Monday, February 4, 2013

New frugality and the Pantry Challenge, February 2013

Having realized that the Congressional delay on solving the budget issue (a.k.a. "Fiscal Cliff") has resulted in a reduction of my monthly paycheck of $400 (#*%@!), I am definitely working this  month as a Pantry Challenge.

Good pantry:

The good news is that I have a ridiculously stocked pantry and freezer, due to my greed and fear of waking up in a world with no more grocery stores. Or something like that.

Bad pantry:

Thus far, I've been able to make the following without adding anything but on-sale produce last week and for this coming week:
  • lentil soup, using lentils & canned tomatoes from the pantry, bacon from the freezer, and seasonings (including red wine) from the herbs/spices cabinet;
  • chicken-artichoke lasagna, without the lasagna noodles, so really a kind of chicken-artichoke casserole, using chicken breasts from the freezer and a can of artichoke hearts from the pantry;
  • poached pears, using same red wine, spices, and three on-sale pears;

  • chicken-eggplant-tomato stew, a variation of Mediterranean cuisine incorporating on-sale eggplant and freezer chicken (whole chicken cooked in crockpot and used in this dish, plus lunch salads, omelets, and more to come all this week);
  • blueberry-oatmeal breakfast bars, using frozen berries, bulk oatmeal,  milk and an egg (all on-hand);
  • soup from boxes, based on sale I mashed up a month ago, where my favorite organic box soups were discounted; potato-leek, carrot-ginger, butternut, potato-garlic.  
Since each of these dishes (including the boxes) produced 3+ meals, the cost is minimal (especially if everything is on-hand) and life becomes simple, even on nights when I come home exhausted from battling for the life of the mind (harder than it sounds!).

My goal is to spend less than $40/week on my groceries: that doesn't sound unreasonable, but in fact thanks to impulse shopping and the greed-fear combo, I usually end up spending $15-$20 more per week.

I'd rather not.

So now I'm on the prowl, so to speak, with my groceries. This week, I spent $30, which is great, but partly because I put back everything I already had -- even if it isn't abso-poso fresh -- and determined to man up about what is already in the pantry-fridge-counter.

I'll keep you in the loop.

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