In between all the relatives, friends and family coming over and the crazy preparations for the festive season it can be hard to find time to pop out to the shops to get essentials.
Because the festive season and Christmas Day in particular often centre around big meals and lots of snacks and special foods, it’s wise to start stocking up your pantry early so that you don’t have to splurge a huge amount in December. Here’s a list of things that you’re going to want to keep in your cupboard in preparation for the Christmas rush!
Christmas goes hand in hand with baking cakes, brownies and other sweet treats. When you spot a sale on any staple baking items, buy a few so that you can bake throughout the holiday as needed. The most common ones would be butter or margarine, flour, eggs and sugar; but you’ll often find that you need chocolate, nuts, dried fruit or vanilla essence as well.
When it comes to sugar, you’ll want a couple of basic types; normal granulated sugar as well as caster sugar at a minimum. If you’re an avid baker you could add brown sugar and icing sugar as well. Many recipes will call for cake flour, so that’s your best bet for an all-around flour for most baked goods. You can always add raising agents to it if needed. Finally, butter or margarine go quickly when it comes to baking! You can freeze butter to store, but it will last a long time in the fridge as well.
You don’t want to be making a special trip to the shop just for milk, do you? Stock up on pantry essentials like milk (long life, of course), tinned goods and if you have a deep freezer, bread as well. Other tinned or dried essentials include tomatoes, tuna or beans as well as rice and pasta. There’s no harm in buying a few jars of readymade sauce either to dump over pasta for those lazy evenings after you’ve entertained, spend a long day out with the kids or are trying to keep your kitchen tidy for guests the next day!
Stock up on sauces, jams and spreads that you use regularly; some jam or peanut butter for morning toast, tomato sauce or sweet chilli for serving alongside dinners, chilli relish
When unexpected guests pop over or you find yourself wanting something to share with the family as a light evening meal after a big lunch, it’s easy-to-prepare snacks that you’ll inevitably find yourself turning to. To make sure that you’re never caught hungry or find yourself waiting for an hour for takeout, here are some things to keep handy for snacks and light meals.
A few different types of crackers are easy to keep in your cupboard, and can be paired with all manner of leftovers and nibbles in your fridge. A variety box or even just a few different packets will make a snack platter easy to assemble at the drop of a hat; try cream crackers or water biscuits, salticrax and some kind of hearty cracker like melba toast or rye-based option.
Different kinds of cheese are good to keep around too as well as cured meats; many of them will last a long time if they’re kept sealed. Opt for things like gouda or cheddar which will last longer than brie or blue cheese. Another good option is cream cheese which is kept closed and refrigerated. Cured meats could be items such as vacuum packed chorizo or smoked chicken. Paired with the spreads and sauces from the everyday staples above, you should be able to whip something up quite quickly.
More great snacks are pre-made quiches or a few ready meals which can easily be microwaved or put in the oven from frozen to serve to guests in a hurry.
The Boring Stuff
You’ll also need to prepare for the vast amounts of cooking, clearing and visiting that’s likely to happen over Christmas. Make sure you buy enough basic cleaning and household items like black bags, aluminium foil, baking paper and general essentials.