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Hi all -- I'm new here. This summer I have been trying to "eat down the pantry", including the freezers. Yes, plural freezers which are chock full. I have plenty of pork (mostly roasts and boneless chops, would love to have ham on hand) and ground beef. I cooked the last chuck roast on Monday and won't be buying any more beef for a while. I'm running low on chicken breasts, but have actually been getting a couple of rotisserie chickens at Costco rather than buying raw. The rotisserie chickens are $4.99 each and the last two I bought were 4.2# and 4.5#, which made the cost just over $1 per pound.

The rest of the freezer contents tend to be stuff I cooked -- "cook once and eat twice or thrice". I grew up in a fairly large family which is where I learned to cook, and then my adult family was 3 kids, hubby, and my mother, so I was regularly cooking for six. Now that hubby and I are empty nesters, I still wind up with too much and I don't like serving the same dish multiple times in the same week. We also get the majority of our produce from a co-op and when there's more than we can eat, the excess winds up in the freezer. I've had to pace myself and opt out for several weeks to allow us to empty the fruit and veggie bins in the fridge.

We bought a new fridge this week. It was delivered yesterday and the delivery guys moved the old one into the garage and plugged it in so that all our food stayed cold. Now that the new fridge has cooled down, I'm busy moving stuff indoors. It's a real challenge deciding what goes where since the new fridge has a totally different layout than the old one. One blessing from getting the new fridge is that I found some old stuff that had gotten pushed to the back and hidden, so that's been cleared out and disposed of.

picked up 3 packs of ramen on sale for the kids..different flavours and brands one on clearance big shrimp head flavour half price so seems like shrimp to me.
I buy ramen and throw out the seasoning packets. I use my own (low salt) broth and veggies (either raw or frozen). I was hoping I could find just the ramen noodles without the seasoning but surprisingly it's more expensive than just throwing out the seasoning.

Used up all those little leftover pieces in the fridge/pantry to make my lunches for the week. I like to take roast veggies, a protein, and a healthy carb, topped with low sodium soy sauce and sriracha. And I packed an apple, some canned pineapple, and a dark chocolate wafer bar I get on sale every once in awhile from Imperfect Foods for snack.
Although we aren't taking lunches with us (hubby is retired and I mostly work from home), I do the same thing, using up those "little pieces". Monday night I served a small pot roast which was essentially 3 servings. We ate two of those for supper and the other portion along with the broth went into the fridge. Tomorrow, that will become the base of soup with the addition of some veggies and some kind of starch. I'm not sure if I'll add rice or pasta.
 

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This time of year we're mostly eating fresh, but I have been working some frozen food and leftovers into the meals.
Updating:

  • cheese -- Dh finished 3 packages that were open and we have a fresh one
  • spring roll wraps
  • soup
  • juice
  • nuts
  • fajita meat -- eaten
  • frozen tomato chunks from last year's garden
  • tamales
  • blueberry muffins
  • frozen shrimp -- on the menu for next week
  • hot dogs -- half package, will finish next week
  • pita bread -- used some
  • beef gravy
  • turkey gravy -- used up
  • chicken tenders -- ate some, still have some
  • tomato soup
  • more brats
  • more cauli rice
  • dirty rice -- used up
  • baguette -- finally gone
I've added some caned goods that were on sale or clearance, some dried things like rice, lentils and beans to the pantry for winter.
 

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Discussion Starter · #63 ·
Smart making overnight oats. Yes there is lots of things you can do w ramen ..as I tell the kids put frozen veggies etc but it is more a snack or extra meal for ds. like the kd cups for dd. only buy for them as teens. I can't eat them and don't think dh can either or should. he is a burger guy..taken decades to get him to eat better. but we do have to work on using up stuff ..at least fall is coming.

got all the usual..milk, coffee for dh, bread, csa veggies, sub sandwich packs, yogurt etc. picked up ivory soap, scrubbing bubbles, laundry detergent, dishwasher pods etc. some moldy bread, veggies and cool whip gone. did get ice cream treats, a apple pie etc cus sweet tooth lately. box of chicken strips on discount and orange miso glaze shrimp skewers for freezer. frozen burgers. cherries,

from memory.. freezer bag of frozen peas/carrots, garlic bread, leftover steak, ice cream fridge pantry ... tortentilli, jar of sauce, fresh spinach, box of sonic jello, cool whip, veggies, lunchmeat, bananas, box of brownie mix. pickle salad kit. eggs, candy lol I discovered I had hidden.
 

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We’ve been really good about eating from the pantry and freezer this summer. We have made every week to ten day trips to the store for fresh fruit, veggie and milk. Eggs too. I have picked up items on sale to add to the freezer though. We bought a second freezer so we can dedicate one to meats and veggies and the other one is for breads, flour, chocolate chips, ice cream etc.
 

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I'm currently working on eating what's left of frozen food. When it's gone, I will defrost the freezer (I live in a condo so I have a small freezer in one of the extra rooms.). I don't like to have much frozen food during the peak of hurricane season (September). I'll do a big restock in late October to include an organic turkey and ham for the holidays.

The local stores and farmers' markets have plenty of fresh fruit and veggies year round here. I buy organic so some of what I buy, depending on the season, is frozen. I no longer eat grain of any kind but I do have some black rice that I'll make an exception for and finish it off. I have 24 frozen salmon patties to eat.....good think I love salmon.
 

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Hikr: I love the idea of a 'chocolate chips' freezer!! I know that in what you really said but it might be my idea of heaven.
CPAKim: good thinking re:freezer vs hurricane season! I might remind my mom about that for tornado season in her neck of the woods.

I mixed up a curried rice sort of thing with sunflower and camelina seeds (like flax) for the solar cooker today. Using up pantry items. I had forgotten I had the sunflower seeds so that is a sign to re-inventory the pantry today.

I have all I need for this month but a bit left in the grocery budget so am working on a stock up list in case I see a good deal
 

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My week to cook, I am using some recipes Contrary Housewife posted, I believe, they were from Trader Joe's, but you could apply them to anything. Going for quick, easy, cheap, and healthy...it's our first week we're all back in school on our regular schedules, and we're always exhausted the first couple of weeks. Got our meals and snacks planned, our snacks bagged, kids are going to do school lunch for a bit, and DH is taking care of his lunches, so I just need to make mine for the week this afternoon. DH is doing a bag of steamed veggies over rice each day. I need protein in mine, and don't have anywhere to heat it up during the day, so I roast a bunch of stuff and serve it over a grain and just eat it cold. Have some arborio rice to use up this week in mine. We need to do a pantry and freezer inventory and restock, but it's going to have to wait until our raises kick in in October, I think. We're doing ok until then. I found naan on sale at Schnuck's today and cleaned them out of our preferred flavor, stuck the extra I don't need this week in the freezer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #68 ·
kids weren't home for dinner so was tempted to go out but heated up the precooked ribs and made the package of instant polenta w cheese I bought to try ages ago..expired last month but still good. reg polenta is better.

went though the veggies and fruit. wash trim etc. pulled icing and cake mix out that needs using up frozen drumsticks and ground pork too will see what happens with them.
 

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Kim, 2 dozen salmon patties is a nice problem to have. Wish we lived closer to the ocean and could get better quality fish.

Vexed, glad you found the recipes useful. :)

Our garden produce is coming in, just as we're getting ready to take a week vacation. Trying to stay on top of the tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers. Had a big garden veggie omelette for breakfast. Used up a bit of cheese in that.

Hikr, I have separate freezers, too. One for meat, butter, and ice cream, the other for veggies, nuts, frozen entrees, and chocolate.
 

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Discussion Starter · #70 ·
made lettuce cups so epicure seasoning, onion, 2 peppers and lettuce. bbq drumsticks, 3 zucchini, hotdogs, and sausages. cookies , ice cream treats, bananas under rose bush. french bread when fast. pickles finished. lunchmeat and subs from walmart.

got csa and shopped too cat food, yogurt etc..marked down whole season chicken for freezer. marked down treats gone fast. cut up cucumbers and put in pickle juice. pulled out cream cheese based pasta sauce from freezer to go w tortenilli.
 

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I put all my leftovers in the small freezer below my refrig in kitchen. My big freezer is in the garage. My problem is I forget about this little freezer....Thursday night I had no idea what I was cooking so opened the small freezer and found some leftover pork roast, mac and cheese, and mixed veggies.....dinner!!!! Still have quite a bit to get thru and plan on using this method once or twice a week.....
 

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Discussion Starter · #72 ·
I hear you bookworm..do the same thing.

used up 2 containers of leek potato soup..threw rest out for crows. 2 boxes cake mix, 2 containers of icing, dairy, shredded cheese, hotdogs, bread. farmers sausage, used up stuff for roast veggies,..onion eggplant, grape tomatoes, finished bag of rice too. frozen single quiches. ice cream. apples bananas
 

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Finally finding an hour to catch up with the community!
I am UNDER my grocery budget for once and the pantry is well stocked. Just added a pound of walnuts and 12 Larabars (good for salads and grab-n-go work lunches on field days) from the discount grocery store. Also treated my self to "about to go bad" mango and avocado. Other than that, eating from the pantry.
Trying to use up some quinoa and work my way through too many beans! And a big stock of dried corn (hominy and chicos). I canned up 4 jars of corn and beans which also make good work lunches.
Plan to make a quinoa pilaf tonight or tomorrow night to get through a few more work lunches.
Trying to match my rate of egg consumption to the hens' production so those don't go bad.
And I'm eating greens from the garden trying to outpace the grasshoppers and flea beetles.

Since berry season is a total bust here this year, I need to think creatively about a winter fruit stock up now. Sometimes I start counting squash as fruit again (technically it is, right?)
 

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Good job Maggie, I am under grocery budget as well. Just did 4th trip to Safeway this month and their coupons and free items have saved me $25. Got a whole chicken 50% off, $5. Saw dry kidney beans so got them although not on sale. Got $1.99 mark-down bagels 6 pack and put them in the freezer this time so I don't eat them all (again). Back to making bread in the machine. Should eat less anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter · #75 ·
budget what budget lol well stocked up on sale meat,bread, junk etc so really except for basics no need to shop and cat food. belguim waffle mix, ms smith fr apple pie, bakery goodies. sale candy csa so veggies. no reason to shop more.

used pack of donair seasoning. 2 lbs of meat loaf, some pepperoni, lunchmeat, bread, old cake to the animals. container of ice cream. potatoes, 3 apples gone bad to compost and a zucchini, yogurt etc the reg stuff like milk etc used up.
 

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Martha harder for you w/ kids. I used to do 90% of the grocery shopping but now hubby does at least half and buys whatever he wants without regard to cost. However food costs have gone up so even though I shop less I am still keeping track of what I spend for planning purposes if times get worse. I do OK with just basic ingredients and items that require preparation.
 

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just about used up aging tomato paste. Once it is gone, I can restock with less ancient tomato paste! I used a can to make tomato soup with beans and veggies and some herbs.

Harvested lovage leaves and am drying them (celery relative) as well as a bit of mint. My mint didn't do well this year.

I think sage to dry is next. Restock the flavorings for winter! I have thyme to go as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #79 ·
yes actually hubby is so bad for eating worse then the kids. he is way better then decades ago. why I can feed him hotdogs and burgers a lot lol but everyone who has a teen boy .. Dh doesn't like shopping will but only w a list he watches prices because he complained once and you know what happens then lol said the cheapest way is beans, salads etc but also I talk about specials or why I am getting stuff . We have a lot of grocery stores so why go here or there cus specials. got delivery of reg stuff but sales on shredded cheese so got 6 and block cheese too,

wraps, chicken strips, green onions, peppers, squash, onions, hotdogs, shrimp skewers buns, breads etc. lime jello, cook whip, coffee etc.
 

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Salads stuff isn't so cheap anymore.....I just can't believe the prices.....
If husband complains, send him to the store.....that's what I had to do....he wasn't complaining but he couldn't quite understand how I spent a hundred dollars and only had one bag and there wasn't lobster and shrimp in the bag...lol

I'm trying to use up what I can in freezer and the leftovers I have frozen. Want to defrost freezer before we go on vacation.
Tonite is beef stew with meat I had in freezer.....
 
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