Cooking 101: The Staples

Before I write down the recipe lists for followers (and me), I thought I should do a little 101 intro. You’ll find a lot of mentions about salmon, vegetables, etc in almost all my recipe because they’re staples in almost everything I cook.

Also, I don’t buy any particular brand because I’m on a food stamp budget. I get the best price for the amount of food. Nothing more or less, so if I mention a particular brand, it means I’m very happy with the product as a cook. I’m going to break the areas down and describe if needed.

Oh, and all seasonings other than white pepper are $1 ones. When in doubt, buy in bulk. Aldi’s has really good prices for size/cost ratio. Especially for powders.


Okay, so this isn’t a list so much as tips of what I’ve found. Generally speaking, I’m pretty good with buying inexpensive items, but I’m somewhat particular about my cookware. I don’t like the cheap T-Fal/Tefal with the coating that comes off quickly. For one thing, it tastes terrible. So! I prefer to spend the extra money and get pots/pans that last.

Currently, I’m using the T-Fal ceramic 10″ pan from Target. With the even heat distribution, my cooking temps have reduced while my food’s gotten significantly better. This is important because it’s why my food looks like it does. There’s no longer any rust on my pans (visual proof for 3 months of cooking).

My pots are mad dash collection from various family members. I have some Rocco DiSpirito ones from QVC as well as some T-Fal heat distribution ones from the Family Dollar. Not to mention the giant cooking pots that come from who knows where. Whatever works, works. No snobbery here.

As for my slow cooker, I tend to use a Slow Cooker Mate from QVC. It’s 6 quarts with divider inserts. I love the thing. I don’t know if you can buy them anymore, but brilliant pieces of machinery. It’s survived multiple long term storage stays.




  • All purpose flour
  • Oil (Olive, Vegetable)
  • Cupcake wrappers
  • Muffin mix (usually Martha White, 10/$10 deals)
  • Chocolate syrup
  • Extract (vanilla, orange)


  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Crushed red pepper
  • White Pepper
  • Paprika
  • Cinnamon
  • Chili power (lots)
  • Cajun spice mix
  • Onion powder
  • Garlic powder
  • Taco sauce mix



  • 2% milk
  • Heavy whipping cream (if affordable)
  • Eggs
  • Butter (Imperial or Aldi store)
  • Cheese (cream, string, shredded cheddar)
  • Sour cream (Kroger brand with chives if possible)


  • Mushrooms
  • Spinach (lots)
  • Tomatoes
  • Peppers (jalapeno or serrano, depending on price)
  • Sweet onions
  • Green onion
  • Garlic
  • Broccoli and/or Cauliflower
  • …whatever is on sale.

Meats (fresh/frozen)

  • Salmon
  • Ground turkey
  • Chicken
  • Ham (sausage, bacon, country)
  • Beef (ground, usually)
  • Shrimp (if cheap enough)


  • Tortillas
  • Ramen noodle packs
  • Fettuccine/Angel Hair pasta
  • Instant mashed potatoes
  • Red Lobster biscuit mix
  • Tomato soup
  • Tomatoes (diced or chili)
  • Beans (kidney, great northern, butter, lima)

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Owner of Wild Pantheon Press, Clever Girl, and Research Queen Productions. Working on rewriting human interest from global to local. Diabetic Dystopia shows the progress of surviving and learning how to handle Type 1 diabetes.

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