Because life tends to get in the way of things.
- Canned vegetables (these work well when the vegetable is something like corn or tomatoes)
- Canned fruits/applesauce (pineapple on some (vegan) cottage cheese, for example, makes an excellent five-minute eat on the run breakfast for the morning AFTER the all-nighter)
- Garlic/onion powder (when I have time, I love to chop up some fresh garlic and onions and saute it until the entire apartment smells, but I don’t usually have time to do that and, because I love garlic so much that a vampire who I happened to cross my path would be more scared of me than I was of him, I rely heavily on the powdered stuff)
- Cereal (besides its typical breakfast uses, cereal can be used as a crunchy topping for desserts like parfaits or crushed and used as breadcrumbs to coat things like onion slices)
- Canned beans (“but fresh are so much better tasting and less chemical-ey”. Sorry purists, I don’t really care. As much as I’d like to plan ahead and make start making beans 3 days before I want to eat them, I don’t often have the luxury to do so)
Jello sf/ff pudding mix (whether it’s to spice up a smoothie or make a delicious stand alone dessert, this stuff has uses (in sweets) beyond comprehension)
- Vinegar (clean your sponges, bake a vegan cake, suppress your appetite, clear your clogged sinuses, or make some pretty eggs, all at $.49 a quart; the only way to make it better would be to invent a vinegar powered car)
Nonfat dry milk powder (if you don’t have a fridge (or even if you do), this stuff is a lifesaver for days you don’t want to go to the store, or if you’re the kind of person that just doesn’t drink a gallon of milk in a week)Pantry-safe soymilk like Soy Slender or some of the Silk varieties
- Various spices and seasonings and sweetners (you don’t need expensive jars of lavender or saffron to create something delicious, but having a cupboard well-stocked with a wide variety of spices is a great way to make healthy cooking easier; don’t buy into the claims that certain spices are better than others–find ones you like, and don’t worry that cardamom doesn’t speed up your metabolism as much as cayenne)
- Leavenings like baking soda and baking powder (great to have around for things like microwave cookies and microwave cakes or brownies)
- Nuts and/or nut butter (if you’re not into saturated fat and hydrogenated yadda, yadda, nut butters are a great alternative to such ingredients; if you have a food processor or blender, you can always make your own, which is my preferred method, but if you don’t natural varieties do pretty well on the health scale too)
- Pastas, flours and breads/wraps
Can be dorm-friendly if you invest in a mini fridge/freezer
- Frozen fruit (helps me make it through the long Michigan winters devoid of any of my favorite fruits)
- Vegan cottage cheese (+ melon or pineapple, need I say more? In case I do, it can also be used in pasta, pureed and mixed with eggs and flavorings for protein pancake-y things, or just eaten plain)
- Fat free soy yogurt (use as a sour cream substitute, a baked potato topping, a sweet treat with sugar substitute and fruit, a smoothie ingredient or a replacement for oil in a baking recipe)–if you don’t feel like buying it, try this recipe for soy yogurt.
- Frozen/refrigerated veggie meat (great for stir-fry, scrambles, pizzas, sandwiches or just about anything else you can imagine, depending on the kind you get, of course)
- Frozen veggies/veggie blends: Although these things take up quite a bit of freezer space, they’re great to have around. Whether it be in breakfast scrambles or dinner stir fries, nothing can beat a bag of good old frozen 3 pepper and onion blend. Surprisingly enough, I have found that, if you buy the store brand, it’s actually cheaper than chopping up the fresh stuff.
Yeah, sure, it’s great to be able to always have fresh fruits and veggies around. And I’ll be the first to admit fresh minced garlic tastes much better than the powdered stuff in a jar. But let’s be honest: bell peppers are expensive and peeling garlic cloves takes forever. Not to mention the fact that, where I live, it is not unusual to be snowed in at least a few times a year. For times like these (or times when you’re just a little lazy), I find it’s great to have some quick items on hand.