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Winter-Proof Your Pantry

Make quick meals with what you have on hand if you would rather not venture out in ice and snow

Lentil Soup

Lentil Soup — Kate Brittle/Getty Images

Frozen Vegetables to keep on hand include broccoli, edamame, green peas, snap peas, corn and spinach. Combined with a few other pantry staples, you can be endlessly creative.

Chicken and Vegetable Stock also are pantry must-haves. Their uses are limitless.

Pasta and Pasta Sauce provide a foundation on which to build many dishes. Add other pantry ingredients and you've got a meal. Have an assortment of pasta, including whole wheat.

Rice, long grain, short grain, white and brown, basmati, arborio, jasmine can go under a lot of sauces.

Grains such as quinoa, couscous and barley provide a lot of options.

Canned tuna, anchovies, salmon, smoked oysters offer many alternatives. Make linguine and clam sauce with canned clams, for example (also keep some clam juice around).

Potatoes, onions and garlic should always be available for soups, stir-fries and endless other dishes.

Mayonnaise, mustard, ketchup, oils and vinegars are essential condiments for cooking and making dressings to enhance what you've cooked. Also keep a variety of dried herbs, spices and extracts.

Dried fruits such as raisins, currants, dates, apricots, cherries and cranberries can be just the ingredients needed for a rice salad or vegetable stew.

Nuts such as pecans, pine nuts and walnuts can be added to salads, grains and other dishes.

Flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cornmeal and extracts will be useful in both sweet and savoring cooking.

Pantries are idiosyncratic. Stock yours based on your own taste and the way you cook.


Pasta Puttanesca
This is my go-to meal when there's not much in the house to eat.

Lentils with Sausage and Spinach
With these pantry items available, dinner takes no time.

Black Beans and Rice
You can use either dried or canned black beans. Full of protein and flavor, this can be a main dish or side dish.

Eggs are a good friend to the house-bound cook.

Vegetarian Chili
You can make a robust vegetarian chili with common pantry items.

Quinoa Cakes
Quinoa (prounounced KEEN-wah) was a staple food of the ancient Incas who called it "the mother grain." It has recently become wildly popular in the U.S. and is a good thing to keep in the pantry.

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