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The Well-Stocked Pantry

Have you ever gone to plan out meals for the week, and the pantry is full of strange one-off ingredients? These can be from recipes that were made once or impulse purchases that looked interesting at the time -- but what they have in common is that we often forget about them and go to waste.

So what should we keep in the pantry to maximize our ability to meal plan and cater to our cooking needs? Let's chat about some of the best staples to keep on hand.

1) Grains can be an excellent base for many recipes and are always very filling. These also come in handy when you're serving a crowd. The most obvious choice is pasta -- keep on hand a variety of whole-grain or gluten-free pasta. In addition to that, a bag of brown rice, quinoa, oats, and couscous will give you an assortment to choose from.

your other items at risk.

2) An array of canned goods. Tomatoes, beans, corn, beets, pumpkin, peas -- the list goes on. Whatever you and your household enjoys, keep a few stored away in the pantry. You never know when you'll need it. Shelf-stable vegetables are a good way to keep costs down while enjoying produce during cooler months. Anything you'd add to a delicious vegetable soup can be stored in the pantry, and you have a quick meal always on deck.

3) Condiments and seasonings. One of the more time-consuming and expensive pantry shelves to stock is the one that holds everything that makes a recipe pop. Seasonings; spices, oils, vinegar, ghee, nut butter, and sauces. It can take time to figure out what flavor profiles you most enjoy and use most often, but as you continue to cook, this collection will become unique.

4) Snacks and extras. These are going to be things that may be considered snacks or drinks. Top picks are dried fruits and nuts, popcorn and crackers, cocoa powder, loose tea, and anything else that you might crave in a pinch.

When it comes to keeping a stocked pantry, knowing what you have at any given time is essential. You can download an app such as Pantry Check to help you peek into your pantry wherever you are. You'll be able to know exactly what you have in stock at home, so you don't buy extras at the grocery store, and it'll also remind you when your pantry items are expiring soon, so they don't go to waste.

It may take a bit to find a system that allows for keeping a stocked pantry, but after you've enjoyed the ease of this method, you will never go back to daily or weekly staple grocery runs.

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