There's an "Eat from the Pantry" Challenge going on over at Life as Mom. I really love this concept and frequently use it when I feel our pantry & freezer are getting overloaded or if I've used most of my grocery budget already. I also employ this tactic when I know we're going to be out of town a lot, like in December.
So now my poor refrigerator looks like this...
YIKES! Not only is it bare, but it's dirty! Perfect time to clean it I suppose.
My pantry is a bit more stocked...
but not overly so (probably b/c Harris Teeter hasn't had tripled lately!).
And if you're wondering about the laundry basket at the bottom of my pantry, I use it to throw all our kitchen linens in. Since we switched to cloth napkins & our laundry room is not on this floor, I needed an option like this. I also use two dish cloths per day (one for dishes & one to scrub down Little Man after each meal), so this is perfect to hang wet kitchen rags on each evening to dry before I throw them in the basket until laundry day.
It's important to note that I do have a TON of green beans, salsa, pasta sauce, chili base, and pizza sauce from our garden this past year. They are all housed in the basement & brought up when needed. I also have a deep freezer in the basement, which has some fruit & veggies from the past summer and any meat that I stock up on when there's a sale.
Even though I know I won't be able to participate fully in the challenge, I decided to do an inventory of the fridge, freezer, & pantry to see what I do have and create as many meals as possible from what's here on hand. (Random Note: when taking "inventory" of the deep freezer, I found several bags of Breastmilk. Little Man stopped nursing in September, yet I'm having a hard time tossing my "liquid gold".) I was SHOCKED when I brainstormed 20 meals from what I have on hand with just a few additional ingredients from the grocery. Yay! Of course I'll have to pick up fruit, yogurt, and a few other things for Little Man. But I'm VERY hopeful of coming in below my $400 grocery budget this month.