(NC) With cooler evenings and falling leaves around the corner, we can look forward to seasonal comforts like getting cozy by the fire and cooking warm and hearty meals. And after months spent outdoors, now’s the perfect time to revisit and organize the kitchen, starting with your pantry.
“A well-stocked pantry is my best friend,” says Andrea Buckett, food expert and content creator on andreabuckett.com. “I review recipes, make lists and stock up on essentials regularly; it really helps with easy weekday meals and is also budget-friendly.”
Don’t know where to start? These simple tips will help you save money and stress in the kitchen.
- Organize what you have. Start by listing what you have, identifying what you use and what you don’t, grouping items together in different categories. Then, purge what you don’t use and donate it to your local food bank.
- Review recipes and make your list. Flip through cookbooks and write down pantry staples from your favourite recipes. Beans, pasta, oils, spices, canned vegetables and legumes are all key ingredients to make easy weekday meals. Want to try something new but always missing that certain spice? Add it to your grocery list. Shop your list and avoid impulse purchases so you stay organized and on budget.
- Stock up on value. Pantry items have a long shelf life, so when a key staple that you use goes on sale, it’s a good idea to stock up. Olive oil, spices and pasta sauces are good items to purchase on sale. It’s also a time to turn to a brand like No Name, offering quality products at a great value. Baking experts love the brand’s cocoa powder – it’s one of many baking ingredients you’ll find always stocked in their pantry.
- Freeze frame. Frozen fruits and vegetables are a must in your freezer pantry. Add colour and nutrition to meals in a flash. Think frozen fruit for morning smoothies, yogurt bowls or fruit-filled muffins. Frozen vegetables can also be easily added to sheet pan dinners, stir-fries, soups, pot pies or pasta dishes. Or whip up a quick veggie side dish – just heat, add butter and season with dried spices or herbs.