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10 Gotta have-its for your pantry and fridge

OK, kids, it’s time to hit Chef Doug’s boot camp for culinary dropouts. First lesson: Here are the items to always have handy in your pantry or fridge.

Woman looking in fridge

1. Large bottle rice wine vinegar

Rice wine vinegar is a key ingredient in a number of flavorful salad dressings and sauces. Try these tasty (and easy) sauce recipes.

2. Apricot jam

Whether you’re topping a cracker for a quick snack or using it to flavor your entree, you’ll be glad to have a jar of jam on hand.

3. Sea salt

In addition to flavoring your food, sea salt can also be used to create your own flavored salts. Check out these easy and tasty flavored salt recipes.

4. Dijon mustard

Make sure the dijon mustard that you choose is of good quality!

5. Lemon juice

Here are our top 20 uses for lemons and lemon juice!

6. Fresh herbs

Basil, cilantro, chive, dill, green onion… Pick these up on a regular basis, or make yourself a small herb garden that sits on your windowsill.

7. Honey

There’s all kinds of fun flavored honeys these days. Over my years of travels, I’ve been caught indulging at various honey shacks with a red t-shirt that say’s “POOH” on the front. I’m not ashamed to admit that I love honey. Orange blossom and clover are typically my favorites.

8. Fresh garlic

Follow this simple technique for roasting garlic: 

  1. Preheat oven to 35oF. Peel away the outer layers of the heads, leaving the thin skins of the individual cloves.
  2. Cut off one quarter of the top of the head, exposing the cloves. Rub a couple teaspoons of olive oil into each head, place in muffin tins (these are the cat’s meow for roasting garlic), cover with aluminum foil and bake for 35 to 40 minutes.
  3. Pull out of the oven, cool and squeeze the meaty part of the garlic out of the skins.
  4. Put into small ice cube trays, cover with plastic wrap and freeze. When the garlic is frozen, pop out of the trays and into a freezer bag. Viola! Fresh roasted garlic at your fingertips whenever you cook.

9. Extra-virgin olive oil

Stock up on vegetable and grapeseed oils, as well.

10. Pasta and noodles

Make it a fun mix: Orzo, ramen, soba, bowtie, etc. With these 10 simple staples, you can hang with me on our culinary adventure.

More grocery shopping tips:

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