* buy highest quality you can


Artichoke hearts (marinated in olive oil–great for pastas)

-black (canned; a million easy meals)
-garbanzo (canned; make-your-own hummus)

-plain or Italian seasoned
-Panko (Japanese) breadcrumbs are great for getting a crunchy breading on fried items

Canola oil

Corn (canned)

Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (find on international aisle)

Chocolate (for baking)*
-semisweet (the most versatile)

Cocoa (unsweetened)*


Cranberries (dried)

Flour (all-purpose)*

Jam or fruit preserves

Maple syrup*

Nuts (all keep well in freezer)
-almonds (easy snack, lots of baking options, cheaper than pecans)

Olives (black & green)*

Olive oil (I keep two; one for everyday use, one expensive kind for drizzling & making vinaigrettes)*

Pasta (something long & a small shape)

Peanut butter



-confectioner’s (powdered)
-white (actually, I prefer organic/raw for baking)

Tabasco (garlic flavor is my favorite )

Tomatoes (canned)*

Tomato paste (I love Amore brand; it comes in a squeeze tube!)

Tuna (canned, chunk light in water)

Vegetable shortening

-balsamic (good quality)
-plain white

Worcestershire Sauce (great for marinades)


Barbecue sauce*

Bottled dressings of your choice

Butter (unsalted for baking; you can also freeze)


Cheese (feta, cheddar, parmesan are my trinity)

Dijon mustard*

Eggs (the most versatile ingredient of all time?)




Soy sauce (refrigerate after opening)

Yogurt (plain and/or vanilla)

White wine (dry, for cooking)

6 responses to “BUILD ME UP

  1. arianne zwartjes

    yay! you’re brilliant…i love these lists! so proud of you—this site looks awesome—and so happy that you’re doing this! go, kitchen goddess!


  2. I am proud to report that I hav every item on this list bar capers….because they are the work of the devil!!!!!!!!

    • bluejeangourmet

      oh, you’re funny Em! I had forgotten they were on your “no-no” list. and I’m terribly impressed that you’ve managed to be so well-stocked even in Moscow…that Lloyd is well on his way to growing up to be one heck of a foodie.

  3. you rock my socks nishta…this site is perfect! hey, i see that you’re supposed to get the best-quality chicken/beef stock…is that also true for veg stock, for us veggie-heads out here? i’ve always just gotten the one with the cutest packaging.

    • bluejeangourmet

      hey Elizabeth!–I usually buy Kitchen Basics brand–packaging isn’t so cute, but the quality is high. Unfortunately, with vegetable broth, most of them are so bad that I think it’s worth making your own.

      Easy & cheap to do–just roast a bunch of veggies in the oven for about 45 minutes at 425 (onions, carrots, garlic, mushrooms, leeks, whatever you’ve got) and then boil up with water, white wine, & whatever herbs you like (bay leaf, parsley, thyme). You can add canned tomatoes at this point if you like, too.

      Let it simmer as long as you can leave it, then strain the mixture through a fine sieve, pressing down to extract all the good stuff. Yum! I usually make a big batch and then freeze most of it–you can pour the stock in trays and make ice cubes, then store in a big Ziploc so you can take out just as much as you need at any given time.

      Time-consuming but not difficult–and worth it! So much tastier than stuff that comes in a box…I’ll have to blog about this soon 🙂

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