We all tend to stick to the same family favourite meals but for the most part, the ingredients in your family favourites are very similar and it is easy to build yourself a kitchen cupboard of staple ingredients to make any of your meals in the evening.
There is nothing worse than when you are off the meal plan and you open the cupboard to find there is nothing inspirational in there.
So, here are the staples that we always keep in our kitchen cupboard (and a few fridge items). Just making sure you have the correct storage will ensure that they last for a while!
Pasta – This is one of the easiest things to cook and takes less than 15 minutes to have it on the dinner table. Making your own pasta sauces is not difficult at all, there are plenty of ones that can be made from a few ingredients or even using up leftovers that may be in your fridge. When I buy pasta I always buy the supermarket own brand and have never had any issues with it at all.
Chopped tomatoes – An essential in our household, they are used in pasta sauces, bolognese, curry and chilli to name just a few dishes. They are cheap and easily bulk out a meal if you are trying to make your food budget stretch.
Beans and pulses – We always have kidney beans, cannellini beans and sweetcorn in the cupboard. They are used in lots of dishes such as chilli, pasta sauces and even salads. They are very cheap too which makes them perfect for adding to dishes as bulking items.
Lazy garlic & chilli – I gave up purchasing fresh chilli and garlic a long time ago as I was fed up with the waste. Although I use them in lots of dishes I was finding too much was going in the bin every week so decided to make the switch. Once open, you just keep these jars in the fridge and they are perfect for use in so many dishes. They are a bit more expensive on the initial layout but I use them so much more and there is no wastage.
Herbs and spices – I have a pretty big range of herbs and spices which I have built up over time. Each one is just the supermarket own brand to save some pennies. You can add so much flavour to even the boring dishes with spices from your cupboard and you only need a little bit each time.
Eggs – One of the best things to have in your house, not only do they go into things like cakes etc but they can be a quick dinner or lunch on a lazy day. Whether you are a fan of them poaches, scrambled, fried or boiled, they are perfect and really good value too. I always buy free-range large eggs, but that is just my preference. You can not go wrong with poached eggs on toast for some delicious lunch. If you are unsure of the best ways to cook eggs, you can read about it here in this previous post.
None of the above needs to be expensive as the supermarkets all do their own versions of each item, but each one is perfect to create a dish. Either on its own or added to some meat or fish, you can create a wide range with minimal effort and fuss.
In the next couple of weeks, I will be sharing some of our simple pasta recipes, some take a little more effort than others. The rest are so simple that it takes a matter of minutes to make. My personal favourites are the ones where you can use up leftover meat or veg to stop it going in the bin!
What is your kitchen cupboard essentials to make your family favourite meals?