During the holidays I find that much of my careful meal planning goes out the window. We end up picking up things to make meals, but then we snack on holiday leftovers instead. Not to mention that our food budget also gets completely forgotten as we pick up expensive foods for holiday meals, hors d'oeuvres, and holiday cocktails.
So here we are in January... the checking account is low, but the cupboards are far from bare. It's the perfect time to review what's in the pantry and freezer and plan some of our meals around the contents.
I made myself a simple printable to make a note of any specific ingredients I want to use up, meal ideas, and a shopping list. Print it up and use it yourself!
Use It Up
I took a pen and a copy of my printable, then went to my freezers, fridge, and pantry to see what I wanted to use up. There were many other items I could have chosen from the freezer, but I decided to focus on just a few items that I thought I could combine with the Panty and Refrigerator items.
Cubed Butternut Squash
1/2 bag Egg Noodles
1/2 bag of Shrimp
Bell Pepper slices
Beans(black, kidney, cannellini)
Cream of Mushroom, Onion Soup
Cheeses (parmesan, colby, cheddar, pepperjack)
Variety of crackers
Simple Stuffed Peppers (bell peppers stuffed with rice, marinara, and shredded parmesan)
Very Veggie Chili (w/ onion, carrots, butternut squash, canned tomatoes, and black beans)
Winter Niçoise Salad (w/ Brussels Sprouts instead of beans)
Butternut Squash & Kale Hash with Fried Eggs
Salad with Shrimp or Tuna
Tuna Noodle Casserole
Stuffed Portobello mushrooms with Spinach & Kale
Snacks - Cheese & Crackers, Smoked Salmon, Olives
Omelet or Quiche
Green Leaf Lettuce
2 Bell Peppers
If you have a few ingredients that you just aren't sure what to do with, I suggest you use the tool on the Allrecipes website. Simply go to the 'Ingredients' tab and you can type in an ingredient and the website will return recipe ideas that use that food. It's a great tool when you are feeling uninspired and stuck.
I invite you to take a quick inventory of your pantry and freeze to see what you can make from the ingredients you have on hand. Your wallet just might thank you!