Wednesday, February 25, 2015

I embark on a Freezer & Pantry Challenge - no grocery shopping allowed!

A confluence of events has lead me to challenge myself to a Freezer & Pantry Challenge. How long can I cook meals in my kitchen without going food shopping?

Thinking of ditching my grocery shopping habit this is what I feel:

But then I thought: 

So this is the question: how creative can I be with all the things in my pantry and freezer? I also include the contents of the fridge, but that is currently pretty empty. 

Why, you wonder. For one, I am tired of all the "fresh" food I purchase going bad in days. Potatoes grow sprouts or shrivel up, lettuce melts into slime overnight. Food in Massachusetts is bleak in February. If I had all the time in the world, I would recommend shopping more often during the week. But for many people, including myself, that is not a reality. Work schedules, car sharing, snow related parking bans, all make grocery shopping less than simple. 

I normally food shop once a week. I went a week ago and decided to skip this weekend's shop in light of challenging myself. 

Two other reasons.
1) My husband rolls his eyes at the amount of food I have in the kitchen and still feel the need to go out an buy more. I like having a good selection and I have this feeling I like to be prepared, like if the zombie apocalypse ever happens. I will be able to barricade myself in my kitchen eating gourmet meals for weeks. If that happens, and you are really nice, I'll share with you.
2) Lets be honest, February was a rough month here for those of us not on salary.  All those snow days don't pay the bills.

Pictures of my pantry before I start. As I was taking these pictures I began to feel that I was really exposing something to you here. Is there such thing as a food hoarder? Do I have that problem? My large upright freezer certainly seems to. Disclaimer: I did not include a photo of my chocolate bin.

Ok, so there are loads delicious summery things in my freezer that totally should be eaten up. I deserve to take on this challenge.

To begin the Pantry Challenge, I had a nice lunch yesterday, Mushrooms, Green Peas & Black Beans. Easy as pie and it took only minutes. For one portion, sauté about 1/2 cup frozen green peas and the same amount of frozen cooked mushrooms in some olive oil. Once they are hot and sizzling add 1/2 a can of organic black beans. Add a pinch of cumin, salt and simmer until hot and steamy. 

The mushrooms give the dish a meaty element. The beans are full of fiber and protein, the peas are green and nutritious. Of course it could be made using fresh ingredients. It is just so fast and easy this way. And a good stand by for those days when you feel like "there is no food in the house." 

Because if your freezer looks like mine...there is. Stay tuned I have a busy week ahead there will be some slow cooker and pressure cooker meals comin' up!

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