10 Pantry Staples to Start Any Meal

What's Hot


2 Types of Black Marks Might Vanish From Your Credit File SoonBorrow

6 Ways the Obamacare Overhaul Might Impact Your WalletInsurance

7 Dumb and Costly Moves Homebuyers MakeBorrow

This Free Software Brings Old Laptops Back to LifeMore

Obamacare Replacement Plan Gets ‘F’ Rating from Consumer ReportsFamily

Beware These 12 Common Money MistakesCredit & Debt

21 Restaurants Offering Free Food Right NowSaving Money

17 Ways to Have More Fun for Less MoneySave

House Hunters: Beware of These 6 Mortgage MistakesBorrow

30 Household Uses for Baby OilSave

25 Ways to Spend Less on FoodMore

Nearly Half of Heart-Related Deaths Linked to These 10 Foods and IngredientsFamily

5 Surprising Benefits of Exercising Outdoors in WinterFamily

10 Ways to Save When You’re Making Minimum WageSave

Boost Your Credit Score Fast With These 7 MovesCredit & Debt

7 Painless Ways to Pay Off Your Mortgage Years EarlierBorrow

The Most Sinful City in the U.S. Is … (Hint: It’s Not Vegas)Family

The True Cost of Bad CreditCredit & Debt

10 Companies With the Best 401(k) PlansGrow

This Scam Now Tops ID Theft as the No. 2 Consumer ComplaintFamily

6 Stores With Awesome Reward ProgramsFamily

6 Ways to Save More at Lowe’s and The Home DepotSave

6 Healthful Treats for Your DogFamily

New Study Ranks the Best States in the U.S.Family

Thousands of Millionaires Moving to 1 Country — and Leaving AnotherGrow

Strapped for College Costs? How to Get the Most From FAFSABorrow

6 Overlooked Ways to Save at Chick-fil-AFamily

Ask Stacy: What’s the Fastest Way to Pay Off My Mortgage?Borrow

Where to Sell Your Stuff for Top DollarAround The House

8 Ways to Get a Good Price on a Shiny New AutoCars

Ask Stacy: How Do I Start Over?Credit & Debt

Secret Cell Plans: Savings Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint Don’t Want You to Know AboutFamily

30 Awesome Things to Do in RetirementCollege

14 Super Smart Ways to Save on TravelSave

The Rich Prefer Modest Cars — Should You Join Them?Cars

You’ll Soon Pay More to Shop at CostcoSave

10 Ways to Save When Your Teen Starts DrivingFamily

Can't figure out what to make for dinner? Keep these foods on hand and you'll always be ready to make a great meal.

Not knowing what to cook for dinner is one issue, but not having anything to cook is a bigger problem, especially after a long day at the office.

In this situation, many of us resort to takeout food, which isn’t good for our wallets or waistlines, especially if it becomes a habit.

This is why staple foods that work well with many meals are so important. These items often have a long shelf life, making them good ingredients to stock up on for last-minute meals.

Here are 10 essential items to keep in your pantry.

1. Eggs

ffolas / Shutterstock.comffolas / Shutterstock.com

Eggs are a great source of protein and vitamins, including vitamin A (healthy skin) and vitamin D (bone strength). Although they don’t reside in the pantry, they are an essential kitchen ingredient, budget-friendly and easy.

They can be prepared in many different ways, from hard-boiled eggs to grilled eggs.

2. Potatoes

Yaroslav Melnik / Shutterstock.comYaroslav Melnik / Shutterstock.com

Stock up on potatoes, and you can easily whip up french fries, mashed potatoes, baked potatoes, potato chips and more. They’re tasty, inexpensive and easy to prepare.

In addition, they can easily be grown in a garden, and they are filling and acceptable to eat at any meal.

3. Pasta

ugurv / Shutterstock.comugurv / Shutterstock.com

Pasta has long been a staple food item filled with fiber and carbohydrates, which give us energy. It’s also cheap and pairs well with just about any meat or vegetable.

4. Tomato sauce

OmerYontar / Shutterstock.comOmerYontar / Shutterstock.com

Pasta can easily sustain us, but it’s awfully boring without sauce. Stock up on a few jars the next time you’re at the supermarket. Aside from pasta, tomato sauce can be used for meatballs, soup, pizza and more.

5. Tuna

Andrey Starostin / Shutterstock.comAndrey Starostin / Shutterstock.com

Canned tuna is inexpensive, and it’s packed with protein. It is used in various recipes, such as sandwiches, salads, tuna melts, tuna croquettes and casseroles.

6. Rice

PiraPora / Shutterstock.comPiraPora / Shutterstock.com

Rice, like pasta, is inexpensive. It’s also a popular side dish with meals that provides a great source of energy.

7. Cereal

Daria Kurnosenkova / Shutterstock.comDaria Kurnosenkova / Shutterstock.com

By cereal, we mean everything from Cap’n Crunch to old-fashioned oatmeal. Cereal is a quick or ready-to-eat meal, making it a popular choice for people who are often on the run.

Cereal can provide a pick-me-up any time of day, and some types can even be used in a meatloaf mix or as a crunchy coating on a casserole.

8. Milk

rlat / Shutterstock.comrlat / Shutterstock.com

Americans use milk with cereal and in cooking. We also drink it, put it in our coffee or tea, use it in milkshakes, and more. Milk is also an ingredient in many popular and cheap dishes, including french toast, mashed potatoes, and macaroni and cheese.

9. Bread

Lauryk Alena / Shutterstock.comLauryk Alena / Shutterstock.com

Americans love bread — not only because of its taste, but also because of its versatility. Bread works at any meal as a key ingredient in a sandwich, or on the side with a plate of eggs, a bowl of soup or a steak. Even after bread expires, it’s useful for making croutons, breadcrumbs and stuffing.

10. Beans

Evlakhov Valeriy / Shutterstock.comEvlakhov Valeriy / Shutterstock.com

Beans are full of fiber and water content, which makes you feel fuller faster, according to WebMD. If push comes to shove, beans can be a meal in and of themselves. They’re also great in soups, stews, dips, burritos and tacos.

What other great staples do you depend on? Share them by commenting below or on our Facebook page.

Stacy Johnson

It's not the usual blah, blah, blah

I know... every site you visit wants you to subscribe to their newsletter. But our news and advice is actually worth reading! For 25 years, I've been making people richer without making their eyes glaze over. You'll be glad you did. I guarantee it!

💰🗣📰

Read Next: 8 Ways to Get Your FICO Score for Free

Check Out Our Hottest Deals!

We're always adding new deals and coupons that'll save you big bucks. See the deals to the right and hundreds more in our Deals section.

Click here to explore 1,973 more deals!