8 Great Foods That Every Pantry Should Have

In a world of convenience, many pantries are filled with pre-mixed that and pre-seasoned this. Believe it or not, simply changing eight items will make a world of difference in your culinary arts performance whether it is entrees, side dishes and desserts that you are making.

Lentils
Great for soups and stews, lentils are small legumes that come in several different colors. They are also frequently used in a variety of dishes at Los Angeles Cooking schools. Brown lentils are best for soup because they lose their shape and get mushy as they cook. Dark green or blue lentils hold their shape better and have a richer texture. Orange, red and yellow legumes are usually found in Asian-inspired dishes.

Homemade Bread Crumbs

Homemade bread crumbs are much cheaper than using pre-packaged bread crumbs. Toast cubed or slices of bread in the oven, on low until dry. They will last just as long as pre-packaged crumbs and will save you from throwing out the heels of every loaf of bread. 

Spices
Of course salt and pepper are essential spices, but you should also have chili powder for spicing foods up. Onion power and garlic powder work if you don't have the raw deal available. Italian seasonings such as basil and oregano are used often and you will also want some sweeter spices, such as ginger and nutmeg.

Pasta

Pasta makes for an easy meal while still adding variety. Be it traditional spaghetti, macaroni or lasagna noodles, each can be made in a variety of ways. Try traditional tomato sauce and meat or use an Alfredo with chicken.

Oats

They're not just for breakfast anymore. Oats can also be used in a pinch if you need to bread chicken or pork chops with something and don't have time to make something more intricate. Want a sweet treat? Oats, cocoa powder and a couple of other ingredients make for delicious no-bake cookies in a short period of time.

Dried Beans
Not only are they cheaper, they taste better. Dried beans can be cooked once a week and frozen in water. Use them in soups, salads, or even mash them up and mix them with mashed potatoes for a new taste.

Onions

Another staple item of many culinary arts dishes, onions, are great when used raw on sandwiches. Batter them up and drop them in the fryer for a traditional snack or use them to season soups and roasts.

Bananas
Give the kids one on the go, mix them in cereal or oatmeal or stick bananas in a blender with some yogurt and peanut butter for a healthy smoothie. If you're really ambitious, bananas are also great in pies and bread and if you find yourself wanting to learn more great tricks of the trade, you may be interested in trying out a few classes at Los Angeles Cooking schools in your area!

This article is presented by Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Los Angeles. Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Los Angeles offers culinary arts and pâtisserie and baking training programs. To learn more about the class offerings, please visit Chefs.edu/Los-Angeles for more information. 
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