I spend most of our monthly budget on food. Granted, buying "real food" is more expensive than purchasing coupon support packaged food, but I know that part of my big price tag is mis-management.
I know this because my fridge is packed, as is my freezer, AND my pantry.....YET....the most common statement in my house from the kitchen: "We have NOTHING to eat!!!"
And, I throw a good amout of food away. It is a damn shame, really. It comes from stocking up, or buying things with a meal in mind that never happens. Or, because I go purchase things while I am hungry. Sometimes, the food I grow comes in fast, and I don't have the time or space to preserve it. If I can't get it to friends or neighbors quick enough, it goes to waste.
Thankfully, I have chickens and a thriving compost, so at least the food does not go into the garbage.
I have decided to cut our food budget (with the saved money going into a vacation fund. I have never been to Yosemite, and will remedy that) and create
|Fridge Challenge Meal|
- Use what is in the fridge/freezer/pantry NOW, only supplementing with fresh items that need to be replenished, like salads, milk, etc. Creativity, and the open mind of the family is important here :).
- Every time I throw food away (aka, give it to the chickens or compost), I will write down the dollar amount on a piece of paper on my fridge.
- Menu planning. It will kill me, but in the end, I think it will make things much easier.
- Clear out freezer. I really need an upright freezer. I have chest freezer now, and I swear, I don't know what is at the bottom. I am going to explore. Mainly, I am going to make it my mission to use all the meat, veggies, and fruit stored before I get more.
- Prepare pantry for more bulk foods. Ok, I just ate jam this morning that I made in 2010. :)...yes, it was still good, but really, it is time to hit that stash. Also asking friends if they would like some, because a girl can only eat so many sweet & sour pickles.
I will be posting some of my "clear the fridge meals" on Instagram as I go. Here are some things that I have noticed in the last days of putting together ingredients:
- Cut stale bread in cubes, keep airtight and add to soups. Makes them "meaty", according to my son :).
- Keep fresh ginger. It can be added to soups, veggies, salad dressings, and gives anything zing!
- Turmeric, again, a great spice for veggie combos, soups, stews, or meat.
- Use your crockpot!!! Mine is now slowing cooking bone broth, a good base.
- Family can get grumpy. Especially meat eating husbands. Make sure to find ways to make "real food" (which is what I cook all the time, but if it does not have SOLID meat, so no stew, it is not real for husband) and keep him happy. I will also show mine the dollar list from my fridge and vacation jar full of money...that works. Get kids involved by letting them make up a meal with available ingredients.
- Cook big pots of rice. Rice can be fried, added to soups, or made into delicious rice pudding :)...great for fruit compot that you make with aged fruit!
P.S. Due to the high amount of comment spam, I have closed comments for now. I DO WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU! :) Please come comment on Facebook!