My Kitchen Basics

Every chef, amateur or otherwise, has a few things in their kitchen that they cannot live without. These ‘must haves’ can be foods or tools. The list below are the foods I wouldn’t like to find myself without in my kitchen, since I don’t yet have favourite tools. I haven’t been cooking long enough to settle on my favourites.

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Chicken Stock Base – Like OXO, for those of you that know what that is, but it’s yellow like Lipton Chicken Noodle Soup. Isn’t as salty, though. I use a spoonful or so of this in a lot of my soups and when I’m making noodles to add colour and flavour to it. I get mine at the Dollarama here in town, and it comes in a red canister with a yellow label.

Worchestershire Sauce – You know, that English stuff that no one can quite figure out how to pronounce. Again, it’s something that I use in soup and in my spaghetti sauce. I find it gives things a nice ‘warm’ flavour; this is something I only recently started using but now I put it in just about everything.

Tomatoes – Either whole or not, I love tomatoes. I put them in quite a lot of food, and I keep cherry/grape tomatoes on top of the microwave to snack on when I’m cooking.

Basmati Rice – I can thank my stepmum for this one. A long grain rice with a nice subtle flavour that is good both as a side and as an addition to soups. I like to throw a handful in when I’m making tomato or chicken soup to add some more volume and texture to it.

Dry Pasta – I have Orzo and Spaghetti in my cupboard right now; this is great for me because it takes all of 8 minutes to cook pasta al dente, and since I’m still a student it’s a great, quick meal.

Rice/Egg Noodles – And when I say ‘egg noodles’ I don’t mean the little spindly ones or those funky curly ones that are in Primo Chicken Soup. These are Rooster Brand Egg Noodles, and they’re closer to Ramen/Mr Noodles than anything else. They come as eight flat portions to a pack for $0.99, and they’re also good in soups. Good on their own, too, with some chopped up veggies and whatnot. Same goes for the rice noodles.

Frozen Corn – The stuff that comes in 750g bags in the freezer section; the stuff in my freezer right now is Peaches & Cream. Again, this is something else that I throw into recipes by the 1/4 cup or so. I like in soup, since it cooks up nice and quick.

Ground Beef – I’ve got a few 1/3 pound patties in the freezer courtesy of my stepmum. I find one of these is the perfect size for a small batch of spaghetti sauce (2 meals worth, essentially).

Strained Tomatoes – Bella Tavola brand; essentially tomato sauce with nothing in it. This is what I use as a base for my spaghetti sauce and as an add for soups. The fact that it’s just tomatoes allows you to get just the flavour you want out of the sauce.

Sweet Chili Sauce – This is another thing that gets used in/put on everything. It comes in big glass bottles and is supposed to be for chicken, but I’m one of thoose people that eats it on everything. I even put it in soup for a little bit of a kick.

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