Category Archives: Prudent Pantry

You want to have a well-stocked pantry. What are the thriftiest things to store in your pantry? Dried beans, rice, pasta, cornmeal and flour.

Dried beans score high points on the thrift meter. They’re inexpensive and can be stored for up to a year. I’ve actually stored them for longer periods and you just have to cook them a little longer. Beans are widely used around the world and you will find them in soups and chilies, pureed into hummus or eaten whole in burritos and salads. As a cheap source of protein, they pair well with rice and pasta, two starches that are also inexpensive and versatile.Dried Beans

Canned beans are cheap, and when time is at a premium, they come in handy, but dried beans win in matters of taste. A from–the–can white bean salad or slow cooked chili will wind up mushy and mealy; but with home cooked beans, you control the cooking time, so you can opt for a firmer texture. Dried beans are absolutely the cheapest way to go. A 1-pound bag will yield more than 6 cups of cooked beans and broth. A 15.5oz can of beans gives you 1-2 cups. You can also cook up a bag of beans and then store what you don’t need in the freezer. Lay them flat to freeze and they’ll defrost faster. Be sure to include some of the broth when you are packaging the beans for freezing, it will help ward off freezer burn.Beans for the freezer

Cornmeal is another great item to store in your pantry. It comes in handy for polenta, corn bread and as a coating for fried foods.Cornmeal

Flour does it all: bread, pasta, cookies and treats of all sorts. If you are storing whole-wheat flour it is best to store it in your freezer so it doesn’t go rancid.Whole Wheat Flour

Every home cook will have a different opinion about which ingredients are essential and anyone on a restricted diet will have to address individual needs. But these five ingredients were chosen for their ability to multitask and hold up in the pantry, fridge or freezer.

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Several years ago I found this recipe on the blog Mrs Happy Homemaker. Recently I finally had a chance to make some myself! It was really easy and I actually had most of the ingredients on hand. Those that I didn’t I was able to purchase at Mountain Rose Herbs.Homemade Neosporin


½ cup coconut oil
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup dried comfrey
¼ cup dried calendula
2 oz beeswax
2 Tbsp honey (optional)
10 drops of essential lavender oil (optional)
Small jars or tins (I used small tins)

The recipe makes about one cup and a little goes a long way so find small containers to store it in.

shredding the beeswax

In a medium pot combine the coconut oil, olive oil, dried comfrey and the dried calendula. Cook on low heat, stirring occasionally for 20 minutes. Strain the herbs from the oil using a coffee filter or some cheesecloth. Discard the herbs. Be warned the oil is VERY hot and if you pour it into a plastic coffee filter it will melt the filter and you will have to start over!ingredients

Wipe any remaining herbs from the pot you’ve used so the pot is clean and add the oil back to the pot. Turn the heat to medium and stir in the honey until completely combined. Then, add the beeswax stirring until completely melted. Mix in the lavender essential oil.

Carefully pour the mixture into your containers. Stir is occasionally while it cools to ensure even settling. Once the mixture is set seal the containers.homemade Neosporin

Mrs Happy Homemaker says this works for all minor cuts, scrapes and minor burns. It also works well on diaper rash and eczema. I would deftly encourage you to use the honey as honey has remarkable healing powers! My husband scraped his hand right after my mixture had cooled. He used some on his scrape and it really helped! I have enough small tins to carry one in my purse, the car, in our backpack when hiking! Plenty to go around!Homemade Neosporin

(note: if you have a serious injury such as broken bones or severed fingers or other extreme injuries go to the hospital to be treated)


I believe in having a well stocked pantry. Not only do I always have food on hand to feed unexpected company but it has helped in the past to get us through times when my husband has been unemployed. It is also a great way to preserve your garden harvest. Here are  my favorite 20 canning recipes.

Apple Rhubarb Chutneychutney, prudent pantry
Applesaucecanning, prudent pantry
Beach Plum Jellyjelly, pantry
Blueberry Lemon SauceLemon Blueberry Sauce
Blueberry Lime Jamjam, blueberries
Blueberry Pie Filling (Peach Pie Filling)berries, prudent pantry, prudent living
Chicken Stockbroth, soup
Chunky Basil Pasta Sauceprudent living, preseving
Crabapple Plum Jamjam
Cranberry Apple Pear Relishprudent pantry, prudent living
jam, peaches
Pear Apple Ginger Marmalademarmalade
Plum and Crabapple Jamjam
Strawberries in Vanilla SyrupWhole Strawberries in Vanilla Syrup
Strawberry Fig Jamjam, prudent pantry
Strawberry Jam with Triple Sec Liqueurpreserving, jam
Rhubarb Date Apricot Chutneychutney, rhubarb
Rhubarbeque SauceRhubarbeque Sauce
Rhubarb JamRhubarb Jam
Zucchini RelishZucchini Relish


Do you enjoy giving homemade gifts? As the holidays approach I try to think of gifts that I can make myself that might bless others. One favorite idea is homemade gift jars. You can fill jars with all sorts of gift ideas – cookie mixes, brownie mixes, or soup mixes. One of my favorites is a Minestrone Soup Mix. It makes four gift packages and when presented in a jar with a cute tag makes a wonderful gift. Most of the ingredients you probably have on hand in your pantry.

homemade gifts, soup in a jar, minestrone soup, prudent pantry, prudent living


Minestrone Soup Mix

Flavoring Mix;

½ cup dried onion flakes
½ cup dried celery flakes
¼ cup dried parsley flakes
2 Tbsp basil
1 Tbsp dried oregano
1 Tbsp dried marjoram
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp pepper

½ cup beef-flavored bouillon granules

1 pound dried navy beans
1 pound dried kidney beans
2 cups elbow macaroni, uncooked

Combine the first 8 ingredients and divide evenly into 4 gift packages. Add 2 Tbsp of the beef flavored bouillon granules to each package.

herbs, soup mix, prudent living

Flavor packages

Label and seal.  Combine navy beans and kidney beans and divide into 4 gift packages. Label and seal.

dried beans, soup mix, gift in a jar

Dried beans added to jar.

Place ½ cup of macaroni into 4 gift packages.

macaroni, soup mix, pantry

Four packages of macaroni.

Label and seal

Present one package of herb mix, one package of bean mix and one package of macaroni with a copy of the recipe for Minestrone Soup. You can layer the ingredients  in a jar or decorate a brown bag and include the ingredients in the bag.

soup in a jar, soup mix, pantry

Minestrone Soup Mix, ready to gift.

To each jar or bag attach the following recipe:

Minestrone Soup

1 pkg of bean mix
3 quarts of water
1 pkg herb mix
1 carrot, chopped
2/3 (4oz) of chopped lean cooked ham
1 (14.5oz) can stewed tomatoes, undrained
1 pkg macaroni

Sort and wash beans; place in a Dutch oven and cover with water, two inches above the beans. Soak for 8 hours. Drain beans; add 3 quarts of water, herb mix, carrot and ham. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for two hours, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender. Add tomatoes and macaroni, cook 20 minutes or until macaroni is tender. Serve hot.

Do you suffer from headaches? I occasionally have bad headaches and I have a sister that suffers from migraines. I found this recipe for an herbal headache tea and decided to try it.

I found all the ingredients I needed from Mountain Rose Herbs.


8 parts Red Raspberry Leaf
3 parts Alfalfa Leaf
3 parts Peppermint Leaf
2 parts Stinging Nettle Leaf

The parts can be anything you measure with; I used Tablespoons, which made up enough to fill a jar. Perfect to give away to any headache sufferers you know!

Combine the ingredient and mix well. Headache Tea ingredients Store in a glass container and be sure to include the directions!Headache Tea To use simply combine 2 teaspoons to 1 Tablespoon per cup of boiling water. Steep for ten minutes and then strain.Headache TeaRemember if you suffer from constant headaches or severe headaches be sure to consult your doctor!

As the harvest season dies down an we get ready to head into fall one of the sauces I love to make is Roasted Tomato Sauce. We use it on our pizzas and it is a great way to use up the variety of tomatoes still coming in from the garden.

tomatoes, sauce

End of the season tomatoes.

It’s a simple recipe. The recipe calls for 4 pounds of tomatoes, and I have to admit I just cut up enough tomatoes to fill my 11×14 pan. Remove the core from the tomato and chop them up. You can use any type from Roma to cherry tomatoes.

To the cut up tomatoes add one coarsely chopped onion, ¼ cup of fresh herbs of choice or a smaller amount of dried herbs. I’ve been adding a mixture of dried Italian herbs to the tomatoes. I also add 3 large garlic cloves, chopped. To the mixture add 1/8 cup of olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Stir the whole mixture and place it in a preheated 450 degree oven. Roast for 70 minutes without opening the oven door.

pizza sauce, prudent pantry

Cooked tomato mixture

Remove from the oven, let cool and run through a food mill.

sauce, tomatoes, prudent living

Food mill

Sometimes I cook the sauce down to thicken it.

prudent pantry, prudent living

Roasted Tomato Sauce

This recipe I do not can, instead I place 2 cups of sauce in freezer containers and it is ready for our homemade pizza! 2 cups is just enough for 2 pizzas.

pizza, tomato sauce

Homemade pizza with homemade sauce!

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