A well-stocked kitchen sets you up for success, and is the key for getting dinner on the table in a pinch. Minimize trips to the grocery store by stocking up on these basics.

Flour

Why? All-purpose flour has a shelf life of 6-8 months in your cabinet, up to a year in your refrigerator, and 2 years in the freezer. Even if you don't use flour regularly for baking, there are tons of other practical uses for all-purpose flour.

How To Use It: Flour is most well-known for being used in cakes, cookies, biscuits and bread. However can also be used to thicken soup, used in breading for chicken tenders, homemade donuts, fresh pasta, au gratin potatoes and more.  

Chicken Broth

Why? Properly stored, an unopened can of chicken broth will stay good for up to 5 years. Even after this date, it will typically remain safe to use. Chicken broth can be used for a variety of different dishes– not just for soups. The broth also provides a tasty liquid to cook grains like rice, quinoa or risotto with– and can even add flavor to steamed vegetables.

How To Use It: Try making a classic chicken noodle soup from scratch, a creamy white chicken chili or even homemade stuffing for your Thanksgiving feast. Chicken broth is great for pasta dishes, and can be used in almost every crock pot recipe to add flavor and moisture.

Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

Why? An unopened bottle of good quality olive oil can last up to 2 years from the date it was bottled. Once the bottle is open, it will typically last a few months. Olive oil is a good fat to cook with as it contains antioxidants, may reduce your risk of chronic diseases, and may also fight inflammation and lower your risk of heart disease. Don't overdo it though– one tablespoon still contains 120 calories.

How To Use It: Olive oil is great for making marinades, sautéing, grilling, making vinaigrettes and even adding texture to breads and doughs. It is easy to cook with and tastes great drizzled over finished dishes like grilled fish, vegetables and pasta.

Lemons

Why? Lemons are not only great as a food additive, but they also have a number of practical uses - from household cleaning to fighting illnesses. In a cool pantry lemons can last up to 2 weeks, and up to 6 weeks in a refrigerator. 

How To Use It:  Lemons and lemon juice can be used in a variety of dishes including; homemade tzatziki, on top of grilled veggies, for fresh lemonade and they come in clutch if you need a buttermilk substitute. Some folks even swear by them as a natural remedy for headaches.

Garlic

Why?  Garlic allows you to add a ton of flavor to a dish, without the added fat and salt. It can also help increase longevity, fight illness, and reduce blood pressure, among many other health benefits. Garlic typically stays good for 3-5 months in the pantry.

How To Use It: Garlic is a wonderful flavor enhancer and works great with many foods. Try it in garlic mashed potatoes, for your crispy garlic bread, in some foil with salmon and butter or even in a homemade pesto sauce.

Eggs

Why? One egg contains six grams of protein and only 70 calories. Eating enough protein everyday can help with weight loss, increase muscle mass, lower blood pressure optimize bone health and more. Refrigerated eggs will typically last for about 4-5 weeks past the sell by date.

*How To Use It:  *Hard boil a bunch of eggs at the beginning of the week for an on-the-go snack or as part of a lunchtime salad. Throw a fried egg on top of avocado toast for an added boost of protein for breakfast.

Mustard

Why? At just 3 calories a teaspoon, mustard is the lowest calorie of the common condiments. Mustard can also be a source of nutrients, and may even help alleviate asthma and reduce chronic inflammation. Refrigerated mustard will stay good for up to 1 year.

How To Use It: Mustard can be used in marinades, on top of pigs in a blanket, or even in your homemade bbq sauce.

Greek Non Fat Yogurt

Why? Plain greek yogurt is packed with 18 grams of protein per 6-ounce serving. It also contains probiotics, which support a healthy bacterial balance in the gut, and is an excellent source of calcium. If sealed properly, greek yogurt lasts 2-3 weeks in the refridgerator.

How To Use It: Try it as a low-fat substitute in recipes for cream, mayo and sour cream. It tastes great added to smoothies, or with fruit and honey on top for breakfast.

Honey

Why? Honey is not only a versatile sweetener, but can also help soothe a sore throat or even alleviate a hangover. Processed honey can literally last forever, and consuming honey has been linked to heart health.

How To Use It: Honey is great to help sweeten homemade marinades and salad dressings. It can also be used to sweeten tea, on top of plain greek yogurt, in smoothies or even as a substitute for sugar.

Quinoa

Why? One cup of cooked quinoa yields 8 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber. It's speedy to cook, and is a good source of iron and B vitamins. After being cooked, refrigerated quinoa lasts up to a week. Quinoa placed in the freezer will be good for up to 12 months. 

How To Use It: Throw some shredded chicken, chopped veggies on top of quinoa with some olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper for a quick and nutritious meal. Use it as an additional protein source in vegan chili, or try it as a rice substitute for a side dish.

Tomato Paste

Why? Not only is tomato paste full of cancer-fighting lycopene, but it is a simple way to add flavor and richness to food without adding calories and fat. An opened can of tomato sauce is typically good for up to 7 days, but an unopened can will be good for nearly 2 years.

How To Use It: Try it in homemade spaghetti sauce, for simple crockpot meatballs, or in your sloppy joes recipe. It also adds flavor to stir-fries and in curries. 

Oatmeal

Why? Oatmeal is one of the healthiest grains, and a great source of vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants. Known for helping to lower cholesterol numbers, oats may also help you control your appetite. Most dry oats will stay good in the pantry for a few months, as long as they are dry.

How to use it: A bowl of oatmeal is a great way to start your morning and ensure you won't be hungry until lunch. They are also great in cookies, granola bars, protein bites and topically for sunburn relief.

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