Sunday, July 10, 2011

Weekend Cooking: Eating Us Out of House and Home

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With 21 days to go before we move, we've been doing a lot of eating off the land from the pantry lately.  We've had several moves where I've schlepped (or have paid to have schlepped) cans and boxes of food, and I don't want to do that again. I don't mind bringing some things with us if they're small and unperishable enough, but I really have tried to be more conscientious with meal planning in these days leading up to the move.

Part of that is financial and part of that is because I've gotten much better at this whole meal planning concept. It's really not as difficult as it initially seems and I actually like the idea of knowing what we're going to eat, instead of winging it at 5 p.m. all the time. But I could use some additional ideas for lunches and dinners that will help use up some of our stockpiled pantry items ... and that's where you come in.

Here's what our pantry is looking like with 21 days to go before moving day:


Here are some of the more plentiful items I have to work with (I especially don't want to move the cans):

lots of canned beans (particularly black beans, but also chickpeas and great northern beans)
pastas  (penne, trio italiano, bowties, elbow macaroni, spaghetti, lemon pepper pappardelle)
canned olives
tomato sauce (jarred and canned)
canned diced tomatoes
canned pumpkin
canned creamed corn
bottled salad dressing (2 bottles of italian, 1 bottle of bleu cheese)
artichokes (in a jar)
instant mashed potatoes
instant rice
risotto
couscous
white flour   
dried cherries
lemon curd

In the fridge and freezer, there's feta cheese, shredded cheddar cheese, shredded mozzerella cheese, eggs, Greek yogurt (plain, as well as some blueberry and strawberry), and frozen shrimp. On the counter, there's two Vidalia onions, a watermelon, a cantaloupe, and a bunch of bananas.  (The fruit will be used as snacks.)

Some of the ideas I have for lunches and dinners:

1) Pasta Salad

2) Rice and Beans (as well as a variation of this as a chili atop mashed potatoes), perhaps with some cornbread with the creamed corn?

3) Corn on the cob was still on sale this week at the store, so I bought 6 ears to boil and cut off the cob.  Then, I'll add black beans, onion, and tomatoes for a lunchtime salad.  I ate this almost every day last week for lunch, with a little feta cheese sprinkled atop, and it was delicious. 

4) For the lemon pepper pappardelle, I'm thinking of adding the artichokes along with some frozen shrimp I have on hand and seeing what happens. (Unless you have a real recipe along these lines?)  I made this on the same night I wrote this post, 7/10/2011.  The lemon pepper pappardelle was from Trader Joe's, and definitely had a peppery taste to it.  Adding the artichokes and the shrimp worked well, along with a sprinkling of feta cheese. (We are currently very big on feta cheese 'round here.)

5) The usual spaghetti with tomato sauce that makes an appearance at least weekly 'round here.

6) Couscous with olives and feta cheese (perhaps with a cucumber, something like a couscous greek salad). Maybe with some of the shrimp?

7) Macaroni and cheese in the crockpot

8) Pumpkin chocolate chip muffins

(Whatever we have left that is unopened and that falls into the "don't want to move this" category is being donated, either to the Food Bank or our local Ronald McDonald House.  Most likely the RMH, since they were more gracious in rejecting me for a potential job two years ago.)

So what other ideas do you have for me, keeping in mind that chicken is pretty much our meat of choice around here (otherwise, we're pretty much flexitarians).


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4 comments:

Beth F said...

Beans can be used with pasta for salads -- use that italian dressing.

Canned pumpkin can be used to make soup but muffins are tastier.

tomatoes, beans, and creamed corn spiced up to make some kind of side dish.

Shrimp can be added to pasta salad.

Can't think of anything else.

BookQuoter said...

You have covered most of my ideas already. I would do the same thing, in fact, you may not even need to buy anything at all (perhaps just more garlic). Rice, beans and pasta are the staple food in our house too!

Joy Weese Moll said...

You might try varying your pasta and tomato sauce a bit by making it more stew-like with the addition of black beans. Then mozzarella on top.

I googled and saw some interesting recipes for pumpkin risotto. Although your muffin idea sounds yummy!

Your pappardelle, artichoke, shrimp dish sounds yummy. You might be able to incorporate some of the Italian dressing into a sauce for that.

You have some really creative ideas there!

TheBookGirl said...

Whenever my mom had extra cans of creamed corn she always made batches of corn fritters. That would knock out some white flour too :)