Join me this month for The Great Pantry Shop! I admit it. I have been a bit of a slacker when it comes to cooking meals for my family in the past few weeks. Part of it is due to end of year activities with school, poor planning (on my part!) and fussy eaters. Several months ago, I did a pantry stock up for all my staples. I had high hopes for following a meal plan each week, but it’s not come to fruition. Ultimately I would like to move to a clean eating menu and shop from my own vegetable garden. You know the saying… best-laid plans often go awry…….and well, they did!
Step One: Re-commit!
I stood in the kitchen this morning thinking about how we have eaten hot dogs and pizza for the past several meals. Two of my kids will nary let a vegetable pass over their lips and it’s easy for them. Why? Because I provide lots of other options and admittedly they are not good options! So, what’s the plan? It’s pretty simple really. Time to use up the remaining snacks and processed food choices and start replacing them with cleaner options. Don’t even think I didn’t consider throwing OUT all the processed food and starting all over. That would be a huge waste of money so I will consider this their last hurrah!
Now please don’t think my kitchen cabinets are full of all junk food because they aren’t. I don’t buy soda. Chip packs are for lunches only. The rule around here is if you eat them all up before the next shopping trip, you are out of luck for the rest of week! The end of the school year will give us a chance to move away from “easy meals” because I won’t’ be trying to cram making dinner, homework, and getting five kids ready for school the next day in one short evening.
Step Two: Take inventory of your pantry
OMG…I could feed a small army with all the food in this house! My choices for meat included sausage, chicken breast and thighs, beef, salmon, tilapia, shrimp, ham slices, fish sticks and pork chops. Side dishes included jasmine rice, scalloped potatoes, mashed potatoes, ramen noodles, pasta salad, and the kid favorite, Kraft macaroni and cheese. My freezer is full of steamable frozen vegetables. I bought a 10 lb bag of Vidalia onions for one of my kids’ fundraisers. I spent the afternoon chopping and bagging them into freezer bags. Now I won’t need to buy diced onions for a year!
You too will be surprised when you take inventory of how much food you actually have in your home. I honestly think I just forget what I have most times! Keep telling yourself...”I do not need to go to the grocery store!” That’s the goal….shop your pantry and save some cash this week!
Step Three: Check your calendar!
Is your calendar chock full of activities like mine is? I try to plan my easiest meals on the nights I have to work, or when the kids have afterschool activities. These are usually my crock pot meals since I can throw them in the pot in the morning and just go about my day. Meals that require more prep, like grilling or baking, are saved for my days off.
Step Four: Create your plan!
Make a list of all your meats, side dishes, and vegetables on hand. Now pair them up! Planning ahead will really help you utilize the food you have on hand. Use Pinterest for meal ideas. Visit my low carb recipe board here! Dig out those cookbooks and see what you can make with what you have on hand. Create your own recipe! I can’t tell you how many hodge-podge soups and stews I have created in my crockpot!
Breakfast and lunches are pretty laid back around our house. Since we have chickens we always have fresh eggs on hand. Everyone loves scrambled eggs. Don’t be afraid to eat breakfast foods for dinner. My kids think it’s great eating cereal and pancakes for dinner. No one says you have to eat certain foods at certain times…mix it up! Involving kids in meal planning is another way to encourage them to try new foods. You never know, you may have a budding chef at home and not even know it!
Without further adeiu…here is this weeks meal plan!
My Meal Plan: Week One
Sunday: Crockpot chicken breast with black beans using Baja Citrus marinade/jasmine rice/corn on the cob
Monday: Sweet and sour meatballs/Kraft mac and cheese
Tuesday: Pasta and shrimp alfredo
Wednesday: Sausage and onions/mashed potatoes
Thursday: Grilled pork chops with sesame sauce/seasoned broccoli/scalloped potatoes
Friday: Mojito lime chicken thighs with pineapple chunks/Spanish rice
Saturday: Turkey burgers/hot dogs/baked beans/pasta salad
Stick with it!
My biggest deterrent to not sticking to my plan is not writing it down! To remedy this, I made a list of this weeks meal plan and stuck it on my refrigerator. It will be a visual reminder of my goal and when the kids ask me “What’s for dinner?” I can just tilt my wine glass towards the list! Making the decision to use up my pantry items will help me save money this month. It will also encourage me to move towards a minimalist and whole food menu. I hope you are inspired to join me in Shopping your Pantry this week! Leave a comment or follow me! Thanks for visiting!