Foodie Friday- Leftover Saute

Last Friday I told you guys that I had joined a pantry challenge.  I managed to only grab a gallon of milk mid-week, but I do have a few things I have to grab before I pick the kiddos up.  Most of them are requests from the kids.

  • Orange juice-they were fighting colds for whatever reason last time they were home, and prefer juice to Vitamin C tabs
  • Pudding- chocolate, vanilla, and lemon…. we already have vanilla, so I will grab the other two
  • Tortillas
  • Cheese
  • Honey Bunches of Oats (this will only happen if it is on sale, they have raisin bran, and he will make quesadillas which will work out cheaper)
  • Veggies
  • Vinegar
  • Potatoes

I use vinegar as my principle cleaning agent, so this is actually more for laundry and cleaning than cooking. Mash was requested by my girl child, apparently she doesn’t remember having it a couple weeks ago when she requested it last time, so I need potatoes for that.  At the store I am going to they mark down produce on Tuesdays and Fridays, so I will see what I can find to add some fresh veggies to the plan for the week.  Cheese and tortillas are on the list every time.  Mainly because my son is going to turn into a quesadilla any moment.  He will have a couple for breakfast before walking out the door (even though he could have cereal or any number of other things at school), and then turn around and want that for both after school snack and as a bedtime snack if he isn’t digging into the ice cream.

In case you didn’t know, I think pretty much any mother can tell you that you don’t go into a store hungry.  Or with kids if you can help it.  I do break that last one because after a few years of monthly grocery shops without kids I realized my kids hadn’t actually been in a store in over a year. But I still only take them occasionally.  My goal for today is to make it in and out for less than $25.  This is somewhat arbitrary, but in order to not have to play whack-a-mole with my budget, that is the goal.  I also try to see how fast I can get in and out because the longer you are in, generally the more you spend.  So I just fixed myself what I am calling Leftover Saute to get my belly full, and then I will head out.

Sometimes lunch can be a bunch of stuff thrown in a pan with some seasonings and turn out awesome.

Leftover Saute

1 leftover turnip (diced, but I also took the little sprouting tops off and added those)

1 leftover chicken thigh (skin removed, cut into pieces- skin saved)

1/2 leftover medium onion- diced

2 spiralized carrots- cores were eaten for breakfast this morning, and sprials saved in a bowl of water

2 small kale leaves- fresh from the garden…  is it leftover considering the kale was leftover from last year?

4ish garlic leaves? stalks?  it was the soft tops, not scapes, and not the cloves….

4 spearmint leaves- also picked from the garden today….  the rest of the bunch will probably be dried and used in my morning smoothies

I cut up the chicken into the skillet, put the skin in the toaster oven for 5ish minutes, and then cut the onion and turnip.  I did add a pinch of Pink Himalayan salt, and chicken fat leftover from cooking chicken thighs…  I honestly don’t know if this is schmaltz….  which I understand to be rendered chicken fat, but that is what I have been calling it for ease of labelling.  I used to use bacon grease in these type applications, but am avoiding pork these days.  Anyway,  once those were all melding well I tossed in the lightly squeezed out carrot spirals, and went to pick the stuff from the garden. It just didn’t have enough color.  I did cut those into strips and tossed them in, and basically just let it get good and wilted.  Top with the chicken skin. Then nom, nom, nom…..  why do I automatically see pacman when I use that term?

~Going Green Mom

Pantry Support…. because sometimes things are more fun in groups.

For the month of May I joined a pantry challenge on Happy in the Hollow.  This isn’t the first pantry challenge I have done, but many times I don’t join a group.  I tend to do them when either space or money is tight.  We have a local store that does a Buy 2 Get 3 free sale 3 times a year, and I will typically stock the freezer at that time.  It always helps if there is room in the freezer to do so.

So what is a pantry challenge?  It is a period of time when you make a conscious effort to eat down your pantry instead of buying groceries as you normally would.  This may be in an effort to reduce spending if your budget is stretched that week or month, or it may be to clean out old and forgotten items before they go bad.  Food does eventually do that even if it keeps for a long time, so in order to get the most nutrient value out of it, you want to cycle through the food in your pantry on a regular basis.  Even if you have long term food storage it is a good idea to regularly use that food in your cooking so that you know how to prepare it, and this should be done in a First In, First Out fashion.  This keeps a cycle going so that you are always using the oldest food first, and as you (or if you) replace something it will go behind the oldest of the item you already have.  They make rotation shelves for this, or there are lots of different ways to do it on pinterest…  or you can just pull the old to the front and put the new in the back on your shelf.  Do whatever works for you.

Most people will probably start a pantry challenge by looking at what they have.  Pull things off shelves or out of cupboards, or if you have certain things you know you keep moving around to get to other things— those are prime targets.  The next thing is to set your parameters. Will you buy any groceries during the challenge?  If so, will you limit your budget? Only buy certain items? Only buy things if they are needed to finish a recipe to use something up? In my experience, I will almost always still need to buy milk.  I may or may not need to buy bread or tortillas for the kids (I am gluten free, but they do some cooking for snacks or food while I am at work).  I have tried the buying to recipe approach, but found that it is usually better to ask google for substitutes so that I don’t wind up with another ingredient I wouldn’t normally use for the next challenge.  You also want to think about how long you will do the challenge for.  If you are doing it for financial reasons that might be until you get another paycheck, or the next month.  I will often do a month at a time, unless I am trying to clear a particular location out.  Then I go til the food is gone (hopefully with enough time to clean it before refilling it with the food that has gone on sale).  After you have set your parameters, and you know what you have that needs used up, you are ready to start planning.

Are there obvious meals your family likes you can make with those ingredients?  Can you throw in an extra item in something you know you like to get it used up?  Maybe those last few stalks of celery could get tossed into a sauce or a soup you wouldn’t normally have celery in.  Maybe that canned salmon that you accidentally bought can turn into salmon patties instead of the hamburgers you would normally fix.  Make sense? Great! I will be writing more in this series over the next few weeks, so make sure to check back to see what I am working on. Let me know what you are using up in the comments below!

Wishing you clean shelves and good food,

Going Green Mom