13 Must-Have Ingredients To Help You Break Up With Takeout

The sense of freedom that comes from having a fully stocked, fully loaded kitchen is supremely underrated. Much like driving with a topped-off tank of gas or folding your clothes immediately after they come out of the dryer, having your culinary necessities at the ready makes you feel like you can tackle anything. The plastic chow mein containers piling up in your apartment, however, suggest it may be time to reevaluate how you shop for groceries.
Once you stock up on a few long-lasting must-haves (think: olive oil, cans of beans, and condiments), you actually only need to trek to the store once each week — a goal pretty much all of us can meet. By loading your cart with eggs, Hidden Valley® Greek Yogurt Ranch, potatoes, and the other 10 multi-use buys ahead, you make it easy for yourself to whip up quick meals that won’t trigger the I-should-have-just-ordered-in blues.
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Cooking at home for a whole week? You’ve got this on lock — delivery demons be damned.
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Eggs

How To Use Them: The most versatile of nature’s proteins, eggs work for every meal. Do the scrambled-eggs thing for breakfast (amped up with a dash of Sriracha, perhaps), or supercharge your afternoon snack of avocado toast with a poached egg and have it for lunch. There’s also shakshuka, the Middle Eastern egg-and-tomato-sauce dish perfect for any time of day or night.

How Long They Last: Raw eggs stay good for up to five weeks in the fridge, so don’t hesitate to spring for the full dozen.
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Hummus

How To Use It: This workhorse of a side dish can transform any ho-hum leftover into a bona-fide feast. Cut yesterday’s steak or chicken into chunks, rest it atop a bed of hummus, and microwave until warm. A drizzle of olive oil later, you’ve got a hearty Mediterranean meal perfect for brunch, lunch, or dinner. You can even top it off with a poached egg if you’re feeling extra fancy. And, of course, hummus is a lifesaver in the snack department. Pair with a handful of fresh broccoli and go.

How Long It Lasts: No need to scarf it down in too much of a hurry. A container of hummus lasts about a week once opened.
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Salad Dressing

How To Use It: This stuff isn't just for mixed greens. Toss broccoli florets with a bit of Hidden Valley® Greek Yogurt Ranch for a light but satisfying side, or shred the stalks and mix up a broccoli slaw. Alternatively, go the deviled egg route by folding a few tablespoons of dressing into the egg-yolk filling.

How Long It Lasts: It’s best to check the date on the bottle, but creamy dressings tend to hold for one to two months in the fridge. Just be certain to transfer to the fridge once opened.
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Rotisserie Chicken

How To Use It: Let us count the ways we love this thing: First off, you don’t actually have to cook it. Second, it’s a great way to add protein to simple meals. Does your rice bowl seem a bit unexciting? Toss a few slices of rotisserie chicken breast on it. Hummus plate feeling eh? Liven it up with a chicken drumstick.

How Long It Lasts: Rotisserie chicken lasts three to four days in the fridge, so plan on enjoying it in the first half of the week.
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Canned Tomatoes

How To Use Them: High-quality canned tomatoes are bursting with flavor no matter the season, which is why it’s worth always having a can or three stashed in a cabinet. Whip up a batch of homemade tomato sauce to accompany pasta blanketed with salty Parmesan cheese, or poach a couple eggs in it for a play on the aforementioned shakshuka.

How Long They Last: Stock up whenever you get the chance (or spot a sale). When stored at room temperature in a dark place, canned tomatoes last up to a year and a half.
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Kimchi

How To Use It: If you’re bored with your weekday meal routine, turn to this zingy fermented Korean side dish. Toss diced kimchi into beaten eggs for an East-meets-West omelet, throw some on a rice bowl with a poached egg for an easy-peasy lunch or dinner, or simply nibble on a small plate of it between meals.

How Long It Lasts: Be sure to check the “enjoy by” date, but generally, kimchi stays good for a few months in the fridge.
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Onions

How To Use Them: Slicing onions may make you tear up, but these alliums also give you a wealth of options. Toss slices into a simmering pot of chili or curry to deepen its flavor, caramelize a huge batch for French onion soup (topped with another staple, Parmesan), or dice them up raw to garnish a plate of hummus drizzled with olive oil.

How Long They Last: Onions remain pristine for months when stored in a dry, well-ventilated space, even unrefrigerated. That means you can buy them by the dozen without worrying about spoilage.
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Potatoes

How To Use Them: Buy a giant bag and turn them into crispy roasted breakfast potatoes topped with a runny egg; an impromptu meal of jacket potatoes packed with leftover broccoli, kimchi, and even Parmesan; or a simple potato mash to accompany rotisserie chicken.

How Long They Last: When stored in a cool, dark, dry area, taters keep for up to three months.
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Parmesan

How To Use It: Is there anything that a few shavings of Parmesan can’t improve? Grate it over your morning eggs. Shave it over a platter of freshly fried potato wedges sprinkled with flaky salt. Cut giant chunks to melt over a steaming bowl of soup. Or just steal pieces of it throughout the day for a slightly salty pick-me-up.

How Long It Lasts: Stored in a sealed plastic bag, Parmesan will survive up to six weeks in the fridge.
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Apples

How To Use Them: Eating the same piece of fruit over and over can get boring, which is why we suggest having a handful of different varieties of apples — from sweet Honeycrisp to more tart Granny Smith — at the ready. Eat them raw at snack time, alongside a square of dark chocolate as a before-bed bite, or for something a bit more decadent, fire up the oven and bake a couple of apples dusted with brown sugar for an hour.

How Long They Last: Apples keep for up to two months in the fridge, so you’ll always have something crunchy on hand.
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Broccoli

How To Use It: At the beginning of the week, chop broccoli into florets and store them in the fridge. That way, you can easily steam some to complement a hearty rice bowl, sauté a handful to tuck inside an omelet, or roast a pan’s worth to accompany leftover chicken. Or, for a simple-but-impressive side dish, crunch raw florets in a whisked mixture of white wine, vinegar, mustard, lemon juice, and olive oil.

How Long It Lasts: Fresh broccoli lasts for up to two weeks in the fridge, so you’ve got plenty of time to get through a whole bunch.
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Brown Rice

How To Use It: Brown rice is the secret to tying disparate ingredients together. Take for instance, leftover chicken, kimchi, and egg. Throw them on brown rice, and you’ve got yourself a rice bowl to rival your favorite Korean spot’s bibimbap. Alternatively, mix them all together with brown rice and a splash of soy sauce, fry the mixture with a little oil, and you’ve got simple fried rice.

How Long It Lasts: Don’t hesitate to buy big bags since brown rice stays good for up to six months.
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Chocolate

How To Use It: Let’s be honest: Everyone needs chocolate. Okay, maybe “needs” is a strong word, but it’s wise to plan for the inevitable chocolate craving. Either snag a bag of individually wrapped squares or opt for a bar that can be easily broken into pieces and eaten over the course of the week.

How Long It Lasts: In the pantry, chocolate will generally last for two to four months. Extend its shelf life by up to two months by storing it in the fridge, or by an additional four in the freezer.
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