Every January I vow to make meals with what we already have in our pantry and freezer. The whole “eating out of your pantry craze” where I try not to buy any more than what I need to make a meal. Sometimes we eat strange things like plain pasta and canned peaches, which is somewhat of a complete meal. Right? Sometimes we hit the motherload and discover the shrimp that I bought on sale in December for a party and forgot to serve…jackpot! Here are just a few of the things that I found in my freezer & pantry: Pork Roast, split peas, couscous, pizza sauce, frozen edamame, mexican mole(mo-lay) sauce, and lots of chicken thighs. What was I thinking? But none the less the challenge is set. Kinda feels like that cooking show where they give you the ingredients and you have to make a meal to impress the judges. Usually I make an inventory of what is in my pantry and freezer and make my menus with what I have. Knowing what you have is half the battle to menu planning.
Here are some of my inventory categories for the freezer and pantry:
Freezer– Meats/Main dish, frozen veggies, breads, cooked meats, and misc.(which includes frozen fruits, juices, sauces and broths)
Pantry– Baking supplies, canned meats, canned veggies, broths, snacks, soups, beans, pasta, rice and cereal.
Using these lists, I then make my menus for the week. My family doesn’t like casseroles so we make everything separate. Here are some examples: Meat, starch and a veggie. or two veggies, starch, and bread, or pasta and salad, or Fish, starch and fruit. I categorize brown rice, pasta, potatoes, couscous, any cooked grains as starches.
This week’s menu
Monday: Fish, oven fried rosemary red potatoes, salad
Tuesday: Pasta and salad
Wednesday: Roast Pork, rice, green beans
Thursday: Homemade Chicken soup with rice and bread
Friday: Frozen pizza for the kids and Date Night for Mom & Dad.
I love doing this in January, because, A. I made so many trips to the store during the month of December I am ready for a break, and B. I use up what I have and save money too. Also, I like cleaning out my pantry when its all said and done and restock it with healthier things. Tell us, what’s in your pantry?