We know you like to keep it cheap—that’s why you read our blog—so we’re not going to bother telling you why Trader Joe’s is awesome or why you should buy produce at your local farmer’s market to score great deals on the freshest produce. You’re a cheapskate-foodie. You already know these things.
We like to switch it up when we go grocery shopping and try new foods (that’s how we discovered fresh Chinese wheat noodles), but we also have our staples. These are ingredients that we find ourselves using repeatedly in different dishes and therefore consider Fridge Essentials. We find that when we keep our pantry stocked with items from The $50 Pantry and our fridge full of Fridge Essentials, cooking is less expensive and more enjoyable because we have more to work with.
- half-and-half (Great for thickening creamy sauces, adding to scrambled eggs, or adding body to a soup.) $1.50 for a pint
- eggs (Um, breakfast for dinner, anyone? Also delicious added to noodles in pad thai, or for making velvety pasta sauces. $3.50 for 1 dozen
- Sriracha (We are totally obsessed with this stuff. We put it on eggs, pizza, and on any savory Asian dish. We also love to stir it into mayonnaise for a spicy aioli.) $2.50 for 16 oz.
- Parmesan cheese (We buy it whole and grate it ourselves. It’s cheaper that way.) $4 for 12 oz.
- unsalted butter (Can be used for savory or sweet cooking/baking.) $4 for 1 lb
- firm tofu (Cube it and throw it in a stir fry, scramble it with veggies and spices for a delicious vegan breakfast or crumble it in pasta sauces for a protein boost.) $2 for 16 oz.
We like to keep this stuff on hand, along with a variety of meats, fish and veggies for an ever-flowing stream of BrokeAss creations. Please let us know what YOUR Fridge Essentials are.
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What They're Saying
Stuart, on Feb 20, 11:05 AM, wrote:
Heh. I just posted about one of <a href=“http://kitchenhacker.net/content/beauty-frozen-spinach”>my staples</a> today.
Good call on the unsalted butter. I used to get it salted, but it is less versatile that way.
Mike Gibson, on Feb 20, 12:25 PM, wrote:
Double yes on the Siracha. I go through a bottle every couple weeks. The red cock never steers you wrong.
Siobhan Ford, on Feb 21, 09:09 AM, wrote:
Olives—pitted Kalamata or green Spanish. Make them into a tapenade, chop them up and throw them in a salad or pasta dish, or just snack on ‘em while you cook. I hated olives until my Greek roommate told me I’d just been eating crappy ones. Thank goodness she opened my eyes!
Elizabeth Barrette, on Feb 23, 01:46 PM, wrote:
My essentials include shredded cheese — I’m especially fond of Fiesta Blend. A big bag can be used a bit at a time in various recipes. I usually put it in omelettes and on top of casseroles. We also get flavored cheeses by the chunk, especially when they are on sale, and slice them.
Jacqi, on Sep 5, 03:26 PM, wrote:
I detest milk to drink. The only time I have milk is on an occasional bowl of Grapenuts cereal.
So I purchase the small boxes of shelf milk. Shelf life is much better for my use.
What do you suggest for having something like 1/2 & 1/2 on hand for when needed? Otherwise, I’ll have to go buy it, when planning to use it.
Philippa, on Aug 7, 01:52 PM, wrote:
Sambal Oulek is always on hand in my fridge as well!
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