Published March 15, 2010
Have you ever been caught in an embarrassing moment when friends or family come over and you have nothing in your fridge or pantry to serve them?
After all, unexpected guests are a regular part of life, especially for the lives of most bachelors in America. So what kind of food should you always keep stocked?
Here's a comprehensive list of 30 foods you should never be without.
Essential Foods: The Fridge
Always have a nice cold pitcher of water handy. If you are worried about contaminated water from the faucet, we suggest you invest in a quality water filter.
2. Milk: skim or 2%
It's a great source of calcium, and when added to cereal it makes for a quick and healthy breakfast.
Almost zero preparation time is involved when guests stop by. Popular favorites are grapes, apples, bananas, and oranges.
Extremely healthy, carrots are also easy to prepare and, with a yogurt dip, make the perfect hors d'oeuvres.
5. Peanut butter
Peanut butter will remain freshest in the fridge. Use it instead of butter to spread on morning toast for more protein and healthier fat.
Eggs are a necessary ingredient for many baked goods, while also being a protein-packed breakfast item or a gourmet dinner treat in the form of an omelet or mixed with stir fried rice.
Yogurt is among our 30 foods you should never be without because it's perfect for making fruit smoothies, putting on top of fresh fruit and granola or as a substitute for higher fat sour cream.
Butter is not for everyday use, but it's definitely needed for gourmet baked goods or the best-tasting homemade chocolate chip cookies.
9. Fresh lemons
Lemon juice is found in many recipes. Perk up a glass of iced water with a fresh slice of lemon or use the juice as a low-fat salad dressing.
You'll definitely want the low-fat variety of mayonnaise. You can use it to spread on sandwiches, mix into tuna or egg salad, and to make veggie dips and salad dressings.
11. Dijon mustard
Dijon mustard is a versatile ingredient for marinades, salad dressings and sandwich spreads.
12. Parmesan cheese
If you have Parmesan cheese in the fridge and pasta in the cupboard, you will always have the makings of a dinner. Because it's quick, easy and delicious, it's one of 30 foods you should never be without.
13. Beer, wine or soft drinks
Beer, wine and soft drinks are, well, essential for celebrations or just a nice cold refreshment.
14. Fresh ginger
Stored unwrapped in the fridge, ginger is perfect for marinades and for spicing up last-minute stir fry dinners.
15. Variety of hard cheeses
Cut into small cubes to serve with a toothpick as hors d'oeuvres for your guests.
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Essential Foods: The Pantry
You should always have this basic staple handy. Bread can be used to make sandwiches, little party canapes or toast in the mornings.
17. Oregano, mint and thyme (dried)
Dried herbs are great to use in sauces and dressings.
18. Canned tomatoes
Extremely useful when you need to prepare a quick pasta sauce.
19. Salt and pepper
As obvious as it seems, these are essential ingredients in tons of recipes, especially Italian ones.
20. Olive oil
Use as a marinade, in sauces, alone, or in salad dressing. This oil has multiple purposes around the kitchen.
21. Red wine or balsamic vinegar
Great for pasta sauces and salad dressings.
The fastest dinner you can prepare, and will always provide guaranteed satisfaction.
A quick and easy 20-minute preparation time to go along with any meal.
For obvious reasons — a quick pick-me-up on those sluggish Monday mornings.
A great relaxant for those hard days at work. Tea also helps digestion.
26. Dry cake mixes
These usually take 5 minutes to prepare and 30 minutes to bake. A quick and tasty alternative to fancy desserts.
Always have cereal handy for the fastest breakfasts, or even as a snack.
You can prepare awesome casseroles with cheese or amazing salads with flakes of tuna.
29. Soup mixes
Onion and chicken soup mixes in a pouch last long in the pantry and are the easiest meals to prepare.
30. Canned peas
Just pop the can open, pour into a microwave-safe bowl and put the peas in the microwave for one minute for a perfect side dish for your steak.
Foods You Should Never Be Without
This list of 30 essential food items for your house was carefully researched by an experienced group of bachelors. So take our word for it: Have all of these items in stock at all times and you'll never go hungry or be embarrassed in front of those pesky uninvited guests again.