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April 15, 2020
Third Installment: How To Make The Most Of Your Cupboard During COVID-19

In this third installment, Chef Vanessa gives a comprehensive list of items to have on hand for easy cooking and baking.

Whether you're going to the grocery store or having groceries delivered, keeping certain items on hand can ensure you'll have what you need when you need it. Chef Vanessa gives us a comprehensive list of the essential ingredients for common recipes.  


When you keep basic staples on hand, making simple meals won't be as challenging. With these items available you can create healthy meals with ease.

  • Rice 
  • Whole Grains of your choice (such as millet & bulgur wheat, kumut)
  • Dried & Canned Beans 
  • Canned Tomatoes
  • Dried Pasta
  • Canned Fish (tuna, salmon, sardines)
  • Peanut Butter
  • Canned Vegetables 
  • Dried  & Canned (Evaporated) Milk 
  • Canned Fruit (packed in its own juice)
  • Oats (old fashioned and quick cooking)
  • Flour (some good basic choices are unbleached white, white whole wheat, whole wheat pastry flour)
  • Granulated sugar
  • Spices (salt, black pepper, garlic & onion powders, paprika, oregano, thyme, etc.) 
  • Reduced Sodium Bouillon Cubes (chicken, beef or vegetable) 
  • Vinegars
  • Neutral oils for cooking (canola & sunflower)
  • Baking powder, baking soda, cornstarch
  • Coconut powder (available at Asian & Indian markets and some grocery stores and great for making instant coconut milk on a budget) 
  • Tomato Paste
  • Jarred yeast or packets (great to have on hand to make homemade bread)
  • Dried Fruit (raisins for the most economical)

Frozen items

Frozen vegetables and fruits are usually cheaper than fresh and make it easy to always have them on hand. The other advantage ist that you can use what you need and store the rest for later. These are some of my choices.

  • Peas & Carrots medley
  • String Beans
  • Corn
  • Peas
  • Chopped Spinach
  • Chopped Kale
  • Lima Beans
  • Okra
  • Frozen Blueberries
  • Frozen Strawberries

Author(s): Chef Vanessa LaBranche

Filed under: Healthy Food, News and Events, Community Solutions