Have you ever wondered what I keep in my pantry? Don’t bother answering because I’m going to tell you anyway.
Keeping a stocked pantry is key to saving money when it comes to feeding your family. I can’t tell you how comforting it is to know that feeding your family won’t be a concern during times of financial stress.
Here are 5 things I almost always have in my pantry and why:
1. Flour – I almost always have 5 lbs of flour, usually unbleached white but I like to keep a mix of whole wheat in there too. I typically buy 20 lbs during my monthly shop but if I’m down to 5 lbs and know a rough time is coming up I will buy another 5 or 10 lbs. Flour goes a long way to stretch out a little bit of food. Some flour, sauce and cheese can become pizza. A head of lettuce with dressing becomes a filling meal with a side of breadsticks. Leftovers can be made into soup and served in a bread bowl. You get the idea.
2. Potatoes – Just like flour, potatoes are cheap and make for a filling meal. You can have the potato by itself, make it into soup or dice it and add to stir fry, curry or a frittata.
3. Curry powder and/or Garam Masala powder – I LOVE these spices. These spices enable you to take a few simple, cheap ingredients (a potato, some beans, an onion, some broth or milk) and turn it into a delicious meal (Google the ingredients you have and you’ll find something!) If you don’t have either spice you can easily mix your own from spices most of us have in our cabinet, just Google a recipe.
4. Eggs – Technically these are in my fridge, not my pantry 😉 Eggs are so versatile and a really cheap food. Boiled eggs for snacks or egg salad, breakfast for dinner, add to flour to make waffles or make a big ‘ol frittata from eggs and leftovers. Tip: Put raw eggs directly on the oven rack and cook for 30 minutes at 325 for perfectly done “boiled” eggs that are easy to peel and won’t break apart while cooking. Seriously, it works!
5. Beans – Beans are extremely versatile, last practically forever if well stored (the dry kind!) and can be made into a meal pretty quickly. I like to cook a large batch in my slow cooker once or twice a month, drain well, and freeze for future use. You can make traditional dishes like beans & rice or bean tacos, but you can also use them to make burgers, stir fry and even brownies (seriously!) My favorite beans to keep around are black, garbanzo and lentils. I know that lentils technically aren’t beans, but they’re sold in the same place and store the same way, so close enough 🙂
BONUS! Rice. I always keep white and brown rice in my pantry, another great way to stretch out a meal very cheaply. My very favorite lunch is a handful of brown rice thrown in the rice steamer with a handful of veggies and some water. I steam them together and top with a wee bit o’ butter. Delicious!
What items do you keep in your pantry at all times?