Tis the season….
Tis the season for merriment, shopping, wrapping, baking, cooking, holiday parties and even the impromptu get together. Tis also the season when ovens turn on and stove tops simmer, so why not invite a few friends over?
We’ve decked our halls and decorated our trees. Our homes have taken on the wonderful aromas of freshly baked pies and cookies, roasting hens and hams, aromatic savory spices and sweet flavors of cinnamon, cardamom, maple and vanilla. Turn on the music, light the candles and the tree and with your well stocked pantry, you’re ready to entertain at the spur of the moment. While the food might take center stage, don’t make it complicated or fussy. Something simple will do. An old fashioned casserole, an oven roasted chicken, even an evening of appetizers and finger foods is perfect. Offer a signature cocktail, spiked mulled cider, bubbly, wine or craft beers, whatever tickles your fancy. Again, it’s not what you serve that matters… it’s the gesture and the celebration of the season. A little food and drink and voila!
A Well stocked Pantry
Basic soup stocks: Beef, vegetable, chicken
Oatmeal for hot cereal, apple crisp and other warm treat
Canned tomatoes, whole and chopped, and tomato sauce for homemade pasta sauces and soup bases.
Really good quality pasta sauces, like Rao's, for those days you don't want to cook.
Flour, Sugar, Baking powder and baking soda, for baking
Chocolate chips and other assorted chips for cookie cravings
Beans, assorted, for soups, chilis and those Mexican cravings
Pasta, assorted varieties
Rice, brown is healthier!
Couscous and quinoa
Stock up on your olive oils, baking oils (Canola and or corn) and vinegars
Jiffy or other non-microwaveable popcorn for movie nights!
Assorted nuts - peanuts, hazelnuts, almonds, cashews, walnuts
Crackers and flatbreads, plain and flavored for impromptu get togethers with friends
Dried fruit such as apricots, raisins, cranberries, dates for snacking on, baking and creating beautiful cheese platters
Assorted chips (I love to serve them in silver bowls)
Peanut and assorted nut butters
Soy, Worcestershire, Sriracha and assorted sauces and liquid seasonings
Potatoes, garlic and onions - though some keep these in the fridge
Assorted mustards, Dijon, whole grain, honey
Jarred sun-dried tomatoes
A well stocked spice cabinet
Assorted salts, sea, himalayan and flavored
Pepper, fine and coarse
Red pepper flakes
Herbes de Provence
Curry powder, red and yellow
Cream of Tartar
A Well stocked fridge
Cream, for cooking
Assorted cheeses, for cooking and for last minute guests
Parmesan cheese, grated or block
Greek yogurt (for sauces, dips and in lieu of sour cream)
Soup vegetables such as:
Champagne, Prosecco, Cava
A well stocked freezer
Ice cream, sherbet, gelato (These can quickly turn into the most delectable desserts)
Good bread (such as French or Italian)
Phyllo and pastry dough
Homemade soup stocks
Frozen berries - to be used in quick breads or for breakfast smoothies
Chicken, ham, pork, etc bones for making homemade stocks
Baked goods - I love to freeze baked goods such as cookies and brownies. They keep beautifully in the freezer and you can take them out in a pinch for entertaining purposes.
A Well Stocked Liquor Cabinet/Bar Cart
Assorted bottles of wine: red, white and rosé (see fridge)
Assorted bottle of prosecco, Champagne (see fridge)
Grand Marnier or Triple Sec
Simple Syrup (should be stored in fridge - keeps 2 weeks refrigerate)
Assorted beer (should all be refrigerated)