Your pantry should always have a few staples in it. Whether your just starting out or want a well stocked pantry. Now, everyone has their own lists and you should develop yours. I'm going to list the items that I keep in mine so that I can always throw something together.
Variety of Vinegars, these are great from making salad dressings
Oils, again for dressings and adding different flavors to foods during the cooking process
Sugar, refined, turbinado, brown and dark
Salts, have a variety of salts, again these add different flavors to your foods
Pepper, fresh ground is the best
Olives, green and black--under rated food for snacks and added variety to your dishes
Gluten free Flours--I keep mine now in a spare refrigerator but you can keep them on the shelf. Word to the wise though, keep them tightly sealed especially Millet flour as it tends to get weevils. I keep a 1-1 AP blend, buckwheat flour, oat flour, sweet rice flour
Regular Flour if you are not Gluten Free
Peanut Butter, Almond Butter, Nutella-really any of the nut butters that you like. These should be in any pantry. Used for desserts, lunches and snacks
Chicken stock or bouillon--I keep both but if you are not going to use it a lot then get Bouillon.
Beef Bouillon--soup base or a sauce base
Capers-can be used in salads and sauces
Bamboo Shoots-jarred not canned, used in stir fries and salads
Pasta--either Gluten Free or wheat and a variety
Soy Sauce--Gluten Free (or not)
Lemon Curd--can be used in desserts, dips and for breakfast on toast (GF)
Ghee-I use this quite a bit in stir fries and when cooking eggs
Dried Fruit--used for snacks, salads, stuffings and baking
Milk-source of your choice, I keep cows and almond milk
Sriracha--I usually keep one in the fridge and one in the pantry. Same with Soy Sauce
Minced Garlic--Sometimes you just don't have time to cut it up
Minced Ginger--Same as the garlic
BBQ Sauce--Who doesn't like BBQ Sauce and it can be used in the oven and not just out on the Q
Sour Cream--good in baking, mixing in sauces and on top of all kinds of things
Cream Cheese--another staple that is good in baking, as a snack and as a side dish
Gluten Free Tortillas--Sorry but I have to give a plug to the Mission GF Tortillas as they are so, so good
GF Corn Tortillas--These can replace bread in quite a few recipes
Apples--these keep for a long time in the crisper. If they start to wrinkle, use them in a sauce or make apple sauce. Fresh apples are good in salads, chicken salad, baked with pork chops or with fish.
Frozen Vegi's--buy the kind you like and keep them stocked. Spinach, corn, peas, green beans, etc. As long as they are the quick frozen kind they are still good for you. Don't buy the kind with sauces or added salts or sugars.
Cooked Bacon-because who doesn't like bacon
Cooked chicken in individual servings
Nuts-keep a variety-walnuts, sunflower, pecans, almonds
Cooked Sticky Rice-wrapped in 1 cup servings
Grated Cheeses-Cheddar, Jack, Mozzarella
Frozen Fresh Berries--when ever I buy berries such as strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries, I take part of them and freeze for later
This doesn't mean that I don't keep other items in my kitchen but these are the ones that I have at all times. In the crisper are fresh vegetables and fruit, in the freezer will be steak, pork chops and chicken. When I want fish I always buy it fresh. All the recipes that I post will have at least one of the staples listed above if not several.
If you have any questions please do not hesitate to ask. If you need a quick recipe, let me know!
It's the one you have.