Lauren Conrad’s blog is great for quick, healthy recipes, fashion recommendations and budget friendly workouts. Last Tuesday she wrote about her top 10 pantry items so I thought that I would create my own to share with you, a week later. Keeping these on hand at all times is crucial for preparing my budget meals especially at the end of the month when you’re waiting for the next budget cycle to kick in.
Canned Tomato Sauce
I keep about 3-5 8 oz cans of tomato sauce on hand at all times and use it in place of jarred spaghetti sauce. (Saute garlic in a pan for a few seconds, add sauce and season with fresh or dried Italian herbs). It’s also a base for some Armenian dishes that I make pretty often which I will share with you later.
Inexpensive, long lasting, healthy shortcut. Thaw and add to a salad, saute for a stirfry, or for a pasta toss. Make sure you buy the ones without sauces or added flavorings since those have a lot of sodium and even cost more. You probably have the seasoning in your pantry s well.
I used this in paella, pasta, on salads, when I’ve run out of meats I know that I have frozen shrimp on hand.
I swear to god this is the next trendy grain. But Armenians have been eating this forever. I make bulgur pilaf as a side to chicken or beef, or in some Armenian dishes. Mix with meet and stuff into peppers. Mark Bittman has a few recipes for breakfast bulgur, something I haven’t tried before, but similar to an oatmeal dish. I buy in bulk at international grocery stores, it can run from $1-$2 a pound and comes in xtra coarse, coarse, medium and fine. The medium is the most versatile so I usually go with that one.
When you run out of EVERYTHING, you always have a can of tuna. One of my new favorite combos is tuna salad with avocado just together without bread. Top with salsa for an even more delicious combo. When I’m craving comfort food I usually whip up a tuna melt.
Cheese is one of life’s guilty pleasures, who doesn’t love to snack on cheese all the time? I usually keep sliced deli cheese on hand to put on sandwiches or in salads. Whenever I go to Trader Joe’s I stock up on multiple varieties from goat to gouda. If you have small pasta on hand then you have the makings for homemade mac and cheese. No need to spend extra on the box.
Oils and Vinegars
In my cupboard I have sesame, canola, and olive oils, white wine, red wine, rice wine and balsamic vinegars. The number sauces and salad dressings you can create is endless and you’ll never have to buy the bottled kinds again. Mix sesame oil and rice wine vinegar with peanut butter to make peanut sauce, mix any of the vinegars and oils with a bit of Dijon mustard to make your own vinaigrette.
Onions are an aromatic that creates a base of flavor in many dishes. I always have these on hand to cook with to add a layer of flavor.
A hearty protein to spread on toast before a run, or on top of apples to make a more satisfying snack. Also, I often make my own peanut sauce for Asian noodles. Try this recipe from We Are Not Martha.
Good for breakfast, egg salad (when you’re low on sandwich goods), also boil some up to put on top of a salad. You can always make your own omelette with a side salad for those nights when you really just don’t feel like cooking. Here’s the recipe I posted a few weeks back on baked eggs.
I hope you find these helpful!
What are your pantry staples?