Clean Out The Pantry

Recently we decided to give the “Imperfect Produce” service a try. The first box we got was really good, except for the lettuce. The second box had good stuff in it, too, but some of the stuff was on the verge of going bad–so that was a big disappointment. Overall, I wasn’t super happy with it because it felt like pressure to use the produce quickly before it went bad. I don’t mind “ugly” produce (like a weird shape or smaller than normal, etc) but I didn’t want almost too-ripe stuff. It didn’t seem like I was saving any money, either.

So it was a short-lived experiment. But the good news? We got random produce that I normally wouldn’t buy in the store and got to experiment a little bit. For example, we made a fennel salad that was really good.

We used this recipe, Fennel and Endive Salad, as an idea and instead of endive, used kale. I liked the flavor and crunch of the raw fennel. The salad went with a simple skillet dinner. We had carrots and celery, onions and mushrooms to use up so we cooked them in the skillet with chicken and then used a Tikka Masala “simmer sauce” packet I got at the store.

Dinner was pretty good and fairly easy. We’ve been trying to also work through the pantry and use up stuff that’s been in there too long. The simmer sauce packet was one of them. (I have another one for pad thai that I am thinking I will use with carrot or zoodle noodles!).

The reason to “eat through the pantry” was twofold. I was tired of buying stuff each week when we had things in the pantry and it was overflowing. We just needed to be better about eating stuff I buy!

Another “pantry meal” was stuffed peppers. I had a can of “fiesta” corn (corn with red and green peppers) and taco seasoning so I made some ground turkey taco meat and then stuffed the peppers from the imperfect produce box.

Then I topped it with cheese and baked it for 30 minutes.

The flavor was really good. We had salad with it. It was a tasty and filling dinner.

It was also nice to be creative and have something different.

So looking through the pantry now, I see a lot of things that I need to be creative with! Cans of black beans, polenta, cans of Rotel diced tomatoes, lots of refried beans…I’m seeing some bean enchiladas in our future!

What are some of your favorite “clean out the pantry” meals?

6 Responses

  1. We need to do a pantry clean out. We were just talking about that last week. There is falafel mix in there, so that will probably be on our menu 😀 Those peppers look yummy!

  2. The sister to this is – clean out the refrigerator. I have been buying way less and not going back to the store until refrigerator is very nearly empty.

    The other sister is clean out the freezer . . .

    We (husband and I) tend to only eat from the refrigerator and freezer (flash frozen veggies that I add to everything) these days. We eat very simple and very plain.

    Pantry. Grown kids that come and go. They bring friends. I go from empty to full house often. And I keep a stash of things they eat that we do not. Ranch dressing. Refried beans. Soup. Gravy mix. Noodles. Honey. Waffle mix. Soy sauce. Mayonnaise. Etc. Shelf stable until you open. I keep a back up container (dated waaay out) of all kinds of things in the pantry. Because they are very sad if they go to get something that always used to be here and we are out.

    1. Those are excellent tips! We have already been trying to work through the freezer, too. I went through and found a bunch of stuff that I had made too much of (soups and stuff) and the freezer burn was really bad so I got rid of it. We are hoping to make room in the freezer for getting like a quarter of a cow or something.

      1. I have toyed with the idea of keeping a list of the things in the refrigerator. Not the condiments. But the groceries. A list of what needs eaten. So things do not get lost or expire.

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