It’s the end of the month, or the end of the week, and you are trying to stretch your groceries to last until your next scheduled grocery trip. When you look through your cupboards, pantry, freezer, and refrigerator, what creative ideas go through your head? What are the snacks you make? Since we just ended a month I thought it would be fun (and informative) for us all to share what we eat when there appears to be “nothing to eat” after rifling through the pantry/freezer/refrigerator drawers, and when our budgets are spent.
In our household, this generally means defrosting meats and leftovers from the freezer, using up long-lasting vegetables (such as butternut squash, onions, carrots, and potatoes), and combing the pantry for canned (pumpkin, tomatoes) and dry goods (rice, orzo, pasta, flour, spices/seasonings etc.). It also means substituting some recipe ingredients for other ingredients we have on hand, getting creative, and spending extra time in the kitchen.
What do we make out of the seemingly mismatched ingredients we have left on hand? It varies, but here are some examples of past meals and snacks:
- Cream of Pumpkin Soup: We substitute milk for almond milk (I drink almond milk, which generally lasts much longer than real milk), and 2 14-oz. cans of chicken broth is substituted with soup base/food seasoning.
- Loaded Baked Potatoes: Usually we have a few potatoes left, so Paul bakes them and adds whatever odds and ends we have in our refrigerator and/or pantry (this changes, but could be butter, sour cream, chili, chives/green onions/onions, the last few slices of bacon, etc.).
- Creamy Broccoli Soup: Whenever we get a head of broccoli and don’t use the entire thing, we freeze it for later use in this recipe. We also substitute the milk for almond milk.
- Side Dish of Stuffing from leftover breads/bread ends/rolls/etc.: I use dried parsley, onions, melted butter, salt and pepper. Yummy!
- Tuna fish (miracle whip, relish, pepper, perhaps onions): If there is no bread left for sandwiches, we use crackers.
- Carrots: Typically we dip these in Ranch Dressing (carrots are a staple item in our kitchen).
- Smoothies: I keep a supply of frozen fruits in the freezer (bananas that ripen before we eat them and bags of frozen fruits). My favorite smoothie consists of one frozen banana, a handful of frozen strawberries, a handful of raspberries, and a splash of almond milk.
- For the sweet tooth I munch on Graham Crackers dipped in any of the following: melted marshmallows, Nutella (admittedly we don’t purchase this often), melted semi-sweet chocolate chips, a leftover container of icing, etc.
- A handful of semi-sweet chocolate chips (also I think this is healthier than eating a candy bar as it has a higher percentage of cocoa).
What snacks and meals do you make when you’ve reached the bottom of the barrel?