Frugal Tip Tuesday – staples that will help you make frugal dinners

I prefer to cook our meals from scratch for many reasons:

1. I am a stay at home mom, meaning I am here, and have time to plan and prep meals for my family.

2. We live off  a single income, and have a tight budget, and cooking from scratch is cheaper.

3. I would much rather make rice and pasta dish from scratch, than buying the packaged ones that are full of junk.

4. I LOVE to cook. I love trying new recipes and using new gadgets and seeing the smiles on people’s faces when they enjoy what I made.

Yes each week I try new recipes, and post my meal plans, but those plans don’t show what I am buying, and what I have on hand. If I had to buy every single ingredient for each recipe I was making that week, we wouldn’t be able to live on such a tight budget. There are lots of ingredients that I always have in stock, usually purchased on sale or in bulk. And there are sauces and spices that we use all the time too.

clipart from Clipartmojo.com

Here is a list of staples that we always have on hand, and what I use them for.

Baking:

  • all-purpose flour
  • whole wheat flour
  • white sugar
  • brown sugar
  • icing sugar
  • cocoa
  • baking powder
  • baking soda
  • vanilla extract
  • eggs
  • butter
  • shortening

With these always on hand, I feel like my baking is free! I can whip up cookies or brownies, and it doesn’t feel like it costs anything because all I am using are ingredients that are always in the cupboard.

Spices (just a few favourites):

  • garlic powder
  • onion powder
  • chili powder
  • cumin
  • rosemary
  • Italian spice blend

It would take too long to list each spice we have in the cupboard. Pretty much any spice you can think of, we have. I love using new ones, and adding to our little collection.

Sauces:

  • plum sauce
  • ketchup
  • soya sauce
  • various hot sauces
  • various bbq sauces

Other general cooking essentials:

Dried pasta – in various shapes

Minute rice – used in casseroles

Long grain rice – usually make this when we are eating the rice plain

Cream of Mushroom soup – used in cream sauces and casseroles

Canned beans – red kidney beans and black beans: can whip up a quick chili

Canned tomatoes – used in lots of pasta dishes and chili

Canned and frozen veggies – for weeks when there just aren’t any good deals on fresh veggies

Onions & garlic – I always have these in the draw, and they get added to pretty much every dish I make.

Lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers – I buy these every week regardless of the menu plan. This way I can always throw together a simple salad for lunch or to have with dinner.

With these always on hand, I know that there will always be something to make for dinner. What staples do you keep in your pantry?

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This Tip Tuesday post was inspired by Good Cheap Eats “Build a frugal pantry” Stop by and check out her post, and all her sites for that matter, they are all such great resources!

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