Use It Up

Filed under: Money — Savvy Housekeeper at 2:35 pm on Wednesday, October 29, 2008

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
    Chocolate syrup
    Bag of carrots
    Flat tonic water—A challenge to use up, indeed.


    Ribs we barbecued and didn’t finish
    Salmon patties
    Stale bread
    .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.



Comment by Krista

October 29, 2008 @ 2:45 pm

Here’s a suggestion. I can eat whatever you cook when I am there. You are a very good cook so I will do you that favor. Does this help? When will this help you? hmmmm….


Comment by Savvy Housekeeper

October 30, 2008 @ 7:58 am

Yes, you should come over and I will make you things with the chocolate syrup and coconut!


Comment by Julia

November 3, 2008 @ 11:32 am

Somewhere in the back of my mind my brain is screaming at me something about freezing tofu before deep frying it. It makes the texture better, but just for frying. I think. Maybe.


Comment by Savvy Housekeeper

November 3, 2008 @ 1:26 pm

Julia — Really? I hadn’t heard that. I’ll look into it. It might be the way to use up the tofu (I was just contemplating how to do that this morning). Thanks.

Pingback by Savvy Housekeeping » 10 Ways To Cut Your Food Bill

August 23, 2011 @ 2:17 pm

[...] ends into vegetable broth. Find new ways to turn existing food into a different dish. Try a Use It Up Challenge where you list all the extra food in your kitchen and concentrate on, well, using it up. You get [...]

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