cook something and don't have the ingredients to hand. Hence my obsession with filling my fridge, freezer and pantry to the brim. All I can say in my defence is, that at least I know exactly what I have, so I don't end up buying two or three packets of the same thing because I can't find the older packet. As a result of a recent spring-clean of my kitchen, I have two boxes of things(quinoa, glucose syrup, zaatar....) I need to use up soon. I have a lot more storage space in my kitchen than most people I know and yet I end up storing stuff in the spare room - I have six boxes there full of tins, noodles, pasta, nuts etc. that I picked up when there were special offers.

It's such a coincidence that two weeks ago I vowed to shop as little as possible until I've downsized my stash considerably. I suppose I could easily cook for a month that way.

Listing a small fraction of what I have:

- 18 types of lentils, beans, peas and split peas

- 6 types of rice

- 8 kinds of flour

- noodles & pastas

- tins and tins of tomatoes, corn, baby corn, lychees, mango, coconut milk, soups, fish

- salmon(2 whole), prawns, lamb, chicken, lamb and pork mince

- baking supplies (I recently got a suitcase-full of these from the US to add to my already large stash)

- spices, nuts and dried fruit

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I live in a fairly isolated area of Western Australia on a farm. The nearest town is VERY small (less than 200 people) and is 50 km away. Through necessity I therefore have a fairly well stocked pantry and fridge/freezer. I have in excess of 10kg bread flour, rice, spaghetti and other pastas, nuts, split peas, rolled oats, coconut, flours, several varieties of asian noodles, potatoes, onions, enough powdered milk to make about 35 litres of milk, a variety of condiments, sauces, herbs and spices, tinned goods, frozen vegetables, a large leg of lamb for roasting, frozen pork, chicken, steaks, beef, pork and sausage mince, fish, apricots (for making jam), filling for cornish pasties, homemade lasagne, puff pastry, shortcrust pastry, fillo pastry, spring roll wrappers, 12 litres frozen milk, choc chip cookies waiting to be cooked (homemade but frozen), 3 dozen eggs, soup ingredients,vegetables in the crisper and plenty of things to make Japanese dishes.

I like being able to cook whatever takes my fancy as I flick through cookbooks or browze eGullet.

I could happily go without a trip to town for several weeks but I would miss the fresh veges as my garden is still in its infancy.

Edited by Cadbury (log)
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...Shall we call it "overstocking"? Oh, who cares, I gottit - the hoarding disease. I think it's from my years of single-parenthood, when bare shelves meant things in the house were tough indeed. I had been training myself to refrain from buying too freely and to use up what there is in the house, but the present situation here calls for putting a goodly stock of bottled water and food aside.


Miriam Kresh


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Being a frequent Costco shopper causes me to overfill my pantry. Most of my canned good have migrated into the garage, much to the chagrin of my Husband. I have to make a concerted effort a few times a year to cook from the back of the pantry forward. Lots of pastas, noodles, rices, and assorted Asian condiments are behind those doors right now. At least 10 cans of chicken stock must be present at all times. Several bottles of Herdez salsa, another thing I cannot stand not having on hand. I also have a lot of different salts and spices. Yikes, time to start culling the weak ones in the herd.

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Like most New Yorkers, I don't have a pantry. We have space issues, and many of us have shops within easy walking distance of our homes, so picking up stuff on the fly isn't difficult.

That said, aside from the usual fruit/cereal/milk/salad/coffee stuff in my refrigerator & cupboards, I see that I could offer anyone a glass of red wine or a gin martini. I could make them pasta with marinara sauce or with garlic & olive oil. I could bake just about anything except for bread (no yeast). In fact, I could throw a fabulous tea party - I have a huge selection of teas, and I could make scones with jam and butter.

Freezer is empty due to an electrical outage a week ago. Did have chicken stock and bolognese sauce in there.

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I also suffer from the "overstocking" syndrome, in fact, I have an acute condition.

It has come in handy this past week with temps well over 100 - Lancaster broke several record highs, including one dating back to 1925 - 112 degrees F and unlike the usual weather, we had thunderstorms, monsoonal cloud cover which kept the nights warm also and we had record high "lows".

Needless to say, I didn't feel much like shopping or cooking so found things to prepare in the pantry, freezer and fridge.

I made a chicken salad with canned chicken (Kirkland, from Costco, which is excellent). I had bread in the freezer I had baked till done (internal temp 195) but not completely browned. Set out at room temp for an hour, then a quick bath under the cold water faucet and directly onto the rack in a 425 degree oven (electric convection so as not to heat the kitchen) for 15 minutes and it was as good as fresh.

A salad of leaf lettuce and cherry tomatoes from the volunteer vine was enough to finish it.

One evening I made an omelet with cottage cheese and green chilies and some crumbled bacon I had cooked and frozen a few weeks ago. Half an avocado and a couple of cherry tomatoes on the side.

This evening I had some pork from a roast a neighbor cooked in my barbecue/smoker earlier today. Their power has been off for 3 days and they don't have a generator. I had room in my big freezer for some of their stuff but not all, so they have been cooking as much as they can and giving a lot of it away to other neighbors. They are also using two of my portable Igloo coolers that run off auto batteries, mostly for milk for their kids and for keeping water cold.

I didn't have power for a couple of days but have a big diesel generator that is water cooled so can run continuously for several days, unlike the smaller ones. I have 2 electric panels with an automatic switch that throws over when the regular power goes down and starts the generator. When the power comes back on I have to shut down the generator manually before switching back to regular power.

I haven't been running my AC because I also have two evaporative coolers on the roof and when the humidity is low, they cool the house quite well. They both run off solar panels. One thing about living in the desert is there is a lot of sun so solar panels really work beautifully. My well pump is also running off of solar panels now. My electric bill from last month was $78.54. It used to be 300.00 + in the summers.

In any event, I am sure that I have enough here that I could easily feed myself and at least 3 or 4 others for a minimum of 3 months, probably longer if folks don't mind repetition.

I learned my lesson after the '94 earthquake. Be prepared to be without power, gas and water for several days, if not weeks. Living so close to the San Andreas fault tends to make one cautious.

Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett


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"Hello...my name is er, um.....Lan4Dawg and I am a hoarder."

Response fr/ board, "Hello Lan4Dawg!"

Since there are only two of us but I am cheap so buy things in bulk we tend to have lots of every thing. Two refrigerators (three if you count the mini reserved for beer/wine), a massive chest freezer, a laundry room that doubles as a pantry and shelves in the garage filled to over-flowing. (Athens forbid there should ever be an extended power outage. I would have to invite every one I know and every one they know to eat the stuff fr/ the freezer before it went bad.) I can not resist any thing that we might could possibly ever use if it is at a good price.

We shop at Costco (naturally). Having been in the restaurant business for ever I can and do cut my own meat so buy whole beef/pork/&c and carve it at home, portion as necessary and then throw it in the freezer. I also do the same w/ grits, polenta, rice, &c. A while back I discovered that markets mark down meats, &c left over fr/ the week ends on Tuesdays and you can get some great buys. Tuesday Morning and Big Lots some times have some great deals on specialty foods---vinegars, oils, coffees, teas, &c and I will stock up if I see some thing we can use at a good price there.

We are still trying to recover fr/ a major "mess up" a couple of months ago. I had my Costco list in the truck and stopped while Fuss was at work and bought every thing on the list. By the time she got home fr/ work I had put every thing away and did not even think of mentioning to her that I had been to Costco (big mistake!) nor did I think to take the list out of the truck and throw it away (worse mistake!). The next day I was at work and she had some errands to run. I got home and she was so proud of her self as she had seen my Costco list in the truck and stopped there in the midst of her errands so "you will not have to go later!" It is going to take us a while to go through 4 x 2 liter bottles of cranberry juice, 2 x 10 lb bags of rice, 2 x 40 lb pails of cat litter, 24 cans of tuna, 2 x 4 lb bags of fresh spinach, &c. Luckily most of it is not perishable but we had a lot of spinach salads and potatoes every which way you can imagine.

in loving memory of Mr. Squirt (1998-2004)--

the best cat ever.

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We are still trying to recover fr/ a major "mess up" a couple of months ago....

I LOVE this one! :shock:

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

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"Hello...my name is er, um.....Lan4Dawg and I am a hoarder."

Response fr/ board, "Hello Lan4Dawg!"

I rise to introduce myself, ditto.

But everybody knows---I've been to so many Meetin's that it's old news. And you gotta love a writer who says "might could."

Except for a few quite unusual ingredients from the Asian food aisle, and adding in a plethora from my own shelves, I could claim just about any item listed above, in each and every post.

Pantry is laundry room. It used to be for food, but the heat of the dryer seemed to reach way back into the shelved alcove and make dry foods lose some of their freshness sooner. It now houses cleaning products, cloths, brushes, spare clickers for the stoves and grill, and any and all unedibles needed for maintaining kitchen and home.

THE ROOM is downstairs, just off the den & dining room (near second, but most-used kitchen); it has a COOL of its own, Winter and Summer. The Room holds a big clothing rack, built by Chris as a Mothers' Day gift years ago, the spare dining chairs, and FOOD. Dry food in a big screen-front piesafe thing, crinkly bags of every shape of pasta known to man. 20 lb. bags of Calrose rice, smaller burlaps of basmati and jasmine, both decanted into heavy-duty extra-seal Tupperware tubs. Mixes and envelopes and boxes and cartons; coffee-on-sale, coffee-with-a-coupon, coffee-cause-it-sounded-tasty.

A huge bookcase houses cans, mostly bought at case-lot sales, three or four cases of each at a time, and stacked in their own little sections like books of a color. Jars of on-sale pasta sauces, with fanciful names like "Sicily Sunrise" and "Five-Herb;" cans and jars of chutneys and pepper jellies and every jam, jelly, marmalade, conserve and preserves in all the hemispheres. Bottles of juices and Mary mixes and all the host-gift wine we receive, along with quite a sizeable bar selection, accumulated over our many years together.

Baskets of potatoes and onions and any other vegetable which will keep well outside the refrigerators--an upstairs one (new) and downstairs one.

I cannot name all the things present in that room, as some of the dry/canned/bottled stuff is still in the opaque white bags (yes, I know---paper is better, but our best store has handle-less paper bags, and bringing in the groceries requires a trip UP the steps, then another DOWN the stairs, and I can manage only ONE paper bag at a time, vs. three or four plastic---excuse over). I Do remember to take shopping bags often.

And I could cook almost anything you could think of right now. One fridge holds a whole roast chicken, which I'm gonna bone and make into chicken salad with apples, grapes and pecans, for stuffing some of these glorious still-on-the-vine tomatoes for supper.

There's a tea-cabinet, with probably twenty boxes and cans, and all the accoutrements of brewing and sipping. Nearby is a pretty four-foot wrought stand, three shelves' worth, holding twenty or so MORE cans, pots, cups and saucers, as well as a life-size stained-glass teapot lamp. I just love the IDEA of tea, as well as the drinking.

The whole point, I suppose, is that this is a tangible assurance that all CAN be right with the world, if assurance is needed. One freezer is getting a much-needed airing-out after its cleaning this week. It will go out into the sun for a few hot sunny days, then be stuffed with fluffed-out newspapers until DS and DDIL move into their new home in the Fall. I really don't NEED two, with the tops of fridges as well.

But this is sort of on the level of You-shoulda-seen-how-it-useta-be: When we lived on the farm, it was not unusual to have four or five hundred quarts of home-canned goodies shining from shelves, filling closets, the attic stairway, lurking case after case beneath beds. We grew it, we made use of it.

Our small garden now has 24 tomato plants, all mostly still in the walk-out-and-pick-some-for-supper stage, with the beans bearing once a week, cucumbers lengthening from sunrise to sunset into a nice salad-size. Not much preserving and canning this year, but the pantry, the ROOM, the freezer and shelves and cupboards swell with bounty.

I guess all that's missing is the duck confit.

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This is embarrassing. I don't think I could cobble anything together, based on what's in my house.

I have to buy everything fresh from scratch everyday, otherwise the ants get it. And they don't seem to spray fruit or veg with preservatives here, so if I buy a banana or a custard apple today, I have to eat it today. There's no sitting around in the tropics.

My fridge consists of 3 Halida beer, a mostly empty bottle of sun-dried tomatoes, some eggs so old I've been meaning to throw them out, and a shriveled eggplant (see previous). My fridge freezer holds my rice and a small bag of muesli, and a ziploc baggie of individually frozen cubes of tomato paste. Next to my stove, I have a bottle of olive oil, corn oil, and sesame oil.

I also have a bottle of scotch (Glenfiddich, 12 year) and a bottle of Jim Beam. Maybe I could bring drinks?

The upside of this paucity is that as long as I'm willing to shop between the hours of 6am to 6pm, I can get anything I want off the street where I live. I usually disturb three fruit ladies taking a break on my stoop when I open the gate on my way to work everyday. So I can pick up my daily pineapple that way. There's a dry-good store across the street from me, where I always get my water. They have an assortment of any noodle I could imagine (including baskets of pre-soaked rice noodles wrapped in banana leaves), peanuts, beer, Vietnamese vodka, yogurt, UHT milk, Chocopies...all the necessities of life. And when I get to work, there's a man who usually butchers a pig daily at 2pm on the street outside my office, so if I want pork, I know it's fresh. There's a lady next to him who sells herbs and veg, so whatever I need is at my fingertips. It's a living pantry out there.

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Oh my Lord!

I think I could run a restaurant for a month with all the food I have in stock!

I do buy my fruit and vegetables fresh, although having said that, we're mostly using home-grown at this time of the year.

Although we have a lot of 'stuff', I'm always aware of what needs eating when and we have very little wastage. I have every type of rice, pasta, bean, flour, nut, dried fruit so I can fix whatever, whenever without having to rush to the shops! My cooking is often fairly spontaneous so I like to be ready for any gastronomic urges, so to speak!

I love to make chutney and preserves - we are lucky enough to have an ancient Medlar tree in our garden, so I make Medlar Jelly every year. It seems we can't eat the preserves quickly enough though and I always have a lot of jars in stock.

I don't know what causes the 'disease', but if we ever become houseband for any length of time - well we won't starve, that's for sure!

And hey - you're all welcome any time you like if you ever get real hungry with nowhere to go - I can always fix you up with something to eat!


Eating something well conceived and well made is one of life's very great pleasures.

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