Ideally, we would all have fresh food to feed our families all month long, right? But when life is difficult, or you have more month than money left, it can help to have a healthy stock of shelf stable staples that you can pull out at the end of the month.
These simple pantry staples can help you pull together a meal and your family not feel the pinch when things are harder than normal.
Classic rice and beans have been a popular pantry staple for generations because they make a great filling meal. The combination of rice and beans makes a complete protein to help provide your family with what they need. You can combine the two together, toss in a can of tomatoes and chilies and whatever spices you have in your kitchen to create a filling and flavorful meal similar to the popular red beans and rice.
Oatmeal is another of the great frugal shelf stable staples that can feed your family for less. Oats can be added to pancake mix for more nutrition and a fluffier pancake. Mix plain quick oats into ground beef to make a smaller amount of meat go further without your family noticing the change.
Oatmeal also makes a great frugal and filling breakfast. Making oatmeal not so plain is easily done with the simple additions of sugar, cinnamon, fruit, or even peanut butter or jellies.
Pasta is a go-to for us when the money is tight. By simply adding a can of tomato sauce and some seasonings, you’ve got pasta marinara! Or, add some butter and garlic powder to the cooked pasta and you’ve got butter noodles. Butter noodles is a super quick and frugal meal we have often for lunch during the school week.
Plenty of portions are sold in shelf-stable options. When trying to make your meals go further at the end of the month you can stock these ahead of time for when times get tough. Canned tuna, salmon, and chicken can be found in most grocery stores. Look for a sale to lover the overall cost. Peanut butter makes a great shelf-stable protein that can be mixed with fruit or used to add a protein to bread, pancakes, waffles or oatmeal.
For some families, like my own, making frugal meals is something to keep in mind all month long, not just at the end, and that’s why I created the Large Family Frugal Meal Plans.