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We’ve all got our favorite herbs and spices, but some ingredients are basics. For many, sugar starts off the day in your tea or coffee. Sugar is also a key ingredient in many treats. Salt, pepper, oil, and vinegar are also non-negotiable. As for condiments, many can be made at home and they’ll most likely taste better that way. A few recipes will get you started, but if you’re curious, head to the store and take a look at the labels on items like specialty dips, taco seasoning and cocktail sauce. You might be surprised to learn you have all the necessary ingredients at home.

Here is a list of the basic pantry items:
Sugar
Salt
Peppercorns
Olive oil
Vegetable oil
Vinegar
Herbs and spices you use the most
Tea and/or coffee

My favorite Taco Seasoning recipe.
1 Tbsp chili powder
¼ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp onion powder
¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
¼ tsp dried oregano
½ tsp paprika
1 ½ tsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepperKeep your red spices in the freezer for maximum freshness.

In a small bowl, mix together chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, red pepper flakes, oregano, paprika, cumin, salt and pepper. Store in an airtight container.

Homemade Cocktail Sauce is another easy sauce to whip up at home. I love shrimp in any form and once you try this homemade shrimp cocktail sauce you will never buy it in a bottle again! Best news is that you can make it up to a week ahead and store in your refrigerator. Makes enough for about 8-10 servings.

Homemade Cocktail Sauce
1/2 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons horseradish, plus more to taste
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
1 to 2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined.

Whisk together all the ingredients in a bowl. Taste and add more horseradish or any of the other ingredients to suite your taste. When you’re happy with the sauce, transfer it to a small serving bowl.

Cook the shrimp by poaching them in boiling water, pan-frying them on the stove, or roasting them in the oven until opaque. Arrange the shrimp around the cocktail sauce and serve hot or cold. Delicious!shrimp cocktail

Homemade salad dressing is another great way to use the ingredients you have on hand. This is my favorite balsamic vinaigrette that only has five ingredients! Store the leftovers in the refrigerator and if the dressing thickens just bring to room temperature before serving.

Balsamic Vinaigrette
6 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
1 tsp pure maple syrup
2 tsp Dijon mustard
6 Tbsp olive oil

Combine the vinegar, lemon juice and maple syrup in a bowl. Add the mustard and then slowly whisk in the olive oil. Perfect on any salad!Salad dressing

11 comments on “The Basics for a Thrifty Pantry

ColleenB.~Texas on June 6, 2016 1:24 pm

Yuppers. It’s pretty much the basic stuff I keep in my pantry as well except the vinegar of which I keep in the laundry room, container in each bathroom and 1 under my kitchen sink as I use a lot of vinegar for cleaning.
I’m planning on redoing my pantry; removing all them metal shelving and replacing with wood shelves and adding a lazy susan tower as well. I know I can have an addition of more shelves by using wood. I just need to write down all the measurements of my pantry and someone will be designing a layout for me.
Thanks for sharing these wonderful recipes.

Nancy Wolff on June 6, 2016 10:22 pm

Colleen,
Vinegar is a wonderful cleaner and a laundry help I buy it by the gallon!

Nina on June 6, 2016 1:27 pm

Excellent advice. Many people have all these items in their cabinets and never make the connection. Sometimes having someone bring it to your attention gives you a “duh!” moment, but helpful all the same!! Most of the time I’ve found the ingredients are all there. It’s just taking the time to do the prep. Nice blog. Thank you.

Nancy Wolff on June 6, 2016 10:21 pm

Thanks for stopping by! I have to admit that sometimes it is easier to just buy something that you can so easily make but it’s so much tastier if you make it yourself! 🙂

Shannon on June 9, 2016 1:50 pm

Thanks for the recipes. I will be making a big batch of the taco seasoning.

Nancy Wolff on June 10, 2016 1:31 pm

Shannon,
Amazing what you can make from your own pantry isn’t it!

swathi on June 12, 2016 11:36 pm

Another great post from you Nancy thanks for sharing with Hearth and soul blog hop.

Nancy Wolff on June 13, 2016 2:05 am

Swaths,
Thank you so much! I love the Hearth and Soul Hop!

Miz Helen on June 15, 2016 6:19 pm

What a great post and a very thrifty pantry. Thanks so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday and come back to see us real soon!
Miz Helen

Donna on June 17, 2016 4:27 pm

Great post I have started dehydrating my own garlic and onions from my garden and making Garlic powder and onion flakes to help preserve my harvest. My onion flakes are wonderful to use in stews or anything when you need onions and do not have what is needed. Plus I have some family members that do not like onions, however the onion flakes give the dish the flavor without the onion. therefore the picky eater enjoys a meal with onions. I have even dehydrated green onion tops that go great in potato salad and on top of baked potatoes. I grow my own Rosemary, Oregano, and other spices so I will be able to dehydrate them and have fresh herbs on had when needed.

Nancy Wolff on June 17, 2016 11:49 pm

Donna,
What a great idea, I haven’t tried dehydrating onions or garlic, maybe this year!

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