It’s the age-old question asked in every household: ‘What should I make for dinner tonight?’ Sometimes you might hit a cooking rut or struggle to figure out what you’re in the mood for, but it helps if you have the following staple ingredients in your pantry. These staple ingredients form great starting points for a wide range of recipes, and can make for easy weeknight meals.
Fifteen staple ingredients to keep in your pantry
Stock your kitchen with these basics and you will always have a back-up dinner and starting point for a variety of meals:
- Olive oil: this is a staple ingredient for many dishes, because it can be used for roasting, sautéing and even drizzling over salads. One bottle can go a long way.
- Canned tomatoes: this item is one that’s easy to add into soups, stews and sauces, and many Italian dishes too.
- Coconut milk: a can of coconut milk is always great to have on hand to pour into a curry; it’s also great at thickening dessert recipes, and making your spicy dishes a little milder.
- All-purpose flour: if you need to whip up a quick dessert, or thicken a creamy sauce, flour is a must-have.
- Sugar: sugar is a requirement for many desserts, stewing fruits, and just for dressings and a little extra flavour in meals. Keep it on hand for last-minute dinner plans and spontaneous dessert plans.
- Salt and Pepper: this classic seasoning duo is essential for cooking savoury dishes of most cuisines.
- Stock: stock is a quintessential pantry staple, which adds a a richer taste to soups, and meaty dishes, for example.
- Rice: rice can easily be dressed up into an interesting side, used in a delicious fried rice or bowl meal, or used to soak up leftover curries and stews. Choose whichever rice you eat most often, and always have an extra packet on hand.
- Herbs and spices: herbs such as oregano, basil, parsley, rosemary and cumin are handy to have in your pantry to add extra flavour to your meals. Figure out which you use the most and ensure you’ve got a stash on hand.
- Beans or Lentils: legumes, including beans and lentils, can easily be tossed into soups, salads and Mexican dishes for an extra kick of protein, or to bulk up your favourite meal.
- Spaghetti and other pasta shapes: Having a box or bag of your favourite pasta in the back of your pantry is a good idea for speedy meals. Pasta can be combined with most meats and vegetables to make a meal, and is even enjoyable when left its most simple with some olive oil, salt, pepper and sprinkling of parmesan. Dinner’s done!
- Garlic and onion: garlic and onion are wonderfully falvoursome taste enhancers. They’re the perfect ingredient to add to a quick spaghetti bolognese, a stir-fry and many commonly enjoyed mid-week meals.
- Honey: honey can be useful in marinades, dressings, sauces or drizzled over your morning porridge.
- Rolled oats: simple cereals and grains are the answer to both sweet and savoury crumbles, various dessert recipes and a variety of breakfast dishes.
- Tomato Paste: this tasty ingredient should always be lurking in your pantry somewhere, as it’s great to add to mince, sauces, pumpkin soup, Italian dishes, or to use on a pizza base.
Easy no-fuss recipes
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