They say the best way to saving money on groceries is to pre-plan your menu every week, however I don’t always know what I want to eat right now, much less in five days from now. I also tend to get overly focused and forget for long hours at a time that I’m supposed to be eating. This often brings about the need to whip up something tasty and delicious in my kitchen, many times without a recipe and without an idea of what sort recipe I could create with the randomness that I choose to purchase at the store most recently. It is for this reason that I always make sure to have certain ingredients on hand, because I know if I have them it doesn’t matter what crazy things I purchased at the store I will be able to make something that tastes amazing. Here are my 10 ingredients for every do it yourself recipe and examples on how to use them.
I prefer the baby portobellos myself, these are a great ingredient to have when it comes to making soup, sandwiches, stir fry, taco filling and or for the topping on a salad. They pack in an extra protein punch wherever you need it most and they cook up quickly. My favorite mushroom recipe involves sauteing them in soy sauce with some dried oregano, garlic powder, and dried parsley. I then place them between to pieces of french bread with a little spring mix, salad dressing, cucumber slices, and a slice of mozzarella cheese of course I toast the bread and the cheese before applying the vegetables. Its super delicious.
Ingredient #2: Chicken
This ingredient isn’t usually very helpful when you are needing to make a meal quickly, however when the hour to begin cooking dinner comes around and you have absolutely no idea what to make it is always handy to be able to pull out some type of chicken. After all its a very versatile meat that can be used in over a thousand different ways.
Ingredient #3: Spaghetti Sauce
I always keep between 2 and three large cans of spaghetti sauce on hand at all times. There is of course the obvious way in which Spaghetti Sauce is used, in the quick cooking of spaghetti. For me Spaghetti sauce is also great to have around if you are wanting to make a tomato soup base, when I make spicy soup I generally always want it to have a tomato broth.
The spud is an ingenious ingredient to have, versatile it can be cut to make fries or hash-browns, used as soup and pie filling. Of course theirs the whole Baked Potato recipe as well just about anything will taste good when placed atop a steaming hot freshly baked potato.
Ingredient #5: Canned Beans
I really enjoy Kidney, and Black Beans they are easily topped on salads or mixed into Spaghetti for an extra protein kick. Getting them canned means the step of having to soak and then wait for them to cook is skipped. I also enjoy using the black beans on my tacos and taco salads.
As you May have noticed the majority of my ingredients have so far been Protein related, I assume this is left over from my four year stint as a vegetarian (minus the chicken of course that’s a new thing). For the next five ingredients I’m going to place more focus on the simple ingredients that get used on a regular bases in my house during the cooking process.
Ingredient #6: Onions
Whether its soup, stir fry, or something completely new every other recipe made in my kitchen it seems uses onions. This is a great tool for adding either sweet or spicy to your food of course it all depends on what kind of onion you use and how you choose to cook this ingenious ingredient.
In case you hadn’t figured it out already through the reading of my previous blog posts we go through a lot of colored peppers in my house. Above all others I will admit that these sweet yummy peppers are definitely my favorite vegetable. I enjoy putting them on salads, sandwiches, in stir fry, and on tacos. If I can find a way to include bell pepper I’m going to do it. Of course they also make a yummy snack, I will often cut one up just to eat it raw and with no dressing.
Ingredient #8: Ramen/ Shi-NumYun
This is more for my husband than myself, but on occasion this does come in handy especially for late night snacking or late evening dinners when no one really wants to cook. Daniel also enjoys mixing in an egg or shredded chicken. Of course anyone who went to college or is in college knows that these “tasty” noodles can be used in a wide variety of ways.
Ingredient #9: Canned Green Beans
On the rare occasion that I should run out of tasty vegetables and my next shopping trip is a day or two out, I try and keep around a few different types of canned vegetables. Of course my favorite is Green Beans, because they not only work as a great side dish to any protein, but they are also very useful to have with a number of different recipes. For instance they are great additions to soup, and they can be turned into a very tasty casserole.
With a Korean Husband its hard not to have rice available in the house, as it tends to be his go to starch and side dish for many of our meals. Rice can be used in soup, stir fry, in casseroles, curry, and in a variety of other forms as well.
What ingredients do you keep on hand at all times share in the comments below.