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Friday, November 13, 2009

Meals from my Pantry, Fridge & Freezer

Our bills this month are substantial, because I finally paid some of the big hospital bills, we had to buy a big boy bed for Tyler, and some insurance premiums and property taxes are due. The insurance and tax bills are taken care of by our infrequent bills account (easily one of my top 10 best financial decisions ever), but I still hate to see our savings dip so much in one month. So I've decided to cook mostly from what's already on hand. I'll still hit the stores every week for loss leaders and perishables, but for the most part, our grocery bill should be less than half of what it usually is for the rest of the month.

I tried to vary my menu, and some of the things I keep on hand may surprise you. But I hope my list sparks a few ideas for your own menu. (Note: I always put a small serving of the entree on the boys' plates, but they rarely eat more than a few bites. I'm okay with that. They get enough to eat at dinner through fruit and starches, and they generally have substantial lunches so they're in no danger of not getting enough calories. I think it's good for them to be exposed to the type of food that Marc and I are eating, and figure that e-v-e-n-t-u-a-l-l-y they will come around.)

Our November Menu:

Butternut squash risotto with scallops - I have a large squash that I'm going to use this weekend; the scallops are already in the freezer

Butternut squash and potato gnocchi, using Cheap Healthy Good's recipe as a starting point

Baked rotini with meat sauce - I have some ground beef in the freezer, and an open jar of pasta sauce that needs to be used up

Potato & Pancetta Frittata - I am going to experiment with freezing the five pounds of potatoes sitting on my counter, and use some leftover diced pancetta that's already in the freezer, using my own Spanish tortilla recipe as a starting point

Potato & Shrimp Frittata, using frozen shrimp

Homemade pizza

Pasta Puttanesca - I always have anchovies in my pantry

Slow Cooker Chili, using more frozen ground beef

Pan Bagnat

Tuna Melts

Tuna Noodle Casserole

Tuna Pasta Salad, although now I leave out the pine nuts for allergy reasons

Chicken Nachos, using frozen chicken

Beef Tacos, using frozen beef

Of course, there's Thanksgiving to think about. I don't have to cook the turkey, but I will be making a couple of side dishes and at least one dessert!

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