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Meal Planning and Pantry Cooking

January 13th, 2007 at 08:48 pm

Ive been trying to plan some meals for the next week or so, but its very difficult for me.

I cant exactly make a meal plan of whatever sounds good and then run to the store. Being in the middle of nowhere means that there isnt much available in the 2 little stores here in the village.

So, instead, I have to do a full pantry inventory, and then make a meal plan from that.

Which isnt helped by the fact Ive found several recipes lately that sound really yummy. But I cant try any of them, because the store in town doesnt have half of the stuff we need for them!

Anyone have any suggestions for organizing the pantry? I hate doing that even more than i hate washing dishes!

6 Responses to “Meal Planning and Pantry Cooking”

  1. denisentexas Says:

    Hmmm, you don't know what you have on hand without a full inventory? Sounds like you need to do a full inventory ASAP, put it into list form or in a spreadsheet, print it and keep it taped on the inside of a cupboard door or some other place and mark items off as you use them. Then you should be able to tell at a glance what you have.

    How much space do you have for organizing?

    This is pretty much how I do it but I don't keep flour and sugar in containers. I keep them in the deep freeze along with corn meal and grains. I also don't have the shelves labeled but I know just about where every item is whether its in the cupboard, fridge, freezer, or large pantry.


  2. alianora Says:

    Oh, I have a pretty good idea of what I have on hand, but with some of the stuff that the last occupant left here, and randomly getting packages from Brandus's parents with odd cans of things, Im not ENTIRELY sure of most of the canned goods, besides what I know WE bought. Like beans and corn. And the more stuff I KNOW we have, the closer I can get to planning around those things. Smile

  3. pjmama Says:

    I group my like items in my cupboards... baking supplies, rice and grains, bread and bagels, sauces, spices. I also keep a list of everything in my "pantry" and my fridge and cross things off as I use them. I find it pretty easy to eat out of the pantry alone and only go to the store for certain produce and such whenever I can.

  4. LuxLiving Says:

    I'd say that because your local stores don't carry everything and other shopping is much farther away, it is all the more reason for you to menu plan.

    Sit down w/your husband and brainstorm meals you like to eat. Try to list 31 of them.

    Break them down by ethnicity if you have to - all Mexican meals together, all Italian meals, Chinese, etc. Have a week of those kinds of meals together is one method of planning. Lots of them will have similar ingredients making it less expensive than trying to have 7 different cuisines in one week.

    Another way to plan is to do basically what I do and that is plan around a staple: 1 rice meal, 1 pasta meal, 1 meat meal, 1 fish meal, 1 junk meal, 1 leftover night, 1 bean meal.

    Some families do 2 two week menu plans. Plan A and Plan B. They rotate them every two weeks and preprint the grocery shopping list for each. They then check their pantry for ingredients on hand and then shop for the rest.

    Hope some of this helps. Try to get at least a week of menus together w/a shopping list and keep it somewhere so that you could grab and run to store when pressed for time.

  5. LuxLiving Says:

    Have you looked at websites like this?


    For some people spending the money to get a menu plan that someone else has done is money well spent. I've not used this but loads have and rave about it.

  6. alianora Says:

    Oh, we did savingdinner when we werent in Alaska. But, honestly, we only found 4 or 5 recipes that both of us REALLY liked. Plus, she often requires things we CANT get. And I cant get into Anchorage to go shopping until Feb 12. So, Im trying to think of ways to plan while in between trips.

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