For Meal Planning this week I pulled a bunch of forgotten items out of the pantry once again. We have a lot in there and honestly I could probably do this clean out for another month or two with only some grocery shopping for fresh items. I am pretty proud of that since I have been working the last year to build up our food storage. We were very short on basics when Covid hit the country in 2020 and it was pretty difficult to navigate the shortages with our dietary needs and a child that is very particular about what they eat. The downside of having a stocked pantry is that it is easy to forget what you have in the back and smaller items get lost. Doing a pantry clean out a few times a year really helps keep down the odds and ends. This week I discovered we have lots of open crackers…like way more than pictured but this was what I thought we could get through this week. We will be eating lots of crackers and cheese this week for sure!
Do you see my wall of soup? That, my friends, is the shelf I am afraid to look at. The bins are conveniently covered by the wall of canned soup I slowly collected over the past six months so they are out of sight out of mind at the moment. Gluten-free soup is very expensive, around $4.00 a can normally, so I wait until it goes on super sale for under $2.00 a can to buy it. I consider this fully stocked on soup since I really don’t eat it very often any more. I will eat a can or two a month for lunch if I don’t have any homemade soup in the freezer but luckily I have been making it often enough I always have some I can heat up. We use the oil all the time but to the right of the oil is a large container of teas that have probably been there since we moved in six years ago. I have not gone through it in a long time and the tea we actually drink is over next to the coffee machine so I should probably clean it out as well but tea is something I have a hard time convincing my husband to throw away because it is “still good”. The lower shelf is the one I have been mostly working through the past few weeks. I know it doesn’t look very empty but that is because I filled it again with items that were just sitting on the counter since we had no room in the pantry such as the case of Double Noodle soup I bought for my particular eater and the beans my husband got me for Christmas. We will continue to work through the lower shelf this week. My goal is clean counters and only items we actually eat in the pantry.
We did pretty well last week with our meal plan and ate up a bunch of items we needed to. i am going to try filming the cabbage soup making and upload it as my first video on the Oscoey YouTube channel which I am pretty excited about! Look for it later this week! We did however get much better about eating up the leftovers this week. We spent the first part of the week eating the food my mother-in-law sent home and the “Broccoli Beef” my husband made with pork and the last purple cauliflower (it was delicious by the way). Unfortunately half way through the week I was very disappointed to discover our 5 pound bag of carrots had a couple of moldy ones in it. I am not sure why, they usually last way longer than a few weeks in the fridge but we pulled them all out, tossed the moldy ones, washed the rest and are trying to eat through them as fast as we can. My daughter loves them steamed so she had them in her lunches this week and I added the steamed ones to pretty much everything I heated up for lunch. We still have about four or five carrots left in the bag but they should be eaten in the next few days.
On Sunday night we had nachos which was definitely planned on. When we did our large grocery shop at the start of the month we bought tortilla chips specifically for nachos. We make two separate trays with half for each person and it works out perfectly. We could probably combine them but our particular eater will not eat from the tray with peppers on it so we have to separate them. It is an easy fix and makes dinner go much smoother. We make our own cheese sauce, add refried beans, cheese, olives, sour cream and tomatoes and it is divine! We will probably have them again in another week or two to use up the tortilla chips. Nachos are also a great way to eat up leftover meat or vegetables you have lying around. In the summer time we slice up fresh radishes and green onions from the garden and add them after cooking them for a little kick.
One thing we had a lot of leftovers for from my mother-in-law’s house was steak and mashed potatoes. We had enough steak for a few days of meals. My daughter ate the mashed potatoes for breakfast and lunch so those went very fast but the rest of us got a little bit for dinner one night along with one of the cauliflowers steamed with butter. Yum!
Since we had a lot of steamed vegetables to eat and leftover steak I made another batch of my gluten-free ramen for lunch one of the days last week. This was probably one of the best bowls of ramen I have eaten for a long time. It was delicious! I will definitely do this combination again the next time we have leftover steak. This was also a great way to eat through the cauliflower and carrots.
For breakfast this week I mostly had toast and some sort of fruit. When you buy gluten-free bread it goes bad pretty quickly so it needs to be eaten the week you buy it or frozen and pulled out a few at a time. I love peanut butter toast for breakfast so I loved it this week. I am also still on my peaches kick but I am down to one last jar so I am not sure if I should open it or wait until closer to when we do another big Costco run. My daughter also wants to eat them so we will probably end up eating the last jar this week.
Wow. I apologize for the out of focus picture but dinners this week were pretty hectic and I probably was in a hurry. Don’t let the blurriness fool you, this was one of the best meals I have eaten in a long time. My husband made Broccoli Beef only we were low on broccoli and had pork to use up from the sausage making so we substituted cauliflower and pork. It was so good! This will definitely be on regular rotation in our meal planning in the future. We had enough leftovers for two family meals plus several lunches. My daughter has ice skating at dinner time on Thursdays and we were able to put some this heated up in a thermos for her to eat on the way home and it worked really well.
I ended up using the whole box of pancake mix this week because the puppy got on the counter and ate most of what I made for breakfast on Friday morning. Luckily the kids had already eaten theirs but I missed out on pancakes that morning. We ended up making them again this morning for Sunday breakfast and I got to eat them finally! We will probably make a different kind next week so the kids don’t get tired of them but these are a great easy meal. We still have about eight boxes left of the mix I got on super sale at Grocery Outlet a couple of months ago. I bought about 15 total so we have used about half of them so far. I figured they would last six months or so which is pretty good.
On Saturday night we had a meal planning and pantry cleanout fail. My husband asked me if I wanted sushi and I figured we would use what we have to make it but it turns out we were out of a lot of the ingredients such as cucumber, fish eggs, wasabi and I am sure others I don’t know about. I found out after he came home from the store so it was too late. The sushi was very good and I did not get a picture of my sushi bowl but I did take a picture of some of the ingredients we used. We buy the salmon frozen from Costco and my husband makes the eggs. It is pretty good although I always put way too much wasabi in my gluten-free soy sauce and am steaming all night. I love it though!
Let’s take a look at what we used up in the past week. Above is the photo I took of what I was hoping to use and honestly we did pretty good this week. Another item we ate up that I didn’t even put on the list was some ice cream I bought last summer. We tend to eat ice cream very slowly and don’t always eat it before it goes bad. We still have half a container of Mermaid ice cream left that I will give the kids a serving of once or twice a week until it is gone. We also made pudding out of some milk since we have so much milk right now. Instant pudding is a quick way to make dessert and use up any extra milk that you have lying around. I always keep a couple of boxes in the pantry for just this purpose. Pudding is one my my particular eater’s foods they are working on eating since the texture is one they don’t like and by getting them involved in making it the chances of them eating it are much higher. Pudding is also a great way to get milk into kids that won’t drink it.
Items left from January week 3:
- Fresh produce: rainbow carrots, potatoes, tomatoes (my husband bought more gah!)
- Snack items: One bars
- Meal type items: oatmeal (not gf)
- Dried Fruit: strawberries, raspberries, apple chips
- Junk: Halloween candy – still
- Fridge/freezer items: fancy chocolate, Baked Alaska, cookie dough
The focus on this week is crackers, oatmeal and more crackers. I took this photo yesterday and we have already eaten the rest of the pancake mix, one pack of oatmeal, the fruit cup, and some crackers. I ended up throwing up the unsalted sunflower seeds which are hard to see but they expired in 2018 so I felt very comfortable tossing them. They were in no way sealed all the way and it just didn’t feel safe to eat them. We will probably have oatmeal again tomorrow morning along with some peanuts or sunflower seeds. We also ate up one of the boxes of Maple One bars and this is the last one I pulled from the pantry. One of my kids gets half of one a day as part of their morning routine. I know they aren’t the best but they also have a bunch of vitamins that we are somewhat lacking in. We need to eat the squash and will find a way to cook the riceberry rice. My mom gave us some for Christmas and I realized we still had a pack from last year. I am not really sure how to cook it but I am sure we will find something.
Items to use up January Week 4:
- Fresh produce: rainbow carrots, squash, potatoes, brussels sprouts, tomatoes (my husband bought more gah!)
- Snack items: One bars, crackers, more crackers, peanuts, sunflower seeds, fruit cup
- Meal type items: oatmeal (not gf), pancake mix, cheese sauce, rice
- Dried Fruit: strawberries, raspberries, apple chips
- Junk: Halloween candy – still
- Fridge/freezer items: fancy chocolate, Baked Alaska, cookie dough, mermaid ice cream