Stocking your pantry is easy if you have all the money in the world. Stocking your pantry on a budget can be a little tricky. There are some food items that are going to be better for your budget then others. These are the best pantry essentials for a budget and will have you eating like a king (well…almost, LOL)!
Best Pantry Essentials for a Budget
I am using the term “pantry” loosely and really am just referring to your kitchen in general! The best pantry essentials for a budget are foods that are low-cost, but high-quality. These items may be in your fridge or your cabinet.
Eggs are a definite pantry essential. They are a very versatile food and if you shop at the right places you can get them relatively inexpensively. Eggs are also a very healthy food and pack a lot of power in a small shell. I love having an inexpensive meal of Stuffed Pepper Omelets when I have an abundance of peppers from my garden! We eat eggs for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!
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Oats are not just for oatmeal, although oatmeal is amazing. It is shocking how many recipes you can add oats to. From meatloaf filler to 5 ingredient granola bars to a simple breakfast food…oats are a great staple to have on hand. The great thing is that a big container of oats is very inexpensive.
I know that canned beans are easy, but the cost can add up. If you are on a tight budget then dried beans are the way to go. Dried beans are very cheap. Buy the biggest bag you can find because they have a long shelf life. It is simple to cook up a batch in the slow cooker and freeze what you don't need that day. Beans are the perfect way to “fill” up a dish so that you don't have to add as much meat. We love to add beans to soups, casseroles and even nachos.
Pasta is actually a very inexpensive staple to keep in the pantry. It goes on sale often and simple meals can be made quickly. I made a quick and easy Frozen Italian Meatball Soup recently with some small pasta shells. It was delicious and I just used whatever pasta I had on hand. Pasta can be a main dish, added to soups, stews and casseroles or used as an easy side dish.
Potatoes are an amazing veggie and they last a long time unlike some other vegetables. They can be used in SO many recipes. Old fashioned scalloped potatoes go great with almost any main dish. I have used leftover mashed potatoes in potato pancakes. Don't forget about a loaded baked potato as a main dish using leftover chili or even taco meat as a topping.
Peanut butter is one of those things that budget minded people have on hand at all times. It is a great source of protein. Peanut butter can be used in cookies, cakes, smoothies and more. Did I mention the best standby ever? Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches? You can even have some fun with it when you make Monsters on a Log!
Pick your favorite rice and buy a huge bag of it. What a cheap way to fill your plate! I have a whole bunch of amazing Spanish Rice recipes that can be made on the cheap. I also love to make Easy Veggie Fried Rice as a meatless meal once in a while. Don't forget to add rice to your taco meat to make it go further.
What is Your Favorite Pantry Essential?
The best pantry essentials for a budget are easy to whip into meals, side dishes and even desserts. Do you have a favorite? What do you ALWAYS have in your pantry? Let's compare notes!! 🙂