A great deal of making the most out of Whatchagot is trying to have some basic items on hand as much as possible. I’ve alluded to some of these in previous entries, but thought I’d tell you what items I try to keep on hand at all times:
- Butter – there is a reason Julia Child said, “With enough butter, anything is good.” I realize some avoid butter for health reasons, but it really does make many things taste much better, especially frozen vegetables (specifics to follow).
- Stock or broth – homemade or canned/boxed – another ingredient that can be used in a variety of ways to improve otherwise mundane ingredients. I think chicken is the most versatile, but beef, vegetable, etc. are great, too. There are also jarred stock bases (such as “better than bullion”) that are really handy because they can be kept in the refrigerator for a long time after opening and will make a relatively large amount of stock or basic flavoring. You just have to be careful how you use them—they are really salty.
- Rice/Pasta – so versatile and durable. I know these are often gone from the store but if you see them, grab them.
- Beans – all different kinds—generally economical, durable and versatile. An admission—I can’t stand beans (except for green beans and garbanzos in hummus), but they can be used in so many ways if you like them.
- Seasonings—salt, pepper and then Whatchalike—I have been trying to keep more of the “combo” seasonings around- Italian, Cajun, Lemon Pepper, etc.- that can be used in a variety of dishes. Again—you know what you and you family like—spicy, herbs, etc.
- Basics for sauces/gravies- these can be used in so many ways, similar to stock. Flour, milk, and butter are the foundation for a basic white (or bechamel) sauce. This easily becomes a cheese sauce or other flavored sauce or gravy that can be used to dress up leftovers.