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5 Things a Busy Mom Keeps on Her Grocery List for Easy, Affordable Meals

published Jul 28, 2020
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Credit: Jesse Szewzcyk

From household budgets to meal planning, U.S. Air Force Airman and mom of three Amiyrah Martin loves a plan. She’s known for sharing smart tricks and prep tips for everything from delicious weeknight meals to grocery shopping on her blog, 4 Hats & Frugal. We asked what she keeps on hand to always be so prepared.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Stylist: CC Buckley/Kitchn
Mac and Cheese

1. Macaroni

“Macaroni noodles aren’t just for mac & cheese!” Amiyrah says. This pasta shape is a family favorite, so it’s always on hand for quick weeknight meals. “We buy it during every grocery trip because it’s so versatile. We use it in soups, stews, and in our Southwest Pasta Bowls and Quick Pesto Pasta dinners.”

Credit: Photo: Christopher Simpson; Food Styling: Judy Kim

2. Pace® Mild Chunky Salsa

“We can’t keep enough salsa and picante sauce in our house,” Amiyrah says. She loves this one — and not just for snacking. “Think about the ingredients in Pace® Mild Chunky Salsa: tomatoes, jalapeno peppers, onions. This is a great beginning to a hearty meal for your family. While we enjoy pairing it with tortilla chips, we mostly use it as a soup and chili starter. The flavors and vegetables are already there, and it takes our Vegan Slow Cooker Mexican Soup to a taste level you won’t believe.” It also adds bold flavor to weeknight favorites like tacos and enchiladas.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Stylist: Brett Regot/Kitchn

3. Sour Cream

“Just a dollop of sour cream adds another level to any dinner,” Amiyrah says. “It’s an ingredient that takes up less space in the fridge while lasting for a long time. We use it in place of milk or regular cream in creamy dishes, and I even use it as the main ingredient in our homemade biscuits.” It’s also the star of her Chocolate Sour Cream Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

4. Dried Beans

“Beans are a major staple in our home, and not just for the usual beans and rice,” Amiyrah says. She freezes cooked beans in two-cup servings for easy use later. “One amazing thing we do with beans is turn them into a sauce underneath baked salmon: Blend beans with cumin, salt, and pepper, spread on a plate, and place perfectly cooked salmon on top. It makes the simplest dinner extra special.”

Credit: Joe Lingeman

5. Tortilla Chips

“Don’t sleep on this magical chip option!” says Amiyrah, who takes them way beyond snacking. “They’re the vehicle for some of the easiest pantry-centered dinners. Place the chips in your cast iron skillet, top with salsa, cheese, and any other items from the fridge, then bake until golden brown. We also used crumbled tortilla chips to make migas for breakfast. It’s a family favorite!”