Sunday, January 17, 2016

Frugal Femme Pantry

Hello Everyone!
One of my friends made a request to me concerning my first post.  He commented  about the fact that I mentioned that there were certain items that I assumed were already in your pantry.  He said it would be nice to know what a list of those pantry items might be. I had been planning to give a list of the "luxury" items that I keep in the pantry to make you feel like you are eating out when you are actually eating in, but, after talking to a couple more friends, I realized that both lists could be helpful.  So below, I give you both lists.
These are the things that I try to have on hand at all times.
Please be aware, for the luxury items, I do NOT purchase them all at one time and spread out the higher priced ones to my lower priced two week menus when I am doing my grocery shopping.  This allows me to have these items and not exceed my budget.

Basic Pantry Items: (Think of these as the building blocks for meals.)

Dry Pantry
Spices  (My go to spices are Tony's Creole Seasoning, herb de provence, basil, dill, garlic powder and onion powder.  As you will see in the pictures below, I have many, many more spices than that, but I could live for quite a while with just those I listed.)
Kosher Salt
Assorted Pepper in a pepper mill
White Rice
Wild Rice
Brown Rice
Various Pastas  (I will leave the type to your personal taste, but I always try to have tri-color pasta, angel hair pasta and macaroni.)
Bread Crumbs
Lipton Savory Herb Soup Mix
Lipton Onion Soup Mix
Zesty Italian Dressing Mix


Wet Pantry:
Cream of Chicken Soup
Cream of Celery Soup
(Most people would also keep Cream of Mushroom Soup, but I am allergic)
Vegetable Oil
Olive Oil  (The best I have found, for the best price is found at Trader Joe's)
Low Sodium Chicken broth or stock
Low Sodium Beef Broth
Tomato Paste
Tomato Sauce
                                         Balsamic Vinegar
                                         Red Wine Vinegar
                                         Rice Wine Vinegar

Cold Pantry
Dijon Mustard
Zesty Italian Dressing
Worcestershire Sauce
Soy Sauce
Parmesan Cheese
Butter (Real Butter)
Sour Cream

Notice I don't have any vegetables (other than onions) or meats on these lists as these will be added to our grocery list for the two week menu and are not "staples".  These are the items that rotate depending on your menus, while the above items are the ones that you try to have on hand at all times.

Below are the "Luxury" pantry items.  These are the items that may cost a little more, but if used correctly can make your food go from good to fantastic. 

Luxury Pantry
Black Truffle Oil - this can be very pricey.  I found one, Grand Aroma Truffle Delight, that only costs around $7.00.  Since this one bottle will last me for 6 months to a year, it is a price that I am willing to pay.
Red Wine -- I like Trader Joe's Two Buck Chuck, although now its $3.00
White Wine -- Again, Trader Joe's Two Buck Chuck
Sherry -  You don't need the expensive kind, I usually find my golden sherry for $3.00
Vermouth - Again, don't buy expensive.  This shouldn't be more than $6.00
Herb Garden -- Yes, I have an herb garden.  I love fresh herbs and I don't like paying for them.  I will have more posts later about planning your own herb garden when we are closer to the gardening season.
Fancy Jelly -  one jar - it can be sweet or savory, I prefer savory and go for New Orleans Jelly & Spice Company's JAZZ Garlic Pepper Jelly.  In another post, I will give you some easy recipes for inexpensively canning your own jellies.  (One or two jars at a time, otherwise, you have a pantry full of jelly and you start begging people to take it from you.)
Imported Tea - OR a nice herbal tea.  This may not be important to you, but I love having a nice cuppa to quote the British and I like to have at least one tea that is not Lipton.
Pesto Paste- These can be found in jars in the deli section.  I find the ones that are in the tubes, (like toothpaste), that are found in the spice aisles are cheaper, last longer and taste just as good.  (I like Amore Pesto Paste.)
Anchovy Paste - In the tube, lasts longer than anchovy tins.  I hate anchovies, but I love the paste.  Weird.  I know.
Boursin Cheese - I use this for so many different things that I ALWAYS try to have some on hand.  If you purchase them in single servings at the grocery store they can get pricey.  I found that Costco carries a pack of three for $2.00 more than my local grocery store charges for one.  Hazah!

I'm sure I've forgotten some, but this should at least be a starting point.


  1. I feel like there are 525,600 different types of olive oil for each brand (extra virgin, cold pressed, etc.). Do you use a specific type in your cooking?

  2. I do. I'm an olive oil snob-- I blame the fact that I went to Greece one year and had olive oil that was made on an olive oil farm in rural Greece. It was a beautiful light green color and tasted so good! It was there that I found out that Europe saves the good stuff for itself and sends us the stuff they don't want. Selfish, smart Europeans. So when I got back to the states, I started looking for an olive oil that came close to what I had in Greece that didn't break my budget. The best that I could find is found at Trader Joe's. It comes in a 16.9 fluid ounce bottle and is called Trader Giotto's Sicilian Selezione Extra Virgin Olive Oil. I love it!!! It works perfect both for cooking and for dressings. It is reasonably priced and delicious. The only thing that I find, is that they do not always carry it. I think because they have to wait for their supplier to make more.