Every year around this time, I go through my pantry and write a list of the food I need to use up. I find this does three things:
1. It keeps food from going to waste, which in turn saves me money
2. It clears up space, making food storage more organized
3. It makes me learn new dishes
This year, the list is long. I’m almost embarrassed by how long. I was surprised how much food people have given me for one reason or another. I also have a lot of leftovers from the garden, which is the downside of having such a great yield. The other explanation for the unused food is that I tend to buy an ingredient for a dish I’m making and let the rest sit in my cupboard.
Here’s the list, for the heck of it:
- 1 c Barley
.25 c soy flour—I got it for a dish I was making and then didn’t use it.
Instant oatmeal–Someone gave this to me. I am not a fan of instant oatmeal, but it seems like it should be used.
.75 c dried cranberries
.24 c golden raisins
2 cans olives
Blackberry tea—“Blackberry tea!” I thought. “That sounds good.” It wasn’t.
1.5 c coconut
1 c walnuts
1 sample of microwavable hamburger helper I got in the mail.
Half a box falafel
1 can chicken noodle soup—I have no idea where this came from. I make my own chicken broth, so….
- Container of orange juice—I don’t usually drink juice, so I’ll have to find another use for it.
A container half-n-half–Going to go bad soon…
Sprigs of mint
Tomatoes from the garden
Leeks from the garden
Zucchini from the garden
Grapes someone brought me
Bag of carrots
Flat tonic water—A challenge to use up, indeed.
- Ribs we barbecued and didn’t finish
.75 c Coconut milk
Most of a can of chickpeas
Minestrone soup a friend made
Two Boca patties
Frozen tofu—I discovered tofu doesn’t freeze well, so I’ll have to use it as a substitute
Lemon curd I made last winter
I’m starting tonight by using the soy flour, barley, and carrots in Alton Brown’s Barley and Lamb Stew. Beyond that, if you have any suggestions on how I can use any of the above up, I’d love to hear it.