Paprika Cumin Thyme

Do you know that cupboard above your stove? What’s in it?

Traditionally this is where you would keep your spices and maybe some baking supplies. At least that’s what I learned growing up at home and visiting relatives.

Spices are but one of the many food staples that you would want to have on hand and always in stock. A well stocked fridge and pantry (such an “old-fashioned” word) make cooking and meal planning easier.

The reason you want to have a variety of food staples at home is to be able to add flavour and zest to your meals. This happens either during the cooking process or when you are serving a meal. It’s easier to prepare meals in bulk when you have these supplies at home, instead of buying them per recipe.

For example, if you make a salad for dinner you would need condiments to make a salad dressing. You might use a store-bought salad dressing, or toss the salad with oil and vinegar. If you want to be more creative you could make one from scratch with mayonnaise, lemon juice, mustard, spices, salt and pepper.

Below is a list of the food staples that I have at home. What items are missing for you? What items would you never buy?

I hope this list helps you to decide what staples you would like to have available at home. This is an important step to make your meal preparation easier and flavourful.


  • Pesto
  • Teriyaki sauce
  • Soy sauce
  • Peanut satay sauce
  • Olive oil mayonnaise
  • Healthy salad dressings (best to make your own)
  • Hot sauces
  • Dijon mustard
  • Ajvar
  • Salsa

Condimentsorganic coconut oil

  • Pickles
  • Organic whole milk yogurt
  • Organic raw honey
  • Fresh ginger root
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Nuts (almonds, pecans, filberts, walnuts, cashews, etc.)
  • Seeds (pumpkin, sunflower)
  • Dried cranberries, raisins, currants
  • Parmesan or Romano cheese block for grating

Oils & Vinegar

  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Red wine vinegar
  • White wine vinegar
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Sesame oil
  • Grass-fed organic butter
  • Lemons & limes

Canned & Dried Goods

  • Canned tomatoes
  • Salmon
  • Tuna
  • Herring (if you like that sort of thing!)
  • Beans (kidney, black beans, Romano, garbanzo, etc.)
  • Lentils
  • Dried beans (instead of canned)
  • All-natural organic peanut butter
  • All-natural organic almond butter
  • Non-GMO plain protein powder

Grains & Starches

  • Slow cook organic oats
  • Red river cereal
  • Bob’s Mill organic cereals
  • Whole grain brown rice
  • Quinoa
  • Bulgur
  • Potatoes

Note that potatoes may or may not be a staple item for you. You may only buy them for your bulk cooking when you know you plan to cook potatoes. However, potatoes can keep for several weeks if properly stored in a cool, dark place (like under the sink). This is why they are sold in 5-10 pound bags.

Herbs & Spiceschill powder and turmeric

  • Pepper corns (for a pepper mill
  • Sea salt
  • Bay leaves
  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Thyme
  • Sage
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Cumin
  • Chilli powder and flakes
  • Curry powder
  • Turmeric
  • Whole nutmeg
  • Paprika
  • Mustard seed and powder
  • Coriander (seeds or powder)
  • Cardamon seeds
  • Saffron

Freezer Items

  • Frozen fruit for smoothies and protein shakes
  • Frozen vegetable (great for a morning omelette if you’re pressed for time)

Wow! That probably seems like a daunting list but I have most of these items in my kitchen!

If this is all new to you, start small. Buy what you need for your fist bulk meal or bulk cooking for the week. Build up your supplies over time and you will also learn what you like and need to have on hand to make cooking at home much easier.

Eat Well To Be Well!

Transparent Darren

Cook a Week of Meals in 4 Hours: A new eBook by Darren Stehle


I’m excited to announce that my new eBook, Cook a Week of Meals in 4 Hours, will be available on September 30, 2014! For more information and to get on the pre-sale list click here for all the details.