Being a true BrokeAss Gourmand is kind of like being a Boy Scout in that you have to be prepared so you can go out into the wilderness and have a good time (insert dirty joke here). Having a well-stocked pantry means that you are better able to follow recipes and create new ones because you’ll have most of the required non-perishables and dry goods already on-hand. The following is a list of staple ingredients frequently called-for in recipes.
All of these items can be found inexpensively at Trader Joe’s or your local discount supermarket. Having a well-stocked pantry makes shopping less expensive, since these ingredients last a long time and are used in a lot of different recipes. As a bonus, there are plenty of dishes that can be constructed almost entirely from pantry ingredients, which means you’re eating well while saving money—like a true BrokeAss Gourmet boss. The below prices are approximate, rounded up and based on Trader Joe’s prices in San Francisco, CA.
- unbleached all-purpose flour (I prefer King Arthur ) $4 for a 5 lb bag
- extra virgin olive oil $6 for a 12 oz
- vegetable/canola oil $4 for 16 oz
- kosher salt $2 for 16 oz
- pepper (ideally in a grinder) $2
- baking soda $3 for a 6 oz can
- baking powder $3 for a 6 oz can
- white granulated sugar $3 for a 16 oz box/bag
- brown sugar $3 for a 16 oz box/bag
- honey $4 for 8 oz
- balsamic vinegar $4 for 12 oz
- peanut butter $4 for 12 oz
- mayonnaise (store it in the fridge after opening!) $3 for 16 oz
- garlic $0.50 for a head
- dry pasta, $2 for 16 oz.
Now, once your pantry is stocked, you’ll find that the rare night in which you really can’t be bothered to get to the store to pick up fresh ingredients is much easier to handle. Below, you’ll find a delicious, satisfying recipe for what I like to call Pantry Spaghetti. Even if you don’t have any parsley, red pepper flakes or Parmesan it’ll still be delicious, thanks to the lip-smackingly delicious combination of garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. Lacking breadcrumbs? Crush up a bit of stale bread (the ends work fine) or some crackers.
- 8 oz. spaghetti Pantry
- 3 tbsp olive oil Pantry
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped Pantry
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs $2 for 12 oz.
- 2 tsp red pepper flakes 1.50 for 1 oz.
- 1/8 cup grated Parmesan $3
- 1 small bunch fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped $1
- salt and pepper to taste Pantry
Total Cost of Ingredients: $7.50
Cook the pasta according to directions in salted water. While the pasta cooks, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook for about 1 minute, stirring frequently to avoid burning. Add the bread crumbs and stir to combine well with garlic and oil. Allow the crumbs to toast for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.
When the pasta has finished cooking, drain it and return it to its pot. Toss with the garlic-breadcrumb mixture, the red pepper flakes, Parmesan, parsley and salt and pepper.
This guest post was generously provided by Gabi Moskowitz of BrokeAss Gourmet