I decided, at the beginning of the year (ha, it is only the 14th day in the year), that I would inventory what I already had on hand, food wise. I started with my fridge, moved to my freezer in the kitchen, then to my other 2 freezers (we have one large really old one and then one smaller one), lastly my pantry. I tend to overbuy because I have no idea what all I have. I do create a list for the store and I rarely deviate from it, but there is occasion when I end up with 20 bags of broccoli because some of it was buried in my freezers.
It is time to reclaim my control.
I took everything out of my kitchen freezer. This needs to be the go to freezer because it is easily accessible. This is the freezer where I will keep all the frozen vegetables (I do not buy canned anymore), lunch foods for the kids, stockpiles of lunchmeat, bread, and of course, popsicles. The large freezer has our hog, some of our chicken, and most of our cow (we slaughter a cow and a pig yearly, as well as, we raise meat chickens and slaughter every 2 mths). The little freezer has ground beef and any garden vegetables that I have abundance of an frozen.
Once everything was written down (yes, I wrote every single solitary food item in my house down, including spices), I sat down to comprise dinners. From what I had, these are the complete meals that I put together:
Chicken Asiago, corn, green bean casserole
3 separate meals of tacos and rice
Lasagna, artisan bread
Church’s Chicken, Millet, Brocc/Cauliflower bake
Taco Trifle and Cheeseburger soup (I can’t get away with making only one pot of soup and I had to use my lettuce…so it was weird, but doable)
Vegetable soup and Chili
Rotini and Bread
Beef roast, potatoes, corn pudding
Pizza for 2 separate nights
Round Steak, peppers/onions, potatoes, peas
Fajitas and rice (enough for 2 nights, the meat was leftover roast, I added in a spare can of whole corn, leftover mushrooms, 1 onion and 1 green pepper)
Baked Chicken Pasta
Baked Chicken, macaroni and cheese, lima beans, jiffy rolls
Tater Tot Casserole, corn, green beans, rolls
Chicken noodle soup (2 pots)
That is 21 COMPLETE meals BEFORE any grocery shopping…..**insert angel’s singing**….by doing this, I’m using up all this food that I had previously bought and it freed me to buy staples for additional meals during my first (out of 2) runs to the store. I will go twice a month. This time, I bought lots of things (pasta, frozen veggies, lunchmeat, tomato juice, etc) because they were on sale, I had a store coupon or an ecoupon, and Kroger was having their mega sale 10 for $10. I simply could not go wrong. All I really needed was some lunch items and stuff to make breakfast items (future post).
Take stock in what you have. Cook up what you can. Try to buy your meat in bulk (call your local processing store for 1/2 or whole cow/pigs), grow a garden and freeze your vegetables. What you don’t use, if it isn’t out of date, donate it to a local food pantry. Someone else could certainly use the food that you don’t want. Buy local. Hit up farmer’s markets. Be wise. The Lord will bless you.