10 Essential Foods I Keep Stocked in My Pantry

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As hurricane Florance makes it’s way to the East Coast I started taking notice of the various food items that I keep stocked in my pantry. While many of these foods are not essential to us surviving the coming storm. They are foods that are a regular part of my families diet. Thus making them essential for us.

Without further ado here are the 10 essential foods that I keep stocked in my pantry:


I have 4 small children living in my house, so cereal is a no-brainer for us. It’s something simple that the kids can make on their own for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.  It can be eaten with or without milk.

The best time to stock up on cereal is when they are having a good sale on your favorite brands or buying the store brand. Recently, at my local Krogers, they had a deal for 4 boxes of general mills cereal for $8 plus a free gallon of milk.

If you use grocery rebate apps like ibotta or checkout 51 you can even get money back on your purchases. You can also join rewards clubs, like kelloges.com, to get coupons for your favorite items.


Oatmeal is another family favorite that’s cheap and inexpensive. Unlike cereal, oatmeal tends to leave me feeling fuller longer throughout the day. It’s also a great source of fiber. Oatmeal can also be used to make cookies, dog treats, and facial masks.

3.Pancake Mix

Pancake mix is another one of those versatile breakfast items that we tend to overlook. However, pancake mix can be used to make pancakes (duh…) and waffles. But did you also know that you can use pancake mix to make cookies, cakes, and scones. Check out this post on the 9 Things To Make With Pancake Mix.

4. Bread

I think bread is the most eaten food item in our house. My husband uses 3 slices of bread to make his PB & Jelly sandwiches! 3 slices!!!! I guess it would be more precisely called a PB, jelly & cheese sandwich (bread, PB, a slice of cheese, bread, jelly, bread). It sounds gross to me, but he loves it.

We buy our bread from Aldi’s for .75 cents. You can also purchase bread at the dollar store. Just make sure you check the expiration dates before you purchase them. I usually buy about 6 loaves at a time. I just freeze the rest until we need them.

Like everything else on my list bread can be used for other things besides making sandwiches check out these 10 uses for bread.

5.PB & Jelly

Peanut butter can actually be really expensive, we usually buy ours in bulk from Sams or BJs. Jelly, however, is a lot cheaper. If we didn’t have these items my husband would go out and buy food for lunch. Which if you haven’t read my series on The Smart Way to Transition to One Income, eating out can really add up.  So for us, the PB is a frugal expense.


Ramen…if you’ve ever lived in a dorm you should be very familiar with Ramen. Ramen is the college students best friend. What else can you go to Walmart and buy for .20? Yea, your blood pressure might be a little high after eating it, but when you’re paycheck is still a few days away ramen will get you through.

Ramen noodle can also be used to make other kinds of soup. Throw in some carrots, broccoli, and chicken into a pot of chicken flavored ramen and you’ve got chicken soup! Or you could try these other 17 ways to use Ramen noodles.

7. Noodles (Lasagna,spaghetti, penne,etc)

I always try to keep spaghetti and lasagna noodles stocked in my pantry. You can make a variety of pasta dishes besides spaghetti and lasagna. I make a baked penne and cheese dish that my husband loves. It’s a lot like lasagna, but with a twist.

8. Spaghetti Sauce

Spaghetti sauce is another favorite item I like to keep in my pantry. I can usually get jars or cans of spaghetti sauce for as little as .88 when they are on sale. Besides using spaghetti sauce to make pasta you can also try to use them in these 10 dishes.

9. Rice

Rice is another one of the staple foods that can be used in times of plenty and times of want. It’s very filling and a little goes a long way. We pretty much eat plain rice with almost every meal. Every now and then we’ll jazz it up and make chicken fried rice, jambalaya, or beans and rice. Need a few more ideas on ways to cook rice check out this link.

10. Beans

Right now we have several different cans of beans in our pantry. The cheapest way to buy beans is to buy them dried and then cook them yourself. However, I have never had much success making beans that way. They always end up hard.

Beans are another versatile food can be used in any number of recipes. Beans are also an excellent substitute for meat. I’ve used beans in spaghetti as a substitute for ground beef. I’ve also used beans and rice to make burritos.

They’re also great for soups and my all time favorite cold weather food chili!

Well, that’s it. Those are the top 9 items that you can find in my pantry on any given day. What foods did you keep stocked in your pantry?

Until Next Time,

The Crafty Afro

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