Tucson CitizenTucson Citizen

Pantry must-haves to prevent those late-night takeout orders

Having the right equipment and some basic supplies on hand means a meal is always at hand.

Having the right equipment and some basic supplies on hand means a meal is always at hand.

It’s 6:30 p.m. and you’re met at the door by growling stomachs and the sinking realization that you forgot – again – to thaw chicken for dinner.

If the pantry’s stocked, there’s no need to dial for takeout pizza.

Stocking dinner-friendly foods means no problem if you forgot to plan. A few key ingredients – canned tuna, curry paste, pasta, rice and garbanzo beans – make it a cinch to get dinner on the table.

A well-stocked kitchen also saves money. Grabbing last-minute takeout meals can add up, while pantry meals for a family of four cost $10 to $15.

Experts recommend an inventory of your pantry before buying new foods. Throw out anything past its expiration date, and donate food that’s good but that you no longer want.

Avoid a frustrating search for ingredients by grouping like foods together – pastas and rice, soups and grains. Store at eye level the ingredients you use the most, and store small items such as potatoes, onions and garlic in baskets.

After filling the pantry, stocking the freezer with foods that thaw easily or can be cooked frozen – chicken tenders, shrimp, scallops and frozen vegetables – makes it even easier to create a last-minute meal.

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BASICS TO KEEP ON HAND
Dried foods
Pasta

Egg noodles

Chinese noodles

Couscous

Lentils or split peas

Rice

Nuts

Fruits

Chiles

Canned foods
Beans

Tomatoes (paste, puree, diced, sauce)

Pasta sauces

Corn and other vegetables

Fruits

Mushrooms

Stocks (vegetable, chicken, beef)

Soups (canned, boxed, dehydrated)

Meats

Coconut milk

Jarred foods
Pesto

Sun-dried tomatoes

Tapenades

Capers

Pickles

Hoisin sauce

Pickled vegetables

Dried mushrooms

Mango chutney

Roasted red peppers

Olives

Peanut butter

Red or green curry paste

Root cellar
Onions

Potatoes

Loaf of bread

Crackers

Condiments
Mustards

Ketchup

Worcestershire sauce

Soy sauce

Salsa

Horseradish

Dry white wine, dry sherry or white grape juice

Extra virgin olive oil

Vinegars

Mayonnaise

Spices
Dried basil

Granulated garlic

Kosher salt

Pepper

Cayenne

Chile powder

Oregano

Rosemary

Thyme

Paprika

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PANTRY INVENTORY

Ways to keep your pantry safe and efficient:

• Store staples in a cool, dry and dark place. Storage temperatures should be as close to 70 degrees as possible.

• Be mindful of expiration dates. Canned meats, soups, pastas and canned vegetables last up to two years. High-acid canned foods such as tomato sauces, canned fruits and vinegars last about one year. Rice and flour last for six to 12 months. Vegetable oils last six months opened and 12 months if unopened.

• Once a can is opened, the food is perishable. Transfer any not used to a covered glass or plastic container and refrigerate.

Citizen Online Archive, 2006-2009

This archive contains all the stories that appeared on the Tucson Citizen's website from mid-2006 to June 1, 2009.

In 2010, a power surge fried a server that contained all of videos linked to dozens of stories in this archive. Also, a server that contained all of the databases for dozens of stories was accidentally erased, so all of those links are broken as well. However, all of the text and photos that accompanied some stories have been preserved.

For all of the stories that were archived by the Tucson Citizen newspaper's library in a digital archive between 1993 and 2009, go to Morgue Part 2

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