Friday, March 8, 2013

Meal Planning: Shopping from Your Pantry

If you're like me and until now haven't been very conscientious about meal planning and grocery shopping, you probably find you have a lot of canned or boxed food in your pantry that needs to be used.  Though I planned a March Meal Plan, I decided to replace next week's meals with recipes that utilize as many of my on-hand ingredients as possible.  I started by pulling everything out of the pantry: pasta, rice, boxed goods/mixes, canned goods, and then pairing items I thought would be found in recipes together.  With the help of All Recipes Ingredient search tool, I was able to plan FOUR of my dinners for next week, use all of these items, and only shop for three additional ingredients I was missing! (Note: we have a small deep freeze in the basement where I keep meat on hand, so I didn't have to purchase any meat for these recipes!)

So replacing the meals I have on my menu for next week, here's what I came up with:

Hearty Hamburger Stew
Ingredients on hand: hamburger, onions, barley, diced tomatoes, beef broth, carrots, spices
Need to purchase: celery, tomato soup

Pork Chop and Rice Casserole
Everything on Hand but the pork chops

Pizza Pasta Bake
Everything on hand

Tuna Noodle Casserole
Everything on hand

If you haven't shopped from your pantry prior to meal planning, I highly recommend it.  You'll be amazed at what you already have on hand, and you'll be discouraged from getting take out.  My husband's thrilled at how this will save on our grocery budget this week, and I'm thrilled that my shopping will take half as long.  

Have you shopped from your pantry before?  Take a peek..what meals were you able to come up with?

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