Kitchen Must Haves

On Monday, I decided to start cooking for my hubby and eat out less (we usually eat out 4 times a week).  I have a large, organized pantry with my menu planning and inventory lists, but I hardly cook. That changed as of Monday.  My hubby’s reaction was “this is a great surprise.  Thank you.”  He also said he wouldn’t mind if I kept it up.

When I started thinking about what I was going to cook, what I really needed, will use, and crave, I decided to come up with the essentials for every pantry/fridge/freezer.

My Goal:  I want to have more proteins, veggies and fruits in the house, rather than packaged items, canned items and of course junk food.

Note: If you are trying to stay healthy, shopping the perimeter of the grocery store is key (fruits, veggies, dairy, meats, etc); packaged items are on the aisles.

The pantry/fridge/freezer items I will absolutely always  have stocked (some items are gluten-free; for those who aren’t gluten intolerant, use your regular items) are:



  • Salt & Pepper
  • Gluten Free soy sauce
  • Honey
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO for salad dressings, replacement for butter, sautéing, cooking)
  • Olive Oil (grilling)
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Cinnamon
  • Cilantro
  • Basil
  • Hot sauce
  • Gluten Free Chicken Broth


  • Rice
  • Gluten free pasta
  • Gluten free flour
  • Beans (black, red, chick peas)

Canned/Jar Items

  • Canned tomatoes
  • Peanut butter & Almond butter
  • Canned tuna

Snacks/Craving Foods

  • Popcorn (no butter)
  • Gluten free pretzels
  • Gluten free chocolate covered pretzels
  • Gluten free chocolate chip and oatmeal cookies
  • Jars of baby food (yes I love baby food. It is yummy especially the Apple Plum).

Fridge Items


  • Cheese (a variety)
  • Eggs
  • Milk (skim) or Soy Milk (I prefer soy plain or vanilla soy milk)
  • Butter
  • Greek plain yogurt
  • Cream cheese (veggie cream cheese is my favorite)


  • Lemon/Limes
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Spinach
  • Grapes

I put apples and pears in a fruit basket on my kitchen counter. Apples and peanut butter or celery and peanut butter are a yummy and healthy snack.


  • Ketchup
  • Mustard, including Dijon mustard
  • Mayonnaise 


  • Chicken
  • Fish

Note: if you know you wont use it right away, but got a really good deal, just freeze it. Make sure to write on a freezer label what it is and what date you purchased it.

Freezer Items

  • Frozen fruit (for smoothies)
  • Gluten free bread
  • Gluten free English muffins
  • Gluten free bagels

If you have the iPhone, get the Whole Foods app.  When you choose the “On Hand” tab, you tell it what you have on hand and they’ll show you what you can make. It also gives you suggestions if you have a “special diet.”

Check back soon for pictures of my pantry and Home Tour.

Remember, planning makes perfect!


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