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Some of My Favorite Things











Recipe of the Week

Detail of Caramel Apple-Almond Crepes



Caramel Apple-Almond Crepes


A great dish for dessert or breakfast, these filled crepes are quick and easy to make, full of wonderful flavor, and make any occasion special.


General Pantry Items
by Wen Zientek-Sico

Need to know what items every good kitchen should be stocked with to be well stocked for entertaining? Here is a great basic list to use as a reference.



I get many requests for a list of staples or items that I always have on hand for general cooking or entertaining needs. Here is a very basic list that is suitable for most households. By no means do you have to have everything on this list, but these are the most commonly used ingredients in my kitchen and I find that I use all of them frequently in entertaining. I will also be offering up specialized lists for different types of entertaining as time goes by.

Did I miss something important? Let us know what has to be in your pantry for it to be complete.

Almond Extract - for adding a little extra flavor to desserts, pie crusts, vegetables, and other dishes

American Cheese - for sandwiches, snacking, casseroles, pasta, mashed potatoes, or vegetables

Apples - for long storage, eating out of hand, and making desserts

Applesauce - for snacking, cooking, baking, and an easy dessert

Balsamic Vinegar - for flavoring dishes and making salad dressings

Baking Soda - for baking and cleaning

Baking Powder - for baking

Barbecue Sauce - for cooking and flavoring

Basil - for pesto and other Italian recipes

Bay Leaves - for seasoning soups, stocks, roasts, sauces, and poaching liquids

Bouillon (Beef, Chicken, and Vegetable) - for soups, seasoning, casseroles, and marinades

Brown Rice (it is healthier than white) - for casseroles, soups, stuffings and side dishes

Brown Sugar - for cooking, baking, and seasoning

Butter or Margarine - for cooking, flavoring, and greasing pans

Cake Mix - for a quick and easy dessert

Canned Cream Soup - for a quick lunch, or to add to side dishes, soups, casseroles, and other dishes

Canned Frosting - for a quick and easy dessert

Catsup - for flavoring, sandwiches, or other dishes

Carrots - for long storage, snacking, soups, side dishes, roasting meats, casseroles, stews, and more

Cayenne Pepper or Crushed Red Pepper - for a little heat

Celery - for snacking, soups, roasting meats, casseroles, and stews

Cheddar Cheese - for sandwiches, snacking, casseroles, pasta, mashed potatoes, or vegetables

Chervil - for seasoning delicately flavored sauces and soups

Chives, fresh - for sauces or mashed potatoes

Cinnamon - for breads, cereals, and desserts

Cocoa Powder - for baking and making hot cocoa

Cold Cereal - for baking, topping casseroles, snacking, and breakfast

Cookies or Biscuits - for snacking or quick desserts

Cooking Sprays - for greasing pans for baking or frying

Cornmeal - for corn bread and for baking white bread

Cornstarch - for thickening sauces, stews, and gravies

Crackers - for snacking, appetizers, and topping casseroles

Cream Cheese - for bagels, toast, muffins, crackers, appetizers, cakes, and sauces

Cream of Tartar - for whipping egg whites

Dried Beans - for savory soups, stews, and side dishes

Dried Bread Crumbs - for breading food and topping casseroles

Dried Fruit - for desserts, sauces, roasting meat and poultry, and snacking

Dry Mustard - for seasoning and color

Eggs or Egg Substitutes - for cooking, baking, or a quick and easy meal of omelets or frittatas

Fruit Juice - for poaching poultry and fish, roasting meats, baking, cooking, and making beverages

Garlic - for flavoring or garlic bread

Gelatin, Flavored and Unflavored - for desserts, salads, and snacks

Ginger - fresh for mincing or grating and adding to dishes for a spark

Graham Cracker Pie Crusts - for quick pies

Honey - for seasoning, cooking, or eating on biscuits or cereal

Hot Sauce - for adding a touch of spice to dishes

Jams or Jellies - for making sandwiches, desserts, or sauces

Kitchen Bouquet - a vegetable extract perfect for flavoring and adding color to stews, soups, and gravies

Lemons - for squeezing for fresh juice or using the zest in cooking

Liquid Smoke - for adding a barbecue flavor to sauces, cheese, appetizers, poultry, fish, and meats

Mayonnaise - for salads, sandwiches, salad dressings, and many other dishes; low fat or fat free are also good choices

Monterey Jack Cheese - for snacking, appetizers, side dishes, casseroles, vegetables, and Mxican dishes

Nutmeg - for freshly grating for baked dishes, potatoes, and sauces

Nuts - a selection of your favorite nuts for breads, muffins, desserts, casseroles, and side dishes

Oatmeal - for baking, cooking, and as a breakfast cereal

Olive Oil - for cooking, greasing pans, or making salad dressings

Onions - for seasoning meats, soups, stews, casseroles and many other dishes

Orange Extract - for flavoring sauces, marinades, and desserts

Oranges - for snacking, desserts, flavoring, and juice

Paprika - flavor and decoration

Parmesan Cheese, fresh brick - for grating as needed for pasta, sauces, popcorn, bread, etc.

Parsley, fresh - for chopping to add flavor and color and for using in sprigs as a garnish

Pasta - for eating plain, with butter, or a sauce; also great for using in soups, stews, casseroles, or as a side dish

Peanut Butter - for cooking, baking, and snacking

Peppercorns - for including whole in soups, stocks, marinades, and roasts and for grinding for cooking and table use

Powdered Sugar - for making frosting, cooking, baking, and decorating

Prepared Mustard - for sandwiches, mayonnaise based salads, salad dressings, and marinades

Potatoes, Russet - for baking and mashing

Potatoes, Small Red - for boiling and roasting

Pudding Mixes - for quick and easy desserts, pies, and puddings

Real Maple Syrup - for cooking, flavoring, pancakes, waffles, and French toast

Red Wine - for cooking and seasoning

Rosemary - for seasoning in small amounts

Sage - for seasoning meats and stews

Salt - for seasoning and to add to boiling water

Scallions and Shallots - for flavoring with a lighter touch than onions

Semi-Sweet Chocolate - for desserts and snacking

Solid Shortening - For baking and greasing pans

Soy Sauce - for flavoring and quick stir frying

Sugar - for cooking and seasoning

Swiss Cheese - for snacking, appetizers, casseroles, side dishes, and soups

Tenderizer - for tenderizing meats

Thyme - for seasoning meats, poultry, sauces, vegetables, and side dishes

Tomato Paste - for making pasta sauces, stews, soups, and casseroles

Tomatoes - use fresh in season or canned out of season for sauces, salads, soups, stews, casseroles, and other dishes

Tuna Fish - for quick sandwiches and casseroles

Unbleached White Flour - for cooking, baking, thickening

Unsweetened Chocolate - for baking and cooking

Vanilla - for flavoring many dishes especially desserts; only use the real flavoring or vanilla beans

Vegetable Oil - for frying, cooking, salad dressings, and greasing pans

White Wine Vinegar - for salads, flavoring, and cleaning coffee pots

White wine - for cooking

Worcestershire Sauce - for seasoning and adding color

Yeast - for baking







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