Clean Out the Fridge/Pantry Dinners
Recently we identified groceries as the number one place where we could likely save some money each month. Additionally, we've become more focused on creating less waste overall and using what we already have. Hence, the "Clean Out the Fridge/Pantry Dinner!"
These are those dinners that come together when you're pantry or fridge are getting close to bare but you haven't yet gone to the grocery store for your weekly "Big Shop" (are we the only ones who call it that??). For us, these dinners usually happen on Friday or Saturday since we usually do our "Big Shop" on Sunday mornings.
At first, they were primarily created out of laziness because we didn't want to leave the house and there are few restaurants that deliver to our neighborhood. Over time we've come to really enjoy these dinners. They're not all winners (for sure) but they often end up better than expected and are a great way to become more creative with our cooking. We also find things in our fridge and pantry we completely forgot we had (sunflower butter, anyone??). I love that we are wasting less and are eating healthier than we would if we were picking up take-out.
These dinners often involve the remaining dregs of whatever fruit or veggies we have left, some kind of beans or thawed frozen soup for me and J., and some lunchmeat, eggs, or frozen chicken tenders for the girls. Previously we've done egg salad, cheese and crackers with lunchmeat, or banana and egg pancakes.
Today J. was in charge of our dinner and he made a meal that used up our frozen broccoli, remaining bell peppers and shredded cheese, most of our eggs, and some Madras lentils packets my parents brought from Costco. It also used a tiny bit of the huge quantity of rice we somehow have in our pantry. Was it super, duper delicious? Not exactly, but it was satisfying, healthy, and free. I call that a win!
As we move forward, J. and I want to make these types of dinners our go-to for Friday or Saturday nights. I hope it will encourage us to be more aware of what we already have available rather than always choosing to make a meal that requires more grocery shopping.