Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Simple Abundance in July, 2010

I'm still putting together my plans for cooking, menu planning and grocery shopping for July. My theme will be "Simple Abundance". I will be using what I have on hand as much as possible and hope to have a "low spend" month on groceries. I will still concentrate on using coupons combined with sales, but need to start shopping only to replenish the pantry.... and then actually cook FROM the pantry!

So, in an effort to kick start my plan of cooking more dishes from the pantry, this was last night's menu:

Rotini Casserole (wacky mac, cream of mushroom soup, petite diced tomatoes, cheese, browned hamburger, french fried onion rings) I had all of these things on hand!

Tiny garden peas (canned) In stock also!

Easy cheese cake (graham cracker pie crust, cheese cake pudding mix, milk, light cool whip) I have had the pie crust since I bought it on sale at Christmas. I bought the pudding mix on sale with coupons while coupon shopping yesterday as well as the light cool whip, which was on sale. We always have milk on hand. So it was a very frugal and light summer dessert!

My thanks go to Denise of MOUNTAIN QUILTER for the idea of making Rotini Casserole as a way to use the french fried onion rings! You can only eat green bean casserole so often and it was a delightful new recipe that my family liked.

I used the recipe found HERE. Even if you aren't interested in the recipe, please go look at the casserole dish collection shown on the same post. Aren't they gorgeous?! I have one similar in harvest gold:

I have had this one for over 30 years and I would love to start collecting more by searching yard sales and thrift shops.

Oh well, back to the subject of this post. I have come to the conclusion that I must really concentrate on eating from my pantry in the upcoming month of July! We are so abundantly blessed with foods of all kinds, including fresh vegetables and items bought on sale and with coupons.

Just yesterday I was given a bag of okra, a bag of new potatoes and corn. Last week I was given 12 pints of blueberries. After work today, I carefully went through the isles of Food Lion using some coupons that were about to expire and when I got home, my pantry was so full, there was hardly anywhere to store my new purchases. Also, We are starting to get ripe tomatoes and green peppers from our own plants.

The dirt still clings to these potatoes:

We love okra, both fried and in vegetable soup.

Our first tomatoes were picked this week. Tomato sandwiches, here we come!

We are so fortunate to be the recipient of gifts of fresh summer produce, but even if we didn't receive them, I pass by at least four places that sell fresh produce on my way home from work every day. If I need any veggies, I could supplement our food supply and help out the local farmers at the same time.

I have already made some progress this past month in cooking from the pantry by taking inventory and making a list of what I have on hand. I also cooked some dishes that included many of the ingredients found on the list. In July I want to continue with this quest of cooking from the pantry and also to make sure we eat the fresh veggies that are so plentiful this time of year so that there is no waste.

I am going to grocery shop only to take advantage of great sales and coupons and of course to buy milk, bread, eggs and meat. During July I plan to post the ways I have cooked from my pantry.

I am reminded of something my mother always used to say: "I can always knock up something to eat from what I have in my cabinets".


Rita said...

Thank you for the recipe for Rotini Casserole. I need to use my French Fried Onions too. I'll use this recipe sometime this week. Did you know that Simple Abundance is a book? Like you I'd like to settle in to using from the pantry. Will make for much easier cooking after a day at work. Have a great day!

Granny J said...

I try to cook from the pantry. We're retired and on a fixed income so we do our main shopping once a month and then pick up bread and milk as needed. That's a great recipe for Rotini Casserole. I've copied the recipe for use later.

Denise said...

Glad to hear your family liked the Rotini Casserole, I love it because we always have leftovers! The garden fresh tomatoes must be delicious I can't wait for my first taste, there is nothing like a garden fresh tomato!

Anonymous said...

Hi Debbie,
I too have been cooking from the pantry. I am starting to get the hang of menu planning and shopping with a list. I shouldn't have much food to move. Just my basics.
I love all the dishes.

Rhonda said...

good morning Debbie
I am a little green with envy over your Pyrex casserole and that garden produce.
and I love your mom's quote about knocking up something to eat - so many of today's generation just goes out to eat but I think I would rather eat your mom's cooking.

hope you have a good day

Pen Pen said...

I love your mom's saying "I can always knock up something to eat from what I have in my cabinets." I would like to be able to say that... most of the time I can, but I"m still working towards this goal. Don't you just love the feeling of coming in the house from the garden with a bag of loot? I always like to calculate how much these particular veggies would have cost me to buy at the store. Also, about the french fried onion rings... recently I was making a meatloaf and didn't really have anything to season with. I put in a can of those ff onion rings and mixed it all together with the egg, ketchup, salt and pepper. It was probably the best meatloaf I've ever made!

Lyn said...

You certainly have been blessed with such wonderful produce. What a help to the budget! Good for you for making such good use of everything.

As far as using up the pantry and not shopping so much, I am right with you on that. I have lots of canned items that we've been blessed with and I need to use them up and/or share with others.

The Working Home Keeper said...

Love your Mother's quote! I'm still working on building up our pantry.

Mary Ellen

Manuela@TPOH said...

I have lots of items in my pantry and freezer in particular that I need to use up. Especially since I freeze a lot of the produce I grow instead of canning. I still have two bags of tomatoes from last summer I need to use!


Rita said...

A bit off subject but did you know Pringles are on sale at Walgreen's this week for $1.25 a can? I had a coupon for $1.00 off 4 cans so got them for a $1.00 a can.

Debbie J said...

Hi Rita, I knew I heard the term, "simple abundance" somewhere! I haven't read the book but I bet its good.

That's a good deal on the pringles. I don't think I have that coupon, but I like Pringles.

Debbie J.

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