8 Budget-Stretching Summer Staples
Stock your pantry with these must-have ingredients and enjoy stress-free meals all summer long.
Salad dressing is one thing I almost always make homemade. Why? One, it’s easy. Two, it tastes better. Three, because it saves me money. The most basic of vinaigrettes uses three parts olive oil to one part vinegar (like balsamic or red wine vinegar, but feel free to experiment with what you’ve got on hand). Add a pinch of salt and pepper and some fresh or dried herbs. Place ingredients in a lidded jar, shake vigorously and voila, it’s ready to go.
Beyond this basic vinaigrette, I’d recommend learning a few additional homemade dressing recipes like this one for Raspberry Vinaigrette and this iteration of Buttermilk Green Goddess (pictured above). Once you’ve mastered the basics, you may never go back to bottled dressing again!
Yogurt is a must-have ingredient any time of the year, but it’s especially delicious and refreshing in the summer. For a quick, filling breakfast, I top yogurt (Greek, preferably) with fresh or frozen berries, chopped almonds and a drizzle of honey.
5. Taco Fixings
If you stock your kitchen with Old El Paso taco shells, beans and seasonings, you’ll always be prepared for a last-minute Tex-Mex meal. All you need to add are grilled meat (look for what’s on sale), fresh, in-season veggies, cheese and sour cream.
6. Canned Beans
Hot dogs are a quintessential, all-American summer food. This summer, take it up a notch and set up a build-your-own hot dog bar. For toppings, try chopped jalapeño peppers, shoestring potatoes, refrigerator pickles, shredded cheese, chopped bacon or chili. In addition to the requisite ketchup and mustard, try hot sauce, ranch dressing and cheese sauce.
With these tips in mind, you can enjoy all of summer’s bounty without breaking the bank. Have fun, and let me know if there are other money-saving summer staples I should add to my shopping list!