With a well stocked & organised store cupboard you will always have the beginnings of something good to eat! Start by taking a look at what you've already got...that's it open up your cupboards & take everything out! I will bet that there are some things in there well past their sell by date! Don't worry when I first started out on my mission to be more organised I found 3 jars of mustard, a few(!) jars of herbs, loads of odd bits of pasta & FOUR jars of chilli powder all way past their expiry date!!
Once that job is done make a list of what you need. The list I have provided below is what I normally keep in my storecupboard but you don't have to copy it if it doesn't suit you, tailor it to your & your family's needs & tastes. Also don't buy everything at once if budget doesn't allow, I've built mine up gradually & continue to add to it all the time!
Like most of you I use my local supermarkets regularly but in the last few years I have become a big fan of discount shops like B&M & Home Bargains! These places are great for things like ready filled salt & pepper grinders, jars & tinned goods.
I absolutely love Aldi & Lidl too, the quality of a lot of their products is excellent!!
Asian supermarkets are a gold mine & if you're lucky enough to have one locally I recommend you have a nosy around it. I buy spices from mine & they are really good value, I can get a 100g bag of paprika for 99p as opposed to half as much for the same price in other supermarkets! I just keep any old jars for decanting bagged spices into.
Your Store Cupboard!
I've split the store cupboard into 2 lists. The first is “Basics” ingredients which most of you will probably already have & that can form the base of many recipes. The second is “Extras” a selection of items that although not essential will widen your options when it comes to choosing what to cook! Build it up gradually & in time you will have a whole range of ingredients to get creative with!
Dried Pasta, tubes, twists, bows-whatever you like!
Rice, I usually have Basmati in but Long Grain is good too.
Stock cubes, Beef, chicken & vegetable (Good old OXO is fine!)
Olive oil, for frying & Sunflower oil for when you need to cook at a higher temperature.
Worcestershire Sauce, adds extra flavour to lots of savoury dishes.
Salt & Pepper, in ready filled grinders.
Tomato Puree, I usually buy tubes but jars are just the same.
Dried Herbs, start with Parsley, Thyme & Oregano & go from there.
Spices, a good Curry & Chilli Powder (to your taste) then add things like Paprika & Cayenne Pepper as & when budget allows.
Cornflour, great for thickening sauces & stews etc.
Tinned Tomatoes, the base for so many of my recipes!
Tinned Tuna, a good way of getting fish into your diet.
Tinned Sweetcorn, a great way to sneak veg in.
Tinned potatoes great for adding bulk to casseroles etc
Tinned beans, pulses & chickpeas, again great for bulking out dishes to make them stretch further
Condensed soups, these make great quick sauces or bases for casseroles.
Sun Dried Tomatoes
Thai Green or Red Curry paste
Tandoori Mix (powder) &/or curry paste
Coconut Milk, makes a curry a bit more luxurious
In The Fridge
You can keep some useful ingredients in the fridge & freezer too, just be aware of use by dates! Here are some of my favourites.
.....& In The Freezer
For fresh fruit & veg I tend to buy as I need it simply to avoid buying more than I need. If you have a local greengrocer then go & see what they have to offer. Produce is quite often locally grown & some offer veg box delivery so it's worth asking!!