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Happy New Year friends!! I took a longer break than I expected to, and I’m terribly sorry. But I’m getting back into the groove (aka back into the kitchen) and I’ll be writing more regularly from now on. Pinky swear.

For my first post of 2012, I thought it would be great to start off the year by going shopping. A lot of people I talk to say they don’t make interesting meals because they don’t have ingredients for them. That’s stupid. Take an hour out of your week, and go to the store. Stock up on some staples and grab a few fresh ingredients, and you’ll have the supplies to make basically anything. And by staples, I don’t mean neon orange mac ‘n’ cheese, ramen noodles, and frozen dinners. Put those down right now. Okay, keep one for an emergency, but put the other 19 boxes down.

Don’t know where to start? Lost in the grocery store? I can help!

Dry Goods:

pasta (whatever is on sale)

rice (white and brown)

Bisquick (it’s not just for pancakes)

flour

sugar (white and brown)

baking powder

baking soda

chocolate chips

Spices & Herbs: 

salt

pepper (if you get the kind in a grinder, you’re a champ)

garlic powder

chile powder

dried oregano

dried rosemary

Italian herbs

seasoned salt (you can achieve anything with Lawry’s or Pappy’s)

cinnamon

*the dollar store is a great place to get this stuff

Condiments & Such:

olive oil

vegetable oil

balsamic vinegar

honey

mustard

mayo

hot sauce (Cholula, Tapatio, and Sriracha are my 3 Musketeers)

soy sauce

teriyaki sauce

Dairy:

butter

cream cheese

grated parmesean

milk

Produce:

garlic

onion

tomatoes

a leafy green (lettuce, spinach, kale)

fresh herbs (parsley/cilantro)

vegetable of the week (I usually buy something random, like a squash or radishes, in addition to these staples)

Frozen Veggies:

bell pepper and onion blend

stir fry blend

peas

broccoli

Protein:

ground turkey

chicken picnic pack (a tray of thighs and legs, because it’s cheap)

tofu

Canned Goods:

chicken stock/bouillon (I use Better Than Bouillon brand)

tomato paste

diced tomatoes

chipotles in adobo (read here to figure out what to do with the rest of the can–I do this with tomato paste too)

low-fat refried beans and refried black beans

And that’s all I gotta say about that. Seriously, this is basically all I ever have and need. I have my staples at all times–the things you rarely need to replace like spices and oils, and on my weekly shopping trips I get my veggies and proteins as I need them. It might seem like a daunting list, but once you get the basics down, you’ll be stocked like a pro and ready to whip up delicious meals. I hope this helps you and gives you kitchen courage, because you’ll need it to get ready for a tasty 2012!

Here’s a great song with an entertaining video:

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