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10 food items that are must haves in any pantry

Here we look at 10 items commonly found in pantries that will help make any cook look like a professional.

1: Canned Tomatoes

Many dishes can utilise tomatoes as a base or as a key ingredient. But there are a few different types out there so which one is better to keep? It would be ideal to have on hand a mix of diced, crushed and whole tomatoes for a range of different dishes.

Try our spicy tomato prawns recipe which uses canned diced tomatoes 

2: Herbs and Spices

Herbs and spices can be the key difference to delivering ultimate flavour in your recipe. You don’t have to have every single variety you can start with a few and experiment with others later as you build your repertoire. The must haves we recommend are: Pepper, Rosemary, Oregano, a green herb like Parsley or Chive, Mixed herb, Coriander - ground , Allspice, Cinnamon, Paprika and of course, most importantly Salt.

Always remember to taste your dish as you are cooking, to see what extra flavour you require.

3: Frozen Vegetables

Although not a cupboard item most homes have a freezer with a packet of frozen veg hiding in the back. Frozen vegetables can not only be a lifesaver but are often a time saver in cookery. You can add them to dishes to bulk up meals or add texture and colour to a dish. You will be amazed the flexibility they can bring to a dish.

Remember - frozen vegetables contain just as many nutrients as fresh – so don’t feel like you are missing out by using them.

4: Rice

Rice is such a versatile grain. It can be the main component in a dish like a risotto or paella, or a nice side dish to compliment meat and vegetable dishes. It lasts a long time in the pantry and there are many varieties in the supermarkets. Our recommendations are a long grain rice like Jasmine, and a short grain like Arborio.

Try cooking your rice in Campbell’s Real Stock instead of water for extra flavour!

5: Lentils and pulses

Lentils and Pulses are a staple food item all over the world because they're inexpensive, easy to prepare, nutritious and filling. You can always keep some cans of lentils or pulses in your pantry. Lentils and pulses are great on their own or served as a side dish to some veggies and meat. They also make a good addition to casseroles and cold salads. We recommend Lentils (there is a huge variety of colours) brown is the most common, Chickpeas and a form of bean like White or Red bean.

Canned lentils are a great substitute to dry, and save you lots of preparation time – just remember that canned lentils only need 10 – 15 mins cooking time compared to 1 hour for dry.

6: Dry Pasta

If you're going to have anything in the pantry, then you'll need some pasta for sure. Packaged pasta is inexpensive, has virtually no expiration date and can be used in a variety of meals. When it comes to picking pasta, it all comes down to which one you prefer. Dried pasta comes in a wide variety of sizes, from thin angel hair, to the extra wide and thick pappardelle, tubular or "bow tie" pastas and lasagna sheets.

When cooking your pasta, add some salt into the water, it increases the boiling point and prevents the pasta sticking together.

7: Soy Sauce

It’s amazing how important soy sauce can be in a pantry. You can attempt Asian styled cuisines or add flavour to a variety of dishes without adding any salt. Soy sauce also helps deliver flavour to marinades, soups or as a subtle background flavour.

Try adding some Soy sauce to your steamed vegetables for some extra flavour.

8: Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar

Olive oil is a great substitute to butter and margarine. It is a healthier substitute, and has a higher frying temperature so it can tolerate more heat. Olive oil can also be used not only just for cooking it can be used with vinegars as a dressing for salads.

Balsamic Vinegar can be used as a dressing, marinade or for adding a sweet caramel note to casseroles and stews. 

9: Campbell’s Real Stock

Soups and casseroles are a great option when you're trying to eat on a budget or feed a family. Campbell’s Real Stock adds a deeper richer flavour base to your dish and that’s why stocks are a must-have for your kitchen pantry.

Try using stock in place of water to add extra flavour to your dishes and even cook your rice or mash with it for maximum flavour.

10: Can of Campbell’s Condensed Soup

No pantry is complete without a couple of cans of condensed soup. This is a great backup for when you need some extra liquid or flavour in your meal or you just want to prepare a simple and filling meal. Campbell’s Condensed soup has a long shelf life, so buy a few cans and stick them in the back of your pantry for a rainy day...