We all have those days when we come home hungry with nothing in the fridge and no idea what to make for dinner. Your first move might be to order Postmates and call it a day, but there is a healthier and cheaper alternative. A few staple ingredients in your pantry could be your saving grace after a long, busy week. Some ingredients can be easily transformed into countless meals that don't break the bank. Here are a few foods you should always have in your kitchen:

Instant Rice or Pasta

Instant rice or pasta can be the difference between feeling full and being hungry an hour later. Rice and pasta are both blank canvases and can be transformed into anything you want them to be. Throw the rice in with veggies and chicken to make a stir fry. Mix some ground beef with red sauce to top off pasta for a home cooked meal in minutes.

tomato, sauce, spaghetti, vegetable, penne, pasta
Caroline Ingalls

Soy Sauce

Soy sauce is the base for so many sauces that can spice up any dish. From Korean ground beef to stir fry, the possibilities are endless.

soy sauce, vegetable
Sheng Lin

Olive Oil

Olive oil might be the most essential ingredient on this list. Olive oil has so many purposes. It can be used as a nonstick resistant, marinade for meats, salad dressing, dip for bread, and much more.

oil, olive, vegetable, olive oil
Florence Ma

Canned Beans

Canned beans are great when there’s not much food in the house. Beans pack a protein punch and stay good for much longer than typical protein sources, like meat and fish. Add beans to a stew, or just about anything to keep you fuller longer.

beans, sausage, baked beans, pork, bacon
Andreina Cecchini

Garlic Cloves and Onions

Sautéing garlic and/or onion before adding other ingredients adds so much flavor to a dish. These ingredients are the base for many dishes like pasta sauce and stuffed mushrooms.

These two go hand in hand when your dish is in need of flavor.

Meal, Cooking, skillet, pasta, lemon, garlic, parsley, cheese
Josi Miller

Dry Oats

Dry oats are perfect for mornings when all the milk and eggs are gone. You might feel like you have to run to the store or stop at your nearest Dunkin for breakfast, but when you have dry oats you can throw together a warm bowl of oatmeal in just a few minutes. Oats are also great in recipes like cookies, muffins, and bread.

cereal, rice, porridge, oatmeal, corn, risotto, wheat, muesli, buckwheat, groats, granola
Christin Urso

So the next time you come home and find yourself reaching for your Ubereats app, check your pantry first to see if you can whip something up. Every recipe doesn't have to have countless steps. Simple meals with simple ingredients are the way to go when you find yourself in a pinch.