13 kitchen essentials for the savvy chef

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Kitchen Essentials: Items Every Kitchen Needs
Picture this: You've just come home from work, and you're famished. You head to your kitchen, but there's nothing to be found but a lump of moldy cheese in your refrigerator and a half-empty box of Frosted Flakes in your pantry.

In this scenario, you may up end up splurging on Chinese takeout. You could also end up running to the grocery store with an empty stomach, which will likely lead to overspending.

You can avoid costly predicaments like this one by always keeping your kitchen stocked with healthy, affordable essentials. A well-stocked kitchen ensures there's always food to eat, last-minute runs to the nearest fast food joint are less frequent, and meal planning is a cinch.

To save yourself time and money, stock your kitchen with these 13 wholesome, inexpensive essentials for chefs on a budget.

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Kitchen food items for savvy chef - US News
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13 kitchen essentials for the savvy chef

1. Eggs
Eggs are not only relatively inexpensive, they're an excellent source of protein. You can buy eggs in bulk and incorporate them into creative meals throughout the week. Whip up an omelet, breakfast tacos or egg salad, and top your sandwiches and burgers with a fried egg. Bake a quiche or make deviled eggs to impress everyone at your next dinner party.

Via US News

Photo credit: Shutterstock

2. Rice
With its long shelf life, rice is another staple you can buy in bulk and keep on hand to add to imaginative dishes. You can do a lot with rice, from sizzling up savory Asian-inspired stir-fries to creating sweet rice pudding desserts. We recommend going for brown rice over white rice – it might be a little more expensive, but the nutrients and fiber found in brown rice make it a more health-conscious choice and well worth the extra dollar or two.

Via US News

Photo credit: Shutterstock

3. Pasta
It can be easy to quickly get tired of pasta, so try out new recipes whenever you can. Think baked ziti with fresh veggies, beef brisket ragu, roasted chicken pasta salad, and grown-up macaroni with cheddar cheese and bacon. Branch out from traditional spaghetti and try different pastas like linguine, rigatoni, rice noodles, orzo and egg noodles.

Via US News

Photo credit: Ursula Alter

4. Canned veggies
Sure, fresh vegetables are ideal. But canned veggies are excellent when you need to make a quick and simple sauce or add pizazz to a meal or side. Stock your pantry shelves with cans of tomatoes, tomato sauce, sauerkraut, chili peppers and chickpeas.

Via US News

Photo credit: Getty

5. Beans
Beans are chock full of protein and fiber, and come in many forms. There are black beans, pinto beans, lima beans, garbanzo beans, kidney beans and more. You can buy dry beans in bulk, and use them for breakfast burritos, dips and salad toppings.

Via US News

Photo credit: Getty

6. Onions
Onions are both cheap and flavorful. Slice up onions to add flavor to omelets, salads, soups, sandwiches and stir-fries. Just be prepared to weep a little while you're cooking.

Via US News

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7. Spices
No pantry would be complete without a variety of dried herbs and spices. The right spices can make the difference between a mediocre dish and a delicious one. You can buy the following staple spices in bulk:
  • Sea salt and pepper
  •  Garlic powder or salt
  • Cayenne
  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Cinnamon
  • Celery seed
  • Nutmeg

Via US News

Photo credit: PeopleImages

8. Dry goods
Essential dry goods include flour, sugar, brown sugar and rolled oats. These goods are often the building blocks of breads, cakes, biscuits and muffins. You can also sprinkle brown sugar onto rolled oats for a tasty, wholesome breakfast.

Via US News

Photo credit: Getty

9. Apples and bananas
These fruits make a perfect grab-and-go snack – plus, they have a relatively long shelf life compared to others. When bananas grow soft, you can use them in banana bread, smoothies, and peanut butter and banana sandwiches.

Via US News

Photo credit: Getty

10. Peanut butter
We could spend half this post singing the praises of peanut butter. Not only is it delicious, peanut butter contains protein, healthy fats and important nutrients. Both filling and versatile, peanut butter can serve as a flavorful ingredient in sandwiches, desserts, pancakes and even nutty sauces, curries and soups.

Via US News

Photo credit: Shutterstock

11. Canned tuna
Aside from being a great, low-calorie source of protein, canned tuna can sit in your cupboard for years without spoiling. Open a can of tuna and scoop it onto sandwiches, salads and pasta sauces. Bake tuna into casserole and patties, or mix it into a macaroni salad.

Via US News

Photo credit: Getty

12. Condiments and fridge staples
There are a few low-cost, long-lasting condiments that we recommend keeping in your fridge, including:
  • Mustard
  • Ketchup
  • Jam
  • Hot sauce
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Butter
  • Milk
  • Plain yogurt
  • Shredded cheese

Via US News

Photo credit: PhotoAlto

13. Frozen goods
Frozen goods are also handy ingredients for meals on the fly. In your freezer, you should keep frozen fruits and veggies, breads, and meats like chicken, turkey, and beef. After the meats thaw, sizzle up some juicy turkey burgers, flaky chicken pot pies, and hearty beef stews. By the way – March is National Frozen Food Month, so expect to see some solid sales on frozen goods at your local grocery store soon.
 

Via US News

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