With a well-stocked pantry, you can always come up with a good, hearty meal even if you're low on time. The concept of a "perfect pantry" will, of course, vary from person to person - but these essentials are incredibly convenient to keep around in case of black-outs, emergencies, and just because of how common they're used in a wide variety of recipes.

The Bare Minimum

These essentials are used in an incredibly diverse range of recipes.

  1. All-purpose Flour
  2. Granulated Sugar
  3. Salt
  4. Pepper
  5. Oils (canola, vegetable, and/or olive)

Long-lasting Pantry Goods

While fresh ingredients are great, it's good to keep a store of canned goods and long-lasting grains in case of an emergency or certain foods are out of season.

  1. Canned Broth (chicken, beef, or vegetable)
  2. Canned Tomatoes (diced, whole. pastes and sauces)
  3. Canned Tuna
  4. Pasta (your favorite varieties)
  5. Rice and other grains
  6. Bread Crumbs

Spice Rack

What spices are the most useful in your kitchen? Depending on what kinds of foods you like, this will obviously vary, but here are a few frequently used ones to keep in mind.

  1. Cayenne or Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  2. Curry Powder
  3. Cumin
  4. Cinnamon
  5. Garlic Powder
  6. Onion Powder
  7. Paprika

Dried Herbs

There are plenty of differences between dried herbs and fresh herbs that vary depending on the variety, but these are great staples to have around.

  1. Basil
  2. Oregano
  3. Rosemary
  4. Parsley
  5. Bay Leaves

Fridge and Freezer Foods

Grocery store staples you'll probably want to keep in your fridge or freezer most of the time.

  1. Eggs
  2. Milk
  3. Butter (or margarine)
  4. Corn
  5. Peas
  6. Carrots
  7. Ground Beef
  8. Chicken Breast

Photo Credits: Preparedness Advice, Food as Passion, My Recipes, Modern Furniture Pic, Brooklyn Based