Middletown's Nicole Todd of Sea Salt + Honey Blog: Pantry Items I Always Stock Up On! - The Monmouth Moms

Our favorite Monmouth County food blogger, Nicole Todd, of Sea Salt + Honey Blog shares with The Monmouth Moms her go to pantry items she stocks up on. Make sure to add these items to your insta-cart next time you need some groceries!

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Hi! How’s everyone doing? I hope you’re hanging in there.


Since we’re all relegated to spending an inordinate amount of time at home, having a well stocked pantry has never been so important. In fact, when I polled my Instagram followers about whether they’d like a post on how to stock a pantry, everyone who answered (save for one person? I’m not sure what their plan is…) gave a resounding YES. So I put together a list of my most used ingredients.


A word to the wise: this is a long list. Don’t feel like you need EVERYTHING on it. But select a few things from each category every time you shop, and you’ll soon find your shelves lined with lots of dinner friendly options.



Also—and this is important—I wanted to say that we are not hoarding items, and I encourage you not to either. Believe me, I know how fortunate we are to be able to keep a well stocked pantry. I know that isn’t attainable for some. I’m troubled by the economic impact of this virus on families across the country. Brian and I donate regularly to food pantries (the thought of anyone going hungry breaks my heart) and are currently brainstorming some other ways we can help those in our community.



Phew. Okay. Had to get that out.



Now, without further ado, here are my top pantry items that will help you get dinner on the table any night of the week!






Yes, we need to include the refrigerator in this list. You can keep a lot of building blocks in there that will help whip up those pantry meals! I like to refrigerate things like lemons and ginger, too, because they have a longer shelf life that way.


  • Butter: salted and unsalted

  • Eggs

  • Greek yogurt (can be used as sour cream too!)

  • Milks: buttermilk, milk, cream (to help make quick-cooking sauces taste more robust)

  • Cheese: cheddar, Mexican mix, mozzarella, pecorino romano, gruyere

  • Veggies/Herbs/Fruit: carrots, celery, parsley, lemons, ginger

  • Diced pancetta (can also keep in the freezer!)


This is something that will be key in the next few weeks as we limit our time in grocery stores. (We have a large, separate freezer down in the basement for extras.)

  • Seafood: shrimp (raw, deveined, tail on), scallops, clams

  • Meats: pork tenderloin, pork shoulder, steaks, stew beef cubes, bottom round roast, chicken pieces (thighs, breasts), ground turkey, ground chicken, ground beef, sausage (both sweet and spicy, turkey and pork)

  • Vegetables: peas, green beans, chopped spinach, artichokes, broccoli, corn, butternut squash

  • Fruit: mixed berries, pineapple


This is what you came for.

  • Wine (lol, of course that’s the first thing on the list! We love to drink wine but I also cook with a lot of white wine.)

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil

  • Vinegars: white wine, red wine, apple cider, balsamic

  • Pasta: penne rigate, fusili, spaghetti, linguine, orzo, ditalini, and campanelle

  • Pearled Couscous (technically, this is a pasta)

  • Polenta and/or grits

  • Canned Tomatoes (I typically buy Tuttorosso): crushed tomatoes, peeled whole tomatoes, diced tomatoes, and tomato paste

  • Canned Beans: cannellini, black, red kidney

  • Assorted Canned Goods: chipotle peppers in adobo, tuna fish packed in water

  • Jarred Items (refrigerate after opening): capers, sliced pepperoncini peppers, marinated artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers

  • Bread Crumbs: panko and (regular) Italian style or plain

  • Stocks/Broths: low sodium chicken, low sodium beef

  • Rice: jasmine, brown, arborio, yellow

  • Yellow Onions (I buy a bag)

  • Russet Potatoes (I buy a bag)

  • Garlic (usually, I keep at least four heads of garlic)

  • Flours (I love King Arthur): all purpose, bread, cake, and Wondra for gravy

  • Sugars: granulated, light brown, powdered, demerara

  • Cornstarch

  • Chocolate chips: bittersweet and semisweet

  • Unsalted nuts: mixed, peanuts, cashews, almonds, walnuts


Keep in mind that could always buy just one of the wine vinegars, just your favorite pastas, just one type of butter, etc. Do what works for your family. This is what works for mine! I’ll be sharing “pantry meals” (and tagging them as such on the blog) in the coming weeks. Believe me, you don’t need to resort to canned soups and instant ramen if you can’t make it to the store. This quarantine’s got nothing on us! Be well.





Check out some delicious recipes from Nicole on her blog here!

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