Whether you're setting up your first kitchen or just need to restock, you'll get the most value for your dollar by purchasing staple foods rather than snacks and frozen meals. Basic foods can be used to create a variety of meals to suit every taste. If your cupboards are bare of treats, having the basics on hand will allow you to whip up a decent meal until the next time you can hit the grocery store.
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Dry Cooking Ingredients
The most basic staple foods for your kitchen are dry ingredients. These include flour, especially all-purpose flour; baking powder; baking soda; sugar; brown sugar and powdered sugar. All-purpose flour is a basic component in everything from pancakes to Alfredo sauce. Baking powder and baking soda leaven baked foods--they make them rise. You can use these basic dry ingredients as the base for a number of tasty dishes.
Seasonings like salt don't just add flavor to your meal--they may also have other benefits. For example, salt is a basic ingredient in a wide variety of foods. It helps foods stay fresher, longer. In bread, it regulates the yeast fermentation process and keeps it from falling apart.
Other seasonings you should keep on hand include pepper, cinnamon and oregano. Many stores sell seasoning mixes and packages that include a variety of basic herbs and spices for your kitchen. If you're unsure which herbs and spices to choose, buying a prepacked bundle may be the way to go.
Liquids and Semi-Solids
Cooking oil, butter or margarine, broth and milk are a few of the basic liquids and semi-solids you'll need for a well-stocked kitchen. Oil, butter and milk are essential components in many recipes, and you can use broth for flavoring, gravies and soups.
You'll need eggs for many recipes. They're also high in protein and can be eaten on their own in a pinch.