food

Pantry essentials to help you avoid the nightly shop.

San Remo
Thanks to our brand partner, San Remo

I’m there a lot, in fact I go almost every night. I know I shouldn’t, I don’t really need to. Surely I can just cut back to once a week?

I go there in my pyjamas, in my gym clothes, before work – I’ve even be known to frequent it on the way home from a night out. I always get more than I need, and I don’t particularly like going. I know it well, with its wide aisles and bright lights and sometimes stupidly long lines.

Yes, I am a supermarket fanatic.

"I am a supermarket fanatic": Image: iStock.

Having to only feed myself doesn’t sound like it should be too hard a task, but having a busy schedule and making plans last minute means that any kind of routine when it comes to dinner is often a well-intended thought on a Sunday afternoon, that by Thursday takes the form of the sad, limp vegetables sitting in my fridge. So in recent times I have become a fiend for the supermarket, and somehow an innocent foray into cutting down on food wastage and shopping bills has turned the nightly shop into a well-worn and hated ritual.

But I’m putting my foot down. ‘No more nightly shops!’ is my war cry and I’m shouting it from the roof tops (I’m not really, but you get the idea).

In an effort to save time, money and my sanity, I’ve decided the get the supermarket monkey off my back and make sure that my pantry is well stocked so whatever my changing agenda is – I can avoid the supermarket.

Pasta.

Because who doesn’t love it? (seriously, who??) Pasta makes up the backbone of my pantry. It’s easy to cook, it’s versatile and you can make it without being stuck with leftovers for the next week.

Pasta is my go-to for those nights when I know I want something quick, easy but also delicious – because there’s nothing worse than making a dinner that you’re not looking forward to actually eating. I’ve started keeping two different kinds in my pantry, one long (I like fettucine) and one short (I like fun shapes that are also versatile, like bow ties).

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 Who doesn't love pasta? Image: San Remo.

Soy Sauce.

Never underestimate the power of soy sauce. It can be added to more than just stir fries and marinades (although this is always a fail-safe option) but it’s also the secret ingredient in many of my favourite recipes. Tamari is also a great wheat-free soy sauce alternative if you are gluten intolerant.

Tuna.

Tuna is one of those divisive pantry staples – but it’s something that I swear by. It’s relatively cost effective, there are a big range of flavours and there are so many ways to use it. There’s been many a time when knowing I have tuna at home has saved me from the supermarket. I add it to pastas, salads or even top it onto rice. I’ve even been known to grab a tin as I’m running out the door to take to work for lunch.

 Tasty and cost-effective. Image: iStock.

Spices.

Never underestimate the importance of adding spices to your cooking. I’ve found through much trial and error that if you’re cooking for yourself, then you also need to make it taste good. Too many times I’ve made bland tasting, boring meals that make takeaway an all too easy and enticing option. Think dried chilli flakes, curry powder, and a dried herb mix never goes astray.

Tinned tomatoes.

These are great to always have in hand – I usually buy a few tins at a time so I know they’re always there. Diced tomatoes are my go-to; I like to make them into a sauce to add to pastas, soups or to top off grilled veggies or meat.

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Make an easy and delicious past sauce in no time. Image: iStock.

Canned legumes.

Chickpeas, lentils, black beans and the ever humble baked bean: they all share a special place in my heart. Amazing sources of fibre of protein, tinned legumes make up a vital part of any pantry. Add chickpeas to warm salads, black beans in wraps, and there’s nothing wrong with some late night baked beans on toast, in my humble opinion.

 Full of protein! Image: iStock.

Something to look forward to.

This doesn’t mean stocking your pantry full of junk – actually the opposite. But we all have those moments – a particularly long day of work, an after dinner craving, something to snack on that’s a bit of a treat. I usually keep a packet of rice crackers, biscuits or a small block of dark chocolate to look forward to.

What pantry staples do you swear by?

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