10. Spaghetti Sauce and Spaghetti - you never know when you need to make a homey dinner fast!
9. Flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda - the basics of baking.
8. Beans - dry (if you know what to do with them) and canned.
7. Evaporated Milk. This may seem weird, but in a pinch, you can water it down and use it as milk in hot chocolate or even cereal. I like this better than powdered milk because it can still be used in baking.
6. A cookbook you trust. Whether it is something fast, something easy, or something you are used to, having a cookbook you trust will make it easy to whip up something or even ask someone to make something you know you will like.
5. Oils. I like different oils for different jobs, but you have to make sure you will use them within 3-6 months and that they can be stored in a dark and cool place. Peanut oil has a great high smoke point, olive oil for flavor and health, vegetable oil for baking.
4. Onions and potatoes. You can make so much with just onions and potatoes: hash browns, soup, mashed potatoes, french fries and onion rings (okay, a bit more skill is needed for these), etc.
3. Broth - chicken, vegetable, beef. I have all three for different reasons. I use beef broth the least because we tend to eat more chicken. I like having it in the boxes because I can sometimes taste the can.
2. Rice. Cheezy rice, need I say more? Okay, I will. Rice + cheese = yummy. I do also suggest you have a rice cooker. It may seem lazy, but I can't tell you how many times I have burnt rice. Ugh, the smell!
1. Canned meat/fish - sounds weird, but it isn't. We are all familiar with tuna. I prefer tuna from a can. I also like to have chicken on hand. Husband likes sardines and such, so I usually have something like that for him. You can get other seafood as well as turkey in cans. And, corned beef in a can is great for hash!
These may not be staples for you and your family, but it is important to have them. What happens if you have an extra bill and can't go grocery shopping this week? Having these on hand will make it so you can make simple food for a little while without spending too much money.