Here is a list of 7 ingredients I believe are vital to keep in your cupboard at home. If you have these ingredients in, I believe you’ll be able to make a something that tastes yummy no matter what else you have at your disposal.
I could literally talk to you for hours about paprika and how much I love it. It is only 85p from Tesco, and you more than get your money’s worth. I add it to pasta dishes, meat dishes, beans on toast. You can use it in fajitas and chilli, both of which are student staples. Your seasoning selection will not be complete without it. If you only buy one thing next time you go to the shop, let it be paprika, I promise it will not let you down.
2. Tinned Tomatoes
If you have a tin of tomatoes in your cupboard, you are already over halfway to having a meal of some kind. They are only 31p (or 35p if you don’t have a tin opener at home) and you can add almost anything to a tin of tomatoes to make them more flavourful, making them an excellent starting point for any meal. Their versatility is what earns them a place on this store cupboard essentials list.
3. Stock Cubes
Whichever takes your fancy – vegetable, chicken or beef – I think all cupboards should have at least one type. They are such an easy way to add depth of flavour to any dish. Whilst they might not be the star of the show, you most definitely notice them when they aren’t there. Plus, you can use them as a basis for soups and broths which is much easier than making a stock using fresh ingredients. And they are only 50p for 10 in Tesco.
My personal favourite is Wholegrain, but Dijon and English are all good choices too. I think that mustard is a very underrated and underappreciated form of seasoning. I add it to my (legendary) cheese sauce, and it can be used as a marinade, in sandwiches and in salad dressings. It packs a punch and gives dishes a savoury taste that I really enjoy. If you buy own brand it is not at all expensive – only 55p and a jar lasts well over a term.
5. Frozen Peas
I know you don’t technically keep them in a cupboard, but I do think they are a student essential. They add a pop of freshness and colour to any meal. Plus, it means you always have a vegetable in even if you haven’t been shopping that week. You can get them for £1.30 in Tesco and one bag lasted me two terms, using them at least once a week.
6. A Carbohydrate
Whether it be pasta, rice or noodles – having some sort of carbohydrate in your cupboard means you are one quick sauce away from an easy dinner. Plus, what better way to end a day in the library than with a big warm bowl of carby goodness.
7. Soy Sauce
Soy can be added to the aforementioned rice/noodle & peas to make a really quick but tasty stir fry after a long day at the library. However, it is so much more versatile than that – it can be used as a marinade or, if you are making vegan or vegetarian mince dishes, adding a splash of soy sauce, gives it a sort of richness that the meat would usually give the dish.