Lucky for us, our cupboards are NEVER empty.  If anything, they’re probably too full, but it’s a great thing when it comes to cooking up a meal.  We probably have some less common items than most people would have, but those unusual ingredients give our meals that extra something special.

As not everyone wants to be a gourmet cook, here’s some ideas that will help you get more out of your cupboard than just a box of rice!

First of all, organisation is key, especially if you’re short of space.  Use the same method used by supermarkets and stack newer jars and cans behind the older ones so they get used up first.

Can’t see what’s in the back?  Get a step-up shelf or make a list of everything and keep it taped on the inside of the cabinet door.  This will also prevent you from buying items you already have.

Big bags of ground spice might seem economical, but they can go stale very quickly.  Instead, buy whole spices and grind them as needed.  Use a mortar and pestle or get yourself an electric spice grinder or coffee grinder used for spices only.

Store spices (as well as seeds and nuts) in airtight jars to stop them going stale.  Make sure you keep them IN the cabinet as light will make them go off sooner.

Canned tomatoes are probably my number one staple to always have on hand.  There is no need to spend a fortune on them either; the house value brand will do as you’re going to be adding other flavors to them anyway.  However, do experiment and see which you prefer.  There is one house brand that I will not use anymore as I didn’t like them…even after they were doctored up.  I won’t mention the store, but I will say they came in a green and white can.  Canned tomatoes can be used in a range of dishes including pizza toppings, stews and casseroles.

Keep just a few of your favorite pasta shapes.  Sticking to the same shapes and brand means cooking time will be the same and you can combine any opened bags or boxes.

Bags or boxes of rolled oats are much more economical than small pouches for your morning porridge.  They can also be used in your baking including cookies and of course, crumbles.

Store opened packets in sealable plastic containers or do what I do and store them in large empty instant coffee jars (cleaned, of course!) This extends their shelf life and prevents spillage.

Jars of anchovies are good way to add small amounts of protein and flavor to pasta sauces without costing a small fortune.  Capers, gherkins, olives and sun-dried tomatoes are also great for adding interesting flavor to recipes.

Stock up on soy sauce, Tabasco, Worcestershire Sauce and other flavoring sauces.  They help to season your food as well as add flavor and you need only a little, making them a great value.

Keep some bags of ready-to-mix pizza base (or make your own if you’re feeling ambitious) and you’ll never need to call pizza delivery.

There’s probably more things that some people like to keep on hand, so please feel free to share those ideas with the rest of us!

So go check your cupboards and make something delicious tonight!


Terri’s Tasty Funny….

You know you’re a lousy cook when your husband refers to the smoke alarm as the oven timer!


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