Essential Pantry List for Simple Meals

Meals might not seem like part of homeschooling, but it’s all part of the package of making life happen. And I have lists to make it easier.

I love to make lists. I even have lists of the lists I have made and want to make. So, why not share all (well, some) of those lists during The Nester’s 31 Days series? Yes, 31 days of homeschool lists. It’ll be a ton of fun if you love lists as much as I do.

Organize your homeschool lists

A Bunch of Homeschooling Lists

Index: Get Organized with Homeschool Lists
Previous: Simple Meals for Homeschool Days
Next: Independent Work Checklist

Master Grocery List

I used to try to make a grocery list at the same time I menu planned – sometimes the magic synergy happened and sometimes it was pulling teeth. I needed to pick dinners to fit the amount of time and energy available for the days of the week, work that week’s grocery store specials, match up recipes from my various collections, double check I had all the ingredients I needed, and write it all down adequately enough so at 5pm each day I knew what I was supposed to do.


After baby #3, I decided this method was simply madness, and I had other projects I could do if I wanted to coordinate details. I decided what would be in my fridge, freezer, and pantry; I decided that I wanted to be able to buy any meat that was on sale at the store and know I could do something with it that didn’t require any extra or special ingredients. Then I decided to simply throw away all my recipes that didn’t match up with this new philosophy.

I used to try to make a grocery list at the same time I menu planned - sometimes the magic synergy happened and sometimes it was pulling teeth. No more. Now I have a mastery grocery list.

This is what I came up with as my master pantry list:

  • bell peppers
  • cabbage & lettuce

  • carrots

  • cilantro and/or parsley (fresh or dry)
  • garlic & onions
  • potatoes
  • vegetables & fruit (seasonal)

  • zucchini
  • basil
  • cinnamon, ground
  • dill
  • ground mustard
  • garlic powder
  • ginger
  • oregano
  • paprika
  • peppercorns or ground pepper
  • thyme
  • baking powder
  • baking soda

  • beans, black
  • beans, chickpea

  • beans, pinto

  • beans, split pea

  • beans, white
  • cornmeal
  • cornstarch
  • dried cranberries

  • flour, whole wheat

  • flour, white
  • oats, rolled
  • pasta
  • popcorn
  • raisins
  • rice, brown
  • salt, garlic and/or seasoning
  • salt, sea
  • sugar, brown

  • sugar, powdered
  • sugar, white
  • tortillas
  • walnuts and/or almonds

  • yeast
  • extract, almond
  • extract, lemon
  • extract, vanilla

  • honey

  • jam

  • ketchup

  • lemon juice
  • lime juice
  • mayonnaise
  • molasses
  • mustard, dijon and/or grainy
  • oil, canola or coconut
  • oil, olive, extra virgin
  • oil, sesame
  • peanut butter
  • salsa

  • soy sauce
  • vinegar, apple cider

  • vinegar, balsamic

  • vinegar, red wine
  • vinegar, white
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • olives, canned

  • pickles, whole

  • pineapple, canned
  • salmon, canned or packaged

  • tomato paste
  • tomatoes, crushed and/or sauce
  • tomatoes, diced
  • tuna, canned
  • butter
  • half-and-half
  • cheese, cheddar
  • cheese, mozzarella

  • cheese, Parmesan
  • cream cheese

  • eggs
  • milk
  • sour cream (or sub. yogurt)

  • yogurt, plain (or sub. sour cream)
  • meat, whatever is on sale

  • broccoli, frozen

  • green beans, frozen

  • orange juice concentrate

  • peas, frozen

You can get a pretty printable of this list to use as a master grocery list (I also have a post on how to make a grocery list here) along with a menu planning sheet at Simplified Pantry.

The great thing about having a basic list like this is that even when I forget my list, what I buy as I do my route through the grocery store is pretty automatic, and I know I will use these items I frequently buy, so even if I end up buying an extra, it’s ok.

Simplified Dinners eBook

I began menu planning at 11 years old when my mom delegated one dinner a week to me. Marrying at 19, I’ve had a lot of practice over the years. But between growing and homeschooling my family, meal planning often requires brain power and creativity that just isn’t there any more. Simplified Dinners is my solution to take the effort and thought out of healthy, frugal cooking.

2 Responses

  1. Erin York

    I was trying to buy the ebook and it’s saying that the coupon code does not exist :(

    • Mystie Winckler

      I fixed it, Erin. Thank you for letting me know!