It’s the new year. We just returned last weekend from 2 weeks in Vermont. I hadn’t gone grocery shopping in a month and I just spent $100 at Publix and Costco on milk, eggs, fresh veggies, ricotta, and several pounds of BOGO chicken thighs and breasts. Our fridge, freezers, and pantry are once again stuffed. Not only do we have a ton of food, but we have several events scheduled between now and April including holiday party, a martini night in Cape Coral, Fort Myers Greekfest, concert tickets, a trip to Disney and a trip to Iceland. We need to save money and use things up so, I am beginning shelf-cooking round 2. If you don’t know what Shelf Cooking is, you can find out here.
I was doing really great using up all our odds and ends this summer. In fact, I was actually spending nearly nothing on groceries and gaining space back on pantry shelves and I could see the floor, but then we lost family member number 3 and school started. My focus on using everything up waned. It was also the holidays and I bought a little bit too much. To keep myself accountable, I will be posting meals and stats almost daily on social media along with more detailed posts here a few times a month.
Here is what we have to eat right now. I did take these pictures before I went shopping and now the fridge is jammed packed too. I am going to be creating recipes and using up what we have. My goal is to spend $300 total between now and April 1 at grocery stores. This will not included supplies for our Iceland trip. More on that will come in a future post.
One way I like to save money on food is packing lunches daily for Mr. Teacher and myself. I always try to cook for 4 even though it’s just the 2 of us. Extra food can be put into containers in the fridge or the freezer. I also HATE wasting food! So if I only have a tiny bit left over or I made WAY too much of something that we won’t eat all of in a week, I put it in what I call a “safe” in the freezer. These are containers that I can pop a little meat, veg, and/ or whatever in from several different meals. When the container is full, then we have what I call an “emergency lunches”. I like to be prepared just in case I don’t have leftovers for us to eat.
Here are a few examples:
Here is a container that I started when I made WAY too much Smashed Turnips and Carrots. I added in some oven roasted squash and potatoes a few nights later. This week I cooked up all the chicken thighs that I got on BOGO so they wouldn’t take up a ton of room in the freezer and so I would have them for quick meals. I then shredded all the meat. I knew this needed some protein, so I tossed a half a cup of meat with some BBQ sauce. Voila! Emergency lunch complete! Now Mr, Teacher can take this work, pop it in the microwave, and have a tasty lunch.
I made too much red cabbage a few nights ago and I needed to use up half of a butternut squash. I also had half of a bratwurst. FYI-Butternut Squash Fries recipe coming soon. Presto! Emergency lunch!
Remember the Moroccan Chicken I made a few days ago? Well I made too much! Shocker I know! We both had it for dinner and then lunch and there was still some left. So again, it went into the freezer.
Finally, I had some leftover rice and a tempura mushroom from takeout. I had some leftover roasted asparagus. I added some of the above mentioned shredded chicken and tossed it with a packet of Thai Chili Sauce that magically appeared in my fridge. Waste not, want not!
So join me on my second round of self cooking and hopefully watch my food stash dwindle while I create some delicious dishes. Don’t be afraid to join me in the journey. Let’s get creative! Let’s save money! Let’s not waste food!
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The Teacher's Table