Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Frugal Ingredients - Keeping the Pantry Stocked

Keeping cooking staples in your pantry is a great way to keep your cooking costs lower. Buying items on sale that you know you use often is a great way to lower your cost per meal. If you are just getting started, starting over after a move, or looking for some new ideas, here is a list of what I always keep on hand:
  • Flour
  • Sugar (regular, brown, and confectioners)
  • Baking powder/soda
  • Salt
  • Vegetable Oil and Olive Oil
  • Herbs and Spices
  • Rice
  • Pasta
  • Beans
  • Oatmeal
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Diced Tomatoes
  • Salsa
  • Crackers
  • Cereal
  • Cheese (mozzerella, cheddar - in the fridge)
  • Eggs (in the fridge)
  • Milk (in the fridge)
  • Better-Than-Bullion (chicken or beef - in the fridge)
  • Chicken Breasts (in the freezer)
  • Ground Beef (in the freezer)
  • Frozen veggies (in the freezer)
Buying all of this in one shopping trip will make it an expensive trip, however, a lot of these are non-perishable and can make more than a few meals. You will not find yourself replacing them very often. And when you see that items on this list are on sale, stock up! You know you'll use them.

Just looking at this list, I can make chili, cheese omelets, soup, flour tortillas, nachos, crackers and cheese, pasta with meat sauce or chicken parmesan. That's just a few things I came up with off the top of my head. Keeping a well stocked pantry/fridge/freezer with things that YOU like to use in your cooking will save you a lot of trips to the grocery store. It will also help you to feel secure that even if you don't know when your next paycheck will show up, you know you can make yourself dinner!

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