In the chaos that ensues before a blizzard or winter ice storm, you know you'll need to fight the crowds for milk, eggs, and bread. Those are essentials that are definitely smart to keep on hand for a snow day, but there are a handful of other staples that will make sure you stay well-fed no matter what.
Here are seven pantry staples that will always give you a good meal, whatever the reason for being stuck inside.
1. Pancake & Waffle Mix
It's a fact that every great snow day starts with a maple syrup-drenched breakfast. Keep a homemade pancake and waffle mix on hand and you can sleep in a little longer before getting things going.
Get the recipe: Everyday Pancake & Waffle Mix
2. Sausage Links
Any protein is good to have around, but we especially love sausage because it's already packed with enough seasoning that it doesn't need much fussing. Keep your favorite on hand — like Italian or chorizo — to sauté with whatever veggies you have in the crisper drawer for a frittata, to use as the base of a quick pasta sauce, or simply to roast whole on a sheet pan for a fast dinner. Most versions you can keep stocked in the freezer — you know, the cold pantry!
3. Greek Yogurt
A tub of Greek yogurt has the ability to go far beyond the breakfast bowl. Combine it with flour and you have the potential to whip up griddled flatbreads to use as a sandwich wrap, or biscuits to enjoy alongside eggs or dipped into soup.
4. Canned Tomatoes
A great reward for shoveling (or simply building the best snowman ever) is a steamy bowl of tomato soup. Roasting a can of whole tomatoes with a few cloves of garlic greatly enhances their flavor, so all you really need to do is purée them with a bit of broth or water to achieve a comforting snow-day lunch.
Get the recipe: Roasted Tomato Soup
5. Popcorn Kernels
You're going to need a snack to munch on while you're playing those board games, and popcorn always fits the bill. A package of microwave popcorn will get the job done, but making it from scratch is just as easy and tastes a whole lot better. Keep it simple with just a drizzle of olive oil or melted butter and a sprinkle of salt, or dig around your pantry for add-ins like honey, chili powder, or even Oreos to jazz it up.
Get the recipe: How To Pop Popcorn on the Stove
6. A Few Kinds of Cheese
Keep a few cheeses in your fridge that are equally good for snacking as they are for cooking. A wedge of sharp cheddar is tasty alongside apple slices, but it's also great tucked into a grilled cheese (preferably paired with that tomato soup above). Soft goat cheese is always nice spread on crackers, but it's great folded into scrambled eggs.
Chocolate might not be an essential on a regular day, but it's definitely an essential on a snow day. If you don't have a few bars on hand, how are you going to make hot chocolate or bake up a batch of gooey chocolate chip cookies? I guess there's always cocoa, which you can absolutely turn into a pan of mouthwatering brownies.
Get the recipe: How To Make Hot Chocolate