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Monday, August 30, 2010

Groceries 101

In the beginning:

I love the first day of classes; I'm just one of those people. I love new notebooks, purged binders, fresh AA's, organized drawers, digging my backpack out of the closet and, most importantly, the bright white interior of a new fridge.

So, instead of a recipe today's post is going to feature the top 10 Pantry and Fridge items you'll need to start your college kitchen off on the right foot. This list is assuming you either haven't been in your kitchen since last May or you're moving into your first kitchen. If you've already got some of these things on hand consider yourself well on your way to inexpensive, delicious meals in NO time!

Click on the links at the bottom to access recipes that use these ingredients (plus one or two extras):

  1. Milk - I like skim but I usually keep a quart or so of whole milk on hand for sauces or baking
  2. Butter - unsalted is great if you intend on using it for baking
  3. Protein - think chicken, ground turkey, beef (etc) buy what's on sale and freeze all but 1 or 2 portions for this week; just make sure you use it within the first few days if unfrozen
  4. Mustard - I like spicy or whole grain but Dijon is also great; use it in dressing, cold salads (egg or tuna), marinades or just on a sandwich
  5. Eggs - check the Egg Safety Center to find out if your huevos are safe! Otherwise, I like to keep a dozen on hand for baking, a think-fast protein and, of course, breakfast/brunch
  6. Mayo - Use it for dressings, fried chicken, sandwiches or even chocolate cake! Keep it in the fridge and never cross contaminate
  7. Bread - I know in the fridge? Sometimes, the fridge is better if you are living in an especially warm and humid environment (ie w/o AC)
  8. Cheese - whatever you can afford; I suggest something sliced like American, cheddar or Swiss for sandwiches, scrambled eggs, sauces and something to grate like a nice wedge of good Parmesan
  9. Lemon - I like to keep at least 2 on hand, one for just for zesting
  10. Yogurt - I can't live without yogurt and buying plain Greek yogurt means doubles for a savory topping on potatoes or in place of/in conjunction with mayonnaise or drizzled with a little honey with granola or fresh fruit
  1. Olive oil - extra virgin oils are less intense in flavor; great for finishing dishes and salads
  2. Pasta - shells, linguine, penne are great choices
  3. Garlic - keep heads of garlic in a cool, dry place at room temperature; they will keep for weeks
  4. Peanut Butter - don't get me started
  5. Canned tomatoes - I like to keep at least one can each of diced and stewed tomatoes on hand for times when the produce section is falling short of perfection
  6. Baking soda - great for baking as well as cleaning see Tips & Tools:
  7. Flour - all-purpose unbleached flour is the best; with some alterations you can make self-rising and cake flour using all purpose and other agents like baking soda
  8. Sugar - if you don't want to fit the bill for both I would suggest plain, granulated sugar
  9. Canned beans - think black beans and chickpeas for the most versatility; red beans or white for chili and spreads
  10. Vanilla extract - imitation is cheaper but pure is better
Make recipes using this shopping list:
Get cooking!

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