Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Tip 6: Grocery lists and pantry items

First of all, a follow up on yesterday: the French onion soup was a major success! I am so pleased because we tried a different recipe about a year ago and it totally flopped. So, if you have about an hour to make a soup, this is the way to go. It's not an hour of actual labor. The most difficult task is caramelizing the onions, and that just requires some occasional stirring. Thankfully, the recipe calls for few ingredients, some of which I already had on hand because I've learned to follow...

Tip 6: Keep a pantry stocked with staples from several food genres.

We make a decent amount of Asian food, a decent amount of pasta and homemade pizza, and we sometimes make a dessert. So, I've learned to keep the following items on hand so that when I actually make the grocery list, it usually just involves fruits, vegetables, dairy and proteins.

Basic supplies:
  • oils: olive, canola
  • vinegars: balsamic, white wine, red wine, apple cider, white
  • flour
  • sugars: regular, brown, confectioner's
  • salt: table, kosher
  • peppercorns
  • spices: allspice, ancho chile, basil, bay leaves, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, ground coriander seed, crushed red pepper, cumin, curry powder, dill, garlic powder, garlic salt, ground ginger, nutmeg. oregano, rosemary, sage, thyme, turmeric
  • vanilla
  • yeast
  • honey
  • Texas Pete (a staple in our house, at least)

Baking items:
  • light corn syrup
  • cocoa powder
  • espresso powder
  • baking powder
  • corn starch
  • semisweet chocolate chips

Asian-inspired items:
  • soy sauce
  • rice vinegar
  • Sriracha hot chili sauce
  • fish sauce
  • sesame oil
  • Asian noodles

Other dry or canned goods:
  • a couple types of pasta
  • crushed tomatoes
  • rice: brown and jasmine
  • beans: black, pinto, kidney

In our freezer you'll often find:
  • ginger (this is how you make your ginger last for a long time)
  • bread (for turning into bread crumbs)
  • shrimp
  • chicken
  • fruit (for smoothies)

And we try to always have these items in our fridge:
  • milk
  • eggs
  • unsalted butter
  • lemons/limes
  • dijon mustard
  • pizza sauce
  • cream cheese
  • maple syrup
  • red onion
  • bell peppers (they last so long!)
 By knowing what we have in our freezer, fridge and pantry, we minimize our grocery list.

Speaking of grocery lists....my shopping experiences have been revolutionized since purchasing a Droid phone. I downloaded the free application called OurGroceries (also available for iPhone and iTouch) and now I can make a list and buy all the items on the list in record time. Here are the great things about this program:
  1. You cross off items as you go, and they get sent to the bottom of your screen. There's maybe nothing more satisfying than electronically crossing something off.
  2. You can change the quantities of each items you need. So, type apples, and then increased the number needed to six, and a little 6 appears next to apples.
  3. You can share it with another phone. So, Matt and I walk around the grocery store and we can both look at the same list AND check off items simultaneously. I was about to get some apples, but looks like Matt just got them. How do you like them apples?
  4. It saves your data, so next week when you need to type up a new list and you type A, it brings up all the items you've bought that start with A (and yes, I am type A).
  5. You can have multiple lists going at once. So, I'll make my standard Wegmans grocery list, and I'll have a separate one running for Costco or Target or Bed Bath and Beyond....whatever! I even made a "Wish List" of more expensive items I'd like to eventually purchase, and of course Matt has access to that one...hint, hint.

Now I'm inspired to make next week technology week!

But for now....food week!

Next up....organizing your recipes.


  1. um, what time is dinner again?!

  2. Craig and I just installed OurGroceries - seems like a pretty good solution until Google offers sharing/synching of Task lists.