Things I’m (almost) Never Without

I don’t plan meals the typical way most of the time. Putting down what we’re going to eat for each meal on each day is too constrictive to me. I want to be able to make what sounds good at the time. So, I follow a pantry way of meal planning. I always have certain things, and then if I come across a new recipe I’ll buy the extras I need to make it happen. So, here’s a typical list of stuff I always have on hand:

Oils-Olive, Canola, Grapeseed

Vinegars of different kinds (apple cider, red wine, rice are a few we like)

Herbs and Spices (I buy these in bulk from our local health food store and refill the jars – there is risk of cross contamination with gluten when you buy in bulk, but I find that with spices you use such a small amount that the effect is not noticeable and it saves TONS of money)

Canned tomatoes, beans, refried beans, salsa, coconut milk

Brown Rice


Rice milk

Almond Butter/Sunflower butter


Bread (we buy Food For Life’s Multi-Seed Rice Bread, and only one loaf per week because it costs $6.50/loaf. Yes, I am too lazy to figure out how to make GF, yeast free, egg free bread. Thank you.)

Rice Tortillas

Various types of meat –

Beef – we bought a 1/4 of beef this year and have been enjoying free range steaks, ground, stew meat, roasts, etc. It came out to about $2.80/pound.

Chicken – I stock up on boneless skinless if I find a good deal and/or buy a whole chicken

Turkey – We usually go through 4-5 pounds of ground turkey for breakfast sausage (I cook and then freeze it so I don’t have to cook breakfast meat every day), as well as 3 or so packages of turkey bacon per week

Pork – I don’t use a lot of pork, but if I find a good deal we’ll sometimes have chops or bacon. Often pork bacon has too much sugar added to it and it makes me shaky

Fish – We love to make homemade fish sticks with cod (this meal costs too much to do more than once or twice a month), and I usually buy some canned tuna for Nick to take to lunch in a pinch, and some canned boneless skinless salmon for salmon salad. I LOVE fresh halibut but it costs too much. 🙂

Various GF flours: rice, buckwheat, millet (although I can’t find this one locally, certified GF), amaranth, tapioca

Guar Gum

Brown Rice Grits (for rice cereal)

Alternative sweeteners – maple, agave, honey, stevia

Fruit (usually whatever’s in season so I can buy organic for under $2/pound)

Veggies (always have carrots, celery, onion, garlic, and lettuce or spinach, and usually add zucchini, red or yellow bell pepper, sweet potatoes, squash, etc.)

That’s a pretty good overview. I may be missing a few things, but this gives you a really good idea. Questions? 🙂