Today I’m going to share with you how to build an old-fashioned frugal pantry which is going to help you stick to your meal plan and even allow you to cope with last minute changes without having to pop to the shop.
Why you need a frugal pantry
I don’t know about you but I very rarely manage to stick to my meal plan for a whole week. Most of the time, I’m pretty good most of the time but there are often last-minute changes for lots of reasons – it could be that I’m having a disorganised day and haven’t left myself enough time to cook what I had planned, I might have forgotten to put everything in the slow cooker before work, sometimes it might even be that someone ate what I was planning to cook when I wasn’t looking. And sometimes, the only excuse I have is that we just don’t fancy what I had planned!
Having a frugal pantry, or a storecupboard means that any last minute changes can usually be accommodated without a trip to the shop to buy extra ingredients which is definitely my danger zone when it comes to overspending – does anyone else go to the shop for a loaf of bread and come back with at least five items?
My frugal pantry is basically the kitchen staples that help me to jazz up my meals a little. They help me bulk out meals to stretch them to feed an extra guest when necessary and if we fancy something different then I can usually turn your main ingredient into a totally different meal thanks to this little lot.
What’s in my frugal pantry (which isn’t an actual pantry, unfortunately – I’d love a big walk-in pantry one day though)
Things that I always have in my frugal pantry are:
- Tinned tomatoes
- Curry powder
- Chilli powder
- Coconut milk
- Stock cubes
- Frozen chopped onions
- Frozen mixed veg
- Rice / Pasta
- A jar of barbecue sauce (I know, the shame ;-))
- Frozen garlic
- Homemade breadcrumbs – usually from my freezer
- Homemade tomato sauce
- Frozen pastry – normally bought from the reduced section and stored in the freezer until needed.
- I also make sure I also have some olive oil, soy sauce and Worcester sauce in too.
- My freezer ice cubes which I’ll tell you about next week… Bet you can’t wait now, can you?
Last week I made pepperoni chicken which is basically chicken breasts topped with pepperoni, mozzarella and green peppers but I could have just as easily changed the plan at the last minute and made any one of the following things using my storecupboard:
- Chicken with veg and Yorkshire puddings
- Hunters chicken (minus the bacon)
- Chicken curry with rice
- Chicken pasta bake
The pepperoni, mozzarella, and peppers could be used in some of the above meals or I can make homemade pizza for tea the next night.
These meals would have also bulked out the chicken I had so could have stretched to feed an extra person if we had last minute visitors.
A few tips when building your frugal pantry
- You don’t have to buy everything at once – make a list of what you want in your frugal pantry and start to buy things gradually each week when you do your shopping.
- Have one of those magnetic notebooks on the front of your fridge so you can keep a note of what you need to re-stock.
- Think about your family’s favourite meals when you’re writing your list.
- Consider buying your frugal pantry ingredients in bulk where possible as you’ll save money in the long run.
What would be the most used ingredient in your frugal pantry?
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