Kitchen Tips: Refrigerator Essentials
There's nothing more frustrating than finding out at 5 PM that you're two ingredients short for that night's supper. Make sure your fridge is stocked with the basics to avoid dinnertime meltdowns (yours and theirs).
Butter or margarine: Keep butter covered or it might pick up odors from the refrigerator.
Milk and cream: Your kids might need the whole milk, but keep low-fat on hand for yourself. Storing it on the shelf instead of in the door will make it last longer, but there's a good chance your kids are going through it quicker than you can say "expiration date" anyway!
Eggs: Though lots of fridges have egg compartments, you're better off keeping your eggs in the carton they came in to keep them fresh and crack-free.
Cheeses: Keep an array on hand, including a hunk of Parmesan for grating over pasta. Great for snacking and much more elegant than Goldfish and Cheerios for feeding unexpected guests.
Condiments: Ketchup, mustard, mayo, soy sauce, hot sauce and salad dressings.
Beverages: Bottled water, juice boxes, iced tea, POM Wonderful, Clamato, margarita mix—whatever keeps everybody hydrated and happy.
Fruits and veggies: It may seem odd, but break out your fridge's owner's manual and read about your fruit and vegetable storage. Many fridges have options for adjusting humidity and can offer tips for keeping fruits and veggies fresher longer. (Remember, though, that all the humidity control in the world won't help the celery that's been sitting in there for three months.)
Yogurt: Cups, tubes, tubs—it's practically the elixir of life for busy families, so keep yourself well-stocked.
Tortillas: For burritos, tacos or "roll-up" sandwiches and snacks.
Sliced bread: It'll stay fresher longer if you keep it in the fridge.
Bagged salad: The next best thing since sliced bread! It is what TV dinners were to the June Cleavers of the '50s: fast and convenient.
Peanut butter: Storing it in the fridge will keep it from separating. That said, it might also make it harder to spread.
Jelly: Peanut butter's life partner.
Deli meat: For school lunches, salad toppers or "submarine sandwiches for dinner" night.
Helps keep your apples from tasting like leftover shrimp scampi. (And makes a cool school science project
when you mix it with vinegar!)