Here Are Your Frugal Must-Have’s For The Kitchen
There are certain food items that will go a lot further than others. They are the ones that you need to put back for frugal times. Foods that will stretch and makes meals larger or make them last longer are worth their weight in gold when it comes right down to it.
They may not be your favorites, but I can tell you from experience, when the hard times come – and you can believe me when I tell you that they will – you’ll be happy you had these items on hand. It can sometimes take a bit of creativity to be frugal, but you can feed a good size family for several days if you are stocked up.
- Flour – Aldi always has great deals on flour and you should buy a few extra bags to put back every chance you get. Some people simply refuse to buy flour for long term storage because they can often harbor weevils if left unattended for very long. This can be remedied by putting the flour into a freezer for at least 24 hours, after which you will be happy to find there will never be a weevil in your flour! As for storage, you can store flour in glass jars, mylar bags, sturdy plastic containers and more. Choosing self rising or all purpose is strictly your choice, however, if you’re going to use all purpose, make sure to stock up on baking powder and salt as well. As far as what you can do with flour, you can use it to make biscuits and gravy, dumplings for soups, stews, chicken soup or bean soup, pancakes and waffles, muffins and a variety of other fried and baked foods. It is a dream for a frugal person! At our house, it’s a travesty if we don’t have flour!
- Rice – You can often find rice on sale and if possible, your best bet is to use parboiled rice. It never gets sticky or lumps together like regular long grain rice can do and the flavor is generally better, I have found. Like flour, it’s best to store it in the fridge as soon as you get it home, for at least 24 hours, so that you don’t have to worry about bugs infesting it. You can store rice the same way you store flour, if you like, and the freezer is always the best place, if possible. Frugal rice dishes are as diverse as can be or you can use rice as a meal stretcher in foods such as soups, stews, casseroles, hamburgers and Mexican recipes. A dish we often have is red beans and rice, as it cooks up quick and can even be done in the crock pot if you’re super busy. And we certainly can’t leave out using it as a side dish for just about anything.
- Dried Beans – Dried beans can go a long way for a frugal meal or two when you really need to make things stretch. For starters, dry beans themselves keep for a long time. Once you’ve cooked a batch of bean soup, you can freeze leftovers to use as another meal for another time. This keeps you from getting burnt out from eating beans for a couple of days in a row (though I know people who wouldn’t mind it!). There are many varieties of dried beans to choose from including pinto, great northern, kidney, lima, garbanzo and more. You can also find packaged of mixed beans with flavor packets included. This can often saves you the trouble of having to season them yourself. Storage for beans is, again, much the same as the preceding foods. Freezing them first is always a good idea. Beans are an excellent frugal food to keep in stock in case times get hard. Since they are an excellent source of protein and will really supplement your diet in place of meat.
- Pasta – Honestly, with enough flour, it’s actually cheaper, and even more frugal, to make and freeze your own pasta. But if you find the right sale, stocking up on this handy item can really save you a lot of time and trouble. With varieties including spaghetti, fettuccine, elbow macaroni, rigatoni and so many more, you can really come up with a variety of dishes depending on what other ingredients you have. Tomato based sauces will yield a great spaghetti dish or lasagna. You can go back to flour to create a cream based sauce that will knock the socks off your family! I store the smaller pastas in glass jars. I save all of my jelly jars, pasta sauce jars, etc., for just such an occasion. Then simply store them in either the pantry, after freezing of course, or the freezer.
- Oats – Oatmeal might be the first thing you think of when oats are mentioned. Don’t feel bad though, because that is a great place to start! Oatmeal can be prepared in the classic way, with water or milk and a little butter. There are many other ways to prepare it, as well. For example, you can substitute any kind of fruit juice or fruit nectar in place of the water. With the addition of some chopped up fruit or granola, you have a finished product. Some people even prepare it with water and use salt and pepper as their only seasoning. Personally, I think it’s quite bland that way. Oats are another frugal food that can make a meal stretch. You can use it in soups and casseroles and especially meatloaf or stuffed peppers. As with all the preceding foods, freeze oats as soon as you get them home. Make sure to store them in a tightly sealed container for best results.
- Powdered Milk – I usually don’t buy powdered milk. Mainly because it’s much more expensive than gallons of milk once you’ve done the math. However, when I catch a great sale or find it at a discount grocery, I try to stock up. It will store just like all these other foods we’re talking about today. It’s a great substitution for regular milk when you’re cooking. It might not taste the same, but you can mix it up and use it for cereal in a pinch. It’s great for hot chocolate, coffee creamer and to use in soups or pan burger meals that call for milk. Follow the above storage procedures for this as well.
- Canned Evaporated Milk – This is another milk substitute that I grab extras of every time there’s a sale. Since it’s in a can, you can store it without the use of electricity. That makes it to take along on camping trips when it isn’t feasible to bring milk along. It’s also good for storing in the pantry for emergencies. One of my personal favorite recipes in which to use evaporated milk is rice pudding. It’s super easy to make and the children are sure to love it.
Share, Share, Share!
Everyone that knows me can attest to one major fact. I am quick to tell everyone how important it is to stay stocked up on things like this. I’ve even had friends say that if the doomsday scenario ever happens, they will be right here with me 🙂 So, it’s my hope that you will stock yourself up too. You won’t regret it.
Perhaps, should the scenario ever present itself, you will be much better equipped to help someone else.
Besides, if those lean times really don’t happen, at least you’ll have extra!