Wednesday, August 25, 2010

We Are Pantry Diving Again

I love the concept of pantry diving.  It is the art of going through your refrigerator, freezer and pantry to make meals for the week without buying anything new.

Since moving Squirrel into college last week, combined with her 18th birthday, the food budget got a little tight in our pond this week and ......

This is what I have discovered:

Sunday:  When we arrived home from our trip to JMU we ate the leftovers from Squirrel's birthday meal - Hot dogs, hamburgers, macaroni salad, beans, etc.

Monday:  I had an extra meatloaf [frozen] and added leftover macaroni salad and a can of [low salt - what else?] peas.  [Anyone notice that is what my daughter ate last night?  I mean the meatloaf and macaroni salad at college? hee]

Tuesday:  The macaroni salad was still hanging around - so I added tuna salad and egg salad sandwiches [on leftover hamburger buns] to the mix with green and red pepper slices, celery [ all leftover from making the macaroni salad] and tomatoes from my MIL's garden.  And pickles.  Who doesn't have tuna and eggs in their stash, right?

Wednesday:  I found a can of tomato soup [not old, mind you, just I forgot I had it].  Yum - and the only thing better than tomato soup is the soup with grilled cheese.  Thank goodness the macaroni salad is gone.  We ate that for five days - it is good, but c'mon - it was a bit much.  Since it is relatively cool here [for DC, in August] Soup and grilled cheese is gonna be good.  I am using our sandwich maker. I love this thing.  Does anyone else have one of these?  So cool.

Thursday:  For some reason my lovely MIL gifted us with a honker can of turkey [I think she was cleaning out  HER pantry] and since I always have a bag of frozen mixed veggies hanging around [what? you don't?] that is going into turkey pot pie for Thursday. I don't want to buy anything so I am going to cheat and use a chicken boullion cube [per directions] to make the chicken broth - and I will [once again, grrr] attempt to make the pie crust.  This is Wallene's favorite meal.   Here's hoping I don't disappoint.

Friday:  Amazingly enough I unearthed an already cooked bag of ground beef [frozen]. YAY - so many options, but the pantry is starting to thin out - so I am going to cheat a bit and buy a .99 cent can of whole, peeled tomatoes and make ghoulash since I already have the noodles, meat and garlic - so I can spare the .99 cents.  This is also a family fav'.  [I am raiding the change jar for the .99 cents.]

For snacks we have cereal, popcorn, grapes, homemade oatmeal cookies and peanut butter cookies, celery, chunk cheese, crackers, icy pops, a whole gallon of milk [last longer now that Squirrel is gone YAY - the milk, not Squirrel], orange juice, [the dreaded] kool-aid and ramen noodles.  So I think we are good to go.

Then I have to restock on Saturday.

I don't exactly know how we are going to do that since Squirrel's books need to be bought and her scholarship money [the overage] will not be refunded to her for three weeks. [We thought she could buy her books with the extra - but no-they just return it to her after all her tuition, lab fees, internet, etc. is paid. Stupid.]  So we have to pay out for those on Friday.  We are approaching the $1,000 mark for her books at this point - and many of them are used.  College is a racket, I swear. :) [I know you all are laughing at me.  Shut up.]  In addition Wallene goes to school in a week and she needs everything that goes along with that.  Sigh.

I do love the idea of pantry diving and the satisfaction that I don't have to do any shopping for a week, but it starts to scare me when I deplete our supplies like this.  I try and keep it stocked up but this has been a long [and expensive] summer and I haven't been paying attention to all the stuff I should, I guess.

Oh well - at least I have an entire menu planned of simple and cheap meals, right?  There is always a bright side tadpoles.  Always.


Jeannie said...

I hate shopping and I never plan meals so I go pantry diving pretty much every day. Yet we always have too much stuff any way. But there's a thought for tonight since I have no clue what to serve. Having my son home - my skinny skinny son - I feel obligated to cook better meals.

Linda in New Mexico said...

Life's a racket darling. Hey I'll comment on the sandwich maker. I bought one cuz the Asberger child will only eat certain things for dogs, grilled cheese, left over mac n cheese, cold pizza. Won't eat ceral, eggs (unless I threaten him with death and destruction) or toast. So.........I thought I could make quick grilled cheese with it and save myself the effort in the morning, since I hate morning and I hate fixing stuff that isn't breakfast stuff. Anyway, you would have thought I had ask him to eat fresh road kill. He explains to me that the sandwich was "devil spools". HUH? What? Devil spools, Gerea, what is he talking about? Translate please. Oma, Devil Spawn, you know like you always call things you don't like....oops. My bad attitude strikes again.

christopher said...

I LOVE my sandwich maker! I especially love that it puts a diagonal line across it b/c there is no better way to cut a sandwich than diagonally.

You have also inspired me to start a sort of planning system for our meals, so I'm going to attempt to create a 1 month meal plan and see how it goes. Wish me luck.

Amy said...

1. I LOVE my GT express 101 - I'm an infomercial geek. It makes great sandwiches.

2. I am always very proud of myself when I can pull off a meal from the stuff I have. I am very impressed that you did an entire week! Way to go! For me it's usually and hour before Steve gets home and I don't want to a) blow my grocery budget on a quick trip to pick something up or b)Drag 2 kids to the grocery store during rush hour. (I hate living in a big town!)

3. As for the books - It's nothing short of financial rape! I can only imagine how expensive they have gotten in the past 15 years!

4) I think you need to create a website where someone like me can go and put in the ingredients I have and then a recipe will generate.

Have a good day!

Yum Yucky said...

We Pantry Dive often. But you put such a cool spin on it to make it a happy challenge. Greedy Kid #1 starts college next year. I can already feel my pockets cramping in pain. But eh, at least I can Pantry Dive.

Me...Uncensored said...

I love that! I do it every couple months.. We usually go a few days with just different shaped pasta though ;)

Sally said...

I always thought I had to buy my own books or wait until I had money sent back to me, too... Until I realized that the financial aid office (at least I'm pretty sure that was the's been a while) would give me an "advance" of just enough to go to the bookstore to purchase books. It would at least be worth checking out for the future, even if it doesn't happen this time.

I need to do some Pantry Diving, too, because I think we have some things that we need to use up...if the state of my cabinets is anything to go from!

Teresa - in the Middle Side of Life said...

we've been pantry diving most of the summer. i went to the store july 4th weekend and then didn't go again until ron came home from the rehab. i have gone one other time but only to get stuff that ron could easily get to himself while i'm at work.

i usually stand in the pantry and say what am i fixing tonight??? i do have frozen meat and frozen vegetables so the "defrost" setting on the microwave could get a workout.

books... shudder! but - you do need to check into the financial aid office giving an advance. the last college i attended did that.

RV Vagabonds said...

I am awed. 'nuff said.

word vert: nessedn. I am awed. nessedn.