Sunday, June 21, 2009

Budget Stretcher: Eating from your Freezer

We planned a trip last week to The Creation Museum, and at the last moment our free room and board fell through.

After a quick regrouping, a check on our budget, and a google search for affordable hotels in the area we managed to make the trip.

As a consequence, our food budget is slim this week.

I decided to challenge myself to only get a few basics and see if I could feed us from our freezer pantry for the next ten days.

Surprisingly, I think it's doable.

Here's what I did:

1. Make a list of everything in your freezer and pantry. You can't cook it, if you don't know you have it.

2. Break this list down into categories like: Proteins (meats), sides, basics, breads, and pantry. You should start to see possible meal combinations come together.

3. If you have an ingredient and not sure how to use it check for recipes online. My favorite is Recipezaar.

4. Make up a menu, and note ingredients that you don't have on another sheet of paper (this becomes your shopping trip).

5. Plug your meals into your calendar. For example, Wednesday is very busy for us so I am not going to try to make something complicated or too time consuming that day.

6. See what you can make from scratch without buying. This week, I saw that I would need tortillas. I could purchase some, but I also found a recipe to make homemade ones. I'm going to try that.

7. Plan to repurpose leftovers, even if it's just for lunch the next day. If you make a roast chicken one evening, try making chicken enchiladas later in the week with the leftover meat.

These are the meals that I came up with to get us by until payday:


*Fantastic Beef and Broccoli Lo Mein
*Ground Pork Tacos, Corn and Spanish Rice
*Carribean Chicken Breast, Quinoa, Normandy Blend Veggies
*Greek Style Roasted Chicken Legs, Potatoes and Capers, Crusty Bread, and Brussel Sprouts
*Sloppy Lentils, Homemade Hamburger Buns, Corn Coblets
*Chicken Pot Pie and Salad
*Brown Beans, Corn Bread, and Fried Potatoes
*Creole Kidney Beans, Rice
*Chicken Stir Fry, Rice
*Tuna Salad on Homemade Bread
This was my first time participating in I'm an Organizing Junkie Menu Plan Monday, peek into other menus on her site every Monday.


  1. That all sounds great, I definitely need to go through my freezer to organize it and figure out what I can make from everything inside of it because I'm sure there's a lot! You should check out springpad's weekly meal planner, it's a great way to organize all of your menus and recipes (like this one, yum! and I think you'd really like it.

    Rachel @ springpad

  2. Sounds like a great plan, and I like your menu planning tips. Welcome to MPM!

    How did you like the Creation Museum? I was just making scrapbook pages of our last visit.

  3. I have two weeks of pantry-only meals that I wrote which require nothing from the fridge or freezer. I then wrote 4 months of meals (one for each season) that include things in my freezer and what is seasonal in my garden.

    We can't always count on getting paid; sales fall through at the last minute, sales aren't always enough to cover buying food (sometimes for months at a time), or we don't have ANY sales. (My husband is in Real Estate).

    Having meals written up really helps us.


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