Have you ever had one of those moments where you realize that your pantry, fridge and freezer are full and yet it feels like you can't find anything to eat? Yeah. Well, I decided that we needed a massive clean-out and instead of throwing a bunch out, I was determined to use what we already have.
My first task was making a list of every item of food in those three areas. It was a tedious task (thank you, nap time), but was going to help my meal planning. I also enlisted the help of an awesome website: www.supercook.com where you can actually enter the foods you have, and it will create recipes using your ingredients. Um, yes please!
The first week, I was able to come up with my own ideas because I had a lot to work with, but after that, it was alllll supercook. Well, and let's be honest, much of my freezer stuff was already made, so it involved simple heating on the stove top. Win for me!
Here's what we have:
Week One Dinners:
Monday--Tikka Masala chicken over couscous with grilled asparagus
*Dice 4 chicken breasts, coat in flour and cook them through on the stovetop. While that's cooking, dice peppers (I used yellow, but it would be good with any type), and onion and grill them separately. Combine the veggies and chicken and pour thai sauce over mixture, bringing to a boil and then cover and simmer for 8-10 minutes. I used the brand of sauce pictured below, but there are tons to choose from. Check your pantry! This is all about using what you have! When the sauce is done, pour over couscous, top with cilantro and serve! I had leftover grilled asparagus from last night's dinner that I simply reheated. It was still really yummy.
Tuesday--Grilled shrimp tacos
*Okay, friends, this might be one of my favorite meals yet. I had frozen shrimp that needed to be used up, so I defrosted them and then coated in -------. I stuck them on skewers and grilled on the BBQ for about 3-4 minutes on each side. Meanwhile, I grabbed an avocado, red onion, romaine lettuce and cilantro and diced it all up. Combine it all with the shrimp, on a flour tortilla (you could use corn or any kind you have on hand), crunch up some tortilla chips, drizzle ranch dressing and that's it. Super duper easy. And SO good.
Wednesday--Trader Joe's Kung Pao Chicken over white rice
*This meal (and tomorrow night's meal) didn't really involve much cooking. In fact, it felt a lot like cheating. I had a few freezer meals that need to be used up, so, naturally, we gobbled them right up! This meal came from Trader Joe's. One of my very favorite places to shop....just wish I didn't have to drive 45 minutes to the nearest one! Grrrr. I followed the directions on the package for cooking and made some jasmine rice to serve with it. I kid you not, every single drop of this meal was gone and all 5 members of my family (besides me) were begging for more. It was that good. I really wish I'd cooked it from scratch. Just incase you ever want a super yummy and easy dinner meal, here's what it looks like. We give it a 5 star rating!
Thursday--Garlic chicken pasta
*Alright, now I'm feeling a little guilty about this whole post, because I'm letting you in on my little secret, that much of this week came from my freezer and not my magnificent cooking skills. Ha! Although, I'm going to give you another recommendation for a great freezer meal...this time from Costco. And it worked out great for this week because our 6-year old had 4 baseball games and they all started at 6pm. Say what?! What kid needs to play that much baseball in the summer?? Anyway, I didn't even have to make a side to go with it. I followed the directions on the bag and then served with leftover garlic bread. This meal is always a winner in our house. And, for the record, you can get two full meals out of one bag. And that's saying a lot, coming from a family of 6.
Friday-- Pizza (I was out of town...thank you, hubby, for the elaborate and nutritious meal for our children).
*I'll spare you a picture because I think we all know what pizza looks like. Suffice to say, my kids loved it.
Eating what we have.....is going well. The kids have eaten everything and the hubs has been pretty impressed. A few of my dishes were declared "the best ever"! I'm still buying groceries, but only the perishables and toiletries. And with four kids, we can use all the savings we can get. ;-)
My next question, is how long will this last? I'm wondering at what point we will run out of enough ingredients we'll need to make a dish. I'm sure I'll have to be mighty creative in the last few days! Wish me luck.