Dinnertime doesn’t have to be stressful if you keep your pantry well-stocked. Numerous recipes use the same ingredients, so you always have an idea on which items to buy at the store. Even if you have to put grocery shopping on the back burner for a bit, you’ll always have a recipe to draw from when you have these staples on hand. Here are 10 foods to always have in your kitchen if you want to avoid another trip to the drive-thru.
1. Pasta: White or wheat, spaghetti or penne – pasta is a pantry staple you should always have on hand. Even if you make pasta dishes several times a week, each one feels completely new with different sauces and ingredients. If worse comes to worse, simply serve buttered noodles if you run out of marinara or Alfredo sauce.
2. Rice: It’s a food that goes with just about anything. Have your favorite type of rice on hand for when you need a quick side item.
3. Canned Veggies: It’s best to serve fresh vegetables whenever possible, but produce is something you can’t stock up on weeks in advance. When you open the crisper to find the asparagus has gone soft and wilted, opt for a can of green beans or sweet corn instead.
4. Canned Chicken or Tuna: When a sandwich hankering hits you hard, it’s devastating to find out you’re fresh out of lunch meat. Canned chicken or tuna is an excellent alternative, just mix in a little mayo for an appetizing meal.
5. Ground Beef: Buy ground beef in bulk and freeze it in 1 lb. portions. Defrost the meat in the fridge overnight or speed up the process by placing it in cold water for a couple of hours.
6. Salsa: Once the salsa has been opened, store it in the fridge. Salsa goes great with a variety of Mexican dishes and, when coupled with tortilla chips, makes a tasty afternoon snack.
7. Chicken and Beef Bouillon: If you buy cans or boxes of chicken stock, you’re limited as to the amount of gravy you can make. Opt for bouillon cubes or powder so you can measure the exact amounts. The required storage space is considerably less and the investment is substantially lower as well.
8. Flour: Whether it’s a spontaneous cookie baking session or thickening a pot of gravy, flour is one of the most important ingredients to always have in your kitchen. Store it in a cool, dry place to help improve shelf life.
9. Butter:Refrigeration is required, but you can also freeze butter to make it last longer. A quick trip in the microwave delivers thawed butter for cookies, bread, sauces, and more in no time at all.
10. Dried Herbs, Spices & Extract: All recipes require some kind of herb, spice or extract. Some of the more common ones include salt and pepper, oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, chili powder, crushed red pepper, basil, and vanilla extract.
PS. Be sure to check your apartment pantry or cupboards for these 10 food items. If you don’t have them now, make a list so you won’t forget next time you go to the store.