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Friday's Frugalities

August 29, 2014

FF #9 – Clean Out the Fridge

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So, what to do when the month appears to be a bit longer than the grocery budget? We can’t just not eat one day. Well maybe YOU can… but I get pretty darn irritable when I’m hungry. Oh, and I shudder to think what a day with Mini Maroon would be like if we didn’t feed him. So, now that we have settled on the fact that we must eat every day, that brings me back to the same question – what do I cook for supper when budget is running low??

Mr. Maroon and I spent a lot of time re-organizing, re-evaluating, and generally re-doing our budget and expenses this Saturday morning. We put a lot of time and effort into deciding what we really needed and could achieve. After looking at my (newly increased even) grocery budget for August, I realized we had less than $100 left to spend with a whole week left in the month. I became a bit panicked, but was determined that I was going to make it work after all of our efforts. I’ve recently started planning out meals for the whole week – talk about a life-saver. After looking at the list again, I started increasing my confidence that I could in fact meet the target for August. Problem was that I hadn’t planned anything to cook for the weekend!

Time to Get Creative

Here I stand staring into the abyss of a refrigerator and pantry, questioning what on earth I could assemble for a decent meal for us. I have certain standards I’m not willing to sacrifice on when it comes to our food. We have made valiant efforts to clean up our eating habits (WAY too much to talk about here), so I really try to stick with it. I’m not willing to just open supper from a can, full of sodium and who knows what else, to serve, no matter how inexpensive it might be.

Brings me back to the fridge… I see that we actually have a fair number of bowls of leftovers. I start pulling it all out, and discover this is going to work very well after all. First, we have some chicken leftovers that were fine when fresh, but not appetizing to re-heat later (future toss-out as a science experiment). Second I find two different kinds of cooked veggies. So, I put on a little rice to boil, and start making my own cream of chicken soup. (By the way, making your own is much easier than you might think, and removes all of those questionable ingredients.) Combine chopped chicken, cooked veggies, rice, soup, and some shredded cheese. Then I also discover I have two red potatoes. How else can I use just two red potatoes without buying more? So, I shred those too. Stir everything together and bake for 30 minutes. DONE.

Mini Maroon asked for seconds, so I have unbiased evidence that it was at least somewhat edible. We have plenty of leftovers to use for lunches this week (another bonus). And I didn’t spend a dime. I even rescued several leftovers that were on the verge of going to waste. I must say, I’m pretty stinking proud of my creation!

~ Mrs. Maroon

FF #10 - Convenience Factor
Waiting on Mini Maroon 2 - Part 2
  1. Comment by Mrs. Frugalwoods — August 31, 2014 @ 6:36 AM

    Sounds like a tasty creation! We clean out the ol’ fridge every week. Our goal right now is not to waste any food, so we end up with some pretty interesting meals :). We did the pantry clean-out thing a few months ago and were shocked at how much stuff we had! Hope you’re having a great long weekend!

    Mrs. Maroon Reply:

    I have made minimizing food waste in our house one of my major challenges this year. I still have some improvements to make, but it is a habit that I am desperately trying to break. I am trying to pare down the pantry also. We have certain staples that I keep replacing, but I’d really like to cut back on what we store in the pantry. Happy Labor Day!

  2. Comment by Mrs. SSC — September 7, 2014 @ 11:35 AM

    Sometimes when we run into this situation – I let my husband play ‘Chopped’. If you haven’t heard of the TV show ‘chopped’ its a cooking show where contestants get some random ingredients, and have to make a dish out of it. So, I’ll pick 3-4 ingredients in the pantry and fridge, and let him use his imagination. Sometimes its good… sometimes not so much. But it does usually help us get rid of those crazy items that we have just sitting around!

    We also have gotten more into meal planning, helps cut down on emergency runs to the store, and also helps us not have as much wasted food, since we also try to buy everything fresh.

    Mrs. Maroon Reply:

    I have also been trying to do a better job of meal planning. Definitely helps reduce those emergency grocery trips. Which is super helpful because I inevitably end up picking up something else that I hadn’t planned on buying. Mr. Maroon tends to be more creative in the kitchen when it comes to piecing together a meal from random ingredients – so I often let him take this role. Plus, what mommy doesn’t like a night off from cooking!

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