A Few Simple Ingredients…

Mix and Match Real Food Ingredients

Have I told you how much I have loved the Meet and Greet events so far? And how much it made me want to meet ALL of you!!?!

One of the topics we discussed at the Springfield Meet and Greet was how nice it is that once you have some key, real food ingredients in your kitchen – it suddenly becomes much easier to put healthy, whole food meals on the table.

It’s so true! If you are just beginning to switch your kitchen to a real food kitchen, rest assured, your job is just about to become much easier!

I took a few minutes to make a list of the top two dozen ingredients I always try to have on hand in my kitchen. With these ingredients, I can make hundreds of recipes. Check it out:

  • Wheat or other grains (to grind into flour)
  • Oats
  • Brown Rice
  • Whole Wheat Pasta
  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Peanut Butter (or peanuts to make your own!)
  • Coconut Oil
  • Butter
  • Yeast
  • Sucanat and/or Honey
  • Baking Powder
  • Baking Soda
  • Sea Salt
  • Cinnamon
  • Minced Onion
  • Garlic Powder
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Cheddar Cheese
  • Veggies (fresh or frozen)
  • Fruit (fresh and frozen)
  • Canned Salmon or Tuna
  • Beef
  • Chicken
  • Chocolate Chips (these are necessary – don’t you think?!)

Click here to see a detailed break-down of where I purchase these ingredients and how much I typically try to spend on them.

So what can I make with the above list of ingredients? Well, off the top of my head, I can think of spaghetti, mac and cheese, tuna casserole, muffins, pancakes, a few casseroles, stir fry, and pizza. And if I stood on my head for a while and got more blood flowing, the list could go on and on…

But I won’t. I’d likely break something (like a wall or my neck) if I tried to stand on my head.

I’d love to hear from you on this!

Have you found that you’re finding your way around your real food kitchen? Have you discovered your top 24 or so ingredients that help you stay organized in your real food kitchen? What ingredients would you add to the list I came up with? What meals have you found to create with your staple, real food ingredients?

And are you with me? Are chocolate chips a staple ingredient or are they not?! :)


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  1. Brandi says

    You should come to South Dakota :) We’re a forgotten people up here!


    Laura Reply:

    I actually tried to make it happen next weekend, but I just can’t get away right now. Super disappointed!


    Brandi Reply:

    Probably worked out well since we got a lot of snow and ice this week :)


  2. Emily says

    I have to have real garlic. The powdered stuff just doesn’t cut it for me! :)

    And what about cocoa powder? :)


    Laura Reply:

    I’m lazy when it comes to garlic. ;)


  3. says

    I prefer real onions too.


    Kristin Reply:

    I second the fresh garlic, onions, chicken stock and cocoa powder(Penzy’s natural bark). I would also add, vanilla extract, almond extract, honey, maple syrup, sustainable palm shortening, olive oil, walnut oil, unfiltered apple cider vinegar(for making sour milk to use in place of buttermilk), red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, raw nuts (walnuts, pecans and slivered almonds for starters),black pepper, white pepper, whole nutmeg and about 30 other Penzy’s herbs and spices.


    Kristin Reply:

    Oh, and a block of fresh parmesan cheese.


  4. Jennifer F. says

    My list looks a lot like yours! And I just recently started using Azure Standard, so I’m super excited to have a good source for most everything!:)


  5. Jeannie says

    You should really start experimenting with lentils. I have an amazing soup recipe and lentil tacos taste just like meat. They are easy to cook and probably better for you (and cheaper) than red meat. Just thought I’d pass on the word :) I enjoy your site.


    Suzanne Reply:

    Please post your 2 recipes with lentils if it’s possible! Thanks!


    Jeannie Reply:

    Red Lentil Coconut Curry Soup is the BEST! I’ve made it tons this winter.


    And Lentil Tacos are simply made like tacos, only sub the meat for the lentils! So easy.

    I have a couple other lentil recipes I haven’t yet tried (meatloaf, etc.) on my pinterest page.



  6. Jodee says

    I live on the Gulf of Mexico, like literally across the street, so my husband brings home his catch all the time and so I would say fish is a must at my house. Aside from that rice. My family has a crazy rice obsession, they can’t get enough. Funny because I did not grow up eating rice ever. I enjoy it now and my rice cooker works overtime. I have to say coffee, which I know you don’t like, but without my morning coffee my family is getting nothing from me…haha. I love you cookbook. The quick mix is my go to for everything and my family loves everything I have made with it. Keep up the good work.


  7. Gina says

    Yes have to have the chocolate chips! I would add fresh fish since that’s my little guys favorite food. Also fresh garlic and onions because my husband can’t be without those. Also have to have the palm shortening to fry said fish in. Oh and red or kidney beans. And dried fruit and nuts. Need them for my granola. And stewed tomatoes. I think that’s it. My husband would add coffee.


  8. BUSY MOM IN AL says

    Alabama is warm right now, come see us! My staples are the same as yours and yes I count chocolate chips and cocoa powder as staples! :)

    I keep cooked brown rice and lots of cooked beans in my freezer. I lay the bags flat on a cookie sheet to freeze and they fit better in my freezer. It is easy to add a little meat and a few veggies to make a quick rice and bean dinner.

    We shop every two weeks. The first week is fresh produce and the second week is canned or frozen. That helps me to stay out of the store.

    I also cook as much meat ahead of time as possible. Spaghetti or pizza is quick when the meat is already cooked. After your post on cooking ground beef in bulk versus cooking each night it is needed, I now cook mine covered and it really is quicker! Thanks for the tip!


  9. Nikki says

    Chicken stock is a must. When the day gets away from me it is easy to throw veggies form the freezer, stock and beans in a pot for soup


  10. Marie says

    Thanks for such an awesome resource with this blog. I ordered your E course and your Oh For Real book. I would love to win the gardening notebook.
    Keep the Faith,
    Marie in Montana


  11. Tracie says

    These are great. I also have worked to keep certain herbs and spices always in stock in my pantry. Those have been a huge help to me. I LOVE your Italian seasoning recipe-I use it almost daily, from frying potatoes, to making kale chips, to whipping up a quick batch of pizza sauce. Also, my son is sensitive to dairy, so I make some whole grain pasta, cool it down, and pour some Italian salad dressing over it, and he loves it! It’s really just a base for pasta salad, but is a very quick and easy meal! :)


  12. Miranda says

    I LOVE your blog and anticipate each new post! I have 4 boys, as well. My oldest just turned 5 last week! I am always super busy, but have been trying very hard to switch to a whole foods diet. I am so grateful for your balance – so many diets are extreme and, in my opinion, not very family-friendly (especially when you’re married to a guy who didn’t grow up eating very healthy)! ;) I am wondering what brand of whole grain pasta is your favorite. That is one of the “switches” I still need to make. My boys’ favorite meal is spaghetti, but they don’t care for the last brand of pasta that I tried.


  13. joanie e says

    hmmm… I thought everyone kept those things on hand : ) Been doing so for 30 plus yrs now… all necessary things, tho as a 35 yr long vegetarian, I’d add seaweed, soybeans, tempeh, yogurt starter, walnuts, beans, beans , beans. tofu, lentils….and white whole wheat flour for those family members who are still not going along with the whole wheat thing. Also gluten free grains for those like myself – allergic to wheat gluten


  14. April Smith says

    So funny that you mention this! A few days after I got my book, I sat down and went through every recipe and made a list of every single ingredient that you use to make them all. In the whole book, I counted 95 ingredients…and 25 of those are spices! Not too shabby:)


    Laura Reply:

    Oh, that is so cool! So glad you took the time to add them up and share the information!


  15. Scarlet says

    I can always use help in getting organized! We are planning a big garden this year but are getting off to a slow start. Thanks


  16. Avon says

    Excellent list… I keep every one of those on hand.
    I would change garlic powder to garlic granuals and add onion granuals too.
    I also keep frozen garlic in a jar in the freezer and have a handy garlic press.

    Since I am diabetic, I also keep a few others on hand:
    *Brown Rice
    *Assorted Beans
    *Assorted Nuts and Seeds
    *Greek Yogurt – Brow Cow is by far the best but is hard to find. Would you believe Walmart carries it.
    *Stevia (liquid) Also grows in garden very well.
    *Assorted nut oils (in the refrigerator)
    *Flax seed and meal

    Laura, if you will begin adding these things to your daily menu you and your family can very certainly AVOID


    Avon Reply:

    oops – ever becoming diabetic.


  17. Brianna D. says

    It’s good to have a master list of staple ingredients. This post would be good to share with an engaged young lady, ready to set up her first pantry! It is overwhelming if you try to get EVERYTHING at once. I wish I had a master list like this, or thought to make one, when I was a fresh bride.


  18. says

    Our lists are pretty similar. The only differences I could think of were 1) We love having canned and dry beans on hand. (Lentils, black beans, pinto beans, and garbanzo beans) They are a cheap and healthy protein for us. 2) We usually do ground turkey instead of ground beef. Though we are still looking for a good quality kind. 3) Cocoa Powder *And yes, chocolate chips are so wonderful to always have on hand whether store bought or homemade! We do love your homemade recipe for them! :)


  19. says

    Chocolate chips are absolutely necessary! This is a good list. I’m trying to think of something to add, but you covered the basics. After I walk away from the computer, I may think of something to add. :) I have found that having staples on hand makes all the difference between dinner at home and take out!


  20. Rebekah walden says

    I agree. I have everything but the actual grains which I am about to start adding. I have the flours on hand and flax seeds etc. But grains not ground would keep longer. I absolutely love your stir and pour bread. It is gonna be our staple bread from now on.


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