We all get busy and just don't have time to sometimes make a meal completely from scratch. Sometimes we rely on convenience items to make our meals semi-homemade.
I keep some things on hand just to make life easier on a busy day. They are great fill-ins as well, when I cant (or don't want) to go the store. Emergency stashes of certain items could be a life saver.
I generally always have a variety of canned soups on hand - both condensed and cream. I do like to make my own soups and keep 'cream of' mix on hand, but sometimes it just pays to keep some on hand. Makes a quick lunch or dinner item when added with a sandwich. Soups can be added as ingredients to other dishes as well.
I also keep beef and chicken canned broth on hand. Most times I make my own stock - but that isn't always possible. Another standard is bouillon beef, chicken and ham - is always in my pantry.
I have a nice variety of store bought canned veggies and fruits on hand. They add in nicely to garden produce that is put up, and there are just some things I don't grow and/or can or freeze.
I have been known to buy an Aldi pre-made fresh pizza and add more ingredients. I can't remember the last time I purchased a frozen one. Many, many years ago I had a REALLY bad experience with a frozen one - and well, let's just say I won't take that chance again!
I generally keep at least a couple graham cracker pie crusts in the freezer. I also have pie crust rolls or actual crust in pans (frozen) just in case I need something quick (always purchased on clearance).
I keep a nice variety of canned meats on hand as well. I get canned chicken, Spam, corned beef, tuna, salmon, and sometimes beef. These are for convenience sake and IN CASE we have a scenario when we can not cook (SHTF). I saw a few weeks ago that WM sells almost 1 lb.-12 oz. cans of cooked ground beef. I may think about adding a couple cans of that.
Of course I have spice mixes - purchased and homemade, gravy mixes (just add water), and baking mix. I like to make my own baking mix for biscuits, pancakes, and waffles - but I also keep a couple boxes of pre-mixed stuff on hand. I always have cake mix and brownie mix on hand for a quick dessert. I think there are even a few packs of cookie dough mix around here.
I sometimes have some sort of potato (shredded, fries, tots, etc.) in the freezer. Once in a while I may have meatballs in the freezer as well.
I have evaporated milk, instant milk, powdered butter, eggs, peanut butter and vanilla for those 'just in case' times. They are convenient to keep to add to recipes and for the instance you can get to the store. They take up very little room. I keep a box or 2 of stuffing mix and instant potatoes as well. Those come in handy in a pinch. Potatoes are a wonderful thickener for soups and stews.
I use my own pizza and spaghetti sauces and my own salsa. Haven't purchased any of those in ages. I DON'T buy mac n cheese boxes either. It is so easy to make and I always have everything I need.
I keep a couple boxes of shelf stable Velveeta around and generally have a couple jars of cheese dip/spread. We are cheese lovers - and I generally have lots of blocks of hard cheese in the frig - but always keep some on the shelf as well. I usually shred my own - I just don't like the fillers/anti-clumping ingredients they put in purchased shredded.
Most of my stock up canned goods are purchased on clearance. I get pie crusts and such ONLY on clearance. I have a love for either Aldi products or store clearance - they add greatly to my convenience foods for a fraction of the cost.
WHAT are your favorite convenience foods or ingredients to keep in the pantry?
Is there anything you WON'T buy?
Look forward to hearing from you all.