Using What You Have

I am on a quest this month.  A quest to eat the food we already have in this house.  To clean out our pantry and freezer the proper way – by eating the food, rather than waiting for it to go bad and pitching it (all the while continuing to spend too much every week at the grocery buying more food).
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My plan is this.  No buying ingredients that aren’t fresh and perishable, at least until we’ve exhausted our ingredient/meal making possibilities – which won’t be for quite awhile.  So I can buy fresh produce, meats and dairy, etc. But no food from the expensive part middle of the grocery store.   John is up for the challenge, and I’ve already found some hidden treasures in the freezer that I forgot we had (and amazingly have not succumb to freezer burn).   I see it as a chance to stretch my creative cooking muscles, instead of just buying everything I need every week.  What else can I make with some Skyline Chili in a can?  I will now actually try that recipe for salmon cakes!  We will eat those canned veggies.  And I’m going to try and make some cobblers/pies out of all that frozen fruit.

I have discovered that I have an inordinant amount of quick oats, and some steel cut oats I don’t know why I have at all. Any and all oat-related recipe ideas are welcome!  (Except for cookie recipes – I got that covered, thanks)

Here we go.

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  • JaNae - This is actually a really fun challenge! I did this last month and almost entirely cleaned out my freezer and pantry. It’s also neat to see how low your grocery bill can go. I read somewhere to picture every bit of food you throw away as throwing dollar bills–that’s really helped us figure out how to use the leftovers. Share any great recipes you find please!

  • Katie in MA - No cookie recipes? But what if the provider was also willing to *eat* said cookies? 🙂

    Hey, just trying to help you on your quest!

  • Karyn - The first oat recipe I want to try is my sister’s baked oatmeal. it’s suuuuper yummy and hearty. it’s like eating oatmeal cookies with a spoon.

  • mommyknows - I so need to do this. I have so much food … and I just keep buying.

    You probably know this already, but oatmeal works great as a filler (instead of breadcrumbs, cornflakes etc) in lost of recipes like meatloaf, burgers etc.

    Don’t forget to use it on your cobblers when you use up all of the frozen fruit.

  • Kath - I start this every January, not so strict but I call it operation empty the freezer. Right now I’m down to some fish (bought recently because we were out) blueberries, strawberries, chicken stock, tomato sauce and freezer jam. I can see the bottom!

  • Heather - I’m just chuckling right now as I imagine mom and dad taking up this challenge. Mom, if you’re reading this, I love you.

    I’ve been making granola like crazy the past few months with the old-fashioned oats. Very simple recipe and lots of variations. And very easy to use same recipe to make granola bars.

    Don’t forget fruit smoothies.

    Btw, I love the word “inordinant”. One of my favorites.

  • Karyn - I bought the fruit for fruit smoothies – but i belieeeve it has a touch of freezer burn and I think baking it and adding lots of sugar is the only way. =)

  • Kristin Greenlee - Thought you might be interested in this link where you can input ingredients and it generates recipes that use them!http://allrecipes.com/Search/Ingredients.aspx

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