In order to cook healthy food for your family you will need a well stock cupboard including the basics. Try and keep your store cupboard and freezer well-stocked with a variety of canned, dried and frozen goods that you know your family love to eat.
Tinned beans, frozen vegetables, meat and fish, pasta & noodles, rice & grains, are all essentials with a long shelf life – meaning you will always have the ingredients standing by to pull together a delicious meal or to jazz up your leftovers. Use your store cupboard to create meals from leftovers. Any spare fresh tomatoes could be added to some canned ones to make a great topping for pizza. Rice would turn leftover chicken and wrinkly peppers into a delicious summer salad. Add a tin of lentils to your minced meat to make it stretch further.
It may seem expensive at first to purchase these cupboard staples all in one go but you will see from the recipes that we make that they will feature in many of them saving you money in the long run, especially as they last for a while. As you discover the type of meals you like to cook for your family you will establish what items are a must have in your cupboard to pull together all of your favourite meals.
Here is a list of my stock cupboard essentials
- Pasta – (preferably wholemeal)
- Spaghetti – (preferably wholemeal)
- Rice – I have both bags of rice and those microwavable bags at the ready. Microwavable rice is super expensive but is really handy for a last minute dinnertime panic!
- Cous Cous- I keep both versions, one your make yourself and the quick cook bags.
- Packet noodles– great addition for str fries, curries and soups
Fruit & Vegetables sources
- Tinned Fruit and Vegetables– Keep frozen fruit and veg as well as tinned. I find tinned easier sometimes for a quick lunch to top salads. Tins I like to keep are tinned sweetcorn, peas, baby carrots and green beans.
- Chopped tomatoes – Tins of these are an essential cupboard staple as this can form the basis for many meals rather than using jars full of salt and sugar. You may prefer passata (no bits in the sauce) or plum tomatoes ( a sweeter juice)
- Tinned beans – mixed beans in sauce, chickpeas and of course baked beans. You don’t need as many different beans as this to start with. I would purchase a ‘Mixed baked bean’ to start with or a tin of chickpeas as a good all rounder.
- Tinned Tuna– (Opt for the healthiest version- tuna in spring water) Great for simple pasta dishes and fishcakes.
- Lentils & Pulses
Herbs, spices, sauces and oil
If you have very few or even no herbs and spices please don’t panic and go out and purchase everything on this list, you can gradually build up your pantry stock a little at a time.
- Rapeseed oil
- Worcester sauce
- Soy sauce (reduced salt)
- Stock cubes (preferably low salt -beef, chicken, vegetable)
- Lemon juice (bottled- this saves time and money buying fresh lemons)
- Chilli flakes
- Garlic Granules (I must admit to using lazy garlic)
- Mixed herbs
- Curry powder/ paste
- Jars of Pesto
- Cajun spice ( I use for my homemade wedges recipe)
- Chicken seasoning ( I use for my krispie chicken recipe)