Having a well stocked pantry helps make meal planning and cooking MUCH easier! One of the most frustrating parts of cooking is not having all of the ingredients you need at your fingertips. Having a well stocked pantry and food storage makes all of this EASY and fun!

I get several questions a week from people wondering how I organize my pantry. Lets just say it is not as organized as my food storage, but it works 🙂

Here are a few commonly asked questions:

#1–Where do I store the 25lb. bags of wheat, flour, sugar, etc. that I bring up to my pantry from my food storage room?

*I bring the bulk bags upstairs and keep them in the bottom of my pantry in a 5 gallon bucket, or on the bottom shelf. I fill the canisters I have on my counter of sugar, flour, oats, and salt for easy access, and then keep the rest of these items in the bucket in my pantry. Unless your home has a problem with rodents/bugs, this should be fine.

#2–What items do you keep stocked in your pantry?

*Basically I have one or two of everything I keep in my food storage room. The list would be quite lengthy if I were to list everything in my pantry, but here are a few of the basics that I can not do with out:
*Basic grains; wheat, flour, oats, pasta, rice, flax seed (I like to put it in a lot of breads & pancakes), cereal.
*Oils; olive oil, vegetable/canola oil, shortening, and peanut butter.
*Legumes; dried beans, canned beans (kidney, black, great northern, refried beans, etc.)
*Vegetables & Fruit; corn, green beans, mandarin oranges, pineapple, pears, peaches, etc.
*Cooking Basics; white vinegar, apple cider vinegar, rice vinegar ( I use vinegars in TONS of recipes and buy them in the large gallon size), soy sauce (couldn’t live without that!), sesame seed oil (I LOVE Thai food!), balsamic vinegar, worcestershire sauce, maple syrup, jam, coconut milk, taco shells, etc.
*Baking goods; coconut, chocolate chips, raisins, craisins, chocolate & almond bark,
*Misc.; croutons, tortilla chips (great to have on hand for soups, dips, salads, hot cocoa, etc. **TIP: If you have leftover USED #10 cans from the Cannery, use them to help organize your pantry. You can also buy them at the cannery for around .15 each**
*Keep a well stocked spice rack/cabinet so you have all of your favorite spices on hand for a variety of meals. Some basic spices to have on hand are: chili powder, taco seasoning, cumin, Montreal Steak Seasoning (my personal favorite!!), garlic powder/salt, parsley, oregano, basil, Italian Seasoning, cajun seasoning, dry mustard, sage, ginger powder, dill weed, rosemary, poppyseeds, vanilla, baking powder & soda, cocoa, cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes, etc. I try to keep a year supply of these spices on hand at all times. Many of them you can buy at Costco in bulk for great prices. **TIP: If you have extra mason jars lying around, use them to store spices, dried goods, or baking goods. They are easy to see what’s inside, and help your pantry stay clean**
*My wheat grinder for EASY access..making it so I can pull it out, grind wheat into flour, and have homemade bread in about an hour!

Think of your food storage as an extension of your pantry. When you keep a well stocked food storage, you will have nearly everything you need for meal planning at your finger tips. Cooking is FUN when you have all of the ingredients on hand. Keeping pantry basics on hand will make your life more simple and cooking a breeze!