Thursday, May 21, 2009

Pantry Challenge

Every so often I feel like the pantry is getting overloaded and out of control, so to clean it out we have "Pantry Challenge Week". Basically, I don't go to the store for anything other than the necessities such as milk, bread (although often I'll even make that and use up some of the baking goods in the pantry), and some fresh produce as needed (although I really try to use up what produce is lanquishing in the vegetable basket).

Then I dig in the pantry and freezers (we have three, but that's another story) and make our meals from what can be found. Sometimes this leads to adapting recipes to suit the ingredients we have rather than those called for in the recipe. Usually we discover some great new favorite recipes to use on a more regular basis.

So far this week our we have had the following for dinner:

Monday: Spanish Rice with Beef (this is a much meatier version of spanish rice) with salsa and corn tortillas.
Tuesday: Grilled Salmon with a Lime-Chilli Rub, butter rolls, Corn on the Cob and potatoes.
Wednesday: Sweet Asian Glazed Pork Loin Cutlet with brown rice and mixed vegetables.

I love the feature on where you can type in what ingredients you have and what you don't and find recipes to suit. I hardly ever make a recipe exactly as written and am usually playing around with different ingredients and trying to change them up a little.

We have quite a large food storage (remind me to post about that one) which helps out when faced with a recipe like Monday's that calls for Tomato Sauce and I seem to have only a pantry full of diced and stewed tomatoes and tomato paste, but no tomato sauce. I headed to our food storage and found the Tomato Powder and threw some together with some herbs from our Pasta Sauce garden (again, another thing I need to blog about). Of course, I also have to adapt the recipes to work for a Gluten Free Diet for Declan. It can get tricky, but actually makes deciding what dinner is and making it a lot less tedious and more of a game.

I'm always amazed how usually I can spend over a $150 a week at least on groceries and reduce that to $30 or less and feed a family of six for a week, and this family likes it's food.

Why not give it a try and see how you survive the Pantry Challenge?!


Nancy said...

We have two freezers and a pantry, so I have created a game for myself wherein for a month to six weeks a couple times a year I challenge myself to making each dinner with at least three things from the freezer each day. Beef stew uses 6 to eight packages of frozen stew meat and various garden veggies!

marycatharine said...

I store almost no food at all - really weird I know - but there is always an emergency can of soup and basics like flour. Other than the canning I do myself in the summer everything else is fresh. It's probably a hold over from chef school and working in restaurants, but meal plans and precise grocery trips are the mainstays of my kitchen. I am a freak :)

Carrie K said...

That sounds like an interesting challenge. We have a TON of food - if the End comes, come to our place, we can feed you - but is there anything to eat? Noooo.

But clearly, yes. With a little ingenuity. (That grilled salmon sounds superb).

Marina said...

I have 2 freezers and we do something like that when I can't put anything else in the freezer or when I'm getting ready to go to the Asian supermarket, which is this weekend. Yay!. Need space for all those frozen "dim sum" ;-)

JoAnn said...

Wow - those are pretty good meals for using what you have! It's good to purge the pantry every so often and challenge our culinary mind. However, I usually end up with Mac & Cheese :(