Over the past week, I’ve been following Kim O’Donnel’s “Eating Down the Fridge” challenge with interest. We’ve been finding ourselves cutting back on our food budget lately due to tight finances, so it’s been interesting watching people making meals out of the food they already have.
Out of curiosity, I took a quick survey of the nooks and crannies of our own fridge and pantry. We have some ancient pierogies in the freezer (which I keep meaning to cook for lunches one of these days), a few different kinds of frozen veggies, a wealth of pastas, some canned veggies, and a handful of interesting soups. We tend to only buy as much meat and produce as we need for a specific week, so the only fresh veggies that are hanging around are a few potatoes, two onions, some browning lettuce leaves and a lone grapefruit. We did have some leftover bacon, but that’s made its way into the freezer.
I did find some interesting things, though.
* A bag of red lentils. This amuses me. We’ve been eating more beans lately, because they are cheap and nutritious, and I have been making heavy use of red lentils. To think, all this time we had a bag of red lentils hiding in the back of the cupboard!
* A bag of mixed-bean chili mix. This is vintage, to be sure. Dave got this at some point before we were married. Still – it’s just dried beans. The worst that could have happened to it was the spices lost their flavour and I’ll have to supplement.
* A box of Hamburger Helper. I actually found this a week ago when I was moving some boxes around in the pantry. It’s old, but we might as well use it. (Bleah. Those things always seem too salty to me.)
* Tons and tons and tons of wild rice. We have so much wild rice. I think I could feed an army with it. I have no idea where it all came from. Every time I thought I’d found all of the wild rice that could possible be in the cupboard, I found another bag hiding behind the corn starch.
* A soup mix (“just add peanut butter!!”) for some Thai soup. Another mystery mix that I don’t remember buying. I am amused that it calls for just peanut butter on the front of the package, but the first step in the instructions is “Cut up ox-tails.”
I don’t know how much of this we’ll be able to use this week, since I don’t like cooking “unknown” things on weeknights. Time is sometimes an issue in our evening schedules, and I don’t always have the luxury of spending three hours messing around with an unfamiliar recipe. Still, I’d like to at least make a dent in the wild rice. If I don’t show it who’s boss, it might try to take over.