Author Topic: Small victories in "use what you have cooking"  (Read 2111 times)

Trudie

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Small victories in "use what you have cooking"
« on: August 23, 2015, 10:05:19 AM »
We don't track our spend on food, but haven't made a stock up trip to Costco since mid-June and won't get there until mid-September.  We've used this as an opportunity to eat out of the freezer and cupboards, and to use up our stash of other household goods.  We drop out for milk and eggs, super sales on meat, and to get fresh veg at the farmer's market.  Occasionally the making of a recipe might call for another ingredient or two, but we are using things up.

I'm shocked at what a difference this is making in our cash flow.  Suddenly at the end of the month there's a few hundred bucks left over for buying stocks.

We belong to a CSA, so I've also been using up veg purchased with credits there.  So, my cash outlay for veg was made back in March and now we're reaping the rewards.

Some of my better food victories have included:
1- Spanokopeta - Made with the phyllo pastry that had been in my freezer since Christmas and lots of good CSA herbs.  This freezes well and is a hit at parties.
2 - Calico beans -- Made with a hodge podge of dried and canned beans I had on hand.  Taking this to a neighborhood cookout/potluck tonight.
3 - Italian sausage soup - with "gifted" zucchini and lots of other summer veg.  Got the Italian sausage on sale for $1.99/pound awhile back.
4 - Pork carnitas for tacos - Made this in the crockpot.  Easy peasy and shreds up like a dream.  The pork loin is so lean and was only $1.79/pound.  I may just serve the meat on rice with lettuce and guac in "taco bowl" format.  I may buy more next week to I can make and freeze other things with it (pulled pork for sandwiches; pork with cranberries and oranges).
5 - The $2 convenience cake - Kind of a nutrition nightmare, but we signed up to take a dessert to a church potluck.  I bought a cake mix and frosting for $1 each awhile back for vacations such as this when I really don't have the time.  Plus, I'd rather feed something like that to 25 different people.  I would never eat the whole thing myself.  (Moderation)
6 - Bruschetta - Paid for a nice loaf of sourdough at the coop, but I'm going to check the bread bin at Aldi the next time I'm there.  Steeped red and yellow cherry tomatoes in fresh garlic and olive oil for a few hours.  Brushed bread with a little olive oil, toasted at high heat, then applied the tomato mixture (using the slotted spoon to drain liquid off) to the top.  Topped with parm (Costco) and put under the broiler.  When I took it out I put julienned fresh basil on it.  Gorgeous and tasty!

Here's the deal... I feel like we're eating like kings.  Beyond the wonderful frugality of this, I really enjoy the creativity that comes with discovering new recipes.  I would feel that most any of these foods (other than the convenience cake) would be decent and nutritious enough to serve to guests.

And last night we went to see a friend at the hospital and it was about 7:30 when we were fixing to make dinner.  We thought about stopping somewhere, but finally agreed "Why, we have better food in the fridge at home."  We feasted on spanokopeta, crock pot beans, hamburger and watermelon at home... kind of a weird combo but pretty high on the "whole foods" scale.

Cassie

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Re: Small victories in "use what you have cooking"
« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2015, 10:50:26 AM »
WE sometimes do this too since it helps to use up stuff before it gets too old. It does make a big $ difference.

Kimchi Bleu

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Re: Small victories in "use what you have cooking"
« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2015, 07:47:12 AM »
Just stocked up on a bunch of meat from a new store's grand opening.  I have two freezers full of meat.  My pantry is overflowing with stuff!  My MIL moved in with us a year ago and is a food hoarder.  My DH kindly suggested that we not buy anything but bread, milk, and eggs until Thanksgiving. 

I'm giving it a go!  Can't wait to see how fast I can eat down the pantries and the savings I will achieve.

Trudie

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Re: Small victories in "use what you have cooking"
« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2015, 08:31:13 AM »
Just stocked up on a bunch of meat from a new store's grand opening.  I have two freezers full of meat.  My pantry is overflowing with stuff!  My MIL moved in with us a year ago and is a food hoarder.  My DH kindly suggested that we not buy anything but bread, milk, and eggs until Thanksgiving. 

I'm giving it a go!  Can't wait to see how fast I can eat down the pantries and the savings I will achieve.

In a similar vein, I inventoried the freezer last night.  We have plenty to last us for the next couple of months.  I'm going to cut way back on food spend and cash flow stock purchases since the market appears to be tanking right now.