Monday, March 15, 2010

Eating In Week

Many people are currently tightening their belts.  With a wobbly economy, you may be cutting down on extra expenses, boosting your savings in case of emergency or downright trying to scrape by.  Maybe you've reduced your grocery budget or have eliminated eating out? 

My challenge to myself and to you is...could you feed your family for the next week with what is in your house right now?  Could you make do with what you have on hand?  I am confident I can.

I'm going to start by giving you a peek into my pantry.  And no, I didn't clean it out or make all neat and fancy.  After all, it's not like you're company.
 Beans, tomatoes (in every form), soups.  You'd think I was running a taqueria by all the Mexican ingredients I have.  Arriba!

 Canned tuna, sardines & anchovies, tahini.
 Rices, bulgur, quinoa, couscous, barley, farro and pastas.
 Flours-AP, buckwheat, whole wheat, whole wheat pastry flour, semolina, cake flour, bread flour.

Right now my chest freezer contains frozen shrimp, ground turkey, chicken breasts and thighs, pork shoulder, sausages, ground beef, flank steak, salmon, chicken and veal stocks, pie crust dough and puff pastry dough, breads and a few frozen veg and fruits.

I know what you're thinking..."Did this girl live through the Depression? What's with the need for all this food? Didn't I see this on Hoarders?"  Well, it's my job to cook for people and create new recipes, test existing recipes, etc. I also shop for my proteins in bulk and then portion them out and freeze-much more economical!  However,  if you only stocked your shelves with chicken, veg or beef stocks, legumes, grains, pasta and canned tomato products and your freezer with some chicken, fish or protein of choice and vegetables you'd be amazed at the meals you can create. 

Start thinking like a chef who runs a restaurant.  Daily specials are usually made up of the items in the walk-in that are in abundance or need to be used up. Can you incorporate leftovers into new meals? Move the canned goods with the earliest expiration dates to the front of your cupboard and find a way to use them.  See how little you can spend on groceries this week and still eat well. 

I'll start posting my week's meals of eating in tomorrow and I'll also give you my favorite recipes for homemade bread, pizza crust and granola-all staples you can easily make for a fraction of what you'd pay for them at the grocery store.  Good luck and please share any cost cutting meal tips you've discovered in our comments section!

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