Is it time to clean out your fridge, freezer, and pantry? Here are some ideas for what to make!
I super love to grocery shop. Scratch that. I love to have a grocery store in my own house. I’m not actually such a huge fan of going into the store and buying all the food. After all, one cart is usually not big enough for my family anymore. And the new self-checkout at Walmart with a heaping cart of groceries? IT IS JUST TOO MUCH.
Here’s a picture of the final time I shopped and bagged my own groceries before finding some different/better options!
My current favorite ways to buy groceries are:
- Load up at Costco (their carts are Coppinger-sized and I only go there once each month)
- Enjoy Walmart Pickup (the most amazing invention since Walmart was invented)
- Order groceries from Amazon to be delivered to my door
I said something about having a grocery store in my house?
What I mean is, I try, if possible, to have just about every common grocery item in my house at all times. This means I can make just about any meal or snack food we need or want without having to run out to the store. I can just go to my store room and grab what we need. Or I can look around my food storage and plan meals and snacks based on what we have.
I don’t take it for granted that I can do this. I am incredibly thankful for storage space, extra fridge and freezers, and the financial ability to stock up regularly.
I almost never let our food supply get depleted as this actually costs more money and takes more work in the long run. Every few months though, I feel like I should challenge myself to use up some of the forgotten and neglected food that has been stuffed into the back of our pantry and freezers.
You know what I’m talking about, right? Those random half-packages of pasta. The meat that was on sale and sounded good at the time but is now almost freezer-burned. The jars of peaches we canned two summers ago and are somehow saving for a rainy day?? Just eat ’em already, right?
If you need some motivation to clear out some of your hidden and neglected food, I thought I’d share what I did recently in an effort to use up some miscellaneous groceries that I didn’t want to go bad.
Clean Out the Fridge, Freezer, and Pantry: What to Make
1. Creative Casserole
Listen, you may never make a casserole like this again, so hopefully, your family doesn’t love it so much that they ask you to duplicate it every week. But when cleaning out the fridge, if you take some kind of pasta or rice, some kind of meat, and some kind of sauce and mix it together, it’ll probably taste pretty good. And you can call it “Creative Casserole.” These are truly a favorite around here.
If you have a half tub of cottage cheese or sour cream in the fridge to stir in, that’ll probably be good too. Shredded cheese? Yes, please.
And just like that, you’ve used up a few neglected food items, saved some money, and fed your family a tasty meal!
2. Trail Mix
If you have any assortment of nuts and dried fruit, you can dump them all into a bag or bowl and voila. You have trail mix. It’s a great snack for everyone to enjoy – even for breakfast!
3. Omelets, Breakfast Casseroles, or Scrambles
And speaking of breakfast, or even lunch or dinner – why not grab out the tidbits of this veggie and that meat to scramble with eggs? Or if you’re feeling fancy, make omelets! If you have frozen meats, cheeses, and veggies to use up, omelets or scrambles are a fun way to use them up! Or stir them into a Breakfast Casserole like this.
4. Saucy Meat in the Crockpot
This is one of my favorite ways to use up two items: Sauce and Meat.
You can hardly go wrong, and you should trust me on this because I am the queen of grabbing the tail end of three different kinds of sauces from my fridge, pouring them all on a roast or package of chicken, and slow cooking it in my crockpot. It always turns out good – no matter what combination of sauce I use.
Then the shelves on the door of my fridge that hold our sauces become less cluttered. The meat in my freezer has been put to good use. And my family has a great meal!
I often have several bags of frozen fruit in my freezers, and using them up really frees up space! I’ve found that you really can’t go wrong by throwing any combination of fruits into a blender for a smoothie. So go ahead. Dump in the oranges with the grapes with the blueberries with the bananas. It’ll be great and your freezer will be less cluttered!
Collect all of the miscellaneous fresh vegetables in your fridge that have started to shrivel up: broccoli, carrots, squash, mushrooms, sweet peppers, etc. Rinse them, chop them, and make your family a delicious stir-fry side dish. Bonus points if you chop up some leftover cooked meat like steak, roast, or chicken to stir in to make this a main dish!
7. Pie, Crisp, or Cobbler
If you had great intentions during a fall harvest and froze fruit like apples, peaches, or berries – dig them out now and make a special dessert! Since it IS fruit and it MIGHT be topped with oats, you could MAYBE even make it for a special breakfast. :) Here’s my cobbler recipe. Here’s my fruit pie recipe. Here’s my fruit crisp recipe. Use them with any fruit you have!
What other great ideas do you have to share?!