Having an overflowing fridge and pantry makes me happy. Not sure why. But having a full cupboard makes me feel secure. The truth is, it's not really necessary.
Yes, it's a good idea to have some food on hand for last-minute meals (but really, we plan our menus, so that's not all that necessary) and for days when we're sick (a can or two of chicken noodle soup--or better yet, a batch in the freezer), but I don't need 20 packages of ramen noodles or 3 cans of coconut milk or 6 jars of spaghetti sauce. Things get lost in the back of the pantry shelves, food goes bad even in the fridge, and we end up with waste.
I end up spending more money on groceries than I need to--all because we "might" need something.
So I think it's time to start grocery shopping from the pantry as we plan menus and to use more of what we have and buy only what we need.
I'm still going to buy in bulk when it makes sense to do so, but I think this will help us be more aware of what we're buying and consuming.
So, what do you buy in bulk? What's in your pantry or fridge that you can use this week?
Here's what we buy in bulk:
- beef (once a year from South Dakota)
- chicken breasts from Costco
- toilet paper and tissues, also from Costco
That's about it, I think. I will buy larger bags of things like rice and hashbrowns if it's cheaper to buy that way. Or grab an extra of whatever it is if it's buy one, get one free. But I'm going to be more careful of buying things only because they're on sale, or look good to me as I walk through the store with a growling stomach. (Being hungry is the worst when you're shopping for food--my mom taught me that when I first got married!)
Here's what we can use that's in the pantry and freezer:
- cellophane noodles
- coconut milk
- tomato soup
- hamburger helper
- chili seasoning
- ramen noodles
- a giant turkey in the freezer
This is a great recipe site--I love that you can select ingredients that you have on hand and find recipes that use those ingredients.
And I just saw this link on Facebook the other day. It lists the top ten most economical ingredients and then has links to recipes. Some new things to try as you're planning next week's menu! Thanks, Jen!