April 20, 2024

Diamond Dishes: Foods to stockpile to reduce grocery spending

Whenever you read about frugality, you’ll find a lot about what not to buy. Well, I’m going to tell you what you should buy. These are the items to stockpile when they go on sale.

With prices skyrocketing, it’s important to know the prices of items you buy regularly so you know if you’re getting a good deal.

I seriously recommend keeping notes when you shop to record the prices of any items you purchase regularly.

Here are some of the goodies no pantry should be without:

Peanut butter: This pantry staple keeps a long time and is always handy. Stored in a cool, dry area, it’ll last at least two years.

Salad dressings: Especially Italian, Greek and Balsamic. Besides dressing salads, they make great marinades for meat, poultry and fish. You also use them to dress pasta, potatoes or steamed vegetables.

Condiments and sauces: Items like soy, teriyaki, barbecue, mustard and ketchup keep for a very long time and help with inspiration when it comes to meal planning.

Spices: Stored properly, avoiding light, heat and moisture, dried spices and herbs last one to two years.

Pasta: Watch for coupons and wait for sales. Properly stored, unopened packages last up to three years, so stock up!

Pasta sauce: The canned stuff still goes on sale for around a dollar. If you’re like me, you usually add stuff to it anyway — a little onion, garlic and sausage. You know. There’s your last-minute meal, ready and waiting.

Canned tomatoes: They come in lots of varieties, and store brands are terrific. Lycopene, the antioxidant found in tomatoes, is in its cell walls. Cooking tomatoes releases lycopene to do its work, so canned is healthier than fresh. They keep for about a year.

Dried and canned beans: Dried are most economical and remain at best quality two years or longer. Canned are ready immediately for quick meals.

Canned soups: Keep a few cream soups on hand for quick meal fixes and a few main dish soups on hand for emergency meals. Collect coupons for quality brands then wait for sales.

Frozen vegetables: When the price goes under the price per pound of the fresh veggies, it’s time to pick some up. Kept frozen, they remain at peak quality up to 12 months.

Frozen meat and poultry: Again, watch for sales and put a few aside. Chubs and vacuum-packed ground meats freeze beautifully and take up minimum space.

If you can budget a few dollars each month for stocking up on sale items, it will save you a bundle in the long run.

10-Minute Pantry Chili

Here’s a quick and easy chili recipe made with pantry ingredients. This makes a base for meals like burritos, tacos or taco salad. Serve over baked potatoes, rice or pasta; make chili mac; or use as filling for omelets; or just eat it with tortilla chips.

Servings: 4

Ingredients

1 pound ground beef, pork or turkey

1 1/2 cups onion, chopped

2 tablespoons chili powder

1 tablespoon cumin

1 tablespoon dried minced garlic

1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce

1 (15-ounce) can red kidney beans

Salt and pepper to taste

Procedure

Heat skillet to medium-high. Place hamburger and onion in the skillet, stirring occasionally. While the hamburger cooks, open the beans and tomato sauce and rinse the beans. Set aside. When the meat is nearly done, drain the excess fat from the skillet. Add the chili powder, cumin, garlic, tomato sauce and beans. Stir to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Patti Diamond

Patti Diamond

Lifestyle expert Patti Diamond is the penny-pinching, party-planning, recipe developer and content creator of “Divas On A Dime — Where Frugal Meets Fabulous!” at www.divasonadime.com. © 2024 King Features Synd., Inc.