Every kitchen pantry is stocked full of non-perishable staples, items that do not go bad that we buy for those rare occasions when we need them in a recipe. For most people, the pantry is full of canned goods, non-perishable items and other food stuffs, and those food stuffs mostly dormant and unused. Don’t let your pantry go to waste. Pantry staples are cheap and tasty and don’t deserve to stand idle in culinary purgatory. Pantry staples can have some unique culinary applications. Follow these tips to learn how to add intriguing touches to your meals with everyday kitchen staples.
Peanut Butter: In almost every cupboard sits a half-eaten jar of peanut butter. The cupboard staple is rich, creamy and delicious, but most people only use peanut butter for sandwiches and the occasional dessert. The rich creaminess of peanut butter is great in savory applications too. Try adding peanut butter to your next stir fry to give it a Thai-inspired flavor. Use peanut butter as the base to a peanut sauce that tastes great with pasta and vegetables.
Soy Sauce: Almost every East Asian dish calls for soy sauce. Soy sauce adds a nutty, salty taste to any dish, but most people only cook with soy sauce when cooking an Asian-style dish. However, soy sauce is a versatile ingredient that can work well in many recipes. Experiment and use soy sauce instead of salt in your favorite recipes to add some depth to the dish. In particular, soy sauce tastes great in barbecue sauces.
Almonds: Like with most nuts, many people only buy almonds to snack on or for the occasional dessert. Almonds can be ground up into a fine powder to create almond flour, a delicious, protein-rich and gluten-free alternative to wheat flour. You can also blend almonds with water to create almond milk, a creamy and delicious beverage that is a great alternative to milk.
Bisquick: Originally intended for biscuits, many people now use Bisquick as the base to make pancakes at home. Bisquick has a wide variety of uses outside of just pancakes and biscuits. Use Bisquick as part of the dry base ingredients for a host of desserts, from cakes and pies to muffins and tarts. It also works great in casseroles too.
Cashews: Similar to almonds, cashews have a wide array of culinary uses, but most only use them in the occasional dessert. Besides being a tasty out-of-hand snack, cashews add a rich crunchiness to vegetable dishes like a stir fry, a pasta dish or even a casserole. Additionally, you can blend cashews in a food processor to make cashew butter, a tasty spread similar to peanut butter.
Cocoa Powder: This chocolaty powder only gets used in most kitchens to add a touch of flavor to the occasional dessert. Don’t let the rich chocolate flavor cocoa powder adds to go to waste. Use it as part of the base for homemade hot chocolate mix. Chocolate works well in spicy applications as well, lending a sweet bitter note to a spicy dish. Use cocoa powder to make a traditional Mexican mole sauce or add it to your favorite chili recipe.
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