I said it and I meant it. It is time for a pantry freezer challenge. I've a number of things in my freezer that need to be used up. Truthfully we tend to eat off the top and never make our way down to the bottom. There are no doubt all sorts of forgotten goodies in the bottom! The pantry is looking leaner than it has in some time but there's plenty of foodstuffs there that haven't been touched over the past few months, like that 3 Bean Salad we ate yesterday (so good and refreshing in warmer weather).
I am off to the grocery store today. We have very little fresh produce, the milk is down to just enough for coffee and there are five eggs, no where near enough to make it until next pay period. I do plan to try to stick pretty hard to that short list though, since we are between pay periods
While we're in the pantry freezer challenge this month I will limit myself to purchasing those items and any outages of staples, but nothing more. The point is to use what I HAVE and to SAVE a bit of money so that come end of month I can stock the holes in my pantry and freezer with more good staple foods.
Personally I admit i find it hard to do a challenge this time of year. There's all that wonderfully fresh produce in the market and who wants to dig out frozen corn or butter beans when there's good fresh food to be had? Well those items will be there end of month too and I'll have room to buy extras and put some up for next year.
My first menu here is what we ate yesterday. We got back from a trip to the mountains Friday afternoon and once we were unpacked, we just sort of fell into our chairs and stayed there. No meal prep, so it was dig about on Saturday. Actually, this menu worked really well with the pantry freezer challenge.
Chicken Nuggets Parmigiana, 3 Bean Salad, Challah Bread
When I made chicken nuggets for John a couple of weeks ago, he suggested I make them into Chicken Parmigiana next time I served them up. How right he was that this would be tasty. No spaghetti, but fettuccine on the pantry shelf, a jar of frozen tomato spaghetti sauce, the chicken nuggets, 3-bean salad from pantry and Challah left from Shabbat evening.
Leftovers and Banana Bread
There was a single serving of the chicken dish and 3Bean Salad left.. John's at work, so that will be my main meal today, along with a slice of just made this morning Banana bread. I brought two bananas back from our trip that were just a bit overripe. I used up some applesauce in the fridge to make up the difference between those two bananas and the 1 cup needed.
Quiche, Tossed Salad, Peach Shortcake
Odds and ends of cheese will go into the Quiche. The peaches are straight from the freezer. I'll just sweeten slightly and serve over a sweet shortbread biscuit..
Roasted Chicken, Cream Corn, Black Eyed Peas, Coleslaw, Pineapple Cheesecake Pie
I'm not really sure what pieces of chicken I have left in the freezer...I may pick up a whole chicken at the grocery today just for back up. Today is a feast day for us, when we celebrate a combination of things all of which have to do with blessings. The giving of the commandments to Moses, the 50 days of Spring Harvesting of Barley, and Pentecost.
I may buy a whole chicken, but all else is from fridge, freezer, and pantry.
Black Beans over Yellow Rice, Carrot and Raisin Salad, Spicy Mexican Cornbread
I can get away with a second 'meat-free' sort of meal by seasoning the beans with a tiny bit of smoked sausage, just enough to flavor the beans well. This too is a budget helper. And naturally all items are in pantry, fridge or freezer already.
Another leftovers day
John back at work. I am sure there will be plenty of leftovers in the fridge!
White Lasagna, Green Beans, Salad, Garlic Bread
Alfredo sauce, leftover chicken, shredded yellow squash, finely minced bell pepper and onions make up the lasagna.
Spanish Style Chicken and Rice Soup, Cabbage Salad, Warm Mexican Cornbread, Pineapple Cheesecake Pie
I have a ton of broth in the freezer but I'll boil the carcass of the chicken and pick it over, too, for the soup, using up any leftover beans and rice in as well. Fresh cilantro and tomato and finely minced onion chopped over the top will add freshness to the soup. Leftover cornbread and Cheesecake will round off the meal nicely.
Jobs This Week:
I really planned to do a lot of work outdoors but we've had three days of temperamental weather. Too humid and damp to consider painting which was the bulk of my intent this week, sigh. We'll see how the rest of the week plays out. I've plenty to do even without those bits of work.
1. There's a month long decluttering challenge from a group of friends. I've joined in simply because I feel the urge to purge a few things. I'll sort into toss, sell, keep or donate piles. And try to be fairly organized with each so there's not big messes facing me down every day. I'll start in the kitchen chiffarobe, the last spot that needs decluttering in that room.
2. Clear our vanity and move to shed. Move mirror that goes with the vanity into open in the shed.
3. Start selling books, magazines, etc on Ebay, Half.com, etc.
4. Go to booth and remove the very oldest items to bring home, do some reductions and restock.
5. Cull books (ow ow ow ow).
6. Get package mailed off to Amie.
7. Produce dairy run (hopefully today).
8. If weather permits: paint flower pots, front porch chairs, dining room chairs, front and back door, porch floor, lamps, stools, etc....
9. Plant gladiolus bulbs, iris and more seeds. Specifically basil,.
10: Make a running list of items wanted or needed to look for at thrift/flea/yard sales.
11. Read for at least one hour every day. Not on computer but BOOKS.
12. Make cookie dough, pie crusts, chocolate syrup, mac and cheese and at least one other entree for future convenience meal. Everything except chocolate syrup will go into the freezer. I also want to thaw the remaining frozen peaches and make peach jam. If I'm feeling extremely ambitious I might even thaw and can some of that chicken broth that's in the freezer as well. We'll see.
I know that's an ambitious list but I really do mean to work hard this week. I'll be back later this week with a Frugal Week post. that covers two weeks of thrifty savings and I'll be returning to my add on: Living Well just to give us some balance, once again.