1) Olive Oil – For me this is a must. As you can see from the last post, olive oil can be used from cooking, to baking to frying. It can be used in salad dressings, marinades or drizzled on a piece of bread. It is so versatile and there are so many kinds to try, you could have a whole pantry full of liquid gold!

2) Balsamic Vinegar – What is Olive Oil without its counterpart, Balsamic Vinegar? Again it is so versatile and there are so many kinds, you can spend years getting to know them all and their subtle flavors.

3) Sun Dried Tomatoes – Sun Dried Tomatoes just make everything taste a little better. They can perk up the blandest of dishes. I have not found a single savory item that does not go with sun dried tomatoes. Everything from bread, to omelets to pastas and salads, you cannot go wrong. Just make sure after you re-hydrate them, put them in Olive Oil – then you can use the delicious flavored oil later!

4) Spices – This is a no-brainer. No dish would be complete without spices. Keep as many as you like on hand, but be sure to keep them no longer than 2 years because by then, they will certainly have lost their flavor!

5) Pasta or Rice – Really this is up to personal preference, it is always important to have some kind of grain in your pantry at all times. Just boil some pasta, drizzle some olive oil and vinegar, mix in sun dried tomatoes and spices and you have got a delicious meal!