I made a decision a couple weeks ago to cut back on my food shopping. The amount of food in my cupboards was insane and I've been in the bad habit of going to the grocery store and buying things I don't really need, but might need in the future when I have a perfectly good and well stocked pantry. In the past few days I have made the following meals:
1) Chicken and Vegetable stir fry with Hoisin Sauce-the leftovers made into a second meal with the addition of some Singapore Noodles I had in the cabinet.
2) Nachos-using up some salsa, really bad fake cheese sauce, sour cream, pickled jalapenos I made last month, refried beans, enchilada sauce, onions and tomatoes. I did buy the Nacho chips at Aldi, that I will admit, but I had a HUGE craving for them. I still have half a bag at home, the craving passed after I made the nachos.
3) African Peanut Stew/Soup-made entirely with items from my cupboard and I got to use some of the extra veg I had sitting around. I got the recipe for this dish from A Year of Crockpotting (I have really become enamoured of my old crock pot this year-mainly because I've been lazy, this is the easy way to cook a bunch of meals). I've made a similar dish in the past, but thought I'd try this one. It was really good!
I did a small shop for fresh fruit and veg last week, got a load of vegetables from the reduced produce section of the store on the premise I was going to roast or grill them and use them for sandwiches or on pasta. I just did not feel like dicing, slicing, marinating, and grilling on Sunday and instead of letting the vegetable become part of my mulch pile, I used my brain, did five minutes of on line research (ie- I read a couple blogs) and voila`, a ton of meals with very little effort.
I still have a ton of food (and yes that is my freezer) that can be re-purposed into meals. All it takes is being a bit creative and I've made some pretty darned good meals with just the items I have on hand. Granted this is a bit easier if you have a well stocked pantry with the basics, not so easy if you are not in the habit of cooking or really don't like to cook. My friends who don't like to cook don't understand why I have both sweet and hot paprika or the difference between chili powder and cayenne pepper.
I am looking forward to my next adventure in cooking based on what's in the pantry, fridge and freezer.