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Disgusted! I just inventoried ALL food I have- I'm new to meal planning, someone wanna take a... - Page 2

post #21 of 27

That supercook site sounds cool, I will have to check it out.

 

I'm veg and I looove food! Let me help you out ;)

 

First off, an easy staple that we do here is pasta with tomato sauce and walnut "burger", just chop up the walnuts and maybe an onion, garlic and saute in a pan til the onion is translucent, then add your tomato sauce. Also, you can chop up that spinach and then after you've drained your pasta, toss the spinach in with it (while the pasta's hot), drizzle in some oil and stir together, cover with a lid and let the spinach wilt. YUM! So you could do that once a week for the month, bam, four dinners down plus leftovers for next day's lunch.

 

Rock the smoothies with all that fruit! For any meal/snack---throw in some greens, too.

 

Try mixing some adzuki (those are the little ones, right?) with lentils and cooking together to have a mixed bean side with rice or cook together, saute some veges and onion and then combine it all to make samosas, you could use the flour and find an easy samosa dough recipe online---maybe the filling would not be super-traditional, but it would still be really good. You can freeze those and then have some for lunches, too.

 

I didn't see tortillas, so you better bust out that rolling pin and use up some of that flour ;) Then you can make black bean and cheese (or black bean and spinach which is one of my favs and then do plain cheese ones another night) enchiladas or quesadillas, burritos, etc.

 

An idea for your menu would be to have a pasta/pizza/calzone dinner, a tortilla/mex style dinner, an indian dinner maybe MWF and then the other days you can just eat the leftovers. That way you only have to plan three dinners which might make starting out with meal planning easier.

 

For the fresh tomato and cream cheese, this sounds weird but it's really good: saute onion/garlic til translusent, add diced tomato, cook til heated through, over low heat add the cream cheese a little at a time---yummy yummy pink sauce to go with those brown rice spirals or whatever other pasta.

 

Also, how 'bout using some of the sea veges in miso soup? Maybe some veg*n sushi rolls are in order as well.

 

Good luck!

 

I second the idea of snack basket with the dried fruit and other snacky stuff.

 

BTW, I don't think you have too much. I stock up when stuff is on sale and often have ten cans or so of one kind of bean or pasta sauce, etc. In the future, maybe cut down on buying the snacky stuff or condiment items. There's nothing wrong with stocking up on bulk stuff that keeps well when it's on sale. And I don't think you have to throw out pasta past the date.

 

 

post #22 of 27

A couple things jumped out at me.

 

It's winter.  Have some cocoa and marshmallows!  My mom used to make me cocoa and toast for dinner once in a while.  It's not super healthy and balanced, but I'm a believer in having some treats, especially if you eat healthyish most of the time.

 

If you're sick of marinara, use some tomato paste and some of your half and half for tomato cream sauce.  And pasta past expiration is usually fine for quite a while.  There's a point where it's realllllly past its prime and I found it once (LOL) but I'd use it fearlessly for a year after expiration, I think.

 

Bake some brownies with some of that baking cocoa.  Take them to work or freeze some if you don't want to eat a whole batch quickly. 

 

Moong dal is my fave.  It's really the only lentil I love because it isn't super grainy.  Rinse a cup of it really well.   In a good-sized saucepan, heat a couple tablespoons oil or butter.  Put in a couple tsp garlic and a couple tsp ginger, a bay leaf, a tsp of cumin, 1/4 tsp hot pepper like cayenne (or you can use a hot chili instead), 1/4 tsp black pepper and a 1/2 tsp of coriander.  Stir the spices until they're fragrant, then put in the moong dal and stir it around for a couple minutes.  Add about six cups of water and bring to boil, then reduce heat and cook for a couple hours.  It may smell soapy but that will go away after it's cooked.  At the end, salt to taste and add one onion you've fried to deep golden color.  This makes a really tasty dal you can eat with veggies and rice or with bread (garlic naan would be terrific.)  

post #23 of 27

Oh, I have another one for you! Kichadi, adapted from Laurel's Kitchen (an excellent veg cookbook, btw):

 

A little oil

2 Tbs curry powder or curry-like spices (turmeric makes this a nice color)

1 pepper

1 onion (the veges can be optional)

2 C brown rice

6 C water 

1 C split peas, lentils, or blackeyed peas (calls for dried, but you could lessen the water, cook the rice, then add in the beans if you have canned)

salt to taste

 

Saute all the veggies, rice, legumes, and spices (except the salt) in a large pot until the rice and lentils begin to change color (the rice gets more white). Add in the water and bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for about an hour. I then remove it from the heat, take the lid off, let it cool for a few minutes, and then fluff with a fork right before serving.

 

Pretty easy! If you have yogurt, you could chop us some of the cucumber very fine and mix with the yogurt to make a nice cool raita to top this. Or top with chopped tomato.

 

You can also leave out the spices and just make a plain version.

 

This recipe makes a lot which is great for freezing for lunches, but you can also halve it pretty easily. I have heard that the plain version (no spices or veggies) is eaten for breakfast in India, too. Enjoy!

 

I can't wait to hear how your cooking/menu progress is going :D

 

eta: I imagine you could use pretty much any vegetables you had in place of the onion/pepper, too. Might be good with carrot/peas, though I would probably add them a little later in the cooking. Or sun-dried tomatoes, yum!

post #24 of 27
Thread Starter 

Ok you all are A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!  This process has brought so much to light for me --- what a trigger for so many things!

One thing I realize is that we still don't eat all that much.... considering the kitchen we have.  For example, I bought a lot of fresh veggies and it is taking me forever to eat them up even by focusing on them--- eating veggie-filled pitas... eggs with veggies, salads, etc.  So one lesson-learned--- I'm mighty wasteful if I don't watch how I buy things. 

So being consumed with consuming the fresh stuff means the shelf stuff stays longer but that is ok - I'm ARMED now with a plan.

While I don't have to eat the whole kitchen down, I love that I'm seeing how I can use what I have.  I simply haven't (and haven't had to, to be honest) focused on that and did so much "there's nothing to eat" and off to grab a bagel or something.

 

Let me just say - that supercooks site is AWESOME... yeah it isn't always geared towards how I eat (and loves to emphasize pasta for entrees as soon as you say no meat) but it is really good for ideas-  thanks for that.

 

craft_media_hero, you are now MY_pantry_hero :)  Thanks for so many suggestions.

 

I haven't cooked all that much yet (because, as I mentioned, we are just taking forever to eat down fresh stuff) but I am working my way through snacks in my daughter's lunch box, eating down the bazillion pounds of cereal and granola with yogurt.... smoothie heaven over here which is great since everyone has the bug these days..... I literally have only bought milk and butter in the past week- I need some eggs but really, using this thread and the supercooks site, I'm not planning on buying anything else for awhile.

 

It may not be a bad amount of food afterall-- well, for just 1.5 of us, it is but-- it's been that I have not been efficiently USING it... that's crazy speak!  So now I'm armed with the ability to plan and I'm motivated to use what I have--- this also means I will get some new recipe and meal ideas.  I think going out for a bagel or a sub when there's plenty here is an indication that I need to refresh my menu ideas (as if I ever had any, I'm lying to myself!!!).

 

So this has been a wonderful experience - cheesy as that sounds - well beyond simply eating out the pantry.  I'm so glad I got disgusted and logged everything I had.....

 

Thank you all soooo much - I will keep you posted on how I'm doing and yummy stuff I find along the way.  Last night we made brownies based on a recipe I found in a thread here :) and for lunch today I just made some pad-thai-ish peanut butter/ginger/veggies spaghetti "stuff" that was good (though I'm ready for a nap).

 

It is currently 81 here today but I'm craving chili - I think we are getting a "cold front" this weekend - so that is next on the list!!!!

post #25 of 27

There is a blog called Karina's Kitchen.  All of her recipes are almond-flour based.  It's a great resource.

 

The unsweetened cocoa and chocolate squares are good indefinitely.  The pasta is good looonnnnng past its date.  As are most non-acidic canned goods.  And grains, if they're stored in packaging where bugs can't get to it.

 

Remember- expiration dates are mandated by government and is the date at which the company no longer guarantees the product.  It doesn't magically turn poisonous overnight, unless the can is rusted or buldging.  The government's own tests have shown many non-perishable products are good long past their date.  I recently opened up some canned goods 20 years past their date and they smelled and looked fine.

post #26 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by YinYang View Post

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.


So what this says to me is that you need to have a menu plan and strict shopping list every time you go shopping.  If it's hard for you to have a strict shopping list you "can't" deviate from, maybe say you can pick up one thing that isn't on your list.  (which isn't to say you can't have your list say "Whatever veggie is cheap, fresh, and goes in curry" but you can't pick up three things of granola because they're on sale AND four cans of beans because they're on sale.)

 

a whole lot of that stuff is junky snack foods. I would donate some of it to a food bank, and eat the rest up.  Also, I would put it on a seperate list, so that A) it's there when you want a snack you can look at the snack list and B) you have a list that doesn't have the snack foods. It won't feel as overwhelming i'm sure.  About half the stuff on there is snacks.

 

also, more ideas to use that stuff up:

veggie broth: use like water in cooking anything: rice, pasta, beans, etc
if the nuts are old, they're probably rancid
vinegar, use it in cooking, make salad dressing, etc
cannellini beans, tomato paste, molasses, other spices could make baked beans, (would use some vinegar as well)
you could make congee (maybe make in advance and then eat for breakfast or lunch.)  Congee is savory rice porridge.  Usually, I put some mustard seeds, small chopped kombu or wakeme, and leftover rice with a bunch of broth, and stir and cook til it's porridge, then serve with sesame (flax might be good too,) and soy sauce.  It might work with barley too, I don't think it would be good with parboiled rice.  it works with white rice as well.
Miso added to mashed potatoes is really yummy, makes them taste kind of cheesy.
lentil salad, (cook the lentils, toss with a vinegar-y salty homemade vinegrette, with fresh veggies, (I like carrots, celery, tomatoes, cucumbers when in season), and some cheese (feta or cheddar), or just saute an onion, add the lentils and veggie broth, when it's cooked add salt and vinegar, and maybe some thyme or rosemary

Cannellini beans, I would drain them, saute some onions (and maybe carrots and celery) in a good bit of olive oil, add some rosemary or thyme, add the beans, cook them a bit, and add some white wine vinegar (or the riesling or acv) and salt (beans need a lot of salt and vinegar to taste great, but canned beans already have some salt added I think).  super yummy. I think I've eaten a variation on that 4 times this week.  Today, I also added sauted leeks and a little bit of fresh dandylion greens.  you could add any other sort of greens as well, or some cheese.  or add breadcrumbs on top and bake it, or add an egg or two in the middle and then bake it til the egg is cooked.

post #27 of 27
Thread Starter 

Thank you Magelet!!  What a bunch of yummy ideas - see I never would have thought about baked beans... or putting miso in potatoes (sounds yummy and creative).. among other things - thank you thank you!

 

Yes, I threw out all of the nuts except an unopened back with a May 2011 date :)  I just felt better about it.  I also threw out all of that almond flour --- the date was just too far gone--

 

I've been working through snacks at the park but yes, I'm giving unopened ones away to pretty much anyone that will take them.  I will take this time now to look up food banks locally.

 

I think I can stick to buying ONLY what is on a list.... I've been thinking about my "I'm a Buy One Get One Free hoarder" thing -- I just need to remember that sales will always come and go.  Some are hard to pass by.  I AM slowly bring this ship into order and it feels good.  I still find issues finding time to really cook - but that has been due to several recent emergencies (so legitimate).

 

Thank you thank you!!

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