5 Fridge Must-Haves – To Help Get Dinner on the Table

It’s time to talk about the must-have items for your fridge.

We’ve covered the pantry, and the freezer.

But the fridge can be just as critical to getting dinner on the table, every night of the week.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that keeping a well stocked fridge is a short-term thing. You can keep some items in your fridge for weeks – assuming they are stored correctly.

Vacuum-packed meats last in the fridge for weeks – so I often buy sausages or bacon like this. If you find some products like this at your local butcher or supermarket – snap them up and pop them in your fridge.

The Empowered Cook shares the top 5 things to always have in your fridge to help get dinner on the table for you and your family.

Here are my top 5 items to always have in your fridge. Any time you open my fridge – you will find these hidden in there…

#5 – Parmesan Cheese

This is so much more than something to sprinkle on spaghetti bologanise.

Parmesan is a wonderful seasoning.

I like it on top of steamed vegetables. Or sprinkled over my poached egg. It’s delicious on stews or casseroles. Or shaved over a salad.

I am of course referring to a block of parmesan. Let’s not even talk about the green plastic container we used to have in our cupboard when we were kids.

You may find parmesan a little pricey – but it does last a long time if you store it correctly.

I store mine in the cheese drawer in the my fridge, wrapped in baking paper and then foil. But feel free to try some different ways in your fridge, and see what works for you.

#4 – Beef Mince (for the meat-eaters amongst us)

The versatility of this for family meals is a.m.a.z.i.n.g.

We buy this every week. And I really do mean every week.

We make things like: spaghetti bolognaise, hamburgers, rissoles, kofkas, chow-mein (stir-fry with cabbage), shepherds pie, savoury mince. I could go on!

Beef mince is cheap, easy and fast to cook – and you can make loads of different dinners with it.

Looking for inspiration – check out my Beef Mince Pinterest board here.

#3 – Leafy Greens

I really noticed a change in the health of my family when we started to eat more leafy greens. And it was this change that prompted others to comment on how ‘healthy’ we looked!

The key to eating more leafy greens is to make sure you always have them in the fridge. They need to be prepped and ready to eat. And they need to be visible. Otherwise, you’ll find a soggy mess in the bottom of your crisper.

I like to wash and store my leafy greens the day I buy them. They are then stored in glass containers, with a damp cloth or a few sheets of paper towel underneath them.

I find this works best for my fridge. You should experiment with your own fridge and see what works best.

The most important step though is to try to use these in as many meals as you can. We might have some spinach with our eggs in the morning. Or some in our smoothie. I make kale chips as a snack. We will have a side salad with dinner. Or – if you’re a little crazy – try replacing your pasta with a bunch of cooked, garlic greens to serve with your bolognaise sauce.

Treat your leafy greens well (i.e. store them well) and they’ll treat you well (make your skin glow!).

#2 – Bacon (again – for those meat-eaters)

Bacon is one of those great vacuum sealed meats that will last a while in the fridge.

I will always have a stash of bacon in the fridge.

Although we don’t often eat bacon and eats, we use bacon more as a seasoning for our other dishes – or it will form part of a pasta based meal. See the bacon and pea pasta recipe in Freezer must-haves here.

It is also a delicious way to start off a bolognaise sauce. Just chop up a few strips and cook in your pan before adding the onion and beef mince. Adds a really tasty, salty start to your sauce.

I must admit though – we are partial to the ‘bacon butty’. After an especially long day at work, I have been known to whip up some of these. It must be my mother’s Manchester genes coming through. Not exactly the healthiest of meals – but sometimes, you need a little warm reminder of home.

#1 – Eggs

And the number 1 must-have? Eggs.

I think eggs are the most versatile ingredient. We eat eggs for breakfast a couple of times a week – super healthy and full of protein.

But we also eat eggs for dinner some nights. Again – it is such a super fast way to get a healthy dinner on the table, when you just can’t be bothered cooking. We will often eat ‘breakfast for dinner’ – and whip up some scrambled or poached eggs on toast.

Eggs are also such a good way to boost a gathering of a few ingredients. For example, I might have some roast vegetables left-over in the fridge. Not too exciting by themselves. But add a poached egg on top (and a good shaving of parmesan cheese) and we have ourselves a hearty dinner. Bonus.

A quick “Fridge Frittata” is also a great way to use up all those leftover odds and ends of veges in your crisper. I often do this right before we are due for a grocery shop. Using whatever is left in my crisper: capsicum, broccoli, carrot, cauliflower – I dice it all up. You can also chop a small onion (if you have one). Pop all of this in a baking dish and preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Next, lightly beat 3-6 eggs (depending on how many people you are feeding, and how many leftovers you’ve added to the baking dish). You can add a dash of milk, and a sprinkling of cheese here too. Then pour this over the vegetables in the baking dish. Pop in the oven and cook for 30-40 minutes (or until the eggs are cooked). Delicious warm or cold. Served alone or with a salad.

So there you have it – my top 5 things to always have in your fridge.

How many do you have? Comment below and let me know! Also let me know if you have other items that you always have in your fridge. I’d love to add to this list!

2 replies
  1. Kirsten
    Kirsten says:

    Okay, so is beef mince what we might call ground beef in the US? Looks like it, but unsure! I like this list! I would put cheese (non-specific, but we usually have sharp cheddar), eggs, some kind of fruit (I buy what’s on sale), and bread. I keep bread in the fridge. 🙂


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