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Kitchen Staples

So you’ve moved out of your parents house, you now have to start cooking for yourself because you realize that eating out every day is really expensive. Maybe you’ve been on your own a while and you just run to the store every time you need something. You don’t have to! By learning what kitchen staples to keep stocked you can virtually eliminate those last minute grocery runs.

So let’s start with the basics for the pantry

  • All Purpose Flour (Try to store in a large jar or tub vs. the bag)
  • Whole Wheat Flour
  • Granulated Sugar
  • Light Brown Sugar
  • Baking Powder
  • Baking Soda
  • Chocolate Chips (I always like to have the ingredients for chocolate chip cookies on hand)
  • Vanilla extract (Do not use immitation)
  • Peanut Butter
  • Honey
  • Quick cooking oats
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Pasta Sauce
  • A couple different pastas (I keep Penne, Spaghetti, and bow tie on hand)
  • Minute rice (Brown or White)
  • Olive Oil
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Cream of chicken and cream of mushroom soups (Great for casseroles)
  • A few cans of canned veggies, I like to keep green beans, carrots and corn
  • A few cans of beans, I like to keep refried, black beans and pinto beans
  • Chicken and beef broth
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • A few cans of soup (for nights you absolutely do not want to cook) I keep things like Chunky’s chicken noodle, corn chowder and tomato.

Basics for the spice rack

  • Salt
  • Sea Salt grinder ( I get the big one from costco)
  • Black Pepper
  • Garlic Salt
  • Garlic Powder
  • Onion Powder
  • Paprika
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Red Pepper Flakes
  • Basil
  • Parsley
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Chili Powder

Basics for the fridge

  • Butter; Salted and Unsalted (Not Margarine)
  • Heavy Cream
  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Shredded Cheese (or blocks to shred if you prefer)
  • Lemon Juice
  • Minced Garlic
  • Almond Milk (for smoothies and overnight oats)
  • The basic condiments: Mayo, Mustard, Ketchup, Worcestershire, Soy Sauce, Salad dressing

Basic produce; Living in Alaska our produce goes bad pretty fast so I try to limit my “staple” produce to things that take a few weeks to go bad. Other produce I buy will be based on my weekly food menu or snacking fruit I want for the week.

  • Yellow Onions
  • Potatoes (I usually stick to red or yukon gold in the 5lb bags)
  • Carrots
  • Apples (They normally stay good for about 2 weeks so I will buy a bag of them)

Basics for the freezer; Again, living in Alaska it’s hard to get fresh stuff all the time. So I keep all my meat in the freezer and buy lots of frozen veggies and frozen fruit for smoothies. Even if you don’t have to worry about getting stuff fresh, buying your meat in bulk is the more economic choice. Even if you don’t shop at a costco or Sam’s Club, most local grocery stores (like safeway) will run specials like buy one get one free on Chicken Breast and that’s when I stock up.

  • Broccoli
  • Stir fry veggies
  • Chicken Breasts
  • Salmon
  • Ground beef or ground game meat
  • Pork Chops
  • Shrimp
  • Halibut or Cod
  • Whatever fruit you like for smoothies ( I get mixed berries and mango chunks)
  • Bread ( I always like to keep a loaf of bread in the freezer in case I run out)

Now, most of you are probably thinking “Ummm, this is a lot of stuff.” And yes, it is. But it’s actually not as much as you think. Besides the produce and the stuff in the fridge everything has a super long shelf life so you really won’t be buying it that often. Most of you probably already have half of the stuff already sitting in your cabinets.

People tend to buy more things at the grocery store that they don’t need when they are making multiple trips. By having these staples in your kitchen you are limiting your trips to the grocery store to once every week or two which in turn will save you TONS.

Moose Philly Sloppy Joes

So if anyone has ever had moose meat, you will know that it is sooooo delicious. When I have regular ground beef now it just tastes weird. Now, unfortunately, unless you hunt or are fortunate enough to have relatives or friends that give you some, you can’t get moose meat. This recipe can work with ground beef also, but I would suggest using grass fed beef or ground bison for a cleaner meat.

What you’ll need

  • 1lb ground moose (or beef/bison)
  • 1 cup chopped mushrooms
  • 1 large green bell pepper-chopped
  • 1 large yellow onion-chopped
  • 1 tbsp worcestershire
  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 package (12 slices) Provolone cheese/cut into pieces
  • 6 Kaizer rolls- cut in half and toasted in oven

In skillet melt butter; add onion, pepper and mushrooms. Saute until onions are clear and translucent. Remove from skillet, set aside.

Add ground meat to the skillet, cook until no longer pink. Add in the cooked veggies, stir. Pour in beef broth and worcestershire. Bring to a boil, cook for about 4-5 minutes until the liquid has reduced a bit. Add in cut up provolone cheese. Stir into mixture until cheese is well melted.

Using a slotted spoon put beef mixture onto roll. Using a ladle, get some of the sauce from the bottom of the pan, drizzle on top of the meat. Enjoy!

Roasted Veggies and Sausage

OK, so this is one of my FAVORITE meals. It’s healthy and you get lots of veggies, and it doesn’t take like any skill and minimal effort to make.

A lot of the time I am cooking for myself so I only make enough for about 3 servings, 1 for me and two sets of left overs. So recipe would be great for a couple, if you have a larger family you may want to double the recipe. You can make this low carb by skipping the potatoes if you wish.

What you’ll need:

  • 1 fully cooked smoked sausage link; you can kind of use any, they make chicken, pork and turkey sausage links so whichever you prefer.
  • 2 large carrots
  • 2 medium size red potatoes
  • 1 large red bell pepper
  • 1/2 large red onion (I save the other half to use in salads and guacamole)
  • 10 asparagus spears
  • 1.5 cups chopped broccoli (I use frozen, that has been thawed at room temp for about 20 minutes)
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper +1/4 tsp
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 tbsp dried basil leaves
  • Olive oil

Preheat oven to 400

Line two sheet pans with foil, grease with cooking spray.

Chop your red pepper, onion, potatoes and carrots. Throw them into a large ziplock bag. Drizzle in some olive oil, add the 1/2 tsp black pepper, garlic salt and the basil leaves. Seal the bag and shake until everything is well coated. Pour the veggies onto one of the sheet pans; place in oven. Bake about 20 minutes.

While the other veggies are baking, chop your asparagus, sausage, and broccoli if you decided to use fresh vs. frozen. Place the broccoli and asparagus in a ziplock bag. Drizzle with olive oil, add the 1/4 tsp black pepper and salt. Seal the bag, shake until it is well coated. Pour the veggies onto the other sheet pan, along with the chopped sausage.

Once the potato mixture is done baking for the 20 minutes you want to take it out, stir up the veggies, place back in the oven; along with the other sheet pan that has the sausage. Bake about 15-20 minutes.

The BEST Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ok, so not trying to brag but literally EVERYONE that eats these cookies cannot stop.

Makes about 1.5 dozen

What you’ll need:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter; softened slightly. Butter is KEY to these cookies, if you have too soft of butter they will come out more flat vs coming out soft and fluffy. Also, DO NOT substitute anything for real butter. It will not be the same.
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract; Again, use the real thing. DO NOT use imitation vanilla.
  • 1 large egg
  • 1.5 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 bag of semi sweet chocolate chips

Start by preheating your oven to 375 and greasing 2 baking sheets.

In one bowl combine Flour, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.

Beat together butter, sugars, vanilla and egg until creamy. You will probably have very small little bits of butter about half the size of a dime; and that is fine.

Add dry ingredients gradually. I normally start with a cup and get it completely mixed in before I add anymore. Once you’ve added the dry ingredients the dough should be super thick and hard to turn with the mixer. Pour in the chocolate chips and mix in. Roll into balls and place on greased baking sheets.

Bake at 375 for about 9-11 minutes. Edges should be just barely golden brown.

Shakeology Overnight Oats

Overnight oats are soooo delicious and perfect for breakfast on the go. I leave for work before 6am so I really don’t want to eat breakfast before I leave the house so this is a great option for during the week.

What you’ll need:

  • 1 pint size mason jar
  • 1 banana
  • 3/4 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup almond milk (you could also use coconut milk but I don’t like the taste of it)
  • 1 spoonful of chai seeds
  • 1/2 scoop chocolate shakeology (or any chocolate protein powder) I’ve also made this with Fitmiss Chocolate Protein Powder and GNC Chocolate Protein Powder.

First I mix together the oats, shakeology and chai seeds. Cut up banana and add in and smash down a little bit. Add almond mix; stir everything together so that there is no longer any dry, powdery spots at the bottom or on the sides. Refrigerate overnight and enjoy in the morning

Delicious Creamy Chicken and Spinach Pasta

This is soooo good. You can double the recipe if you’re feeding a larger family. The recipe I am posting had enough for dinner and two containers of leftovers that I took for lunch. So ideal for 1 person with some leftovers or a couple.

What you’ll need:

  • 1 large chicken breast, cooked and cut into bite size chunks; seasoned with salt and pepper. If I have a super thick breast I will filet it and cook it in the oven at 375 for about 15-20 minutes
  • 1/2 box of medium pasta shells
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • 1/3 cup sun dried tomatoes (I just buy the little bags in the produce section)
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan

This is a fast fix meal because you can cook everything at the same time and then dump it all together.

Start by preheating your oven to 375 and cooking your chicken. Fill a large pot with water to begin boiling for the pasta, and cook according to directions (about 13 minutes.) In another small pot begin melting your butter, add garlic; saute garlic for about 3 minutes over medium heat.

Once you’ve cooked the garlic, add chicken broth; cook until reduced by about half (about 5-6 minutes) Add heavy cream, bring to a boil; stirring occasionally. Continue for about 4-5 minutes until it’s starting to thicken. Stir in black pepper and dried parsley. Remove from heat and stir in grated parmesan.

In a large bowl combine cooked pasta, cooked cut up chicken, spinach and sun dried tomatoes; add sauce; stir until well combined. Eat up!

Chicken and Broccoli Rice Casserole

Not the prettiest dish, but it’s super tasty. All the prep is super quick, just takes about 55 minutes to bake in the oven.

Ingredients

  • 3 Large Chicken Breasts, seasoned with salt & pepper, cooked and shredded
  • 1 1/2 cups minute rice (you can use white or brown)
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 cans cream of chicken soup
  • One 12oz package frozen baby broccoli florets
  • 1 sleeve ritz crackers (do not go for an off brand on these it is not the same, I have tried many different store brands)
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grab a 13X9 in pan; Mix together all ingredients except the ritz crackers and cheddar cheese. I just mix everything in the pan I’m baking it in, but you can mix everything in a bowl and transfer it over if you like. Top with crushed ritz crackers. Bake for 45-55 minutes, crackers should be golden brown. Top with shredded cheddar, bake an additional 5 minutes to melt the cheese. Let set for about 15 minutes before serving.

A little about the blog

So you’re in the super market and you’re trying to find a quick recipe to make for dinner, you pull up pinterest. You type in “Chicken Dinner Recipes.” You of course, get a ton of delicious looking chicken meals that pop up, you see one photo that catches your eye and say “ok, this is the one.” You click on the recipe, it takes you to a food blog, you’re scrolling and scrolling for what seems like forever and after scrolling through this person’s entire life story about how one time her mom made this chicken on a cold rainy September day, you finally get to the recipe. I don’t want to be one of those pages.

At the end of the day, nobody wants to know my life story, and if you do, I will gladly give it to you right here instead of on every recipe.

I live in Alaska and I live about 20 miles away from the nearest grocery store or place to eat at. So I really needed to start meal planning and cooking every night. A “quick trip” to the store to get milk for making mac and cheese now becomes an hour long journey round trip. I learned what staples to always have in my kitchen, I learned when to buy in bulk and what to buy in bulk. I learned how to make things last, and I can help you learn too.

I do work a full time job and have an hour commute each way to and from work so I try to cook things that are fast and easy on weeknights and save the recipes that take a little longer to make for the weekends.

Main things I want to accomplish with this blog:

  • Give you delicious recipes that are affordable and don’t have weird ingredients that you ask yourself “Where do I even buy that?”
  • Teach you to plan your grocery trips so you aren’t running to the store every night for one ingredient.
  • Create a menu for you in case you don’t want to deal with it yourself.
  • Teach you the kitchen staples that everyone should have in their kitchen!