Pantry Thoughts

Recently, my partner decided to apply for graduate school. We have had to move in with my family, as we recently completed our bachelor’s degrees in the spring, and COVID has made the pool of post-grad job opportunities very shallow. This has meant that our monthly budget has taken a dive, and I have had to reevaluate how much money I spend on food, which admittedly is usually a lot. I am treating this as a fun challenge, and working on a pantry system that is really simple, versatile, and cheap! The Alice Waters Masterclass is giving me lots of inspiration these days (if you have Masterclass, please put it on your watch list!), she uses such simple, quality ingredients, and olive oil, salt, and crushed red pepper are her go-to’s for everything, SO EASY!

I have compiled a pantry list of things to keep on hand, and a list of simple, versatile things to buy weekly that will theoretically be able to be mixed and matched into thousands of different recipes. The recipes that I will be posting in the coming months will be primarily based on ingredients just from this pantry/fridge/freezer list, but it’s important that if you try to make a similar pantry basics system, that you should fill your home with food that you and your family like to eat!

Dry Goods:


Dried beans (black and great northern are my favorites!)

Dried chickpeas

Dried pasta

Canned Tomatoes

Canned Tuna



Steel cut oats

Rolled oats

Coffee *


Tortilla chips



Oils & Sweeteners & Baking things:


Maple syrup *

Olive oil *

Avocado oil

Tomato paste



Baking powder/soda

Brown sugar

Chocolate for baking

Nut butter

Pantry Veg & Fruit:





The above listed items are things that will last for a while in a cool, dry pantry, or maybe things that you can buy in bulk that you only have to purchase every few months. It’s always good to have a stocked pantry with things you like, so that you are never faced with the “There’s nothing in this house to eat!” dilemma. Following are more perishable goods, but each item can be applied in such a variety of ways, that you will never get bored with eating the same thing every week! Spices and sauces go a long way to change up a few ingredients.




Cheddar cheese

Parmesan cheese *

Bacon or Sausage *

Chicken thighs * Or sometimes a whole chicken for use throughout the week!




Half and Half

Buttermilk (occasionally!)


Whole milk plain yogurt



Vinegar (balsamic, champagne, apple cider, whatever you like!)

Hot sauce

Soy sauce


Salmon or Shrimp *

Ground beef *

Frozen fruit

Galette dough (sweet or savory)

Homemade tomato sauce

Homemade Pesto

Cookie dough

Ice cream

Now I know this seems like a lot, but if you keep these things on hand, your household will have so so so many things to eat at any given time! In the coming months I will be sharing what I create out of these items, which has truly no limit! Soups, stews, pastas, salads, cakes, quiches, stir frys, tacos, biscuits, things on toast (I love things on toast), and anything else your heart desires! Stay tuned, and drop some comments on the Pudding Pie Instagram about how your pantry system works, and things you like to buy and create!

*Things marked with an asterisk are typically a little more expensive, but need to be purchased less often!

Be well, eat well-

Madison/Pudding Pie

Breakfast Nachos

I love a nacho. They are good any time of day, they are easy to share (but also it’s insanely easy to eat an entire pan alone,) they are crunchy, salty, cheesy, warm, and endlessly customizable. Breakfast food is my favorite food, so creating a breakfast nacho was a no-brainer.

I think that the order in which you layer nacho ingredients is crucial to getting a little bit of everything on each chip, so make sure to layer slowly.

Start by scrambling 2 or 3 eggs, however many you’d like! For this purpose, we want a more firm scramble, so it crumbles easily and doesn’t make the chips soggy.

An extra step that is unnecessary, but makes a difference, is to rinse a can of beans and warm them in a small pan on low with a little butter or olive oil, and some salt and ground cumin. I think it helps to make nachos with warm ingredients, but you do you!

Lastly, prep your bacon, ham, or sausage. Cook it how you like and chop or crumble into little bits! If you don’t eat meat, this is still so delicious without!

Move a rack in your oven close to your boiler, but not too close that your nachos will hit the heating unit.

Turn on your oven broiler, usually it automatically goes to 500 or 550 degrees Fahrenheit.

Start with a large sheet pan lined in foil (or don’t line it and spend half a day scraping cheese bits off the pan like me). Spread one single layer of your favorite tortilla chips in the pan, and sprinkle the chips with a VERY light layer of grated cheddar. To make sure I get a solid layer of chips, I like to put down a bunch of big chips, and then fill in the gaps with smaller broken chips. Cheese doesn’t do anyone any good if it falls through to the pan, you want to make sure your chips are like a puzzle or mosaic!

After your initial light layer of cheese, go for beans (I prefer whole black, but little dollops of refried beans are great too!). Then half of your crumbled or chopped meat, and half of your scrambled eggs.

Next is another layer of cheese. Then, I like to do another layer or half layer of chips. For the second layer, it doesn’t matter as much that you get all your chip holes filled, because your first layer will catch any extra drippings. Repeat your light cheese, and the remainder of your beans, meat, and eggs. Cover with your final layer of cheese, and pop it under the broiler for a few minutes until all the cheese is melted! If the top cheese is burning but the bottom cheese is not melting, move the pan to a lower rack for a few minutes. It is crucial that you do not take your eyes off your nachos while they are in the oven! They will burn in an instant, so make sure you can see it clearly through the window with the oven light on, or if your oven doesn’t have a window, keep the oven door ajar just enough that you can keep an eye on it. Feel free to rotate your pan if it is melting unevenly.

Once every piece of cheese is melted to your liking, take out your nachos and top generously with cilantro (or whatever herb you like if you are against cilantro!) and hot sauce!

I like to just put trivets down wherever I will be serving this, and eat it straight out of the pan! Enjoy!

Breakfast Nachos

  • Servings: 2 for a meal, 4 for an appetizer
  • Print

An anytime meal or snack that always lifts the spirits!


  • Tortilla chips (about 3 or 4 cups)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 can of beans (Black, pinto, or refried)
  • pinch of cumin and salt for the beans
  • 1/2 cup breakfast meat of your choice (bacon, ham, sausage)
  • 2 cups grated cheddar
  • Cilantro and hot sauce for topping


  1. Drain and rinse beans. Put in a small pan on low heat with a pinch of cumin and a pinch of salt.
  2. Scramble eggs in a separate pan with a little salt and butter.
  3. Cook the breakfast meat of your choice.
  4. Arrange racks and turn oven broiler on.
  5. Spread chips out on a lined sheet pan, being sure to fill in as many gaps as possible with smaller chips.
  6. Starting from the bottom, the layers should be, chips, cheese, beans, eggs, meat, more cheese, then repeat with another layer, beginning with chips.
  7. Put your pan in the oven for just a few minutes, keep a close eye on it and remove when all cheese is melted.
  8. Top with hot sauce and cilantro, serve while warm, straight out of the pan!

Sheet Pan Pizza

Something about homemade pizza satisfies a different craving than from a pizzeria (or Costco, who doesn’t love Costco pizza!). This recipe is so adaptable to what you like, so feel free to really make this your own. This recipe can be made into a half day project if you are looking for one, or it can be simplified into an easy weeknight dinner.

I like to use The King Arthur Baking Company recipe for sourdough pizza crust, but you can use whatever recipe you like, or get pizza dough pre-made at the grocery store, Trader Joe’s has a great one! I like using my sourdough starter for pizza crust, because it feels more forgiving than bread, which I still struggle with (don’t we all have better bread aspirations?)

Once your dough (homemade or pre-bought) is ready to go, oil a sheet pan and put your dough in the pan, pushing it slowly to the edges. If you need to let it relax for a few minutes, that can help if it is feeling stiff or stubborn. When your dough fills the pan nicely, let it rest for a few minutes just to help the yeast and gluten get happy.

I like to use bottled tomato sauce for this, but I have a strong aversion to chunks, so I make sure to throw my Rao’s in a blender first! Use whatever flavor makes you happy, marinara, vodka, or arrabbiata all work really well! Spread a medium thin layer of sauce over your dough, using a large spoon or a small ladle.

Toppings are so variable, but I like to make sure to use a mix of different textured items. I like to put items in the first layer that don’t need much cooking or crisping, and items that I really want to get oozy and crispy near the top. For example, I start by putting sliced garlic right on the sauce, because I don’t want it to burn, then I’ll do cooked ham, thinly sliced cremini mushrooms, halved cherry tomatoes, pine nuts, spinach, thinly sliced Serrano, jalapeño, or Anaheim pepper, and whatever else I have in the fridge! Homemade pizza is such a good opportunity to use up little bits of things you’ve got hanging around in the kitchen.

Now the important part here is to cook it following the directions on whatever dough you use, and add your cheese half way through cooking! Because pizza needs to be at such a high temperature in the oven, your cheese will likely burn before you get a nice fluffy chewy crust. So pull it out with about 7 minutes left of your cook time, and add your cheese! I do fresh mozzarella, but you can use what you like! Once it is all done and I have crispy edges and my cheese has little brown bubble bits on it (I like things with a little color on them) pull your pizza out and top with any fresh herbs that you have, basil, chives, or oregano are my favorites, and also a little freshly grated Parmesan doesn’t hurt!

Let it cool for a minute, slide it using tongs onto your work surface or cutting board, and cut it into any shape you like. My fiancee and I tend to like different things on our pizza, so this recipe is perfect and totally big enough to be able to customize different halves or quadrants depending on what you and your family like. Usually in our house one side is meat/cheese and one side (my side) is a little more veg heavy- no judgement here!

Here’s a list of other fun toppings that you can mix and match:

marinated artichoke hearts





shredded chicken (rotisserie? Yum!)



shaved brussels sprouts


thinly sliced potatoes (purple potatoes give a fun color!)

ricotta, fontina, gruyere, asiago- the sky’s the limit with cheese options!

sun dried tomatoes

roasted red peppers

arugula (I love to very very lightly dress arugula with evoo and salt and put a big handful on pizza as an after cooking topping, it adds a bright, fresh flavor and texture!)

Go nuts, it’s your pizza! You want pineapple, American cheese, or Caesar salad dressing? Nobody can stop you, live your life!

Sheet Pan Pizza

A framework for homemade pizza!


  • Pizza dough
  • Sauce of your choice (tomato, pesto, béchamel… whatever you like)
  • Toppings of your choice (if you’re stuck, pick one meat, one veg, and some pine nuts, done!)
  • Cheese of your choice (don’t be afraid to use more than one!)
  • After cooking toppings of your choice (more cheese, fresh herbs, more sauce, whatever you want!)


  1. Oil a half sheet pan, and slowly push your dough into the sides and corners until it is an even thickness
  2. Put your sauce and toppings of choice on, but hold off on the cheese for a sec!
  3. Follow the cooking directions for whatever dough you are using, and when you have 7 ish minutes left of cooking time, add your cheese
  4. When the pizza is done, pull it out and top with whatever additional toppings you like!
  5. Let it cool for a minute or two, and then slide the whole pizza onto a cutting board using tongs.
  6. Slice and Enjoy!

French Toast

French Toast: A Guide

An adaptable guide to making any kind of French Toast using what you have.


  • 4 slices of thick cut bread such as brioche, challah, sourdough, or whatever you’ve got!
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup whole milk, or whatever you like!
  • a splash of vanilla extract, or a pea sized drop of vanilla bean paste
  • a few shakes of pumpkin pie spice or just cinnamon
  • a small spoonful of sugar (this helps encourage browning and a caramelized crust!)


  1. In a shallow bowl with a flat bottom, whisk all ingredients together (except for bread, lol)
  2. Heat a knob of butter in a pan on medium low (about a 4 or 5 on a scale of 1-10).
  3. Once butter has melted, dip your pieces of bread (one at a time if you need to) into your egg mixture, flipping several times to ensure that your bread is soaked through, but not disintegrating.
  4. Slowly lower the bread onto the pan, you may need to do two batches if your pan won’t fit all four pieces laying flat.
  5. After a few minutes, check the bottom of your toast, if it looks a solid medium brown, flip it! You can always leave it longer or flip it back over if that side needs more cooking!
  6. We want to make sure we continue to cook on a medium-low heat to ensure that our crust browns at the same rate that our inside is cooking and getting custardy. We don’t want a burnt outside and a runny inside, or a pale outside and a rubbery inside, keep an eye on it and adjust your heat as needed!
  7. When both sides are your preferred shade of brown, plate and serve with your favorite toppings! I’m a sucker for pure maple syrup, but I also wouldn’t say no to a berry compote, fresh whipped cream, or even some lemon curd or jam! Enjoy, and tag me on instagram if you make it! @pudding-pie


Welcome to Pudding Pie. This is a space where I will share recipes, videos, and stories, and hopefully we can work together to create a community! The prerequisites to being a member of this community are: having a curiosity about food, and being a nice human! I want to use this space to be authentic, honest, and helpful. Thanks for joining me!