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home cooking basic shopping list

OK, so I admit it, I've been chowhounding a lot in the last few years and I've not had a proper kitchen until recently and I want to focus back on cooking again. Note: I tend to eat a pretty healthy diet as I am a marathon runner training for his first ultra-marathon.

So, here's my question. I'm cleaning out what I've got and I want to start from scratch again minus my spices (I've got a ton.)

So: What should I be keeping on hand at all times besides my typical sports junk (H20, Gatorade, Powergel, Sport Beans) so that I can make myself basic, wholesome meals in the evenings?

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  1. I would say:

    eggs
    skim milk
    fresh lemons
    parmesan cheese (fresh, not the kind in the green can)
    canned tomatoes in various forms (sauce, crushed, diced, etc.)
    an assortment of dried pastas
    boneless, skinless chicken breasts and thighs
    olive oil (extra virgin for salads and regular for cooking)
    rice (Jasmine, Basmati and Brown)
    canned beans (white, black, pinto)
    whole wheat tortillas
    a couple of good cheeses (cheddar, decent mozarella, etc)
    garlic
    onions
    shallots
    potatoes
    a couple of decent vinegars (red wine, white wine, balsamic)
    capers

    That's just mho, but I think that's a decent fresh food and pantry stock that provides some building blocks for some healthy meals. I'm sure others will post a ton of stuff I forgot. Happy shopping! Oh - and good luck with that marathon!

    1. My cast-iron dutch oven has served me well all these years, as well at a three-sizes-set of pyrex dishes, and also cast iron skillets in big-daddy, momma and baby sizes... glass lids for some.

      1. Good list, I will add...
        Lentils
        Whole wheat flour
        Almonds, walnuts
        Dried cranberries
        Frozen veggies (I freeze them when they're fresh and use later, some freeze better than others)

        1. A few more . . .

          unsalted butter
          chicken broth
          variety of hot sauces
          variety of mustards
          fish sauce
          coconut milk
          Good peanut butter

          1. Mustard. I never liked it before, but am finding that it can be used to make wonderful sauces and marinades really quick.

            And honey. I don't use it often, but it keeps forever.

            Oh, and sour cream and yogurt (I use low fat). Both have reasonably long shelf lives and can be really useful for impromptu recipes.

            I also just got one of those rosemary mini christmas trees, and have been clipping fresh rosemary off of it like crazy. If you don't mind taking care of a plant (rosemary is pretty low maintenance), it can be a great addition to your kitchen (and smells great!).

            The first list was pretty comprehensive though...Pretty much encompasses what I have in my kitchen now.

            1. The runner I used to be married to needed bananas every day for potassium (though it's good for everyone else too!) I remember driving out to grocery store at 11 p.m. if we were out of them (sniffle)

              Organic oats for breakfast

              1. Sorry, I misintertreted your post...
                but I always keep in the pantry:
                assorted nuts
                assorted dried beans (including lentils and split peas, but not such an assortment that they would get old)
                rice, whatever variety but I try to keep it to a minimum to keep fresh.
                canned tomatoes & paste
                any other canned items like pineapple, etc. (good to have in a pinch)
                coconut milk
                evaporated milk
                sweetend condensed milk, cocoa powder & chocolate chips(ok, maybe you don't want to go there)
                tahini, peanut butter (move to the fridge when opened)
                oats
                pasta
                cornstarch
                baking powder
                baking soda
                vanilla
                molassas, honey, corn syrup
                brown sugar, confectioner's sugar, white sugar
                varity of oils and vinegars
                dried fruits, esp. raisins
                onions & garlic
                root vegies, potatoes? sweet potatoes? whatever is seasonal
                IN THE FRIDGE:
                parm. cheese
                apples
                lemons, limes
                ginger
                capers, olives, anchovies...
                hot sauce, worchestershire, sambal oleak...
                dijon mustard
                dry vermouth
                wasabi, horse radish
                pt. of heavy cream
                lowfat milk
                eggs
                butter
                yogurt
                maple syrup
                IN THE FREEZER:
                whole wheat flour, wheat germ
                cornmeal, barley
                ... any other flour type product that doesn't get used up quickly
                stocks (chicken, veal...)
                corn, spinach, peas, cranberries... etc. (some of the fruits/vegies that freeze well)

                Ok, this is a simplified list, and can be further simplfied minus the sweet things... sorry, you did say healthy...

                1. guys these are great! im going to make a condensed list and when i get back from whole paycheck tonight ill let you know what i ended up with

                  1. These are fantastic lists. I would add:
                    * canned tuna, (great for last minute pastas)
                    * canned veggies (peas and corn; when you have no fresh veggies)
                    * beans (chick peas, kidney beans, and 3 bean combos for on the fly salads)
                    * canned fruit (pineapple, etc)
                    I realize it it all canned, and now it looks like I dont eat anything else (i assure you thats not true), but canned stuff in a pinch is very convenient

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: icey

                      I'm with you, icey. I keep a pretty full canned product pantry. That stuff just always comes in handy and keeps forever.

                      1. re: Andiereid

                        Canned/jarred goods are very handy - makes me feel like I have my own specialized bomb shelter!
                        I would add that with a tin of anchovies and a jar of marinated artichoke hearts you can flavor up a lot of things.Very useful for last minute meals.