3 Cheap & Versatile Foods to Always Keep in Your Kitchen

If you’re like me, you tell yourself every week that you’re going to get your diet and eating habits together.  I plan out my week’s meals on Sunday and when Monday comes around, I’m already craving a cheeseburger and fries.

With such a busy lifestyle, it’s definitely hard to figure out when you’ll have time to cook and if you can even afford groceries when fast food is so cheap and convenient. What you put into your body is what gives you energy. If you’re eating junk all the time, you’ll feel lazy and sluggish. Maybe it’s the placebo effect for me, but when I add more natural, unprocessed foods into my diet, I feel so much better and definitely have a little more energy throughout the day. Old habits die hard and I still find myself eating junk pretty often, but I’m on a tight budget and there’s only so much time I have to cook meals for myself that I won’t get tired of!

One thing that I hate most about cooking (besides dishes) is wasting food. I always buy ingredients to use for a recipe, but never use all of it. Through a ton of trial and error, I’ve been attempting to see the food I purchase in more versatile ways. I’ve found that these 3 food items are the cheapest, most versatile items to keep in my kitchen year round:

1). Rotisserie Chicken

I know rotisserie chicken doesn’t look as fancy as it does in the photo, but I couldn’t find any other royalty free picture to use for this blog post, haha!

You’d be surprised at all of the ways you can use a rotisserie chicken! It usually lasts for a week when refrigerated. I buy one for the week and wait for it to cool down to room temperature since it usually comes cooked, hot, and ready to eat. Once it’s cooled down, I go at it with my hands and start shredding it! Whatever I don’t plan to eat right away, I put in my plastic containers and store it in the fridge for later meals.

My favorite way of eating it is with a little bit of rice and a HUGE salad on the side. I’m also a fan of adding it to homemade chicken noodle soups. (Leave a comment if you’re interested in my recipe!) If you’re trying to cut back on the carbs, add it directly to a salad with your favorite toppings and dressing. Get creative with the way you eat! You could make nachos, quesadillas, sandwiches, fried rice, pasta, etc. The possibilities are really endless!

**Some rotisserie chickens might last longer in the fridge in others. Always make sure to check before using them!
**Some rotisserie chickens come seasoned and some don’t! Taste it before seasoning it, and if it’s bland, add a pinch of salt!

2). Potatoes

McDonald’s fries will forever be my favorite!!

I’m sure a majority of everyone’s favorite way to enjoy a potato is in some sort of french fry form. But the whole purpose of this post is to try to find healthier, cheaper alternatives to fast food! My two favorite types of potatoes are the red potato and yellow/gold potato. I buy them by the bag and I cook them in all sorts of ways!

You can cook them on the stove, you can bake them, you can boil them! Cubed potatoes, potato wedges, fries, mashed potatoes, scalloped potatoes, potato skins, baked potatoes, need I go on? The easiest way I found to cook them would be to cut them into cubes and bake them. I’ve tried incorporating sweet potatoes into my diet, but I don’t enjoy mixing sweet and savory things so I only eat sweet potatoes maybe once a month.

**If you find a couple of small sprouts on your potatoes, cut them off! The center of the potato is still edible if you’ve cut off the sprouts entirely.

3). Eggs

What do you think came first, the chicken or the egg?

How do you like your eggs? I know some people are picky with how their eggs are cooked, I used to be one of them! My mom is one of the pickiest eaters I’ve ever met. When I was a kid, the first thing she taught me to cook was eggs (and she liked them VERY well done). My mom wasn’t a fan of the runny yolk trend, so of course I was raised on eggs that were no where near runny.

If you’re open to cooking eggs in different ways, give this a shot! You can have your eggs scrambled, boiled, over easy, sunny side up, poached, steamed, you name it! My favorite type of eggs are boiled or steamed. If you aren’t too big of a fan of eggs, throw in a ton of vegetables, your favorite protein, and make it an omelette (or if you flip eggs like me, a scramble).

If you’re tired of the taste, mix it up with the way you season it! When I’m tired of cooking eggs with salt and pepper, I’ll add some garlic powder and cayenne pepper. Sometimes I’ll season it with just soy sauce!

**You can steam eggs in the microwave in under 5 minutes! Leave a comment if you’d like to learn how!

We’re all trying to find ways to live a healthier lifestyle while also staying on a budget. Take baby steps towards improving your lifestyle and it’ll eventually become a habit. You’ll thank yourself in the long run!