Dana Slatkin

Farmgirl Shopping List

Grocery Shopping Staples

In my cooking classes, I am often asked how I come up with a menu every night. It seems I’m not the only farmgirl who has trouble deciding what to make for dinner. The quandary becomes even more challenging when we are accosted by starving kids the minute we arrive home. That’s when the clock starts ticking and the pressure is on. The meal needs to be on the table within the hour or meltdowns will ensue. Help!

Here’s my three-part solution to facing down the dinner dilemma and eliminating most of the stress:

  • Step #1: Make sure your fridge and pantry are properly stocked at all times, using my Farmgirl Cooking Essentials list below as a guide.
  • Step #2: Strategize your shopping trips with a week’s menu in mind. Once you have all the core ingredients on hand, you should be able to get away with one weekly trip to your local farmers market and a quick drive-by to your fish or meat seller. Think of each dinner in terms of two vegetables, a grain or starch and a protein.
  • Step #3: Cook a few different grains and mains when you do have the time (over a weekend, perhaps) and freeze them so that they are ready to reheat during the week.

While I can’t tell you what to feed your family for dinner, following these guidelines will make your life crucially easier. Print out the list below and check off the items that you already have on hand. If I left out one of your favorite ingredients, just add it to the list. Now let your appetite do the talking. Once you have decided on some dishes to make, add the fresh items you will need to the end of the list. Then bring it along with you on your next shopping trip. You’ll never be caught without the essentials.

For more inspiration, browse our complete recipe collection.

Photo credit: donnahay.com

  • email
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Reddit
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Add to favorites
  • FriendFeed
  • HealthRanker
  • Live
  • Orkut
  • Tumblr
  • Faves
  • Google Buzz
  • Ping.fm


  1. Michelle Ratkovich says:

    Wonderful idea!  I plan to keep copies in my glove compartment.  Thanks for the great tip Dana!

Please share your thoughts!