Checklist: Stocking Your Post-Baby Pantry, Refrigerator & Freezer

Almost any meal can be made from the pantry and no one will suffer any ill effects from lacking something "fresh." By all means supplement with fresh fruits and vegetables as a usual course of preparation, but if you can't get to the store, your pantry will see you through just fine.

Pantry Stock

One Armed Cook recipe book cover

Even the most experienced of hostesses can get a little unnerved by short-notice or drop-in guests. And then there are life's constant curves in the road that can thwart our best intentions. There's nothing like an unexpected visit to the pediatrician or even an unexpected phone call to throw the best plan into a tailspin. Anticipating these curves and a well-stocked pantry can see you through.

Use this pantry list as a guide for making your own pantry list. Storage may be an issue in your kitchen, so you may want to look at some nontraditional areas around the house to store some extras. At a minimum, keep enough on hand for a few meals and surprise guests and you'll be well on your way to staying ahead of the "what's-for-dinner" game.

    ___ Assorted dried pastas
    ___ Assorted grains (brown rice, white rice, couscous, grits, cornmeal)
    ___ Dried lentils
    ___ Canned beans (lentils, black beans, white beans, chickpeas)
    ___ Canned/bottled vegetables (roasted red peppers, artichoke hearts, marinated artichoke hearts, corn, beets, mushrooms, water chestnuts, sun-dried tomatoes)
    ___ Canned fruits (peaches, pears, pineapple, mandarin oranges, cherries, applesauce, pumpkin)
    ___ Canned tomatoes (diced, stewed, crushed)
    ___ Cans/cartons stock or broth (chicken, beef, and vegetable)
    ___ Marinara and pasta sauces
    ___ Salsa
    ___ Canned fish (tuna, salmon, clams)
    ___ Cans/jars olives (Spanish, black, Kalamata) and capers
    ___ Canned/dried soups and ramen noodles
    ___ Cooking spray
    ___ Oils (olive, canola, vegetable, sesame)
    ___ Vinegar (distilled white, white/red wine, balsamic)
    ___ Bottled salad dressings
    ___ Bottled marinades
    ___ Condiments (soy sauce or tamari, Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, chili sauce, barbecue sauce, mustards, jellies, jams, preserves, chutneys)
    ___ Peanut butter
    ___ Assorted breads, crackers, pita/bagel chips, potato chips, tortilla chips, breadsticks
    ___ Assorted nuts (peanuts, pecans, almonds, walnuts, macadamia nuts, pistachio nuts, pine nuts, sunflower seeds, salted mixed nuts)
    ___ Dried fruits (raisins, prunes, mixed diced fruits)
    ___ Canned milk (evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk)
    ___ Honey
    ___ Baking supplies (all-purpose flour, bread flour, sugar, brown sugar, cocoa powder, chocolate chips, shredded coconut, vanilla extract, cake mixes, salt, baking soda, baking powder)
    ___ Dried herbs and spices

      Fridge & Freezer

      Refrigerator

      ___ Butter and margarine
      ___ Cheeses (assorted shredded, grated, cubed cheeses; Parmesan cheese)
      ___ Salad mixes (bagged salads, slaw, fresh baby spinach)
      ___ Precut or ready-to-eat vegetables (baby carrots, cherry/grape tomatoes, celery sticks, broccoli and cauliflower florets, baking potatoes)
      ___ Precut or ready-to-eat fruits (grapes, plums, apples, berries, precut melon, pineapple, citrus)
      ___ Eggs and cartons of egg substitute
      ___ Prepared pesto sauce, hummus, guacamole, and dips
      ___ Refrigerated biscuit and pizza dough and pie crusts
      ___ Flour tortillas
      ___ Meats (precooked chicken, ham steaks, cold cuts)
      ___ Tofu
      ___ Bottled minced and chopped garlic
      ___ Lemon juice and lime juice
      ___ Sour cream, yogurt, cream cheese, mayonnaise, and salad dressing
      ___ Cooking wines (dry white/red wines, sherry, vermouth, Madeira)
      ___ Bread machine yeast
      ___ Fresh herbs

        Freezer

        ___ Frozen chopped onions
        ___ Frozen vegetables (spinach, green beans, broccoli, squash, peas, bell peppers)
        ___ Frozen fruits (peaches, berries, cherries)
        ___ Frozen pasta (tortellini, ravioli)
        ___ Pie crusts
        ___ Flour tortillas
        ___ Frozen meatballs, chicken tenders, peeled and deveined shrimp

        Cynthia Stevens Graubart is an author and former television producer living in Atlanta, Georgia. Catherine Fliegel is a registered nurse and certified childbirth educator living in New City, New York.

        Reprinted from The One-Armed Cook. Copyright 2004 by Cynthia Stevens Graubart and Catherine Fliegel, RN, CCE. All rights reserved.

        All content here, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.