Pantry Basics w/ Homemade Marinara

As Momma Cuisine, I hope to empower moms by showing them that great meals can be done using simple ingredients and basic cooking techniques. Making meals for the family on any given day is a tough task to tackle. Many busy moms have to answer the burning question, “What’s for dinner?” with confidence.

It’s no secret that fast and boxed “food” are convenient, yet unhealthy options for dinner. Our lives are incredibly fast-paced, so executing meals from scratch can become a daunting and impossible task. Moms constantly look in their fridges and pantries thinking, “I don’t know what to cook tonight!”

One of the most important things I tell people when they ask me how I can possibly make almost all my family’s meals homemade is that my pantry is stocked with the right ingredients. Some react with, “Wow, you must have a huge pantry!” Actually, my kitchen is smaller than most, as I live in a townhouse, and I have merely two small cabinets dedicated to my pantry basics, along with my refrigerator.

Stocking your pantry correctly can help you create great meals, with or without a plan for dinner. These are the absolute bare-bone essentials of good cooking, and I can bet you every restaurant in town has these stocked in their pantries.

After I tell you about the basics, I’m going to share my “Simply Homemade Marinara” recipe, which uses nothing but the simplest of the pantry basics. There are pretty good jarred marinara sauces out there these days, especially the organic ones, but everyone should know how to make it from scratch because it’s so much cheaper and better!

Use it classically over pasta, over chicken breast with a side of steamed vegetables and even as a stew with beef and potatoes. I like to add shredded or diced carrots in my recipe to add an extra vegetable in my family’s diet. The carrots also add to the sweetness of the sauce and help cut through the acidity of the tomatoes.