Tonight I wish dinner would just make itself!
Pantry Challenge? - Page 4
Ok so finally back from vacation (and I think I'm sick from eating out 3 meals a day, yuck!). Last night we had homemade tomato soup (everything except the garlic was from my garden) and panini's. Tonight is stir fry with some steak I found in the freezer. With pasta probably instead of rice.
Well I have been cooking a lot and making so much stuff from scratch. Yesterday I made calzones to freeze. I have an abundance of produce, so we've been having salad each night with homemade dressing. Tonight it's stirfry night. I have all planned overs to make it, dinner will take like 10 minutes tonight. I'll probably chop all my stuff in a little bit.
Making my meal plan for next week. Trying some new recipes and having fun with it.
Let's see....I made the mistake of going to a big Asian marketplace w/some friends, and got some cool ingredients. Found out my body does not tolerate King Oyster mushrooms AT ALL. Ugh.
Several nights ago I made a stirfry w/the KO mushrooms, onion, garlic, carrot, and chicken breast. Served over fresh chow mein noodles. The next night I made a Vietnamese style crispy noodle pancake topped wit a stirfry of swiss chard (had lots in my garden), onion, shitake mushrooms, garlic, and ginger (the sauces and stuff I got to use are fantastic!) and then a layer of this Vietnamese pork patty fried up and sliced thin. We had some of the pork stuff in a Napa cabbage stirfry alongside home made crab rangoon the next night. Last night we had chili soup over roasted potato chunks and topped w/grated cheese.
Tonight's pizza night and I think I'll make cheesy ranch bread and have some leftover salad for dh and I to go with it.
I do need to go shopping for a few things this weekend but my list is pretty short. I have plans to cook several things over the weekend so my fridge should be restocked with ready to eat food.
My little shopping trip grew a bit since I took the rest of my family with me.
Saturday, dh cooked a prime rib and mashed potatoes. Sunday, we had fried potatoes and sausages. I also made a big pan of stir fry for lunches this week and some broccoli cheese soup for dinner tonight. So we'll have soup and I'll make some garlic bread to go with it for dinner.
We are moving in just over a week so we are eating up the pantry to avoid having to pack and move it all to the new house. Today was:
breakfast: the dregs of the last boxes of cereal and the last of one gallon of milk
snack: the last of the rice krispie treats made to get rid of a stale bag of marshmallows and some of the cereal
lunch: pasta with the last of the frozen peas and butter and parm cheese with a few apple slices on the side
snack: homemade choc chip cookies
dinner: homemade pizza with little bits of leftover veggies and cheese from the freezer on dough from the freezer
I'm in. We spend a lot on groceries, but I'm generally fine with that. We buy local and organic when we can. Right now we have a freezer full of meat, lots of frozen veg and fruit. Our pantry is well stocked (lots of dried beans, rice, pasta, and flour). We put away a lot of tomatoes, salsa and apple butter this fall as well.
I'm doing a pantry challenge because I want to use what we have and get serious about meal planning. It makes my life easier when I meal plan and it's so much healthier.
My goal for the rest of the month is to just buy fresh fruits and vegetables (and some stuff for Thanksgiving). We get our milk directly from a local farm and have chickens for eggs.
I wrote out 3 weeks of meal plans based on what we have and easily came up with:
-lentil soup and banana bread (2 meals)
-beef curry w/ brown rice (2 meals)
-chilli and cornbread (2 meals)
-beans and rice (nacho style w/ cheese, salsa and guac)
-tofu sticks and quinoa and veg
-stir fried rice w/ rice
-quiche and fruit
-pizza and salad
-pasta and sausage w/ veg
-steak and mashed sweet potatoes
-vegetable beef soup w/ bread (2 meals)
-burgers and sweet potato fries w/ smoothies
-salmon patties on rice
- sweet potato, squash and apple soup w/ grilled cheese sandwiches
-mac and cheese
Well, we start getting food stamps next month, and DH lost his job at the end of last month, so I'm trying to not spend any money on groceries if I can help it. We HAD a pretty well stocked pantry, but certain items are starting to run out so things are getting low.
I have a $5 fruit/veggie WIC check, so we're going to go shopping this morning. I just pulled the last of the chicken breast from the freezer (2 breasts I think; I buy the huge family packs and portion them to freeze). Breakfast today is pancakes (and cereal for DD), lunch will be leftover sloppy joe (w/ mac and cheese for me, on bread for DD because she mysteriously decided she doesn't like mac and cheese any more, when it used to be a favorite, so now i'm eating her leftover individual cups that I bought for her to fix while i'm napping). For dinner, I will do something involving chicken, rice (we have lots of rice), and veggies. Pot pie actually sounds like a great idea, I think I have a can of cream of chicken soup, and biscuit crust is easy enough...I'll have to make it with lard, though, we ran out of butter a while back and it's gotten so expensive! I'm cooking with lard (because it's very cheap) or SmartBalance oil, and bought some smart balance maragarine for spreading on things. I'm hoping I can find a good sale and stock up next month on the real deal.
Last night was just whole wheat fettucine and tomato sauce (added olives to mine for a faux puttanesca thing).
Tonight's going to be roasted roots (turnips, potatoes, garlic, possibly carrot or winter squash if I get inspired), baked tofu (from freezer), and broccoli raab. Almost everything's from the CSA.
I need to be in. One thing I've found with sale shopping though and living on a limited budget is it's very easy to buy a whole bunch of one *really cheap* thing....and then not have money for something else. So I really try to be a little bit disciplined with that too. (Like HFCS free ketchup, I'll limit it to 2-3 bottles or a certain dollar amount, like one time they were something crazy like 69 cents and I got 4 because I could for just a little over 2 bucks.)
Also, I really look at the amount and try to remember that if I throw any away, I'm probably not really saving. For example, one time I saw a giant box of tomatoes at the store for about 6 bucks. OK....but they are something that *can* go bad, and I personally don't make my own salsa or anything like that, so I might be better off buying a smaller amount, even at more per pound, if it's the amount I use before they go bad. Or the 50 pound bulk bag of onions. You get the idea.
That and if I've got "X" dollars and that is it for this week, I'm better off spending less dollars this week on the smaller amount obviously, and being able to get more ingredients for meals this week.
I *do* try to always have the following on hand, and buy in bulk because they don't go bad---tomato paste, rice, beans, can tomatoes and salsa, frozen vegetables, butter (freezer), flour, sugar, honey....well the honey I buy a large bottle of local. Coffee. I freeze cheese. And different types of pasta. Eggs. Potatoes. Oh and I always have whole wheat tortillas because the kids love any sort of "taco."
And ground beef, chicken....buy those in large amounts on sale. Oh and the condiments we like, I'm always looking for sales. I find it pretty easy to come up with meals as long as I have frozen veg, butter, cheese, meat, rice, beans, pasta, bread, tomato products, eggs, flour to work with....can't cook at all if there's no butter, flour, eggs, cheese.
i find cheese is really key to a lot of quick stuff like a lunch of grilled cheese sandwiches and soup. Or baked potatoes and toppings--it just needs cheese. Tacos. The kids ate cheese quesadillas and salsa for a snack the other day.
The pot pie was a hit, we had only one portion of leftovers, which I had for lunch today.
Tonight is lentil bake: Lentils, brown rice, onion, garlic, mushrooms, zuchinni, seasonings. The veggies were sauteed before being tossed in with the rice and lentils, and it's in the oven now.
Not bad for WIC food, eh? (everything except the oil, garlic and seasonings was purchased on WIC).
Tonight's going to be some crazy soup-stew out of Passionate Vegetarian - it's a great use-up of tons of my CSA veggies: delicata squash, yukon golds, tomatoes, carrots, black-eyed peas, onion, garlic, hominy, allspice...serving with some shredded sharp cheddar, corn chips, tortillas and guac. Smells good!
breakfast: oatmeal with brown sugar and half a mango for 2, cold cereal and milk for 1 with banana slices
lunch: eggs and toast and frozen blueberries for 2, peanut butter and jelly, carrot sticks, and a banana for 1
small grocery trip so that I could facilitate meals for the rest of the week at this house before the move. I picked up coffee creamer(yes that's a total necessity), oatmeal, and cooking spray. made granola today to go with banana slices and yogurt for tomorrow's breakfast.
dinner was a catch on the fly thing because I had to work so the kids went to their dad's house.