Pantry Essentials

If you’re going to commit to cooking dinner almost every night, you’ve got to have certain things on hand at all times. (Or at least have most of them on hand, most of the time). Here’s my list of pantry and fridge essentials and nice-to-haves. I’m listing dinner essentials only.


  • Olive oil (extra virgin)
  • Butter
  • Parmesan or Pecorino cheese
  • Eggs
  • Pasta
  • Rice
  • Rice wine vinegar (seasoned)
  • Dijon mustard
  • Lemons and limes
  • Salad greens (2 kinds, leafy plus fennel is my choice)
  • Fresh herbs (can replace second type of salad green)
  • Onions and garlic
  • Salt!
  • Pepper (red and black)
  • San Marzano whole peeled tomatoes
  • Better Than Boullion (veggie)
  • Organic chicken breasts (buy in bulk, keep in freezer)

Nice To Have (very nearly essential):

  • Cheddar cheese
  • Heavy cream
  • Tomato paste
  • Anchovies (in a jar)
  • Capers
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Vegetable oil
  • Miso paste
  • Nuts & dried fruit
  • A selection of veggies
  • Honey
  • Bread
  • Plain yogurt
  • Broth (vegetable or chicken)
  • Pancetta, prosciutto and/or bacon (your choice)

The Costco Shopping List
I understand that not all Costco stores carry the same products. Below are the food items we purchase at the Costco in our area. Note: I buy very little produce at Costco, and I only buy their meat if it’s organic.

  • Organic milk (unfortunately, they don’t have 2%, we get whole)
  • Horizon organic chocolate milk
  • Garofalo Bufala Mozzarella (this is the delicious, gooey in the middle kind)
  • Kirkland Signature Parmigiano Reggiano
  • Cello grated Pecorino Romano
  • Cabot cheddar cheese (the one in the black wrapper)
  • Cubanelle peppers
  • Butter (salted and unsalted)
  • Sugar
  • Berio extra virgin olive oil
  • Organic boneless, skinless, chicken breasts
  • Fage greek yogurt
  • Cheerios
  • Inkeeper’s Healthful 8-Grain bread (sandwich bread)
  • Raw almonds
  • Barilla pasta
  • Goya black beans