Giving Lentils Another Shot and More Menu Planning Talk

My husband gave me (what I think was) a compliment this morning:

“You sure did a good job of using up all our food before we left [for Thanksgiving]. The pantry and fridge are BARE!”

Bare? Um, methinks he was exaggerating a tad, but I did try my best to be diligent about menu-planning from our long term food storage friends, the  freezer and pantry, the last few weeks before Thanksgiving.  Life was busy and I needed simplicity and a life free from grocery shopping.

I so wish THIS was my pantry - this may have to be my project for 2012 (click the image to read about it)

Enter, shopping from the freezer and pantry.

It worked — aside from a few trips for milk (which we always seem to be out of around here) and items for a Church Life-Group meal, I avoided the grocery store.

I can’t avoid it this week — lo and behold we are out of milk again — but I am continuing with my theme of shopping from the fridge/freezer/pantry this week.  Christmas is coming up and I need to watch the budget pretty carefully; while we don’t go overboard when it comes to spending money on Christmas presents, it is a month where more is spent on gifts and cards than normal.  To help ease the strain of additional spending, it’s back to menu-planning based on what I have on hand … rather than what I think I want.

(And, just an fyi, I think this is FUN … menu planning based on what you have is the best problem solving game ever!  But … I might be weird.  Probably am.  Yeah… I am.)

Thanks to some wise food storage, I have plenty of frozen meat and vegetables in my freezer… and if I plan carefully, I can make that stretch this last month of the year and move the money that would have been spent on proteins/veggies to Christmas gifts.

Here’s What We’re Eating

Monday: Taco Soup (pulled from the deep freeze) and cornbread

Tuesday: Slow Cooker Cilantro Lime Chicken Tacos (doubling this recipe and freezing the remainder for a future meal)

Wednesday:Lentil Cottage Pie with Sweet Potato Mash (this is a little adventurous for us, but I have nearly everything on hand for the recipe and having a meatless meal is a good option for our budget), salad, biscuits

Thursday: leftovers

Friday: Pizza Rolls and Game Night!

Saturday: Homemade Egg Rolls (I’m adapting my pot sticker recipe for these), veggie fried rice (adapting a Mark Bittman recipe from the Dec. issue of Parents Magazine)

Sunday: Crockpot Rotisserie Chicken, Roasted Carrots, Cous Cous, Salad

Not too shabby of a plan for a “shop from the freezer/pantry” week!  Now, on to Christmas shopping and wrapping presents and all the merriment of the season!

In addition to my pantry renovation plans for the new year, I’d also like to get better about freezer cooking and gathering an emergency food supply for our 2012 Hurricane Season.

What goals or projects are you planning for the new year? 

(and, can you BELIEVE it’s already time to start thinking about 2012???)

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Comments

  1. says

    I’m in love with that pantry! I need to wallpaper or paint mine so it can maybe look half that fabulous. I think shopping form the pantry is like my own little game against myself too. I’d love to get a deep freeze (need to find room in the garage) so I could avoid the grocery store more often too. Definitely not the highlight of my week.

  2. says

    I love lentils, and nope, can’t believe it’s that time. It’s DECEMBER!!!

    I can’t wait to have my own home, I’d make a pantry like that :)

  3. says

    What a great post. I find that when I am really good with menu planning we eat well but save money. When i’m not a lot of food gets wasted.

  4. Elijah says

    To help ease the strain of additional spending, it’s back to menu-planning based on what I have on hand … rather than what I think I want.Thanks to some wise food storage, I have plenty of frozen meat and vegetables in my freezer… and if I plan carefully, I can make that stretch this last month of the year and move the money that would have been spent on proteins/veggies to Christmas gifts.

  5. says

    You got me wanting to do a little organizing! We just moved into our house in September so it is pretty organized I guess since I only brought what I truly use but I grocery shop twice a month and already need to clean out food that was opened and not closed proper etc!

  6. says

    What a great idea. I need to do that, my food bills are so out of hand and it looks like I’ve got plenty in the house. Thanks for the inspiration.