We’ve all been there. It’s time for dinner, you open the fridge in hope that the light will shine on the delicacy you forgot you’d bought, and yet, you have nothing. You’ve ordered way too many takeaways this week, and you’re skint! What’s a student to do?! 

Well, this is the perfect time to dig around the back of your cupboard to see what you can whip up. And to make sure you’ve got the right stuff, here are my ten cupboard essentials to make sure you don’t starve! 

1. Soup

You can’t go wrong with a simple tin of soup! It’s perfect for lunch or dinner, and only takes five minutes to prepare. There’s plenty of flavours to choose from, there’s tomato, oxtail, carrot and coriander, vegetable, and it’s cheap and cheerful, perfect for the budget conscious student! 

2. Tinned Tomatoes

Tinned tomatoes are so underutilised, but they’re so handy to have! Whether you fancy making your own soup from scratch, salsa, or adding a bit of flavour to your pasta, tinned tomatoes are always useful and they are so inexpensive.

3. Tomato Puree

Okay this is my last tomato based item I promise, but a tablespoon or two of this will go a long way. It’s great for adding that extra bit of flavour to a bolognese or a shepherds pie, and is just what you need for the base of a homemade pizza. 

4. Pasta

No student kitchen is complete without pasta! It’s a life saver, and it can never get boring! Whether it’s fusilli, spaghetti, ravioli or penne, just jazz it up with one of the many pasta sauces available (shop bought or home made!) and you’re ready for dinner. 

5. Rice

Another dried essential, but rice can be paired with a variety of meals. It’s the perfect partner for a curry or chilli, and even goes well on the side of any protein based meal. 

6. Tuna

So obviously this only for those who like tuna, as I’m aware it’s widely despised across the globe. But for those who like it, a tin of tuna is always a great go-to. It’s got incredible nutritional value and is great for adding a little bit of extra protein to salads, pasta bakes and sandwiches. 

7. Herbs, spices and sauces

I’m talking your basic salt & pepper, basil, coriander, garlic, chili powder, paprika, tabasco, soy sauce and even your basic ketchup! These little things are the saviours of flavour (unintentional rhyme). You can put them on literally anything, and although it may be a long list, they come cheap and last a long time!

8. Flour

This may seem like an odd one but hear me out. Flour is a basic necessity used to thicken sauces such as cheese sauce, or even gravy. And can be very useful when you fancy trying out your baking skills. 

9. Stock Cubes

A small chicken, beef or vegetarian stock cube works wonders soups, pasta sauces or pretty much any minced meat based dishes like chilli, shepherds pie or bolognese. 

10. Potatoes and onions

These veggies will last forever in your cupboard, and are a great and healthy addition for a variety of meals. Whether it’s adding sauteed onions and boiled potatoes as a side to your salmon, or mashed potato and chopped onions to your shepherds pie. 

And there you have it, my top ten most important cupboard essentials for last minute meal options. And of course, you can make some pretty delicious recipes out of these 10 things alone!

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Written by Kelsey Rees, 9 months ago