There is nothing worse than hitting your stride while cooking and your heart sinking as you realize you're out of a basic ingredient. You don't want to turn off your oven to run to the store for one thing, and substitutions can be incredibly tricky. Below, Rory Brown, lifestyle writer, shares five essential ingredients to have on hand for all of your cooking needs. 

  1. Stock 

Stock is the lifeblood of countless recipes, like rice dishes, meat dishes that need extra moisture, and soups, to name a few. Having chicken, beef, or vegetable stock on deck in your pantry is a lifesaver when you're making anything that needs to be thinned out or rehydrated, and it packs a ton of flavor that water can't compete with. Rice cooked in water is fine, but rice cooked in chicken stock tastes divine. Beef stock is excellent for a quick soup with onions and other vegetables, and veggie stock makes for a satisfying vegetarian risotto. It comes in cans, cartons, and even in the form of a powder that you add water to, so there are many options to keep well prepared in case of a stock emergency.

  1. Spices

A decent spice cabinet is relatively easy to curate, once you know what to buy. For your average cook, things like salt and pepper are a given. Beyond this, another essential is cayenne. Cayenne is a beautiful, multi-dimensional ground pepper used to accent both savory and sweet dishes. In addition to cayenne, it's nice to have cumin, rosemary, cinnamon, and paprika as other options for spicing up your dishes. There are hundreds of options you could choose from, so figure out what you like and be sure always to have those at your fingertips while in the kitchen.

  1. Butter and Oil 

Even the healthiest cooking requires some oil to prevent a dry, overcooked dish, and if you're into baking, butter is the ingredient you probably run out of the most. If you're trying to avoid fat in your cooking, there are a lot of options for healthier oils, like avocado or coconut, that makes for a healthier substitute. Having butter on hand is perfect for those late-night grilled cheese cravings and perfectly melted butter on toast the next day. Margarine is also an option if you're concerned about your cholesterol.

  1. All-Purpose Flour 

Even if you bake infrequently, flour is part of the foundation of a well-stocked pantry. It isn't only for baking either; you can bread chicken in it, use to make pans more nonstick, or use it with butter to make a roux for a sauce or cream-based soup. Several different types of specialized flour are used to make things like bread, pastries, and pasta, and while these are fine for their respective uses, all-purpose flour is one of the most valuable arrows in the kitchen quiver.

  1. Eggs 

Very few foods can be cooked on their own and be incredibly tasty, and eggs fall firmly into that camp. Eggs are one of the most versatile ingredients you can have in your kitchen; they are suitable for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Quiche is delicious at any time of day, as is a sunnyside up egg. They can be used to thicken a sauce, make homemade mayonnaise, or even be the star of a fantastic meatless dish. When it comes to eggs, if you can dream it, you can do it.

If you are mindful of your shopping trips and remember to keep the basics all stocked up, you'll never run into the problem of being out of something important. 

About Rory Brown

After spending the first 40 years of his life in the United States, Rory Brown to focus on the quality of life and began living internationally. He now spends his time in Lake Como, Italy, Sydney, Australia, Charleston, South Carolina, and Kauai, Hawaii. His appreciation for simple health food that embraces local traditions of excellence has earned him credit among farm-to-table communities everywhere he goes.

Rory Brown began his career as a technologist and has always focused on healthy lifestyle choices. His well-researched lifestyle writing has increasingly focused on living life to the fullest each day throughout the world.

Author's Bio: 

I am an addicted author and social media enthusiast. I love to work while traveling. I am short but sweet.