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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Frugal Kitchen Staples

Frugal kitchen staples are versatile foods or cleaning supplies that you integrate with other items to make more of that item at a cheaper price. Keeping a good supply of staples on hand also reduces the amount of trips you make to the grocery store.

Stocking your Kitchen

The items that we have on hand are what determine how far our food will go. Filling your cabinets or pantry with a few useful staples can be the difference between a trip to the grocery store each and every week versus once or twice a month. Stocking just a few choice items is all you need to create wonderful meals.

Here are the most useful staples you should keep well stocked in your kitchen pantry:

Flour is used to make many foods, as well as being included in many recipes. Meat coatings, cake pan dusting, gravies, noodle making as well as breads and cakes, all, use flour. All-purpose flour keeps well in a dry and cool place when stored in airtight containers. To keep flour for an extra long time, place the flour in plastic containers and store in a freezer.


Rice is probably the most flexible of all frugal kitchen staples. It is a vegetable used in creating many frugal dishes, stretching meats to last for two or three recipes. Served plain, seasoned or mixed with other vegetables, rice is also filling, nutritious and available for purchase in bulk sizes. Put rice in soups, puddings, or make rice pancakes by adding beaten eggs to cooked rice and mixing until is has a pancake batter consistency.


Pasta, like rice, pasta makes great filler for meat and vegetable dishes. Homemade macaroni and cheese makes a side dish everyone likes, along with pasta salads and vegetable and pasta dishes. Making homemade pasta is easy with a noodle-making machine, with only three ingredients needed: salt, flour and eggs. Boxes of pre-made pasta have "best if used" dates on them, which generally run for one or two years depending on packaging.

Potatoes are a versatile vegetable and are part of frugal kitchen staples. Mashed, fried, baked, twice-baked, boiled or roasted, potatoes are usually a part of every meal in one form or another. Potatoes are even used in making vodka and wine. If properly stored, potatoes last about two months or slightly longer. Place them somewhere that is well ventilated and dark if possible, because too much light causes them to sprout eyes.


Beans, with over 100 varieties available, are the staple of frugal recipes. Full of protein and often used as a meat substitute, beans are in soups, chili, rice dishes, salads, vegetable and chip dip. Beans will keep in a freezer for six months.

Spices, in addition to salt and pepper, enhance food that is inherently bland such as rice and potatoes, providing differently distinct flavors to these foods so you don't get tired of eating it. Spices are also better for you nutritionally than salt, so if you are accustomed to sprinkling salt on frugal kitchen staples, try adding some spice to your meals.

These items will stretch not only your meals but your wallet as well.

Stocking up on Meats

Owning a freezer is almost a necessity if you want to have a properly stocked pantry, especially when it comes to keeping meats on hand. When meat is on sale at your grocery store, you should stock up so you won't have to purchase them at full price.

Chicken is a staple and can be mixed with about any soup, vegetable or pasta to make a filling and plentiful meal. Turkey is generally cheaper than red meat, especially around Thanksgiving, so stocking on a few turkeys around this time will save your money as well.

Other staples to stock are:

Peanut butter
Pretzels
Canned meats
Bouillon cubes
Corn flakes
Sugar
Plain oatmeal
Popcorn
Saltines

Learning how to can foods also maintains a good supply of frugal kitchen staples since canning allows food to keep for years. Growing a small vegetable garden outside and an herb garden inside is another way to add economically to your pantry.

Check out what else to stock your kitchen with?

Frugal Living Resources

Leftover recipes
Frugal Grocery Shopping Tips
Tips on Frugal Living 
$5 Meal Cookbook

Frugal Family Fun series:
Part 1 -Pizza Time
Part 2 -Breakfast Chefs
Part 3- Bouncy Balls
Part 4- Cookie Marathon
Part 5- Smoothies 











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