28 Ingredients To Start Cooking From Scratch

Do you find yourself eating a lot of processed foods that come from a box and poison you one meal at a time? Are you looking to change it, stop eating junk food and start on your way to cooking fresh, healthy meals from scratch? This shopping list is going to give you a solid base so that you’ll be able to just shop for fresh meat, fish, vegetables and fruit in the next 3 weeks or more. It’s not the answer to all your problems and you certainly need to look into a recipe or two but it will help you.

Take this list to the store with you and you’ll be all set to go! Find the list at the end of this post.


a stripeDSC_2525

Produce Section

Onion – this vegetable will keep for a very long time whether you keep it in the bottom of the fridge or on the countertop. It adds a good flavour to everything you cook. In my kitchen almost no savoury meal ever goes without onion.

Garlic – very similar to the first one. Also amazing in sauces, dips or butters.

Potatoes – they will keep for a long time if kept in the dark and they are an amazing part of many meals, very often the lazy ones, one-pot ones etc.

Fresh cucumber – it will not keep for long but that is okay because you will use at least half of it  it to make a simple salad to go with dinner today or tomorrow.

Lettuce – goes great in that salad I mentioned.

Bell peppers – they will keep slightly longer than the lettuce and they can go into a great one pot meal, so you’ll never be stuck with them. Consider this one-pot recipe.

Broccoli – it will keep a while but it’s the tastiest when you eat it earlier rather than later. It can be baked with cheese or steamed and added to almost any meal.

A seasonal fruit. Look at whatever is cheap and locally produced. Don’t buy a lot, just a couple, so you can eat it as a snack.

As you go on with your new lifestyle, you will buy many more things from the produce section but for now, this should do the trick.

hot milk & peaches


Milk – I cannot live without milk so I use it for coffee, desserts, cereal etc.

Cream – get just a small container so it doesn’t go off before you figure out if you want to use it for a sauce, soup, cheesecake, or a fruit dessert.

Eggs – I  prefer eggs to be from free-range hens just because it means that their living conditions are better than the caged ones and their stress levels are much lower.

Cream Cheese – it keeps quite a while in the fridge and there are a thousand things you can do with it, from desserts, to sauces, bakes like this tuna bake etc.

Parmesan Cheese – everybody says that it’s an expensive cheese but it features some amazing levels of the umami flavour which will make just about any meal delicious without using a lot. Treat this more as a condiment as a little really goes a long way. Buy a chunk though, as pre-grated Parmesan loses its aroma.

spinach casserole

Dry Goods & Condiments

All purpose flour – even if you’re not planning to bake any cakes yet, flour is great for thickening soups or sauces and will keep well for a long time.

Sugar – I know everybody says that sugar is unhealthy but they mostly mean sugar in carbonated drinks and other sources, adding a little sugar to a sauce or a salad dressing will balance off the flavours.

Salt – You probably have salt at home but I’m putting it here just in case.

Black pepper with a mill – freshly ground pepper is so much more delicious than the already ground one. Try it!

A herb – let’s not start with a whole battery of a million things which you’ll throw out after a year or two. Pick oregano, basil or Herbes de Provence. Avoid ready mixes, they often have salt or sugar added and they will prevent you from learning about the flavours you like.

Brown Rice – it’s very healthy and I think it’s delicious. However, if you’ve never had it in your life and you’re afraid that you won’t be able to stomach it, get white rice as well, to have some kind of back up.

Pasta – it’s up to you what kind you’re going to buy. Wholemeal is healthier but it is a significantly different experience than white pasta, so take that into consideration. It’s better to ease yourself into cooking from scratch and stay with it than buy all the healthiest ingredients and fall off the wagon three days later. Good pasta shapes that go with many things are penne, spaghetti and macaroni.

Vinegar – white is good for the beginning, it will be handy for salad dressings.

Lemon juice – salad dressings and preserves when you get into that. 🙂

Canned corn – great for salads and many hot meals, amazing backup when you don’t have too many veggies.

Applesauce – if you can get it where you are, buy it. It’s the best thing ever. Read just about any recipe on my blog to find out why.

blackcurrant cake

Oils & Butters

Real Butter – I prefer unsalted but either way, real butter is the real flavour of homemade food. No margarine can ever replace this.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil – for salad dressings and dips. Anything you’re planning to serve cold is made delicious with a drop of olive oil.

Rapeseed oil – use this oil for cooking. It’s pretty flavourless unlike the olive oil.


Meat & Fish

Chicken – I would start with chicken breast as it is easy to cook and there are thousands of delicious recipes on the internet.

Have a look at the fresh fish, seafood, chicken and turkey. Don’t plan meat and fish for each day of the week. Remember, you just bought a truckload of vegetables, right? You don’t need meat every day at all. Actually, there is an amazing amount of research suggesting that eating meat everyday is unnecessary and probably unhealthy. Try to eat oily fish like salmon, mackerel, sardines and herring twice a week though.



The Shopping List:

  1. Onion
  2. Garlic
  3. Potatoes
  4. Fresh Cucumber
  5. Lettuce
  6. Bell Peppers
  7. Broccoli
  8. One Type Of Seasonal Fruit
  9. Milk
  10. Cream
  11. Eggs
  12. Cream Cheese
  13. Parmesan Cheese
  14. All Purpose Flour
  15. Sugar
  16. Salt
  17. Black Pepper With A Mill
  18. A Herb
  19. Brown Rice
  20. Pasta
  21. Vinegar
  22. Lemon Juice
  23. Canned Corn
  24. Applesauce
  25. Real Butter
  26. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  27. Rapeseed Oil
  28. Chicken Breast



vegetable feast pie




 Happy Cooking!





© Julia M Wlodarczyk and Tattoo My Broccoli, 2014-2024. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, recipes and images without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Julia M Wlodarczyk and Tattoo My Broccoli with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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