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.
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
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???)