Even if you love to cook, the thought of stocking your pantry and fridge for the next few weeks in the midst of a pandemic can seem daunting. How many eggs will you really go through? How long does hard cheese last in the fridge? Will I get tired of pasta on day three of self-quarantining?
We're right there with you. That's why we chatted with renowned food blogger and author behind Half Baked Harvest, Tieghan Gerard, about how best to prepare in times like these.
"I stock my pantry with the items I use most often, lots of Asian sauces, spices, tomatoes, nuts, seeds, etc," Gerard tells MyDomaine. "It’s important to have ingredients that you use most often always on hand."
Whether you put hot sauce on everything or always top your pasta with ricotta, buying the foods you'll most likely eat will save you stress in the long run.
Here's what Gerard recommends keeping in your pantry, fridge, and freezer at all times, but especially during the next few weeks. Plus, she shares a few of her favorite go-to recipes below.
What to Store in the Pantry
- Pastas (like spaghetti, penne, rigatoni, orzo, etc.)
- Grains (like basmati rice, wild rice, quinoa, etc.)
- Nuts/seeds (like raw cashews, almonds, pine nuts, pecans, peanuts, sunflower seeds, etc.)
- Assorted crackers
- Oils (extra virgin olive oil and sesame oil)
- Vinegars (apple cider, rice champagne, red wine, and balsamic)
- Garlic, shallots, onions
- Potatoes, winter squash
- Canned tomatoes (fired roasted, crushed, whole, and tomato paste)
- Canned chipotle peppers in adobo
- Roasted red peppers
- Canned coconut milk
- Low sodium soy sauce or tamari
- Fish sauce
- Your favorite hot sauces
- Pure maple syrup
- Dijon or grainy mustard
- Assorted jams/preserves
- Nut butters
- All-purpose flour
- Baking powder and baking soda
- Sugars (granulated and brown)
- Vanilla extract
What to Keep in Your Fridge
- Gerard recommends parmesan, feta, cheddar, cream cheese, mascarpone, and ricotta.
Dry cheese like parmesan can last weeks in the fridge. Be sure to save those rinds for a flavorful sauce or soup.
- They can keep up to four or five weeks.
- Plain Greek Yogurt
- Salted butter
Fruits and Vegetables
- Fresh greens: Gerard recommends keeping spinach, arugula or Tuscan kale on hand for a quick salad.
- Avocado: once they are ripe, avocados can stay fresh in the fridge for 1-2 weeks.
- Fresh ginger
What to Keep in Your Freezer
- Ground chicken/beef
- Chicken breasts or thighs
- Ice cream
- Puff pastry
Gerard's "Pantry Staple" Recipes
Now that you know what to keep on hand, what should you make for dinner? While the standard pasta and canned marinara sauce will get you through, Gerard has some go-to recipes for keeping meals interesting.
This sandwich is garlicky on the outside, filled with sharp cheddar and Havarti cheese, and only takes 15 minutes to prepare.
This Turkish-inspired dish is full of pantry staples like canned fire roasted tomatoes and crushed red pepper flakes. Serve with crusty bread for a filling and comforting dinner or breakfast.
While this dish is the ultimate comfort food, it also freezes for up to three months. Plus you only need one pot, a casserole dish, and about an hour to make it. What more do you need?