Use-it-up Challenge

Why not use the start of the new year as an excuse to clear out older stock from my freezer and pantry? There are so many things in there I’ve forgotten I even had, and I don’t want to discover them too late and have to throw them out because they’re expired. I’ve decided to challenge myself to use up food I already have before going grocery shopping again, even if it means we’ll have some interesting meals. I’m particularly curious what’s in the unlabeled plastic containers in my freezer – many are spaghetti sauce, but some of them are a complete mystery, because I’m not good about labeling my leftovers. I’ll still buy fresh fruit and veggies if I need to, and definitely milk, but I’m going to see if I can get through the rest of January without buying any meat or anything in a can or box.

Yesterday I made a package of cheddar and broccoli Knorr Pasta Sides, and steamed some frozen broccoli to add in. There was a lot more frozen broccoli left in that package than I remembered, so there’s still some in the freezer for another night. With the pasta, I had more maple cinnamon glazed carrots, using up the last of the old bag of sprouting carrots. That all went with a honey ham steak, and it wasn’t half bad. I can’t believe I’m just now discovering how easy and tasty a ham steak is for a quick dinner!

Tonight I got rid of an almost-empty bottle of honey teriyaki marinade by putting it over a couple of chicken breasts (long-time freezer inhabitants) in the oven. I also had a collection of veggies nearing the end of their usable lifespan, so I stir-fried a green pepper, some mushrooms, and a quarter of an onion, so they could go with the chicken over some rice. And the rice was the last 2/3 of a cup left from a big bag. It’s been sitting there forever because I bought new rice since then, and since I always make a cup at a time, the 2/3 cup wasn’t enough, and of course the new rice didn’t have the same cooking instructions as the old one!

So far, so good. I’m clearing out some room in the pantry for new supplies. It’s been crowded in there for a while, and I keep buying more and wedging it in, but it’ll be nice to have a little breathing room. I don’t want to empty us out completely, of course, but we have some soup that’s been in there for at least a year, 6 cans of corn, some old cans of pumpkin, a couple of one-quarter-full boxes of pasta… this overhaul is long overdue!

One thought on “Use-it-up Challenge

  1. Anonymous

    Great idea, doing the same here only to go faster I’ve invited my son and am offering him stuff to take back home!


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