3 Versatile & Cheap Pantry Staples That Make A Meal

Do you want to know what a wonderful feeling is? Walking to your pantry and seeing enough in there to make several meals. THAT is security to me.

Eating from your pantry

Over the years I’ve developed a short list of ingredients that I always have in our pantry. These are very inexpensive items that I always have on hand for weeks where I’d like to eek out a few meals without spending any money.

1. Dry Black Beans are one of my favorite foods. I prep the beans by cooking them in my slow cooker, which only takes a few hours but if you’re pressed on time cook a large batch on the weekends, drain, then freeze in 1 cup portions. Substitute 1.5 cups of cooked beans in any recipe that calls for 1 can of beans.

Black bean burgers
Black Bean Soup
Stir-Fried Rice with Black Beans and Frozen Veggies
Black Beans & Cheese Quesadillas
Black Bean Dip and Veggie Sticks, homemade crackers
Black Bean Salsa, tortilla chips, cheese
Black bean tacos or enchiladas
Black beans & rice
Black bean & sweet potato chili

2. Rice (or Quinoa) is one of my favorite foods in the world as it stretches a meal like nothing else. Quinoa is good too, and can be used interchangeably most of the time, but it’s about 50 times more expensive but still a good dietary bang for your buck. Here are my favorite ways to make rice a meal…and here is a fantastic recipe for Calico Beans & Rice.

3. Potatoes. I once told my husband “You know you’re frugal when you can think of 10 main dishes that feature potatoes.”

Potato Soup (Cheese-Potato-Corn chowder for a more balanced meal)
Scalloped Potatoes (add cheese, ham, and some frozen corn to make a meal)
Baked Potato Bar
Breakfast Potato Burrito
Twice Baked Potatoes (fill with cheese and veggies)
Roasted Potatoes (use this recipe, add bacon or ham if you want)
Pierogies
Potato Curry
Potato Flautas (or enchiladas if you prefer)
Potato Salad (make into a main dish by adding some ham or bacon, sliced veggies, & cheese)