Entertainment, Health and Lifestyle

Make Sure You Have These 9 Essential Pantry Items

I won’t ask if you’ve been paying attention to what’s going on with food in the U.S. Who could possibly avoid getting smacked in the face nearly every day with the high cost of feeding a family?

I just read that the average cost of ground beef in the U.S. is hitting an all-time high. I believe it, and not only beef. It is shocking how grocery prices have skyrocketed, which underscores the need for a well-stocked pantry.

The way to fight back is twofold: Eat the sales, and eat at home. That means only putting items in the cart that are on sale (my benchmark is 30% discount), and preparing and eating that food at home.

I know — it sounds so easy. And it can be if you make sure your kitchen pantry is well stocked. It’s annoying and expensive not to have basic items on hand. You don’t have what you need and don’t have time to go get it, which means, of course, you’ll have to go out for dinner. Again.

Taking the time and effort to make sure you always have the following nine essential pantry items will save a lot of money, provided you pick these items up as they go on sale. Think of this as a project.


I detest evaporated milk because I had to drink it as a kid. But it’s fabulous for cooking and baking! Keeping a few cans in your pantry ensures you’ll always have milk on hand when the recipe calls for it.


This is amazing. You can find it in the baking aisle as “cultured buttermilk blend.” I can’t tell you how many times buttermilk as an ingredient in something has thrown me to the wolves. Who keeps buttermilk on hand?

And when you need only a small amount, then what to do with the rest of it? This dry option is the answer. I keep it in the freezer, and it lasts indefinitely. I find myself reaching for it quite often. It’s so easy to use, following the chart on the label.


Always have a few cans of white albacore on hand. A good tuna sandwich is hard to beat, which makes it a great fallback. Mix with onions, pasta, canned tomato and some dried herbs to make a tuna casserole. Everybody should have one wickedly delicious tuna pasta bake recipe up their sleeve.


Turn it into pizza sauce or spaghetti sauce. Add it to soup. Many quick and easy casseroles call for tomato sauce. If you have a few small cans as well as regular size, you won’t waste a bunch when a recipe calls for just a small amount of tomato sauce.


My favorite thing to keep on hand; frozen peas fix anything. Add peas to any pasta dish, stew or salad and you’re adding nutrition as well as visual appeal.


You’ll save money if you buy bulk cheese and shred it yourself. But if you are not prone to do that ahead, buy it shredded. You’ll recoup the cost the first time you opt to fix a quick meal of quesadillas. And you’ll be good to go for a quick macaroni and cheese, too, and for pizza topping or to garnish chili.


Yes, you can chop it yourself if you happen to have an onion on hand. And you don’t have to buy them chopped. You can do this ahead and just keep a bag in the freezer. However you do it, having this on hand is such a great idea. You’ll see.


I think you need chicken, vegetable and beef. It comes granulated, cubed or as a very thick, concentrated base labeled “Better Than Bouillon,” which you keep refrigerated. I prefer the latter, but any bouillon will get you out of a jam when you don’t have chicken stock or beef broth on hand, or when a recipe calls for bouillon. Or you just want a nice hot cup of chicken broth. It’s easy to use and simple to store.


Keeping a few cans on hand is a smart idea. Again, you can make it yourself, but will you? Canned broth or stock is an ingredient you will appreciate having on hand for bases, sauces, gravies and soups.

Support Conservative Daily News with a small donation via Paypal or credit card that will go towards supporting the news and commentary you've come to appreciate.

Mary Hunt

Mary invites you to visit her at EverydayCheapskate.com, where this column is archived complete with links and resources for all recommended products and services. Mary invites questions and comments at https://www.everydaycheapskate.com/contact/, "Ask Mary." Tips can be submitted at tips.everydaycheapskate.com/ . This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of EverydayCheapskate.com, a frugal living blog, and the author of the book "Debt-Proof Living."

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Back to top button