Must-Have Staple Ingredients

Promise me you will stock these kitchen staple ingredients!

Staple ingredients are essential for planning dinner. I always have these items readily available so I don’t get in a pinch and get into a bind with hungry little people and no ingredients. I’ve have learned it’s vital to my sanity and health and the lives of family members to never run out of these!

5 pm is too late: “What’s for dinner?”

If it’s 5 o’clock, it’s usually too late or too stressful to start thinking about dinner. Sometimes, in frustration, you might grab a glass of your boxed white wine (a staple ingredient, by the way) and just give up and order takeout. But you should save takeout for a special night, like Friday, and try to plan for meals at home during the week. The only “wining” I want is the little 4 ounces of wine it takes to relax me so I can get dinner ready!

Pantry staple ingredients, in three categories:


  • Olive oil (extra light)
  • Olive oil cooking spray
  • Lemons
  • Capers
  • Spice Hunter chili, taco and other spice mixes. Great brand with “real” ingredients, no added colors. Or make your own. 🙂
  • Sea salt – fine (for your table) and course (cooking) . I use Redmond Real Salt.
  • Herbs – basil, thyme, rosemary, parsley
  • Organic spices and dry herbs
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Honey
  • Pasta (whatever your family loves) I always have spaghetti and penne on hand.
  • Dried cranberries or cherries. Great in salads!


  • Feta cheese
  • Goat cheese
  • Minced garlic in a jar
  • Garlic peeled cloves
  • Dijon mustard
  • White wine (boxed)
  • Cherry tomatoes (great to put on top of green beans or chicken or in salads.)
  • Broccoli (not my kids favorite but I make them eat anyway) 😉
  • Green Beans
  • Berries (whatever is in season)
  • Roasted chicken (I always have a already cooked chicken that I can use the meat for salads or put in soups)


  • Flank steak (steak and veggie night)
  • Ground beef grass fed if available (taco night)
  • Chicken breasts or cutlets organic if available (chicken night)
  • Ground turkey or beef grass fed if available (burger night)
  • Chicken drumsticks (chicken drumstick night)
  • Beef or Pork Roast
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