I admit, I've never understood people that hate to go to the grocery store. I mean, I see things to hate about the act (lugging all of the bags in and paying through the nose for it come to mind), but I love the endless possibilities of a grocery trip.
I used to shop willy-nilly (the technical term), picking whatever I wished with no regard to planning whole meals or anything like that. Because of this, I often had to go to the store several times in one week to get even the most mediocre of meals thrown together. I also did the majority of my shopping at our local fancy-dan grocery: The Fresh Market. Ah, The Fresh Market. It is warm, no harsh fluorescence, and soothing classical music is piped in. There is free coffee. The selection--be it cheese, meat, produce, candy--cannot be beat. But the prices. Oy.
So, with my new thrifty mindset (I'm really trying here), I've started planning. And really planning, it usually takes me a good couple of hours of sifting through cookbooks, magazines, and my cute recipe box to pick out what will be on the menu for the next week, then I have to make my ridiculous list. And yes, I am the first to admit that it is ridiculous. I split it up according to sections of the grocery store, so I never have to double back. This makes a lot of sense, no? But I get teased, even by the checkers. Sigh.
Anyway, the point I am trying to arrive at is that for the first time in a long time I have a well-appointed pantry. I have old standbys that I always have on hand, I have a good assortment of spices, I am generally well prepared for the repeat offenders in my culinary line-up. Most of the time I only buy meat, produce, and dairy at the market, with a few cooking supplies or canned goods to replenish the stock.
So, I thought that every few days or so I would talk about one or two of my pantry staples. I won't get too long winded, and I'm not going to state the obvious (we all have eggs, right?). But these are a few ingredients that my pantry feels indecent without:
Swanson Organic Chicken Stock
Yes, in a perfect world I have a constant supply of homemade chicken stock at my disposal, but in reality...no. That's not to say I don't ever make stock, in fact, I just popped two quarts of seafood stock in the freezer last week. But I use chicken stock a lot, a splash here, a cup there, etc. So, after spending too much on attractively packaged stock at the aforementioned fancy-dan market, I sampled this new offering at my trusty Food City. It is cheaper, certified Organic, and tastes just as good as the more expensive brand. Makes me a happy girl, it does.
I believe we are going out to dinner tonight (riding high on Christmas gift certificates), so I'm not sure if there will be a dinner entry this evening. I am, however, planning to post up a favorite vegetarian recipe for my silly non-meat-eating friends.