I know everyone probably has the 'basics' they keep on hand. So I'm sharing mine today. Having these ingredients on hand helps me stay out of the grocery store regularly and it also simplifies my life around dinner time when it's been a long day and there isn't a dinner plan! The savings add up from avoiding the store and the restaurants by simply keeping easy meal ingredients in the house.
There is always a meal that can be pulled together with some pasta. I usually have a whole assortment of types of pasta. When we can find it for 49 cents a box, we stock up and are always ready for cheap, easy dinner!
Again, a basic that can be easily turned into a meal. It's nice to have options other then pasta, it's also a great 'filler' for meals that look skimpy! ;)
Who doesn't like some form of potatoes?! It's a great good to ingredient and can easily be part of the main dish or a quick and easy side.
4. Canned tomatoes
I find that these babies can go in ALL kinds of recipes. So easy to pull something together when you can some on hand.
5. Canned beans
Another great 'filler' to expand your meat. Also can be made into all kinds of main dishes or a quick side too. I like to keep a variety on hand usually some black, pinto, kidney, baked, garbanzo/chickpeas (for hummus) and refried. Some times I'll have the bags and cook it up myself, but I also like to have some cans too for a really quick dinner fix.
6. Cream of Mushroom Soup
Throw some of this in with some meat and veggies and you can pour it on rice, potatoes or pasta. Easy, pull together dinner. It also goes in a lot of recipes!
I like to use dressings for sauce making and marinades so I usually have a few varieties in the pantry for a yummy touch to dinner. In the summertimes it's also nice to throw together a nice salad with a great dressing.
Always have pasta ingredients ready! :) When we can't think of anything else we can always have spaghetti and meatballs. Plus it can go in all sorts of other creative recipes too. Since we can ours in the fall, we usually have a good supply stocked up.
Seems like a good 'meat' to pull out when you forgot to freeze something! There are surprisingly a lot of things that you can put tuna in.
I always try to keep an extra jar of mayo (especially) in the house. You never know when you're going to need to put together a pasta/potato salad. It seems like once you use it in a few things the bottle is nearly gone, so it's good to have an extra just in case! ;) We usually have an extra spicy/grey poupon mustard and ketchup around too.
11. Baking mixes
Last minute company or party you're going to. You can pull together a great dessert in about 30 minutes if you have a packaged mix. They are easy to find for about $1 (or less sometimes!), so having a couple around is affordable too.
Usually the variety changes by what is on sale and what age the kids are! ;) Normally we have some kinds of crackers, maybe some chips, nuts/trail mix type snacks in the pantry. They are nice additions to add to quick lunch too.
Oatmeal and cold cereal. When all else fails, there is always some cereal around! :) I remember those nights growing up. We'd get home really late (especially on church nights) and it would be cereal for dinner. And almost every morning we had oatmeal and toast for breakfast and sometimes for dinner too! :) Oatmeal is also nice to have on hand for baking.
What do you always have on hand in your pantry?