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How To Stock A College Student’s Pantry – here’s a guide to help you decide what items you’ll need…

How To Stock A College Student's Pantry ZagLeft

A few months ago, I wrote about the essential items needed for a first kitchen and I also discussed them on a Houston morning news show.   As the new school year quickly approaches, I thought I’d do a follow up post listing the items I feel would be useful to have on hand inside your pantry.

The items you keep in your pantry are determined by the types of foods you like to cook.  We tend to keep on hand the items we like. When I create the recipes for the College Meals Section of the blog, I try to come up with recipes that not only taste great but are also inexpensive, healthy and easy to make.  With this in mind, I’ve listed items I would recommend keeping in your pantry to make preparing meals quick and easy.

Spices – Jars of spices can be expensive.  You read a recipe and it tells you to use 1 teaspoon of a particular spice.  It seems a shame to have to buy a bottle that costs money and only use a little.  Here’s what I recommend; check to see if any market near you carries bulk spices.  You might have seen the aisles is supermarkets with jars fillied with various spices.  You scoop out only the amount you need and purchase what you want.  You’ll pay just a few cents for a little bag of the spice you choose and it’s a great way to save money.

If you can’t find bulk spices, purchase one jar at a time and slowly build up your supply.

Chicken with Creamy Paprika Sauce from ZagLeft
Chicken with Creamy Paprika Sauce

*  Cinnamon – perfect for baking, sprinkling into oatmeal and making cinnamon toast.

*  Cayenne Pepper – if you like hot sauce, you’ll love sprinkling a little cayenne pepper over pizza, on eggs or in sauces.

*  Garlic Powder – Personally, I love the flavor of fresh garlic in foods, but garlic powder certainly has it’s place in our pantry too.  I love to use it to make garlic bread or combined with parmesan cheese and sprinkled over popcorn.

*  Paprika and/or Smoked Paprika – Smoked Paprika is one of my favorite spices.  I love to use it when I cook chicken or chili and it’s especially delicious in this Chicken with Creamy Paprika Sauce.

*  Cumin – great when making Chicken Enchiladas.

*  Dried Oregano

*  Dried Basil – A classic Italian seasoning for pasta and meat sauce.

*  Dried Rosemary – Delicious used when roasting chicken or roasting vegetables.

*  Salt and Pepper – I can’t imagine cooking without either.  These are totally necessary.

spices | ZagLeft

Dry Ingredients   Dry ingredients are the items you’ll use mostly when baking cookies, cakes or making homemade instant pancake mix

Moist and chewy Blueberry Cheesecake Cookies | ZagLeft
Blueberry Cheesecake Cookies

*  All Purpose Flour

*  Light Brown or Dark Brown Sugar

*  Granulated Sugar

*  Baking Powder

*  Baking Soda


*  Tomato Sauce – Great for making easy Bubble PizzaPepperoni and Cheese Pizza Bites or over your favorite pasta.

*  Tomato Paste – A concentrated tomato product often used in many recipes.

*  Diced Tomatoes or Crushed Tomatoes – These tomatoes are peeled and sometimes diced and are great to use when making Tomato Sauce from scratch.

*  Black Beans and Garbanzo Beans – Great as a source or protein when sprinkled over salads, to use in burritos and in making hummus.

Mama's Tomato Sauce from Zagleft

Easy Homemade Tomato Sauce


Quinoa, Lentil and Black Bean Burrito Bowl from ZagLeft
Quinoa, Lentil and Black Bean Burrito Bowl

*  Bread

*  Tortillas

*  Oats

*  Pasta

*  Rice

*  Quinoa


Chocolate Almond Butter Recipe from ZagLeft
Chocolate Almond Butter

*  Soy Sauce – Soy Sauce is so versatile.  Use it not only in Asian recipes such as Cashew Chicken and Fried Rice.

*  Boxes of broth (chicken, beef and/or vegetable) or the Boullion Cubes.

*  Peanut Butter or Nut Butter

*  Canned Tuna

*  Nuts for snacking


Spring Salad with Roasted Corn, Tomatoes and Manchega, a simple spring salad that's full of flavor | ZagLeft
Spring Salad

*  Honey

*  Olive Oil and/or Canola Oil

*  Vanilla Extract

*  Balsamic Vinegar – Great for drizzling on salads.

*  Red Wine Vinegar

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Hi, I’m Joanie and welcome to ZagLeft where we share favorite recipes as well as exciting travel experiences that we’ve enjoyed while always trying to take the road less traveled.

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