The Ingredients You Don’t Want to be Stuck Without

15 Cooking Essentials to Always Have in the Kitchen

food-prepAs every experienced cook or chef know, there are some ingredients you should always have around. Some of them are the basics, while others are more for taste. Either way, without them, cooking and baking become much more difficult.

However, many of us, who are either new to cooking, or only do so rarely, are very likely to assume that whatever you currently have in the cabinets, is going to be exactly what you need for tonight’s recipe. You may a bit surprised, and even a little frustrated, finding out that you’re actually going to need to get in the car and pick some items up from the grocery store.

So we’ve compiled a short, but comprehensive list of the 15 ingredients you don’t want to be stuck without. If you make sure you always have some or all of these ingredients, you can be confident that you have what you need to making a delicious meal.

1) Oil

oilOne of the most versatile ingredients, oils can help lock in moisture to many foods, and will also add or enhance tastes. Canola oil is great for all types of frying, while olive oil is an excellent base for dressings.

2) Chicken

chickenEasy to prepare, and one of the lighter proteins, it’s always handy to have some chicken in the freezer. Just soak it in water to get it somewhat defrosted, and then bake or fry it.

3) Pasta

pastaPasta’s amazing, because you can serve it as a main, like a meat lasagna, or as a side dish, like macaroni salad. It’s easy prep, with just 10-12 minutes in boiling water.

4) Mushrooms

mushroomsYou’ll probably meet alot of mushroom enthusiasts, because there’s so much that can be done with them. They go great in stir-fries, salads, and are delicious in sauces. Fresh mushrooms are always better than from the can, and make sure to wash them well because they can often be a bit dirty in the package.

5) Rice

riceGreat side dish, and you can find many different types as well, like brown, Persian, or classic white. Rice is easy to prepare, and think about adding some sauteed vegetables to it for some flavor.

6) Cheese

cheeseAble to add taste to any number of dishes, cheese is a must for every kitchen. Whether it’s being used for simple mac and cheese, sprinkled on top of homemade pizzas, or mozzarella sticks with a sumptuous salsa rosa sauce, keep an array of cheeses in your fridge and freezer.

7) Eggs

eggsAbsolutely necessary for any baking, fresh eggs help many dishes achieve their desired consistency. You can use them for quiches, or just make a simple egg salad for a light brunch. Make sure you always have a dozen in the fridge.

8) Quinoa

quinoaLike rice, a great side dish, that’s very light on the stomach. Also like rice, quinoa can be prepared in a plethora of different ways, from spicy to sweet, and everywhere in between. Easy to prepare, all you need is pot of boiling water.

9) Fresh Fruit

fruitWhether you’re serving it as a first course, or along with a heavier dessert, fresh fruit is always a crowd favorite among all ages. Melons, citrus fruits and grapes are simple and taste great, so just simply cut them up, put them on a nice platter, and everyone’s happy.

10) Potatoes

potatoesVery versatile, potatoes can be eaten as a dish in and of themselves, like home fries, mashed potatoes or a simple baked one with cheese or butter. It also can be added to vegetable soups, or blended into a soup to add thickness.

11) Onions

onionLove walking into a kitchen with the scent of fried onions wafting through the air? Dice them up (not too finely) and throw them into chicken, meat or fish. It will add a delicious, sweet kick to the dish.

12) Bread

breadThe staple for humans for millenia, breads can be found in dozens of shapes and consistencies, and can contain a seemingly endless amount of different types of grains. People will always appreciate a soft home-baked tasting slice with their meal. You’ll also know that your guests or family won’t walk away hungry.

13) Salt Pepper & Garlic

salt-and-pepperThe timeless seasonings, all of them can be put in nearly every recipe. Buy them in bulk, as you’ll use them in soups, meats, fish, pastas, sauces etc. Fresh garlic, and peppercorns will definitely intensify the taste in any dish.

14) Tomatoes

tomatoesTomatoes go great with nearly every salad you could put together. They could also be added to rice, quinoa and many sauces. Add them to a stew or chili for a nice “tomatoey” taste.

15) Chocolate

chocolateWomen are probably wondering why anyone WOULDN’T have tons already stocked up. But for some, they’d be surprised that chocolate being served in a dish isn’t limited to a good brownie. Think about adding chocolate in a banana cake to add a nice sweet streak, or melting into a fondue, and serve it with some fresh fruit.

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