Hand Me Down Pantry

The stock up challenge

I make 75% of my meals from fresh ingredients using organic products as much as possible. The other 25% are what I call “dump and go” with limited processed or packaged foods. This 25% represents my most handed down to friends.

This is my basic pantry set up. I stock up on these and pick up items to restock my supply at each grocery trip. I use a free app called “Our Groceries” on my phone. You can share the list with anyone you want. So I share with my husband. When we add items to the list it goes on both lists. Genius!! We know when one of us has been to the store because the list gets crossed off as it happens! More genius!

You can’t go wrong with these ingredients on hand and can make endless recipes.  If you are someone just starting out with your own kitchen and an empty pantry, this will get you started cooking. Obviously, everything in my pantry, and refrigerator are NOT on this list. These are the basics. There are also “add ins” for specific recipes, and seasonal fruits or veggies are always in the house. But let’s not make this too complicated!

I began developing this pantry when I lived in the country far from the store. If you start here, you can keep from going to the grocery story for weeks and make many recipes. Stock up and let’s start experimenting!! I’m a little nervous. I am so excited to get cooking with you. Let me know how you did with your purchases and show me pictures of your stocked pantry.

Basics of the Hand Me Down Pantry

Canned Tomatoes

  • Crushed
  • Whole
  • Diced

Tomato Paste

Rotel (diced tomatoes with green chilies)

Tomato sauce

Canned Beans

  • Black
  • Kidney
  • Great Northern
  • Chick Peas


  • Brown
  • Parboiled (Uncle Bens)
  • Brown Instant


Potatoes-Whatever you like

Onions- I use all these depending on the dish

  • White/red/yellow
  • Scallions
  • Green onions

Pasta- Whole Wheat or a pasta amped up with extra fiber and protein (I prefer this) I buy:

  • Penne
  • Spaghetti
  • egg noodles


  • Chicken/Beef broth
  • Cream of mushroom
  • Cream of chicken

Dried Seasoning and such

  • Oregano
  • Garlic Salt
  • Black pepper
  • Salt-Kosher and Sea
  • Paprika
  • Tarragon
  • Chilli powder
  • Balsamic vinegar or what you like
  • Crushed red pepper (It was bound to happen. I left this off the first go round, drat!)


  • Olive
  • Canola
  • Grape seed (don’t panic, not essential)


  • Walnuts
  • Pecans
  • Pine

Veggies/Fruits (Many others are eaten. These are always in the house)

  • Mushrooms
  • Tomatoes
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Romaine
  • Green beans
  • Celery
  • Bell peppers
  • Lemons/limes
  • Avocados


  • Shredded cheddar
  • Shredded paremesan
  • Shredded jack
  • Feta
  • Blue cheese
  • Mozzerella
  • Sour Cream
  • Milk
  • Cream

Frozen  Foods

  • Peas
  • Corn
  • Ground meats (beef, turkey etc.)
  • Chicken Breasts
  • Fish (whatever looks good; tilapia, salmon, shrimp are standards)
  • Bacon (Makes everything better. The next time someone is sad, instead of handing them a bowl of ice cream or a drink try a slice of bacon. You’ll see!!)

Fresh Herbs (These grow in my yard. I just snip and go.)

  • Cilantro
  • Parsley
  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Sage
  • Chives
  • Thyme
  • Mint

Other Essentials-(categorizing was starting to make me crazy)

  • Canned artichokes
  • Spaghetti Sauce
  • Jalapenos
  • Salsa
  • Bread crumbs
  • Olives
  • Honey
  • Horseradish
  • Sun dried tomatoes
  • Butter
  • Mustard (So many choices)
  • Crunchy fried onions (you know that can of crunchy onion-ness)
  • Blue Corn chips (because you can’t make crunchy avocado salad without it)
  • Flour
  • Sugar
  • Oatmeal
  • Eggs
  • Mayo

About Comfort Cooking On Island Time

There are two things I can't resist; an old recipe handed down and passed around, and the beach. Growing up in the midwest I was introduced to true comfort food but always dreamed of a different landscape, and climate. Recently I acquired a 50 year old beach house. While stumbling after the great cooks of my past, I am focused on a future with cool waves and gently breezes......and watermelon rind pickles of course!
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2 Responses to Hand Me Down Pantry

  1. durangokirk says:

    Your Pantry appears very complete to me!!!

    I live in a rather small Studio Apartment with very limited storage space. I do keep essential staples on hand: grains and oils, onion and garlic, and various spices. Due to the lack of space, I tend to visit the market quite often ( every couple days or so) and seek out sales and other mark down items. And so, I often improvise my home cooking around what I happen to “find” rather than specific recipes.

    I might add that I have worked in professional kitchens off and on since the late 80’s, which has taught me ways of looking at cooking that may be a bit unique…or not!

  2. Pingback: Creamy Shrimp Pasta « Hand-Me-Downs and Flip Flops

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