Who can afford to go out or order in for dinner every night? Preparing meals at home is much cheaper than eating at a restaurant, but having to go to the supermarket every time you want to cook can get discouraging. Stock your pantry with kitchen staples to avoid these last-minute supermarket trips. With these essentials, you will have the base of many quick, easy, and healthy meals.
These can be the base of many meals–always have pasta, rice, or couscous (or all three!) in your kitchen. They’re filling and diverse. Even better, make it whole wheat pasta and brown rice, which have more nutrients.
Tomatoes will serve their purpose whether in sauce form, whole, or diced. Whichever one you choose, canned tomatoes are great because they don’t spoil and can be used to make soups, stews, and sauces.
The type of bean depends on your preference, but some options are kidney beans, black beans, and chick peas. Both canned and dry beans last a while in your pantry, and are versatile additions to many meals. If beans aren’t your thing, consider lentils instead.
Chicken, beef, and vegetable stocks are essential to soups and sauces. If you want to control what goes in them, you can make your own to store in the freezer, but store-bought varieties are always good to have on-hand.
Spices and seasonings
Every dish should be seasoned with salt and pepper (I prefer kosher salt and freshly-cracked black pepper). Depending on what kind of food you cook, you should stock your pantry with corresponding spices like basil, oregano, cinnamon, or cumin.
Garlic and onions
A good 90 percent of the dishes you can make start out with sauteed onions and garlic. They are the flavor base for almost everything and just make food taste better. Yes, they’re perishable, but they actually last pretty long; always keep these in your kitchen.
Olice oil is another ingredient that can be used in practically everything. Make sure it’s the good stuff: extra virgin. Use it for cooking and raw, for salad dressings.
White, red wine, balsamic, etc., all types of vinegar are great for flavoring and pair especially well with extra virgin olive oil for salad dressings. As a bonus, white vinegar is an excellent multipurpose household tool for cleaning, declogging, and just about anything else you can think of.
Used for batters and sauces, but most importantly, flour is the base of every baked good, from bread to dessert.
Sugar is also needed for every dessert, and then some. Used it as a universal sweetener for anything in your kitchen: coffee, tea, and cookies alike.
What are your pantry must-haves? Share in the comments!