Join me this weekend for
THE PANTRY (and fridge and freezer) CHALLENGE! Win a prize!
This Pantry Challenge is huge, and is NOT for the faint of heart. Get a notebook, a pen, and maybe a helper, and let us begin.
- Inventory your pantry.
- Inventory your refrigerator.
- Inventory your freezer.
- Using food you already own, see how many meals you can make without buying anything else.
- See how long you can eat meals from your inventory, purchasing VERY little – say – $25/week.
BUT WAIT . . . There’s more!
Taking an inventory of your pantry is the perfect time to remove every item from the cabinets, toss old or stale foods, make a donation box for canned goods you won’t eat, and wipe down the cabinets – inside and out. Then, consider organizing the pantry as you put items back. Use clear plastic boxes for organizing small items that get shuffled over time like gravy packets, jello or pudding packages, or snacks. Pinterest has lots of great ideas for organizing your pantry. Check them out!
In order to thoroughly inventory the contents of your fridge, you’ll need to remove every item from it. This is a GREAT opportunity to get rid of items that just need to go away. Some food or condiments may be old and forgotten. Leftovers may have become hidden behind new items. Throw away food, pour liquids/chunky things down the disposal, reclaim usable jars and other containers, and get ready for an organized refrigerator! Work quickly to conserve energy.
When the fridge is empty, wipe down the walls and shelves. Take out items that need to be washed in warm, soapy water. When the sparkling clean appliance is ready, begin putting items back. Organize things in a way that makes sense for your family.
Gather cardboard boxes, lay out beach towels, and get ready for cold hands. Remove all items from your freezer, and inventory them as you proceed. I have the small freezer in my refrigerator, and a small chest freezer in the garage. As you remove items, consider ways of organizing them when they go back in. We’ve used cardboard boxes and plastic containers in the chest freezer and clear plastic boxes in the small freezer to keep items accessible and organized.
When you put your items back into the freezer, try to ensure you know where they are placed. When you’re ready to thaw and prepare an item, you want to know RIGHT where to look for it.
The Pantry (and fridge and freezer) Challenge is a big job. Inventory and clean-up can take several hours to complete. Then, relax and think – with notebook in hand – about how to use all that food!
Plan your meals using fridge food first (before it goes bad), freezer food next, and pantry food last. Of course you can mix items from each, but you’ll want to work from shortest shelf life to longest for maximizing your usage.
Plan for variety in your meals. If you have several meals worth of frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts, plan to make an Italian chicken dish, a Mexican chicken dish, and an Asian chicken dish. If you have a large amount of frozen ground beef, you may want to plan a meatloaf, some hamburger steaks, and some loose taco meat. As you think of entree ideas, look at the vegetables in your inventory. Which side dish would best compliment your entree? Check your pantry inventory to see what special items or sauces you can add to your meals to make them delicious and colorful!
How many meals can you make (main dish and a side) without buying a thing?
How many meals can you make spending $25/week or less?
Make that list and take a picture of it with your phone. SEND IT TO ME, and I’ll publish it here (with your permission). The FamilyFramework member with the longest list WINS the prize shown below (a $10 value)! Winner will be selected on Memorial Day – May 29, 2017 – at 5pm HST. Prize will be shipped via USPS Priority Mail on Tuesday.
Are ready for The Pantry Challenge? Comment and let me know!