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Pantry for One, Anyone?

I recently wrote a guest post for However, it was so great I decided to post it here also. AND GUESS WHAT? The post was so great I was invited to their radio show Foodie Fridays on Friday May 14th at 7 pm EST. So join in 🙂

For while now I have been talking to Laurie (aka @lonelygourmet) on Twitter. We have something in common. Most of the time we are both cooking for one. Laurie gives great advice via Twitter and her web site for singles cooking for themselves.

Like Laurie, I have gotten TIRED and SICK of going out to eat and microwaving frozen meals. I have started to cook more often and testing out recipes. However, I feel like I am never prepared; I don’t know what basics I should have in my pantry. The other day, I finally asked Laurie what she would recommend that I stock my pantry with!

Here is what she gave me (that I slightly changed it to fit my needs):
Laurie’s List:   

•    Flour               
•    Sugar
•    Oatmeal
•    Rice
•    Cereal
•    Spaghetti/noodles
•    Chips
•    Cat/dog food
•    Coffee/tea
•    Miscellaneous pre-mixed seasoning packets (taco seasoning, gravy packet, etc)

•    Minced onions
•    Garlic
•    Salt
•    Pepper
•    Italian Seasoning
•    Poultry Seasoning
•    Pumpkin Pie Spice 

I then decided to give Laurie some advice about how one would go about organizing all these supplies in their pantry! The first step is to put those supplies that come in awkward bags in canisters – Modular Canisters that take up less room in your pantry. Also, LABEL!!! Baking soda and baking powder look very similar so pull out a Sharpie or label maker and label (with expiration date).


 Next is group like items together on your shelves. I have all my baking supplies on one shelf (high up because I do not bake as often as I cook), all my tea and coffee together (lower shelf because I use these everyday and it’s easy to reach), all my chips/snacks together, etc.


If you have wire shelves in your pantry like me, here is a suggestion. Your spices and packets probably fall over and tumble between the wires. I put the packets into an extra Modular Canister I had with the lid off and the spices into a TakeAlongs container I had (lid off on this one too). That way they do not topple over. Plus with my spices, I can grab them all at once and use what I need without multiple trips to the pantry. 


Now with my pantry stocked and organized I am ready to cook more often! What tips do you have for pantry necessities and organization?                                                  

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  15. alyssa February 3, 2011 at 1:59 pm #

    Chichen broth! A must have in my pantry!

  16. Michelle July 27, 2010 at 9:12 pm #

    I really like the look of those modular canisters, but I can’t find them anywhere. Any suggestions?

  17. Erin Gentry May 13, 2010 at 4:59 pm #

    Thanks Allison and Jill for your comments!
    Allison – I live in the south too and you HAVE to have something for the bugs and to save your food from going stale.
    Jill – Wow! Placemats are such a creative solution. Love it!!!

  18. OrderUpOrg May 13, 2010 at 4:45 pm #

    Great tips!
    Keeping like items grouped together also makes it easier to see what you have on hand and what you need to add to your grocery list.
    I have the wire shelves too and use some placemats to help keep items from tipping over.
    ~Jill Hively

  19. Allison May 13, 2010 at 8:19 am #

    I LOOOOOOVE the modular cannisters!!!
    They totally make the best use of pantry space.
    And in the south we need them to keep buggies out too!
    — Allison

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