my pantry

Happy New Year! We’ve left the aughts and have entered the terrific tens.

I’m lukewarm on new year’s resolutions, although it is nice to take a moment to re-focus and re-prioritize.

However, I am making a few food/cooking resolutions. Here’sĀ one of mine:

Meal Planning: As life gets busier, eating healthfully and on a budget gets more difficult.

Scenario 1: It’s 5:00, the kids are hungry (i.e., whiny, obnoxious, and irrational), and before I know it I’m making quesadillas or pancakes (again). Neither are bad dinners, but more than once a week? Not great.

Scenario 2: I didn’t realize we’re almost out of milk. I have to drive 45 minutes to the store, so I should pick up other groceries. I make a quick list and do my shopping, yet after a couple days I’m out of dinner ideas again (and we’re back to Scenario 1.) I also end up purchasing items I don’t necessarily need, and spending more than I should.

Sound familiar? (Minus the ridiculously long drive to the grocery store.) I think if I sit down and plan my meals for two weeks blocks, my family will eat better and we will save some cash.

In addition to planning my meals, I decided to make a concerted effort to use up what is in my freezer and pantry, and not let any fresh items in my fridge go to waste.

And now for a very up close and personal reveal–would you like to know what is in my cupboards right now? I took a complete inventory today. It was eye-opening! Here I am thinking I need to run to the store tomorrow, but as you read below, you will see the making of many, many meals.

If you take the time to read the list below and have any great meal ideas, let me know–I’m making plans now. I’d love to hear what you’d make with the bounty below.

Note: I did not include condiments or my pantry and fresh ‘staples’, like eggs, spices, oil, vinegar, flour, etc. I also did not include things that I typically don’t use for dinner (jam, orange juice, cereal, oatmeal, etc.)

dried cannelini beans
dried black beans
dried chickpeas
soy crumbles
frozen cod fillets
frozen chicken thighs
frozen ground turkey
frozen pork spareribs

French lentils
red lentils
wheat bran
taco shells
soba noodles
whole wheat pasta
lasagna noodles
aroborio rice
brown rice
matzo meal

marinated artichokes
fresh broccoli

butternut squash
sugar pumpkin
various canned tomatoes (crushed, diced, whole peeled, paste)
hearts of palm
canned green chiles
frozen broccoli
frozen corn
frozen zucchini
frozen green beans
frozen sour cherries
frozen blueberries
frozen rhubarb
oranges and grapefruit
green olives

frozen wonton wrappers
various nuts and seeds
frozen pesto cubes
frozen puff pastry
dried blueberries, cherries, and figs
pasta sauce

Update: I used a few things to make white bean vegetable soup tonight.

Update #2: making some progress! Although I have replenished a few items.

Comments 4

  1. ToyLady wrote:

    I’ve been on a mission, myself, to make better use of the freezer and pantry – my son always used to complain that all we had in the house was “ingredients” – no “food!”

    One of my son’s favorites when he was a kid was born of desperation – it was dinner time, I hadn’t shopped yet, and so I raided the fridge and chopped up some (still mostly frozen) chicken, sauteed it with fresh broccoli and plenty of sliced garlic, then rolled it up in a tortilla with a slice of American cheese. Over the years, he’d often ask for “those chicken and broccoli burrito things” for dinner.

    Posted 03 Jan 2011 at 1:25 pm
  2. Laurel wrote:

    Hi Anna. Great resolution! I am with you on the freezer and pantry cleanup… taking stock tomorrow! I did meal planning a few months back and wow. It was great. I always had what I needed and not a drawer full of oh-that-looked-beautiful produce at the end of the week that became random meals. I used google calendar so my husband knew what we were having for dinner so he could order something contrary for lunch. Maybe I need to go back to this planning… thanks for the inspiration!

    Posted 05 Jan 2011 at 1:58 pm
  3. Alison wrote:

    My kitchen resolutions are similar and my pantry looks pretty similar to yours so I’m looking forward to hearing about what you make.

    I resolved to make at least one meal per week using only things from the depths of the freezer and/or pantry. So far in 2011 I’ve been too busy to go grocery shopping so I’ve been forced to pull from the freezer and it’s actually been a week of really good eats so far!

    Posted 05 Jan 2011 at 5:34 pm
  4. Anna wrote:

    It’s kind of fun, isn’t it? So far we’ve had a white bean stew, lentil walnut burgers, cabbage and noodles, and tonight is wontons made with ground turkey. I will have to go to the store next week to get some milk, fresh veggies and fruit, but I’ve pledged to not leave the produce/dairy section.

    Posted 05 Jan 2011 at 9:12 pm

Trackbacks & Pingbacks 1

  1. From Chocolate Walnut Zucchini Bread | Tallgrass Kitchen on 01 Feb 2011 at 4:26 am

    […] It’s been a struggle to get organized food-wise with this new work schedule. I’m trying to get better about planning meals ahead, and I’m still attempting to empty my pantry and freezer (check my progress here.) […]

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