Friday, September 16, 2011

Pantry Essentials-Pasta, Rice and Bread

Today's post is the third post in my well-stocked pantry series.  Previously we talked about selecting the right space for your pantry and the baking essentials.  Today let's focus on the essential pasta, rice, and bread products you'll want to keep on hand.

Remember, creating your well-stocked pantry is a function of the foods you and your family like to eat.  No two families will have the same well-stocked pantry and that is exactly as it should be.  I'm sharing this look into my pantry as a starting point for those of you looking for help in getting your pantry organized.  If you already have a fully stocked pantry it may be fun to compare and contrast how we are alike or different.

The Roll of Pasta, Rice, and Bread in a Well-Stocked Pantry

My Pantry
A Glimpse of My Pantry

Let's see what is on my pasta, rice, and bread shelf...

The Pasta Essentials

I like to keep on hand the various pastas I use to make most of the soups and main dishes my family likes.   Linguine, penne, rigatoni, farfalle, elbow macaroni, and lasagna noodles are essential components for pasta main dishes like classic baked macaroni, stove top shrimp and pasta, and classic lasagna.

Pasta Essentials
Some of My Favorite Pastas

For soups I keep tubettini, ditalini, and orzo on hand.  Any little pasta will work in soups.  I like to keep a variety on hand to mix it up every once in a while.  Minestrone soup is a huge family favorite that has tiny pasta in it.  With nighttime  temperatures falling into the 40s I'll be getting the urge to make soups again soon.  Yum, I can't wait.  I love soup!

The final pasta I can't be without is rice noodles.  I always want to be ready to make shrimp pad Thai whenever the craving for it hits.  I'm feeling that craving coming on...

The Rice Essentials

Rice is a mainstay in my pantry for side dishes.  You'll find long grain white rice, basmati rice, brown rice, and arborio rice.  Risotto is a favorite during cold weather months.  I make risotto three or four times a month between October and May.  Sometimes risotto is a main dish like in this Lemon shrimp and risotto recipe.  Rice is an essential ingredient in jambalaya, another cold weather favorite for my family.

Rice Essentials
The Rice in My Pantry

Rice is a perfect side dish.  In twenty minutes you can have a tasty accompaniment to any meal.  I especially like rice with grilled pork or chicken, like this coconut rice.  I also keep a couple of packaged rice items on hand.  Packaged rice pilaf and black beans and rice are essential time savers.

The Bread Essentials

I only keep three bread products on hand in my pantry.  Italian flavored bread crumbs are essential for breading chicken like in my chicken Parmesan or Parmesan breaded chicken cutlets.  I keep plain bread crumbs that I make from left over bread in my freezer, but I also like to have plenty of panko bread crumbs on hand.  The panko crumbs are crispier than the bread crumbs from regular white bread and I often mix the two.  This baked shrimp scampi recipe is one example of how they are used in my house.   You'll also find herb seasoned stuffing mix in my pantry.  It is mainly used to make my mom's stuffed pork chops.  So good!

Bread Essentials
The Bread Products in My Pantry

There you have it.   This has been a peek into the pasta, rice, and bread section of my pantry.  Keeping these items on hand makes it easy for me to make family favorite dinners without last minute runs to the grocery store.  Keeping a well-stocked pantry goes a long way to maintaining my sanity at dinner time.

Do you have suggestions for items I should add to the pasta, rice and bread shelf of my pantry?


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