Today it’s all about staple pantry items we all need to stock up on. We are certainly living in challenging times, where many families are struggling just to stay ahead. Eating out at restaurants or fast food joints may be convenient for families always on the go, but they’ve gotten ridiculously expensive over the past few years.
Afterward, you’re left feeling not only swindled but to make matters worse, you may have that one child who’s complaining that they’re “still hungry.” Grrrrr! Check out these staple pantry items for making cheap meals.
If you’re on a tight budget and looking for cheaper meal solutions, I’m here to provide you with some words of encouragement. Here are 20 staple pantry items that everyone should have for making cheaper meals. In case you missed this post, Canned Foods I Highly Recommend You Store
20 Staple Pantry Items
1. Dry or Canned Beans
Dried or canned beans are first up on my list of staple pantry items that you need. Whichever way you prefer them, they’re super cheap and have plenty of protein. Beans are the magical fruit that you’ll be needing in your pot of chili, burritos, or for refried beans.
Pasta is another filling pantry item that will cost you around $1 or less for that meal, and you can enjoy it in all different shapes and sizes. It can be stored in your pantry for a long period of time, and you also have the option of pouring different types of sauces over them to mix up your dishes a bit.
Buying rice in bulk is a great way to turn any meal into something more filling, while costing you very little to do it. Rice goes great in soup, skillets, or simply added as a side dish.
Chicken is super cheap as far as meat goes, but even more so if you’re patient and wait until the family packs go on sale. It goes great with almost any meal and whatever leftovers that you don’t use can be placed in the freezer for use later.
5. Canned Tuna
A can of tuna can be enjoyed straight out of the container, or added to other ingredients in order to make tuna salad. It too comes with an abundance of protein and other key nutrients.
6. Ground Beef
Ground beef is another staple pantry item that can be used to make several cheap meals. Although not as cheap as chicken, it’s still cost-effective compared to most other meats, and it too can be purchased in bulk at a great sale price and then stored in your freezer. You’ll need it to make sloppy joes, tacos, chili, soups, and all different kinds of hearty casseroles.
7. Pasta Sauce
Having a jar of pasta sauce that can be poured over your spaghetti noodles can create an entire meal for your family for under $3. It doesn’t get any cheaper than that.
Oh, how I love eggs! They’re full of protein while costing you very little. In fact, they are one of the cheapest staple foods on this list. Whether you prefer them scrambled or sunny side up, or maybe you’re in the mood for some french toast for breakfast, eggs will do your body good. You’ll also be needing eggs for making homemade baked goods as well.
Cheese can be expensive when you decide to pay full price for it, so don’t, and wait until it goes on sale. If you enjoy cooking from scratch, it will be hard to survive without it. (At least I think so.) You’ll need it for salads, sandwiches, homemade pizza, and yummy cheesy quesadillas. Believe it or not, it too can be frozen, if desired.
Flour will be absolutely necessary for those who whip up everything from scratch. It’s also used to thicken sauces and soups, but most importantly when making mouth-watering baked goods like my favorite homemade bread.
You may be scratching your head on this one because oil certainly isn’t cheap, but it will provide you with more cooking options, besides use in simply baking or frying and you’ll notice the taste difference too. Olive oil is the healthiest way to go while providing a number of health benefits for you and your family.
Oatmeal brings you both a filling and frugal breakfast option. You can also use it to make oatmeal cookies or homemade granola.
13. Peanut Butter
Peanut butter is certainly one of those food items that most families can’t live without, especially if you have children who love eating peanut butter and jelly just about every day of the week. Or maybe you’re the guilty culprit that eats it by the spoonful for a snack in the middle of the night? Whatever the case may be, peanut butter is a great source of protein at a rather low price.
Bread is another must-have item to make cheap meals, such as sandwiches, toast, or broken up into a casserole.
15. Frozen Vegetables
Oftentimes you’ll find that frozen vegetables come cheaper than the fresh ones, and they last much longer too! Frozen vegetables work great as a side dish, but they can also be used to make vegetable beef soup or a delicious pot pie. Don’t forget you can dehydrate frozen vegetables, no washing, peeling, or chopping. How to Dehydrate Frozen Vegetables
Onions are not only inexpensive, but they can also responsible for adding plenty of flavor to all sorts of different dishes. They taste great in soups, salads, skillets, or on top of burgers and sandwiches. I typically pick up ten bags of frozen chopped onions if they are on sale. I can use part or all of the bag I open. Onions: Everything You Need To Know
A small bag of potatoes will cost you well under $3.00, but you can get several meals out of it. Potatoes are another versatile item that can be enjoyed as a side dish, in a soup or casserole, and also as well-seasoned breakfast potatoes.
18. Spices and Herbs
You’ll be needing these to add flavor to all your favorite meals and recipes. They’ll run you a bit more in cost, but if you shop for the right brand of spices and herbs you can generally get them for a low price. Ones that you’ll find yourself using most often include chili powder, garlic and onion powder, basil, oregano, Italian seasoning, red pepper, cumin, nutmeg, and cinnamon.
19. Kosher or Sea Salt
Much healthier than table salt, kosher or sea salt will add powerful flavor, while you won’t have to worry about those undesired additives. My favorite salt is made by Redmond Salt
Lastly, don’t forget to get yourself a grinder of peppercorn. Pepper that’s already been ground up for you tends to not hold on to its flavor or aroma as well as a peppercorn. Plus, pepper goes on just about everything.
There’s no reason to feel guilty about finding ways of saving your family money while feeding them healthy meals. Making meals that cost very little is one great way of doing just that. These 20 staple pantry items are just a few among many others that you’ll want to consider in order to make cheaper meals. What are other staple foods that your family could not live without that didn’t make my list? May God Bless this world, Linda.
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