Don't you just hate it when someone stands and stares into the open refrigerator as if something delicious will magically appear? All the while your cool refrigerated air is escaping!
Well, this is how I am planning my menus for the month of July, which is helping me use what I have on hand in the pantry, cabinets and of course, fridge. I posted about Simple Abundance in July and am diligently working on using what is already on hand in the pantry, cabinets or refrigerator/freezer.
All you do is open the pantry door and stand and stare! What do you see in there that is approaching its expiration date? What do you see that there are multiples of? What do you see that would make the ingredients of a meal you haven't made lately or that would be a quick meal for that extra busy night this week?
Then you open the refrigerator door and stand and stare. Do you see any leftovers that could be morphed into a new dish? I cleaned mine out this morning and am ashamed to tell you how much food was thrown away!
But I will tell you anyway: 2 containers of rich chicken broth, a container of leftover corn, a small amount of roast chicken, moldy chunk cheese, and 2 biscuits. I could have made the following from these ingredients: chicken salad, grilled cheese sandwiches (from the old bread I also threw away), jelly biscuits for a quick breakfast, corn casserole or as an ingredient in vegetable soup, and all kinds of things could have been made using the chicken broth.
So starting with a leftover-free refrigerator this morning, I then proceeded to stand and stare into the freezer and pantry to see what could be used in there.
These are some menu ideas I came up with for this week using the stand and stare menu planning method:
Homemade Crockpot Vegetable Beef Soup
Country Ham and Eggs
Fresh Tomato Sandwiches
Crunchy Onion Baked Chicken
Sweet Potato Souffle
Broccoli and Cheese
Italian Green Beans and Onions
Boiled New Potatoes
Cucumbers Marinated in Vinegar
Fruit with Cottage Cheese
Black Eyed Peas
See, I can "knock up a meal from what's in my cabinets" just like Mama!
This is more than enough food for the week and since I am also trying to cut down on so many leftovers, I will try to make smaller portions. Not to mention the fact that our portion sizes need to be reduced for health reasons anyway!