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Mothering › Mothering Forums › Natural Living › Nutrition and Good Eating › Meal Planning › Disgusted! I just inventoried ALL food I have- I'm new to meal planning, someone wanna take a stab and gain a loyal protege? (Veg*n)
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Disgusted! I just inventoried ALL food I have- I'm new to meal planning, someone wanna take a...

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 

Here's the deal.  It's just me.  And my 4.5 yo dd.  She is finally at an age where cooking for "us" might remotely make sense.  (No big fancy dinners here - I can only feed the freezer so much... and eat the same thing for so long.)

For about 3 years now I've been simplifying, reducing - becoming more minimalist.  I've ignored the food in my home.  I knew I had TONS of food on hand but really - it's disturbing.  I'm embarrassed to admit to how much I have.  I created an Excel spreadsheet and wrote out EVERYTHING in my kitchen (except for spices and fresh fruits/veggies/milk/cheese/eggs/butter).  There's over 150 rows!!!!  And that doesn't count 2 of something. 

Seriously, I hope I never say I have nothing to eat again - this is humbling and embarrassing.

 

I like to cook but a) I'm way out of practice (just the 2 of us) and b) I've never been organized enough to PLAN.  I want to do that now.  Oh, I work from home but full-time. 

 

You all are SO creative.  I'm wondering (embarrassed) if any of you mamas wants to take a stab based on the insanity that is my food inventory?  I'm thinking a kick start will a) get me going, b) clear out this mass amount of food, and c) help ME learn how to piece meals together, plan, be more organized and deliberate in how I feed MY "family".  I've always envied you mamas that can look in 3 different areas of your kitchen/grocery store and pull something together.  I'm one of those.... "apples are in front of me.  Ok, we'll have apples and.... peanut butter?"  Since it was just my daughter and me and she ate so little and requested so much fruit and veggies, I just haven't been inspired to really cook.  Until now.

 

Can someone PLEASE PLEASE help me start off with a calendar of items to make based on my inventory (and minimum buying of stock items going forward)?  I wish I could express how much this would be a "and she'll feed herself forever" thing rather than a "she'll just eat for the night" lesson.

 

Due to the embarrassment of epic proportions, I won't upload the list until/if someone could help.  I know it is asking a lot -- but I'm hoping it is either easy or fun for some of you creative mamas that just know how to pull it together - I'm an excellent student/learner and would be a most appreciative protege ;)

 

Sorry for the wordiness- it took me forever to do that and I'm feeling very.... spoiled.  Like I should slap myself if I ever think I have nothing to eat.

 

We are not vegetarian by vegetarian police standards ;) but I do keep my house blatantly meat free (a few yucky exceptions) and would like to keep it that way.

 

Humbled..............................................

post #2 of 27

I could give it a whirl. 

 

Also, just a tip, there's a lot of sites where you can browse by ingredient. So let's say you realize you have five cans of bread crumbs.... Then you can look up recipes that use bread crumbs. 

post #3 of 27

I am sure that there are several people who would be willing and able to help, I would upload the list so that people can start giving you input.  I am not vegetarian so I might not be as helpful as I'd like, but I like planning and making lists (it's the follow through that I have trouble with) so I will try to help as much as possible.  Also, the previous suggestion about looking for recipes based on ingredient is a good one.

post #4 of 27

This sounds like fun! Can you post your list? No meat, but how do you feel about dairy? Eggs? Anything else you and/or daughter don't eat? Also, what does your life look like? Do you have time to make meals that take all day to make? If so, do you like cooking enough to do that? Do you work? Do meals need to be prepared quickly at the end of the day because everyone is hungry and grouchy? What about breakfasts and lunches? Are you eating those at home, or are we talking bagged lunches? How much time do you have in the morning to devote to food prep? 

post #5 of 27
Thread Starter 

Ok, this is a work in progress and please don't laugh too much (ok, go ahead, I take jabbing pretty well!)-- I have EVERYTHING on the planet it seems.  Just don't know how to pull things together.

Things to use up, for sure:

Tomato paste (my gosh)

Tomato sauce

*** but please, I'm burned out on marinara/spaghetti sauce (I know, I know)

Veggie broth (with a kid that doesn't care for soup, she might have to suffer)

NUTS

Miso

My gosh - what are all those vinegars?

Well, everything really.  I just don't know how to put it all together and looking at the list - it seems silly, it shouldn't be so complicated.  I might just be having a hard time taking a first step???????? Ugh!!!! Analysis paralysis!

 

This probably sounds pretty gross - but do I have to ditch pasta with an olllldddd expiration date?

Almond meal (what was I thinking w/ so much?) that expired?

 

As for the websites - maybe this is somewhere else but I see some where you can enter one ingredient- are there some where you can enter multiple ingredients?

 

Anyhow, here is my draft list for now... thanks and I'm still incredibly embarrassed that I have no idea what to do with my own stuff (bad mama material!).....

 

Hmmm - I don't have permission to include an attachment - let me go check that out (and not lose this in the process).

post #6 of 27
Thread Starter 
Item Quantity Size Expiration Location
Organic Vegetable Broth 8 1 Qt 1/5/2011 Desk Area
Grade B Maple Syrup 2 8.5 fl oz   Desk Area
Pop Tarts - Strawberry 12     Desk Area
Coconut Water Box     Desk Area
Walnuts 1 48 oz   Desk Cabinet
Almonds 2 48 oz   Desk Cabinet
Cacao Nibs 2 1 lb 2/1/2010 Desk Cabinet
Brown Sugar 1 1/2 c   Desk Cabinet
Sugar 1 1 c   Desk Cabinet
Unsweetened Chocolate Squares 3 boxes 8oz   Desk Cabinet
Cacao Powder 1 1 lb   Desk Cabinet
Maca Powder 2 1 lb   Desk Cabinet
Unsweetened Coconut 1 3/4 c   Desk Cabinet
Coconut 1 1/4 c   Desk Cabinet
White Corn Meal 1 1/2 c   Desk Cabinet
Rainbow Sprinkles 1 26 oz   Desk Cabinet
Applesauce 1 46 oz   Kitchen Tea
Vinegar - Late Harvest Riesling 1 6.5 fl oz   Kitchen Tea
Vinegar - Red Wine 1 12.75 fl oz   Kitchen Tea
Vinegar - White Wine 1 8.5 fl oz   Kitchen Tea
Vinegar - Red Wine 1 16 fl oz   Kitchen Tea
Vinegar - Rice 1 12 fl oz   Kitchen Tea
Vinegar - Apple Cider 2 32 fl oz   Kitchen Tea
Liquid Aminos 2 32 fl oz   Kitchen Tea
Molasses - Organic 1 32 fl oz   Kitchen Tea
Vinegar - Balsamic 1 16.9 fl oz   Kitchen Tea
Hot Cocoa 1 12 oz   Kitchen Tea
Hot Cocoa - Spicy 1 12 oz   Kitchen Tea
Marshmallows - mini 1 1 c   Kitchen Tea
Bee Pollen 1 1 lb   Kitchen Tea
MSM 1 7 oz   Kitchen Tea
Roasted Red Peppers 1 12.7 oz 4/30/2011 Kitchen Tea
Roasted Red Peppers 1 24 oz ??? Kitchen Tea
Marinara Sauce - Organic 1 25.5 oz 7/8/2011 Kitchen Tea
Green Tea - Yogi Pomegranate 1     Kitchen Tea
Smooth Move 1     Kitchen Tea
Tea - Yogi Calming 1     Kitchen Tea
Green Tea - Yogi Super Antioxidant 2     Kitchen Tea
Green Tea - Yogi Rejuvenation 1     Kitchen Tea
Tea - Yogi Women's Energy 1     Kitchen Tea
Tea - Yogi Orange Spice 1     Kitchen Tea
Green Tea - Yogi Energy 1     Kitchen Tea
Tea - Yogi Peppermint 1     Kitchen Tea
Tea - Yogi Licorice 1     Kitchen Tea
Molasses - Muddy Pond 5     Kitchen Tea
Honey 2     Kitchen Tea
Vega Smoothie Mix 1     Kitchen Tea
Peanut Butter - Peter Pan 2 16.3 oz   Kitchen Sink
Almond Butter 1     Kitchen Sink
Flour - Oat 6 1.1 lb   Kitchen Sink
Flour - Almond Meal 3 16 oz 4/10/2010 Kitchen Sink
Flour - Amaranth 1 1 c   Kitchen Sink
Flour - Buckwheat 4 32 oz   Kitchen Sink
Flour - Millet 1 1 c   Kitchen Sink
Flour - Arrowroot (Starch) 1 20 oz 5/1/2011 Kitchen Sink
Mac N Cheese - Annie's 3     Kitchen Sink
Grain - Trader Joe's 6 16 oz   Kitchen Sink
Pasta - Whole Wheat Spaghetti 1 13.25 oz   Kitchen Sink
Pasta - Brown rice spaghetti 1 16 oz   Kitchen Sink
Pasta - Quinoa Macaroni 1 8 oz 5/1/2011 Kitchen Sink
Pasta - Quinoa Macaroni 1 8 oz 12/1/2009 Kitchen Sink
Beans - Adzuki, dry 2 1 lb   Kitchen Sink
Quinoa 1 14 oz 7/21/2011 Kitchen Sink
Rice - Parboiled 1 2 c   Kitchen Sink
Rice - Wild, Kristin 1 1 c   Kitchen Sink
Lentils - green, dry 1 1/3 c   Kitchen Sink
Moong Dal 1 3 c   Kitchen Sink
Pearl Barley  1 14 oz   Kitchen Sink
Blackeye Peas 1 2 c   Kitchen Sink
Pasta - Brown rice spirals 1 12 oz   Kitchen Sink
Pasta - Brown rice elbows 1 12 oz   Kitchen Sink
Pasta - Brown rice vegetable spirals 1 12 oz   Kitchen Sink
Vanilla 1 500 ml   Kitchen Sink
Granola - Bear Naked, chocolate 1 12 oz 5/13/2011 Kitchen Snack
Pretzels - Tiny Twists       Kitchen Snack
Goldfish - Smores 1   2/13/2011 Kitchen Snack
Granola - Seitenbacher Musli #7 1 13.2 oz 5/1/2011 Kitchen Snack
Cheerios 2     Kitchen Snack
Mango, dried 3 8.8 oz 7/28/2011 Kitchen Snack
Pop Tarts - Brown Cinnamon/Sugar 1 10   Kitchen Snack
Crackers - Nut Thins 1 4.25 oz   Kitchen Snack
Oats 3 1.1 lb   Kitchen Snack
Granola - Ezekiel 1 16 oz   Kitchen Snack
Crackers - Graham 1     Kitchen Snack
Granola - Go Live Raw 1 1 lb   Kitchen Snack
Hot Cereal - Bob's 1 2 c   Kitchen Snack
Quinoa FLAKES 1 12 oz 5/1/2010 Kitchen Snack
Crackers - Graham, Spongebob 1 8 oz   Kitchen Snack
Ketchup, unsweetened 1 13 oz 2/20/2011 Kitchen Snack
Salad Dressing, Annie's Ginger Vinaigrette 1 8 oz 1/12/2011 Kitchen Snack
Salad Dressing, Pomegranage Vinaigrette 1 8 oz 10/14/2010 Kitchen Snack
Crackers - Graham 1     Kitchen Snack
Crackers - Mary's Gone 1 6.5 oz   Kitchen Snack
Crackers - Peanut Butter Packs 10 1.38 oz   Kitchen Snack
Crackers - Blueberry 2 3.5 oz 5/4/2011 Kitchen Snack
Crackers - Graham 1     Kitchen Snack
Goldfish - Colors 1     Kitchen Snack
Popcorn - Microwave 10     Kitchen Snack
Cookies - Annie's Cocoa & Vanilla 1 6.75 oz 1/4/2011 Kitchen Snack
Cookies - Snickerdoodles mix 1     Kitchen Snack
Tomato Sauce - Organic, reduced sodium 9 15 oz 3/2/2011 Kitchen Stove
Tomato Paste - Organic, reduced sodium 17 6 oz 3/2/2011 Kitchen Stove
Beans - Black, canned 5 15.5 oz   Kitchen Stove
Chili - Black Mole, canned 1 15 oz   Kitchen Stove
Chili - Vegetarian, canned 1 15 oz   Kitchen Stove
Beans - Adzuki, canned 1 15 oz   Kitchen Stove
Beans - Garbanzo, canned 4 15.5 oz   Kitchen Stove
Chili - Medium, canned 1 14.7 oz   Kitchen Stove
Beans - Cannellini, canned 3 15.5 oz   Kitchen Stove
Oil - Canola       Kitchen Stove
Wakame - dried, cut 1 2.5 oz 11/27/2010 Kitchen Stove
Soup - Miso, instant 1 6.04 oz   Kitchen Stove
Nori Sheets, Raw 1 4.4 oz   Kitchen Stove
Seeds - Flax, golden, whole 8 14 oz   Kitchen Stove
Pam - olive oil 2     Kitchen Stove
Pam - baking 1     Kitchen Stove
Pam - canola oil 2     Kitchen Stove
Oil - Sesame 1 16 oz   Kitchen Stove
Oil - Olive, EV 1 16.9 oz   Kitchen Stove
Panko 1 8 oz   Kitchen Stove
Oil - Peanut 1 2 c   Kitchen Stove
Crackers - Olive Oil 1 7 oz   Kitchen Snack
Goji Berries 1 3 lbs   Countertop
Source of Life Energy Shake 1 1.1 lbs   Countertop
Maca Powder 1 2 lbs   Countertop
Pretzels - Tiny Twists 1     Countertop
Veggie Straws 1     Countertop
Chips - Brown Rice 1     Countertop
Chips - Brown Rice, Sea Salt 1     Countertop
Sausage - Morningstar 1     Freezer
Plaintains - Sweet, frozen 1     Freezer
Burrito - Annie, frozen 6     Freezer
Spinach - frozen 1 10 oz   Freezer
Gardein Chicken Fingers 6     Freezer
Bread - sandwich loaves 3     Freezer
Blueberries - frozen 1 16 oz   Freezer
Bagels - blueberry, frozen 1     Freezer
Wraps - brown rice, frozen 1     Freezer
Mango - frozen 1 4 lbs   Freezer
Veggies - Steamfresh, frozen 2 12 oz   Freezer
Dora pops 2     Freezer
Ice cream - Chloe 10     Freezer
Tamari 2     Refrigerator
Soybean Paste (Miso) 1 35.2 oz   Refrigerator
Mayonnaise - roasted garlic 1 12 oz   Refrigerator
Grade B Maple Syrup 1 1/2 c   Refrigerator
Ketchup, unsweetened 1     Refrigerator
Soy Sauce 1     Refrigerator
Teriyaki Marinade 1 1/3 c   Refrigerator
Lemon juice 1     Refrigerator
Ghee 1 13 oz   Refrigerator
Applesauce 1 2 c   Refrigerator
Cream Cheese 1 16 oz   Refrigerator
Oil - Olive, EV 4 34 oz   Desk Cabinet
Milk - Almond 3 64 oz 2/23/2011 Desk Cabinet
Rice - Basmati 1 15 lbs   Desk Cabinet
Oil - Canola 1 48 oz   Desk Cabinet
Eggs 1   1/23/2011 FRESH - USE
Butter 1   5/21/2011 FRESH - USE
Milk - Almond 1     FRESH - USE
Strawberries 1     FRESH - USE
Cheddar - Medium 2   4/6/2011 FRESH - USE
Cheddar - Sharp 2   4/7/2011 FRESH - USE
Cantelope 1     FRESH - USE
Kiwi 4     FRESH - USE
Clementines 20     FRESH - USE
Bananas 7     FRESH - USE
Dates - Medjool 1   5/16/2011 FRESH - USE
Yogurt  - Ashley 1     FRESH - USE
Apples 7     FRESH - USE
Half and Half 1     FRESH - USE
Yogurt - Chloe 3     FRESH - USE
Grapes 1     FRESH - USE
Alfalfa Sprouts 1     FRESH - USE
Cucumber 1     FRESH - USE
Sweet Peppers 1     FRESH - USE
Heirloom Tomatoes 1     FRESH - USE
Spinach - fresh 1     FRESH - USE
Pineapple 1     FRESH - USE
Barleans - For Me 1     FRESH - USE
Barleans - For Chloe 1     FRESH - USE
post #7 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Annie Mac View Post

This sounds like fun! Can you post your list? No meat, but how do you feel about dairy? Eggs? Anything else you and/or daughter don't eat? Also, what does your life look like? Do you have time to make meals that take all day to make? If so, do you like cooking enough to do that? Do you work? Do meals need to be prepared quickly at the end of the day because everyone is hungry and grouchy? What about breakfasts and lunches? Are you eating those at home, or are we talking bagged lunches? How much time do you have in the morning to devote to food prep? 


OK list posted.  If I didn't include info, it wasn't necessary... and now you know your way around my house :)

 

Anything non-meat is fine.  We do TRY to be gluten-free but there is no medical reason for it and it is NOT a must - particularly since the goal is to use this up (and a lot of it isn't gluten-free anyhow).  Also, up until a month ago, I didn't have sugar in the house - I've been using honey and molasses exclusively for a couple of years but due to some chaos a few nasties recently made their way into my pantry (Pop Tarts! Sugar, etc).  I don't mind using sugar or having to get more - again, the goal is to use this stuff up.

 

No constraints.

 

I can do an all-day meal on weekends/special days- that is fine.  I DO like cooking enough to do that - heck I wish I could learn it and do it full-time, I just never did (YET!). 

 

I do work... from home but full-time/corp job/intense.  I am home working 9-3 and then dd and I cook together sometimes from 3-8 until she goes to bed, then back to work for the most part for me.

 

Morning time for food prep will be tough - best time for food prep is late at night.  Also, we eat all breakfast and lunches here (in general) and they are usually just quick/easy things.

 

Also, I'm generally pretty good with substituting (not always) or modifying stuff slightly--

 

I'm SO OPEN to changing habits.  I WANT to cook more.. I WANT to be organized.  Up until now, it has been haphazard well because it COULD be... I don't have formal dining here because it is just dd and me and it is so easy to slip into "what do you want for dinner?  Bananas?  Great.  PB&J? Great" because we also drink smoothies religiously.... but I want to formalize things a bit now that she is bigger and really it is just time to take charge.  If that means I wake up earlier to do some food prep, that's fine.... whatever it takes, it's time for me to take back my kitchen lol!

 

Wow, did this turn into a vent of sorts? Apologies but THANK YOU so much.  I'm open to any help...

post #8 of 27

Honestly, I probably have a similar pantry and there's only 3 of us here.  It's easy to end up with a lot of condiments and staples.  They're going to linger and they're supposed, I guess. 

 

I cannot bake, and it looks like you have a lot of baking items, but I'd do a search on buckwheat or amaranth flour and come up with several interesting recipes and work your way through them.  Then add to your regular rotation as you find things you like.

 

I'd spend some time organizing the pantry so that anything you have in great quantity is visible and you don't make the mistake of buying any more pasta, say.

 

I'd take all the prepackaged snacks and put them in a big basket somewhere easy to access (unless your DD has problems snacking) so that you can work through all the snack foods.  Maybe you say that DD has a fruit snack in the morning, and a crackery/cookie snack in the afternoon.

 

Curries are a good way to use up some of the tomato pastes.  Also, I've had a good pasta with tomato sauce and garam masala that's a little different than just spagetti with marinara.  Another easy pasta dish is small pasta spirals with can of veggie broth, can of diced or crushed tomato, can of beans, and a pinch of dried rosemary.

 

I make a good lentil dish that is lentils, veg broth, sliced portobellos and rosemary.  Let it simmer til the lentils are soft and then add a balsamic vinegar.  It's tasty!  I serve it over couscous.

 

I usually start adding rosemary to dishes when I feel like we've had too much Italian food.

 

You have veggie sausages and peppers, too.  That's an easy meal.  I'm not sure if your corn meal is the polenta type?  I make that with veg sausages a lot. 

post #9 of 27

Alright, let's see. You could make a minestrone type stew/soup incorporating beans, pasta, barley, tomato paste & veggie stock. Throw in some spinach as well, for good measure. As much of what you are working with is canned, this dish shouldn't take much more than 30-40 minutes to prep, cook and serve.

Garbanzos, olive oil, garlic, paprika & lemon make some good hummus, which you could use as a dip for veg or pita, or use as a spread for veggie sandwiches/wraps. If you throw some some cheese on those, toast and serve open face with a favourite side, you've got a whole meal. Again, super fast with a food processor.

Frozen fruit can be made into smoothies or "ice cream" (blend fruit with frozen banana and a bit of whatever milk you're using plus a splash of vanilla), jams or muffins or eaten with oatmeal (or hot grain of your choice) for breakfast.

You've got some awesome baked goods ingredients. I don't have too much experience outside of the wheat flour spectrum, but I think you could make some fantastic healthy muffins with your flours, some eggs, milk, fruit and a bit of sugar (or maple syrup, since you have that on hand). You could also incorporate your peanut and almond butters into cookies or muffins. I think they'd pair really well with sunflower seeds. 

You could make pizza dough, use the tomato sauce to make a pizza sauce (a surprisingly good pizza sauce is one can of tomato sauce, one can of drained diced tomatoes, italian seasoning, salt and pepper cooked on low for hours until it gains the thick consistency of pizza sauce. If your tom. sauce doesn't have any sugar, add a little bit of sweetener of some sort.)

You could make a variety of Mexican-type dishes. To make an easy low fat version of refrieds, just take the beans of your choice (my fave is black, but kidney and pinto work quite well too), throw in food processor. Add a small amount of onion (about 1/4 for a can of beans -- I always cook with dried, so I'm trying to estimate how much is in a can, you may need to alter to your taste), a tomato, a good schwack of cumin and salt and whir up. Throw on the stove on low heat for about half an hour. Add fresh cilantro if wanted. So now that you have a base, you can add whatever you want around the beans. Lately, our favourite is "burrito in a bowl." Refried beans, rice, fresh salsa (tomatoes, salt, cilantro, lime, jalapeno in food processor), corn salsa (onion, garlic, corn, cumin, salt), grated cheese, hot sauce of your choice, avocadoes. Throw in bowl. Eat. 

Lima beans make a good succotash. You can use black eyed peas too (think I saw some on your list). My basic succotash is beans, corn, tomatoes, cumin, salt, pepper. Serve on rice. 

Kidney beans (and other red beans) make good red beans and rice. I used to make a vegetarian version of this dish. I haven't made it in a long time, but it had beans, tomatoes, green pepper, probably a jalapeno...You can find really good Lousiana style recipes online, better than anything I made in my North-of-49 version.

Bean burgers. Black beans, some of your panko, an egg, maybe some rice and spices of your choice. Mush up, create patties and brown in oil. Bean "meat" loaf (there's a use for the ketchup). Bean "meatballs."

Looking at your fresh produce, we also do big salad nights here. I make a basic version of green salad (usually romaine, spinach, green leaf lettuce, really whatever greens I have available) and then make little side dishes of the more perishable items. It's fun for kids, because they get to make their own salad. Sides include chopped tomatoes, peppers, corn, onion, avocado and "crunchies" (some combination of nuts and seeds, you can buy this pre-made in the bulk section or just make your own). Salad dressing is also suprisingly easy to make. It's not my forte, but there are lots of recipes online. There's a basic formula of acid to oil (1:1 I think), and then you add whatever you like. There's something you can use your vinegars in. Garlic, sugar, tahini, soya sauce, mustard, mayo...any number of condiments can go into a salad dressing.

We also eat roast veggies a lot. Just dice your favourite root veg (I also add tofu, but not necessary). Toss in olive oil & chunky salt. Place on cookie sheet and bake on high heat (450-475) until brown. Turn, roast the other side. Add the condiment of choice (our faves in this house are mustard, ketchup & balsamic). We eat this as a meal, but if you add some rice and beans you have a very balanced nutritious meal.

I know your daughter doesn't like soup, but really, there's so much variation with soup. What doesn't she like about it? Is it too watery? There's chowders and "stoups" as Rachel Ray calls them (almost stew like soups). Or is it particular ingredients? As a kid, I liked cream soups, but nothing else. I make quite a lot of soups. There's a soup for any ingredient, it seems.

 

Anyway, that's a start. Does that help at all?

post #10 of 27

Holy moly mamma!  Try allrecipes.com.  They have an ingredient search function that I love!  I just figured out we're having jambalaya tonight due to my indecision over how to fed 3 people plus 2 leftover lunches with 1/2 lb of shrimp and 2 italian sausages.  What was a head scratcher is now yummmmmmm!

post #11 of 27

subbing to this thread as I need to start fresh as well.

post #12 of 27

I don't have any recipes on hand at the moment, but those flours could be used to make pizza crust, the tomato sauces and pastes could be used to make pizza sauce, and then any fresh ingredients/cheese that is on sale that week for toppings.  You can also make up a bunch at once and freeze them, that way on those busy nights when you get home and don't feel like cooking, toss in a homemade frozen pizza. 

 

broth can also be used instead of water to cook rice and such in.  Gives it a different flavor.

post #13 of 27

I've eaten down a few pantries in the last few years (move 5 years ago, house on market 3 years ago, move 3 months ago).  The first thing (if you want it all gone) is to sort of classify things in your mind.  Like have a "snack" category.   If you're hungry, eat from the snack category until it's gone. 

 

Have a starch category, a veggie one, and a protein one, and combine those to make meals.  Do that until it's gone. 

 

When you are thirsty, drink tea or hot chocolate or whatever else you have.  Do that until it's gone.  Even if you really want something else that you don't have. 

 

This is what prevents you from saying, "oh, no, we're out of goldfish!  Must go buy some more" when you have 5 other boxes of snack-able foods in the house that could be substituted for the beloved items (that always go first). 

 

You can use veggie broth to cook vegetables, to cook rice, or as the liquid in a skillet meal if you don't want to make soup.

post #14 of 27
Thread Starter 

Oh my gosh, there aren't words to say THANK YOU enough for the suggestions I have gotten so far.  bow.gif

I feel like I should be accountable to you so you know it was time well spent!!!!

Today - not such a good day since my daughter had me awake all night.  So as much as I despise this, I boiled up some pasta and had some spaghetti sauce on top.  Done.  She had some dates as an appetizer - what can I say, she loves them, I'm never gonna say "nope, eat up those pop tarts" lol.gif

 

Yesterday for lunch and dinner I just had fresh veggie sandwiches - bread, sprouts, cucumber, tomatoes, green beans, sweet peppers.  Today I also had this for lunch.  I ate up some cheese and crackers as a snack.

 

I think my plan is (read: scatter-brained, I hope this is organized "enough"):

1) USE this spreadsheet I created to decide what to have when I'm hungry, rather than just opening cupboards (might be easier said than done but it will remind me what I HAVE not just what I want).

2) Use this spreadsheet to also see what I use up... what I need to buy ---- literally develop a grocery list based on it.

3) I LOVE the idea of having my daughter have a fresh fruit/veggie snack at a certain time of day and then use up those nasty crackers/chips at another time.  That said, again, if she asks for fruit/veggies, I'm not going to turn her on to crackers instead- just me.

4) I love curries - time to experiment with more of them (I only really make 2 curry recipes... when I cook) - I have a lot of Indian connections so I should get some support if I tell them that is my plan (then I also have to own it!)

5) Um, what AnnieMac said lol.gif- you know that concept of making everything in a cookbook?  I think I'll start with 'make everything in a post' with ideal goal being 'make everything in a thread' thumb.gif

6) PIZZA!  THANK YOU- there's one way to clean up that tomato paste/sauce... AND I need to learn how to make some wicked pizza crust - I think I have enough baking stuff to full-on experiment.

[Do you all see now how sometimes I just can't even see what is right in front of me? It is almost too overwhelming]

7) Create a meal plan and actually stick to it - for dinners.  Based on THIS thread.

8) I never thought of using the broth in place of water in rice..... and cooking veggies in - I will put this to quick use.

9) BetsyS - THANK YOU.  I think "compartmentalizing" like this will really help me.  I'm usually one that runs from structure but where it makes sense with what I have, I'm all over it.

 

Why I thought I could only look based on one ingredient is beyond me.  I used to subscribe to Food and Wine and like their ingredient search but I see that AllRecipes has tonnnnssss of functionality -

 

Game on.

 

Gotta find some wicked pizza crust ;)

 

You mamas really rock - I WILL come back and post what I eat unless I keep slumping into my PB&J with a banana rut (UGH)

post #15 of 27

Clean out your freezer, too...since it's just the two of you.  We're a 3 person family and though I like leftovers, there's a limit. So if I make soup I keep out enough for one night plus another meal that week and the rest goes in the freezer.  That way it doesn't get gross in the fridge and I have it for nights I don't feel like cooking.

post #16 of 27

I will post back later with some meal ideas, but another idea is to go through the items that you know that you will not use and just donate them to a food bank. That will trim down the list of foods to eat through and lessen the guilt of not eating something that does not fit into your family's diet. Somebody will be thankful for the food and you will be thankful for working quicker through your pantry.

post #17 of 27

Let us know how it goes!

post #18 of 27
Thread Starter 

Eating down the snacks- ugh, so many.

 

I made this Beet and Cheddar Risotto - OH MY GOSH - yummy.  What I realized though was... I needed to buy beets for this recipe.  That's fine.  But I got hit with the Buy One Get Ones and ended up with granola too... and this and that... So at least I recognize I'm a "hoarder" which normally isn't an issue but a) "we" are so little and b) our house is teeny tiny - we don't have that storage.  I am working on clearing out more (on the path to minimalism but obviously not in the pantry yet!) so it might make sense to stock up later but really we are overflowing with food.

 

Tonight I'm sitting down with a calendar to actually plan.  I know that I'm making a few other things now for later in the week- this is actually a big step for me.

post #19 of 27

Do you like chili? We use tomato paste like CRAZY with chili. Also sloppy-joes (you can do this with whatever vegetable-protein whatever).

 

I would say yes throw away old almond meal - did someone else already say that?

This really IS a fun post. We move every couple of years (DH is a Marine) so we never really get the stay-put-ness it takes to build up.

 

Anyway, in case you DO like chili:

 

1 diced onion + 1 diced green bell pepper + 4 cloves minced garlic

sauteed in

1 tbsp olive oil + 3 tbsp cumin + 3 tbsp chili powders + 1 tsp chipotle chili pepper (makes it not too hot but nice and sunny)

until starting to soften.

+whatever protein something you're using OR a couple of cans of cooked kidney, black or pinto beans

then stir in

1 pint broth + 1 or 2 cans tomato paste + 1 or 2 small cans diced tomatoes

until warm

 

I'm a total carnivore so I've never made this with just beans or veggie protein and so I have NO idea how those things would hold up all day in a crock pot like I like it when there's a pound of cow in there (please don't barf on your keyboard).

 

I'm so excited about your oriental supplies. You could get a bunch of yummy veggies and marinate them in tamari and your rice wine vinegar then stir fry them and have them over a package of noodles. Yummy! I like what everyone else said about just working your way through it - sort of a fun project! Like, okay guys, it is ASIAN WEEK! Woohoo! Then drain all that stuff.

 

Then INDIAN WEEK! Yay! Or whatever. I would love to hear how you cook with ghee - it scares me. =)

post #20 of 27

 Has anyone mentioned http://www.supercook.com/? You enter in all you have on hand and it collates recipes from a bunch of online sites that you can make with it. Pretty sweet!

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