Weekly Plan Tip #2: Assessing Your Stock
After our last discussion of how to make the most awesome recipe list ever I couldn’t wait to get cooking. Finally, here were all of my favorite recipes in one convenient place, and I started scheming how I could make as many as possible in one week, therefore upping my life’s deliciousness factor by about a billion.
Then I came back to reality. On to step 2.
When I plan my meals for the week I always look at what I already have. My pantry, refrigerator, and freezer are like my own grocery store mecca, except everything is already paid for! I find so many people spend way too much extra money buying food that they already have without knowing it, or not utilizing what they have previously bought and it just sits there, going bad or attracting visitors of the unwanted kind.
So I take stock, working my way from most perishable to least.
The fridge is where most of your perishables are kept, and most likely what you need to eat up first so you don’t waste anything. Analyze the state of your vegetables and dairy products. Check condiments to see if expiration dates have passed. Take note of any mold specimens and discard unless they are for a science project. Once you know foods you have to use you will be able to base your weekly meal choices around them.
Things in the pantry are much less likely to expire, as they are normally dried goods and have a longer shelf life. But its important to take stock. Do you really need to eat cous cous with a dish when you already have brown rice? Can you make lentil soup instead of split pea? These sides and grain bases can be great places to develop your menu.
Any time I have a ton of leftovers I always stick enough for a meal in the freezer. You never know when a late meeting can lead to an even later night, and its great to take know that you have something healthy to throw in the microwave rather than swinging by McDonald’s on your commute home. I always have frozen veggies and fruit that can be thrown into a frittata or a smoothie. I put extra meat in there if I buy in bulk, which saves me a ton of moolah on next week’s shop. Frozen foods will last until practically forever, but you never know when they will come in handy during the week.
I don’t normally write a list down of what I have, but it may be a good idea for beginning “oh, I forgot I had this!” pantry shoppers. Its key to have this information when you move on to the next step: deciding what to make!