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Winter 2023 Pantry Challenge

14274 Views 388 Replies 20 Participants Last post by  marthamfi
Well a little early..put 2022 but realized 2023 is almost here!

Share your challenges or goals ..your sale finds! We all like a great discount shelf find.

or is rotating though your freezer or pantry? use it before it is bad.
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I will never, in this lifetime or any other, be organized enough to keep written inventories for food use. I think I'm a little jeally! 馃檪 My strategy is to group foods together, so I know at a glance what I have on hand and where it is. Things got a little out of control during The Great Food Panic Buying of 2020, but we're almost back on track now.

One of my pantry strategies for 2023 is to finally make at least one can rotator, now that I know where we're moving and that I'll still have a walk-in pantry to put a rotator in. I will make it to fit the space we have now and the space in the new house so I can use it right away. That will help a lot for organization and not having to shuffle cans around and manually rotate everything. The rotator will automagically organize cans so the oldest always gets used first.
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Kim, we quit buying brown sugar yrs ago. It's more expensive than regular sugar and does tend to get hard, plus requires storage space. We now use regular sugar and add a little molasses to make brown sugar as needed. Molasses keeps approximately forever so if we don't use it very fast, it doesn't matter.

We had leftover scalloped potatoes and ham for supper last night, and finished off the New Year's snacks during the day.
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This is a favorite use for meatballs here, especially if I'm cooking over coals in a DO. It's equally good in a stove oven. Impossibly easy pies love being baked in cast iron.
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We've been busy in the house, so have been using up a lot of pre-cooked frozen meals. It's so wonderful to come home tired and sore and be able to nuke a tasty meal in 3.5 minutes, or grab a couple meals to take for lunch when we're working there. I hesitate to post that as a win here, because the more we use the meals up, the sooner I have to make more. But I do use up pantry items, so that part is good. What we're eating now is Asian pork ball soup which used up broth, HM ground chicken, frozen spinach, canned mushrooms, vermicelli, frozen ginger root and probably some other things I'm forgetting. We also have goulash available, using a box of mac and cheese, canned tomatoes, frozen peas, can of chili beans, precooked frozen hamburger/ground chicken mix, and chili powder. Chili used up tomatoes, tomato sauce, chili beans, some HM jalape帽o powder, precooked ground beef/chicken mix, celery, onion, and some chili powder and cumin. Lasagna (double batch) used noodles, closeout cottage cheese, tomato sauce, eggs (hate using them these days), burger/chicken mix, mozzarella, and some herbs. I also made black bean soup with blacl beans outdated 10 yrs ago, HM hot Italian sausage crumbles, cheap Aldi cilantro, some outdated broth, and a few other ingredients. Many of the items for these dishes were outdated so it helped a lot to clear out pantry and freezer and make some room for the freezer dishes. I have one serving of chili left, so need to make another batch since chili is a low-point go-to for me and an easy way to effortlessly eat a healthy meal.

Now that I've discovered cooking dry beans quickly in a pressure cooker, and accidentally got a replacement Instant Pot for the one I bought last yr that arrived inoperable, I expect to be using up my oversized collection of dry beans and also buying far less canned beans, too.

We've also used up 2 bags of salad kits this week. I'm starting to like buying salad kits. We can get 4 servings (2 meals) from one bag for $3-3.50, so they aren't expensive per serving, and we add a healthy protein to make them filling and it's an entire meal. There's a nice variety to choose from, and they include extra garnishes. It's a lot of work and expense to buy and prep all the components for salad, and then we have to eat it all beyond the point of being tired of it. Normally I don't like buying kit meals, but I'm starting to really like the salads and plan to utilize them more than we have been.

I found a few pounds of ground turkey in the freezer in need of being used, so will make some of that into hot Italian sausage crumbles and refreeze. It's handy for many things and a nice change from ground beef.
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Agree about using up foods in a timely manner. In my case, epic fail on the 10 yr old dry beans. But they're so easy and quick in the PC I'm sure I'll get them used up, especially since canned beans are so expensive now. Wish I could find a good recipe for HM chili beans that taste like canned, but I'm getting close.

If you think it's expensive feeding boys on a normal day, try during football season when they have practice every day. Bottomless pits! 馃ぃ馃ぃ馃ぃ

I wouldn't buy salad kits for a family either. But for the 2 of us it's a nice amount and a relatively cheap meal.

We're still working through the Great White Whole Wheat Flour covid Panic Buying of 2020. During the pandemic, I applied more effort to finding bread recipes we like and now we don't buy any type of bread anymore. We've bought one pkg of buns since 2020. Even Husby, the diehard who always thought store bought bread was so much better than homemade, hated them. Consequently, I'm sure we'll eventually use up the flour. Being outdated doesn't seem to have impacted it in any way. We're back to regular buying again, except for white whole wheat and rye. We can't buy white whole wheat locally and overbought because we almost never went out of the house, much less out of town to shop during covid. The rye wasn't our fault because we ordered curbside pickup and received five 3 lb pkgs instead of the 5 lbs we ordered. We don't use that much so most of it's in the freezer.
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Elsi, IIRC correctly I've been cooking old beans 40 minutes in the PC. I also par cook them 2 minutes first, let pressure drop, drain, rinse, and add back water before the 40 minutes to de-gas them. I like the PC because I often fail to plan ahead and it's quick.

Yup, game changer, Hikr. I think just cooking up the old beans will pay for the new IP. I also still have my 4 qt electronic PC, but couldnt make a very big batch of bean soup or plain beans with it because of the foaming issue, so the 6 qt IP will be better for that. I'm still shocked I got a replacement for what we paid for the broken one.
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You can definitely cook in a pressure canner. The only problem might be the quantity. You have to have a certain amount of liquid to bring the canner to pressure, and I don't know if making a recipe meant for a 6 qt cooker would have enough liquid for a big canner. If it's a smaller canner like my 8 qt, I think it would work fine.

That's wonderful your daughter is learning to cook. Everyone eats, so everyone should at least learn the basics.
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Pinterest offers a lot of recipes that are appliance-specific. I print or hand copy recipes I've tried and liked, and keep them in 3 ring binders or a small photo album with pockets, written on cards.
Handwriting Rectangle Wood Font Pattern

Our library offers free loans of digital cookbooks and cooking magazines, too. There may still be a waiting list, but at least you don't have to go there.

Tonight I have to make minestrone while the zucchini is still in good shape. No excuses!
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I guess I shouldn't mention the 3-seed rye bread I have in the bread machine right now, Zhoen! It's a new recipe. Husby had a craving two days ago after we worked our behinds off and were exhausted and frozen pizza didn't appeal. He wanted fish sandwiches but we were low on HM bread, so he bought a loaf. First loaf in probably four yrs or so, not counting during travel. He ruined the streak. What he bought was one of those breads pretending to be healthy whole grain. He tried, but it's not. It's also too soft and gummy. 馃ぎ I hope this new recipe turns out good.

P.S. I confess I did not make the minestrone. Someone with the food habits of a 5 year old was still having a craving. 馃ぃ
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The bread didn't turn out for me 鈽箂o I'll just mark the recipe and find a different one.
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Finally got the minestrone made. In my defense for it taking so long, I did check the zucchini every day to make sure it was okay so it wouldn't be wasted. The soup was delicious! It's a healthy low points meal so I don't know why I don't make it more often and don't make batches to freeze. I forgot garlic bread, so will try to remember to make outdated tube biscuits with garlic butter tomorrow night. It will be an easy, filling, comfort food supper when we get home cold and tired.
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I would use them a month outdated in the fridge. For future reference, bacon bits freeze indefinitely.

I tossed 3 small slices of chicken breast. Hated to do it. Last week was so exhausting food management mostly fell off the radar.
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Today was a cooking day, although I didn't do all that much. My feet hurt anyway.

I browned a lb of ground chicken and beef blend plus a lb of 99% lean ground turkey, a lb of ground chicken breast, and 2 lbs ground beef, along with 2 large onions. I also chopped 4 stalks of celery in need of being used, a painless way to eat extra veggies I don't like much. That will make 5 meals.

I cooked 4 lbs of sweet Italian sausage links in the IP and they came out perfect. They're sliced and ready to be frozen for use in soups, stir fries, spaghetti sauce, etc. Cook from frozen? Yes, please and thanks!

All the turkey involved was outdated in 2019. Ope! Pretty frosty! I will refreeze everything so it's not going to technically be used up now, just managed, but it will take a lot less freezer space and be ready to use for quick meals.

I also made a batch of chili for the freezer, using a lb of precooked chicken/beef mix and a bunch of canned goods including some cannellini beans that need using. Beans is beans, and there will be a can of chili beans too, so good enough.

Somehow, I've managed to run out of tomato sauce. That NEVER happens! I really need to go out to my cold shop and chop up some lumber and get a can rotator made, or at least reorganize the pantry now that it's no longer stuffed to the rafters with covid food. But the lack of can rotators only annoys me when I'm looking in the pantry, so it seems quicker and easier to just shut the door. 馃ぃ馃ぃ

Everything is all prepped and put in its proper freezer containers, just waiting to cool so it can be lidded and labeled and shoehorned back into the freezer. Glad to have that done, especially the sausage. I will be making a point of using it up because I don't plan to buy it ever again. For starters, it was all marked down for $2/20 oz in 2019. Now it's $4-5/16 oz these days. Not only do we like the HM recipe I found better now, but we can grind our own chicken breast at $3/lb and save money.

Need to grind up some chicken to have ready, too, but that's a job for another day. I'm happy we had a snow day today so I got some cooking done.

Husby ate 2 of the sausages and had me leave out 3 more for him for lunches the next few days, after he said they weren't that great. 馃ぃ馃ぃ He also ate a bowl of WW chili and I still got 7 servings from the batch.
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We had to leave home on short notice with bun dough rising in the bread machine. The buns didn't get put on the pan till 2 hrs or so after they should have. I didn't expect them to cooperate, but they're almost done baking and look pretty normal. Glad I didn't just toss the dough and waste a whole dollar's worth of ingredients.

A half gallon of milk went sour, so I'll be freezing it for baking.
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I'm truly shocked the buns turned out just fine after the dough was so neglected. I was sure they'd be deer food. Now I don't have to make another batch, so that's nice.

I'm very glad A didn't call when I was in the middle of all the freezer cooking. I would have had to say no, and that could have meant a big delay in getting the wiring project started.
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I think we might be failing this challenge because we've been adding more than subtracting lately. I don't know how to not buy 6 or 8 half gallons of pineapple juice blends for the freezer when they're practically giving it away at $1.69 each, or not buy 2 cases of cheap WM tomato sauce when we ran out completely and use so much of it and rarely get to WM.

I have been doing okay using up leftovers and fresh foods in a timely manner though. Last night we finished off the HM Rice A Roni clone I made. Tonight is leftover beef stew and close out tube biscuits. Tomorrow night, a kit salad. We used up 2 slices of key lime pie left over from Christmas. Bought milk we don't need now at Aldi much cheaper than buying in town, so will freeze that. Husby bought outdated apple hand pies at Aldi, deeply discounted, plus bought apples to make apple pie, so froze the pies and will use fresh apples to make a pie.
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I have a fridge full of fresh produce and no time to deal with it. Our electricians work 10 hr days which means we work 10 hr days, too. We're too old for this crap!

Having prepared freezer meals is saving us when we come home exhausted and even putting in a frozen pizza seems like too much work.

My biggest pantry challenge right now is this.
Flooring Wood Floor Gas Composite material

None of our onsite contractors including the electrician with 9 yrs of HVAC experience has seen anything like it before. We've all concluded it's best not to remove this chimney after all. So my plans for my pantry are completely blown up now and I have to have it all replanned by Tuesday.

I knew that witch Husby found when he tore out the basement ceiling would be hexxing us.
Wood Creative arts Art Wing Fin
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That's a steal for fennel. Maybe you could freeze some.

I got out a pkg of 2 bacon-wrapped pork loins to thaw for supper and will make cauliflower in the air fryer to go with it. The meat was a clearance item and the cauliflower needs to be used. I need to deal with some other produce today, too.

I made a batch of brown rice mixed with wild rice to stretch leftover chicken noodle soup and get an extra meal from it.
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I deleted it, but I think you can delete your own posts now. Click on the 3 vertical dots on the far right at the top of your post.
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No problem. I must have some extra moderator tools then.

I used up 2 bacon wrapped pork loins for supper, along with the oldest cauliflower, smeared with mayo, mustard, and Parmesan and roasted in the air fryer. Yummy!

Food Tableware Dishware Ingredient Recipe


I also cut up another cauliflower and the last pkg of radishes, to be eaten with French onion dip so that all gets used up.

Then we ate the last piece of frozen key lime pie left over from Christmas. Good supper.
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