Grocery staples like pasta, lentils, and beans can save you when you don't know what to make for dinner.

Grocery Staples You Should Have on Hand

We’ve all been there, the dreaded “What are we having for dinner?” question. The deciding is usually the hardest part for me. I really wrote this post to help myself. Anyway, for whatever reason you don’t have a plan, or it got thrown out the window. You’ve worked all day. You’re tired. You’re hungry. Having some grocery staples on hand that you can whip up into a quick dinner is just the solution. These grocery staples are cheap, have lengthy expiration dates, and can be easily transformed into yummy dinners! You probably have some on hand already.

  • hashbrowns, both shredded & cubed
  • bacon, cook it, freeze it, sprinkle on errythang
  • corn
  • edamame

A list of grocery staples you should have on hand.
  • beans (kidney, black, pinto, etc)
  • rice – if you’re me, you also need a rice cooker
  • lentils
  • tortillas
  • pasta & pasta sauce
  • flour
  • olive oil
  • spice blends (Turkey Burger, Italian, etc)

  • eggs
  • sliced cheese

Ok cool. I have a bunch of that. What can I make for dinner?

Melt Some Cheese – If I have cheese on hand I can have dinner. Seriously. It may not be the healthiest, but sometimes you do what you gotta to do. Bread or tortillas and cheese give you a grilled cheese or a quesadilla. Tortilla chips and cheese make nachos. If you’re feeling fancy you can add some meat or peppers. Leftover black beans are fantastic in ‘dillas & nachos. Or you could find a side veggie from the produce drawer or freezer to round out your meal.

Hash – This is my favorite for using up produce before we leave town. Season cubed hashbrowns in a skillet; Turkey Burger seasoning is a favorite of mine. Add whatever produce and/or meat you have on hand. Zucchini, bacon, frozen edamame, onions, peppers, chicken, tomatoes, and frozen corn have all made appearances at some point in my house. Top with an egg or two and lots of cheese.

Beans & Rice – You can make a variety of dishes centered around these ingredients. Go Mexican with a Black Bean & Rice Bowl. Swap black beans out for red beans and trade Mexican spices for Cajun to make red beans & rice. Some kielbasa or leftover meat goes well here (I recently did a few porkchops in red beans & rice.)

RECIPES CENTERED ON STAPLES: Potato Pancakes | Curried Lentils

Pasta – There’s always pasta in my house. #carbsforlife I love edamame with alfredo, and marina with a touch of cream cheese. Or you can just do olive oil, Italian seasoning and chili flakes. Don’t forget some cheese. Speaking of cheese, if you have milk on hand you can make mac & cheese from scratch! Don’t worry if you don’t have macaroni on hand, other noodles work well here.


If you’re anything like me, after a crazy week of scrambling (ohhh scrambled eggs is another idea!) to get dinners cranked out you vow to have a plan next week. I have a plan for 5 healthy dinners that’s also easy on the budget that might be helpful to you.

What are your grocery staples that save you when you don’t know what to make for dinner?

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