I'm a little late this week. One of my March goals was to be cyber free during Monday DAYS...but I just didn't have time to do all I wanted to do online last night. I'll plan better next week. For now, here's the menus, some meals already eaten and some to be prepared still.
I haven't finished my inventory of foods quite yet, but what an eye opener! The little freezer in the closet? I found a whole chicken and a pint of homemade chili in there I didn't even realize I had. I won't tell you how many packets of chocolate chips I have either, but it's enough to last me a little while, lol. That's the good part of inventorying your foods. The bad: finding that foods have expired, sigh. And discovering that the little freezer is roughly half full of fruit that I have been storing for far far too long in the hopes of making jelly or jam. Apparently it's not going to happen and if it does, I'll definitely want fresher fruit than the freezer burned ice encased bits I found.
The third advantage: I've caught a few foods that are nearing expiration or which I've a quantity greater than usual that will expire in a few months. Like 6 cans of pineapple. Hello? Guess whose eating pineapple at least every other week for the next couple of months?
Well here's to planning meals with what you have.
Baked Chicken, Dressing, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans
I found a container of dressing from Thanksgiving (our dinner was in the first week of December). The mashed potatoes left from corned beef dinner end of last week. I added half and half and piled in a dish to reheat in the oven. Even the green beans went into a pan to heat in the oven. I thawed a package of two chicken breasts and discovered one XL breast and one XXXL breast. I halved the biggest one and put in a heavy stainless skillet with a little butter after seasoning with paprika, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and sage.
I put the breasts in skin side down so they browned and crisped up, then turned after 25 minutes to finish cooking.
In the back freezer I also had chicken broth, and I thawed a packet planning to make potato soup...but I lack the ingredients to make a Reuben sandwich (like Rye bread and Swiss cheese). So I made gravy with some of the broth and the rest was used to poach the XL chicken breast. That will show up in another meal.
Chicken and Dumplings, Peach Salad
Ta Da! Breast #2, broth, leftover mashed potatoes, leftover gravy...It's all in the pot waiting on an addition of mixed vegetables, milk, and light fluffy dumplings. For milk in this dish, I'll use an about to expire can of Evaporated Milk. With the salad, I think I've covered all necessary food groups in this meal.
Chili Mac, Green Salad, Cornbread Croutons, Pineapple Upside Down Cake
Freezer chili, about to expire macaroni, cornbread muffins from the freezer, and the first use of the glut of pineapple that will expire in May. How's that for a meal from the Use It Up aisle? John loves chili mac, but I've more than enough macaroni in this box to make that dish and have leftover pasta. I'll cook to just al dente, make a thick cheese sauce and put a casserole of Mac N Cheese in the freezer for a future ready to cook entree.
Pepper Steak, Rice, Green Salad, Tangelos
I'll use leftover roast beef for this meal, though I normally use sirloin steak. I'll slice the cooked meat into strips and toss with my cooked bell peppers (from the freezer) and onions. The rice is in my pantry, the lettuce one of two heads in the fridge and the tangelos, sitting on the counter where they've been for three weeks. They are still nice and fresh, one of the bonuses of citrus fruit.
I have some of nearly every single meal made leftover, 1 serving here, 2 servings there. We'll add salad, a bread and fruit and call whatever we choose a meal.
Quiche, Asparagus, Orange Rolls
I know it's a pantry/freezer challenge week but here's the deal: it's spring...well almost, close enough that we're getting fresh asparagus in our area already and last time we were at Aldi I was able to buy some. If I see it in the market when we go in to pick up eggs and milk and lettuce this week...Well I'm buying more. Love the stuff. And it's so good with quiche, which is a good excuse to buy the Swiss cheese I'd like for the Reuben sandwiches we didn't get to eat last week.
Reubens, Potato Soup, Apple Pie
I've been looking forward to this meal and a grocery trip is my excuse to have it. We'll buy apples anyway, as we've no fresh fruit at home. I only need Rye bread (small loaf) and some Swiss cheese to complete the meal otherwise. I expect to add a nice chunk of money to my 'beef fund' this pay period.
Baked Beans, Coleslaw, Corn Muffins, Orange Wedges, Rice Pudding
Does it sound odd to have rice pudding following baked beans? I thought, since it's essentially a meat free meal that the rice would be a nice addition to the beans to make that complete protein. I'm not sure how John will greet this meal. He may have me break out the hot dogs to boil to go alongside, but I'll try him and see. The beans are in my pantry and I figure if I bake them and then freeze the leftovers I will be more inclined to using them. That's the theory...