Our Top 10 Pantry Staples (And How We Eat Them)


We’ve been relying on our pantry staples a lot more while we’re limiting our trips to the grocery store during quarantine. Here are the items you’ll always find in the KERF pantry and how we eat them! 

Kath Eats Pantry door

While we’re still managing to eat quite a few fresh foods during our Stay At Home time, we have definitely been relying on the items in our pantry a lot more lately. The bags of rice, cans of beans, and stash of nut butters is appreciated more than ever when our fridge is bare bones between grocery runs. Even during “normal” times, a well-stocked pantry helps us bridge our meal plan when the fridge is looking bare. Here are the staples we relying on the most, and how we turn them into meals. Plus here are links to some of my favorite pantry recipes over the years! Here’s what we always have on hand.

Our Top 10 Pantry Staples (And How We Eat Them)

1) Oats

It goes without saying that we always have old fashioned oats in our pantry. Actually we always have rolled oats, quick oats, and steel cut oats! I have an entire page dedicated to oatmeal recipes on KERF! Oatmeal/overnight oats may be one of the easiest pantry breakfasts; plus, we’re always using them in baked goods, too. They are one of the world’s most versatile foods for a good reason. Need a quick oat-based dinner? Try savory oats!

2) Peanut & Almond Butter

Do you panic when you run low on nut butters? We do! Especially since it’s a staple food for the kids too. Peanut and almond butter are the two nut butters we almost always have on hand, but as you know I’ve dabbled in all kinds of nut and seed combos over the years. And Trader Joe’s sunflower seed butter whenever I can get my hands on some (it’s one of my top 10 favorite nut butters). Not only do I always add a big dollop to my oats, but the kids are eating LOTS of PB&J right now. It’s nice to always have a couple jars of jam in the pantry, too. There’s also the option of homemade: Cinnamon Vanilla Almond Butter is great!

3) Canned Beans

Beans are my favorite canned good, and I love them all! Loaded with fiber and protein, they are one of the healthiest pantry staples around. I recently shared this beans and rice bowl (with canned pineapple!) – not only can most of the ingredients can be found in your pantry, but it’s an inexpensive, vegetarian, nutrient-balanced meal! I’ve been thinking about how I used to make these totally easy bean burgers back in the day. Need to make those again!

4) Spaghetti and Pasta Sauce

Spaghetti with pasta sauce (and ground beef from the freezer) may just be the easiest pantry dinner of all time. And the good news is that it’s one that Mazen loves and Birch can eat too. We always have whole wheat spaghetti in the pantry along with jars of marinara. (Once tomato season is here we can even make the sauce!) If I have any fresh or frozen spinach I add that to the sauce too.

5) Salad Toppers

Trader Joe’s is the holy grail for all things nuts, seeds, and salad toppers. Whenever I make my monthly trip, I make sure to stock up on candied nuts, sunflower seeds, garlic parmesan crisps (make delicious croutons!), dried fruit, and a few jars of marinated artichoke hearts. We always have some or all of the above in the pantry (although admittedly I probably won’t get to Trader Joe’s to restock these “extras” for a while. I’m glad I stocked up when I did.)

6) Canned Tuna, Salmon & Sardines

For lunches and the occasional light dinner, we keep several cans of wild fish in the pantry. Mazen has been known to eat a whole sardine – I haven’t offered him one in a while! Fish salads are great for lunch, and salmon patties can be a quick pantry dinner. Recipes to try: Curried Tuna Salad Recipe, Every Herb Salmon Salad, Salmon Quinoa Burgers, and the Very Best Sardine Salad.

Foodblog (14 of 16)

7) Trail Mix & Bars

No pantry is complete without some sort of trail mix and/or granola bars, as I think nuts make the ideal snack due to their protein, fat, and satisfying salty crunch. Especially if you have kids in the house! I often grab a few bags of trail mix from Trader Joe’s or throw together my own mix in a large mason jar (there are always chocolate chips involved…) Mazen’s favorite bedtime snack is a handful of salty almonds. A few bar recipes: Coconut Clusters, Chocolate Coconut Balls, Baked Oatmeal Snack Bars, and No Bake Yerba Mate Bars.


8) Cereal & Granola

Cereal and granola are regular breakfast items in the KERF household, and once in a while, if Mr. Mazen is in a picky mood, he’ll have cereal for dinner if he refuses what we make. We always have bran flakes and granola for the adults, Cinnamon Toast Crunch for Mazen, and Cheerios for Birchie. I love when we have a fresh batch of homemade granola – more for a topping than filling a cereal bowl. Favorite recipes: Crunchy Caramelized Granola, Buckwheat Granola, and Turmeric Granola.

9) Whole Wheat Pastry Flour

Whole wheat pastry flour is my go to for healthy baking. If a recipe calls for all-purpose flour, I often sub in whole wheat pastry flour, which is ideal in baked goods. Recently made recipes include chocolate chip scones or sheet pan pancakes. Another easy-to-make whole grain flour is oat flour! Just grind oats in your food processor and you can bake with that or make no-bake recipes.

Whole Wheat Sheet Pan Pancakes

10) Rice & Grains

Rice is an easy base to add to any meal. We love bean and rice bowls! We typically have both white jasmine and short grain brown rice on hand to mix things up. Whenever I make a pot of rice, I like to make a little extra as it stores well in the fridge to have throw into lunches. Birch is also currently obsessed with buttered rice so we’ve been making extra for his meals too. We also usually have quinoa, grits, short whole grain pasta, and farro in the pantry for quick salady meals like this one and this one.

What pantry items do you always have on hand?

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