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Food Supplies: Tips for Keeping Your Kitchen Stocked

Making a low-cost pizza with simple supplies

April 30, 2020

At the University of Northern Colorado, chefs and alumni Darci Hata ‘10 and Ian Mickells ‘09 prepare and plan food and work to make dining halls safe while on-campus; off-campus, they’re continuing to teach their classes and preparing food for their families.

“This is the time to get more comfortable in the kitchen,” Hata says. “Weekends are for self-care, and the kitchen is my sanctuary. I’ve been using this time to test recipes I find online and adding my own twist to them.” Not only do we all need to feed ourselves, but learning to be flexible with a limited ingredient list is a good life skill to have in general, and especially now.

Top image: Hata and Mickells' daughter helping to make a pizza from scratch.

alumni Darci Hata ‘10 and Ian Mickells ‘09
Above: Chefs Darci Hata and Ian Mickells teach the Food Preparation and Preservations class (ENST 178) at UNC.

Hata and her husband Mickells have made meals with their limited supply – from pizza to a traditional Hawaiian dish called Poi – using food they have at-hand. “What we like best about pizza is that we can let our six-year-old make it and be very creative,” Hata says. Their preferred pizza crust recipe simply uses yeast, salt, sugar, flour and some olive oil. The whole preparation before baking takes about 15 minutes. She recommends a similar, very easy recipe for egg noodles.

Hata points out that sometimes, looking through the stores you already have can yield opportunities you didn’t think about. “Last week, I found a frozen bag of Poi (a Hawaiian staple, made from mashed taro) in our freezer, that I forgot about,” Hata said. “I turned three and a half pounds of Poi into four different baked items.” Perhaps Poi isn’t in your freezer, but there may be a staple or ingredient you’ve overlooked hidden away in your freezer or cupboards.

Darci’s class, Food Preparation and Preservation has helped some of her students be prepared for this kind of crisis. “I took the ENST 178 course during my very first semester at UNC in the fall of 2017, and I feel strongly that the course prepared for a pandemic and gave me a skill I’ll use for the rest of my life,” UNC student Josh Hollin said. “Honestly, everyone benefits from being able to cook healthy food for themselves and too few students arrive on campus with that knowledge.”

Hata and Mickells’s class projects have been translated to the virtual space for the time being. Each week still has a specific food requirement, where the students make their meals with their own materials, rather than the school’s. “We discussed making a sourdough starter for those that don’t have access to yeast. We did our mother sauce class early in the semester,” Hata says. “Once you’re able to make the mother sauces, you can get as creative as you want. Turn a bechamel into the best cheese sauce for mac and cheese. Making a hollandaise sauce at home is a great way to make it fancy.”

ENST 178 Staples

Compiled by students in Hata and Mickells’ Food Preparation and Preservation class:

Kosher/ sea salt

Dried Beans

Dried chilies

Olives and Capers

Bay leaves

Tuna and Anchovies

Soy sauce


Variety of spices

Lemons and limes

 Nuts and dried fruits

Different vinegars

Chocolate and cocoa

Black pepper

Pasta, rice, grains


Extra virgin olive oil


Neutral oils

Parmesan cheese

Canned tomatoes

Nutritional yeast


Miso paste






Baking powder

Extracts: especially vanilla

Baking soda Coconut milk

Wine for cooking

 Coffee  Loose leaf tea

When it comes down to stretching food stores, Hata and Mickells agree that the best way to stretch your supplies and avoid the store is to keep simple, non-perishable ingredients, take a look at all your options and don’t be afraid to experiment.

Learn more about the Geography, GIS, and Sustainability Program at UNC

—Written by Austin Huber 


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