20 staples your kitchen needs to have — always

Let's face it: Sometimes you have no clue what to make for dinner. Don't be stuck without options. Here are 20 kitchen staples every kitchen should have to make quick dinners easier to pull off.

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  • One of the most daunting tasks, in my opinion, is deciding what to cook for dinner. Why does my family want to eat every single night?

  • Some weeks I have my life together and dinner is already planned. Other weeks, I am scrambling to come up with something — those are the weeks I dread. However, I have found that if I keep a few items in stock, dinner time is a bit less stressful.

  • Here are 20 kitchen staples you should never run out of:

  • 1. Vegetable or olive oil

  • Most cakes, breads and other baked goods contain oil. It is frustrating to get ready to bake something and only be short the oil. Oil is also used to cook other foods in as well.

  • 2. Salt and pepper

  • It's surprising how many meals are flavored with salt and pepper. You wouldn't want to be left with bland food.

  • 3. Milk

  • You can't even make boxed macaroni and cheese without milk. And cold cereal for dinner wouldn't be possible. Milk is a must.

  • 4. Eggs

  • Eggs are amazing. You can scramble them, fry them or boil them. They are also pretty darn important when it comes to making baked goodies.

  • 5. Sugar

  • Glorious sugar. Everything is better with it.

  • 6. Flour

  • Flour is just really important to have on hand — it's one of those things you never know when you will need.

  • 7. Butter

  • Butter is essential. Grilled cheese needs butter. Toast needs butter. When looking for a quick meal, it often requires butter.

  • 8. Bread

  • There is nothing like a quick, yummy sandwich to feed your starving family.

  • 9. Potatoes

  • They are filling and very versatile. Homemade fries, mashed potatoes, fried potatoes, hash browns or a baked potato are all tasty options.

  • 10. Cheese

  • Again, GRILLED CHEESE! Add a side of canned chili or tomato soup and you have yourself a pretty yummy, simple meal! Cheese is a simple addition to most foods. Kids also enjoy cheese sticks cut from the block as a snack.

  • 11. Ground beef

  • When you have ground beef on hand, it is a lot easier to make a meal that feels a little more legit. Last week, I didn't have the time to cook so I quickly shaped up some hamburgers and threw them on the grill, and had them with a side of chips. It was easy for me, and my family felt full and satisfied.

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  • 12. Yeast

  • This one might seem odd. However, it is very important. Homemade bread, rolls and pizza crust require it. I keep it on hand for those times when I want to get in touch with my domestic side. It is good to have just in case.

  • 13. Oatmeal

  • This is a quick and easy breakfast and can be added to ground beef for a hearty meatloaf, or used to make a quick treat for your family. It also comes in handy for No-Bake Cookies, which are a favorite for my family. I might have fed them a boring grilled cheese for dinner, but they get yummy cookies for dessert!

  • 14. Coco

  • Did I mention No-Bake Cookies? Coco is a must.

  • 15. Pancake mix

  • Is there anything easier than pancakes from a mix? Is there anything yummier than breakfast for dinner?

  • 16. Ketchup

  • There is no point in using those handy potatoes for homemade fries if you don't have ketchup to dip them in.

  • 17. Mayonnaise or Miracle Whip

  • Making a quick sandwich for dinner wouldn't be the same without Mayo! Not to mention the power Mayo has over a chicken breast. Lather some chicken with salt, pepper and a layer of mayo, then bake. The chicken turns into a juicy dish just like that.

  • 18. Jarred spaghetti sauce

  • Tons of meals can be centered around spaghetti sauce. Lasagna, spaghetti, manicotti or ziti are all quick weeknight meals.

  • 19. Frozen chicken

  • You can actually buy bags of frozen chicken. Keep it in your freezer for when you need a quick meal. When you have Mayo and frozen chicken on hand, chicken salad sandwiches are just 25 minutes away!

  • 20. Noodles

  • You might have jarred spaghetti sauce and you might have ground beef. But do you have noodles? Keep a couple varieties of noodles handy just in case.

  • There you have it — 20 items every kitchen should have at any given time. Well, maybe chocolate should have been added — meal prep can be exhausting; having a little something special to treat yourself to after a job well done wouldn't hurt!

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Cristel Romero is a wife and mother to three sons. She works part-time in marketing at a home health company.

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