In our Back to School purchasing this fall, I found myself stocking up things that were non-classroom related. In order to make the Queendom run smoothly, we have to have several items that are far, far away from the school supplies. Translation: a well-stocked pantry. There are a few items that are absolutely necessary in large quantities here in the Queendom when the Princesses head back to school. Here’s my top ten list.
- Peanut butter. Almost every day, the Eldest Princess takes PBJ in her lunch bag. I usually buy a larger jar or two depending on what has the best unit price. And that way, we have it on hand in case I get a case of the “I don’t want to follow the meal plan blues.”
- Apple Sauce. I usually purchase this in a large jar and use small re-usable containers to send it to school. Since we only purchase unsweetened/natural apple sauce, Aldi doesn’t often have it. But they are carrying it as a special item right now so I’ve been able to stock up at a lower price. It’s also a great staple to have as a side dish that takes absolutely no prep!
- Pasta. I almost always have a box of whole wheat pasta on hand. While the type of pasta (elbow, rotini, angel hair, etc.) may vary, pasta is a great staple that can be used in a number of dishes.
- Pasta Sauce. It kind of goes hand in hand with the above ingredient but I also thicken ours and use it as pizza sauce, occasionally top meats or sandwiches with it. If I’m not making our own from our garden tomatoes, I buy Ragu Light Tomato Basil (No Sugar Added).
- Instant Brown Rice. Whether we’re having “Chinese Take-In” or literally Beans and Rice, Rice is one of those staples that you can make “fit” with almost any meal. I like to spice it up with cilantro, salsa, cheese, or even the above mentioned pasta sauce to give it some flavor.
- Ziploc Bags. Everyone’s got their own semi-non-frugal thing and this one is mine. We still use these for PBJ and some side dishes depending on what we’re sending in the lunch boxes.
- A Couple of Extra Loaves of Bread. Keep them in the freezer until you’re ready to use them to make sure they don’t go stale.
- Beans. The most frugal food of them all, we usually go with dried black beans and soak/cook them in the crockpot.
- Chicken Broth. Either make your own or pick up the bigger container with the re-sealable top. Add it to soups, casseroles, pasta, or meats to keep them moist and stretch things further.
- Cheese. Everything is better with cheese! I buy reduced fat (shredded, block, slices, whatever) and keep it in the fridge. Usually it has a long shelf life but you can even freeze cheese to make it last longer if you score an exceptional deal and want to stock up.