The Most Expensive Food...


I read somewhere that the most expensive food in your house is in your garbage can.
Food that you throw away because you got too much or didn’t get around to eating it is wasted food and wasted money.  Maybe you just bought too much, maybe the quality wasn’t good, maybe you didn’t store it carefully. 
Menu Planning
-That’s where having an idea of menus for the next week is a good idea – and I’ve found that I don’t have to plan for 7 days…I designate one day to eat up leftovers or what’s going to waste if we don’t eat it soon.  If you shop on a regular day, the day before is a good day for hunting through the fridge and having a “buffet” meal or soup meal.  I’ve found that preplanning some main dishes keeps us from eating out because I don’t know what to make, and I can thaw or prep some of it ahead of time to make meal-time quicker.  Eggs, now that I can get farm eggs, are an easy go-to meal for us.  I always plan on some simple, quick meals each week because there are always days that get busier than you think.  
Food Storage
-The other thing I do to save on expensive food is to put it away the day I bring it home.  I portion meat in meal size portions and freeze what we don’t plan to eat right away.  I keep a list of the meat I have on hand in the freezer so I can rotate it.  Store perishables like celery and onions carefully, and there is nothing wrong with buying 1 onion or 2 potatoes if you can’t can or dehydrate the extras from a big bag.  I find storing celery wrapped in aluminum foil lasts the longest.
-I keep a dollar store plastic basket of bags of shredded and cubed cheeses in the sizes I usually use them in (like 2-4 ounces) in the refrigerator freezer; I shred them all at once to make my own convenience foods, or split up big sale bags of pre-shredded cheese so they don’t get moldy before I use all of it.
-I buy plain bags of frozen vegetables so I can shake out just what we need – and the small remaining amounts go into soup or on salads.  I can in smaller jars than I used to, because we don’t have any waste that way.
-I keep a miscellaneous basket of things like spaghetti sauce (in 1 cup portions for us), left from opening a big jar or making a big recipe we can’t use all at once, and planned-over rice, cooked black or chili beans, extra bread crumbs, etc.  I look there before I open anything to see if I already have it portioned out.  By keeping them all in the same basket, I don’t have to look far.
-I also keep a freezer basket of cooked meat portioned out - planned-over roast, cooked chicken or turkey, pulled pork, slow-cooker beef and onions, meatballs, etc.  I can make a variety of meals quickly to avoid the fast-food syndrome.
-I often don't bake a whole recipe of cookies, for instance; I portion out the dough and bake them when I need them so they don't get stale.
A little pre-planning can save you a lot of money – and as Grandma said – "Think of all the starving children" – but you don’t have to clean your plate – you just need to prepare less and waste less.

5 comments:

  1. That is so true. Waste food drives me mad. I'm often to be found creating soup from wrinkly vegetables. Might have lost their vitamins but not their taste.

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  2. EXCELLENT post!! I do a lot of the same things. But I don't have a freezer inventory. We were just talking tonight about our chest freezer and how we can't find a thing in it. We need to get it organized - there's no telling what's at the bottom of it and I don't want any of it to go to waste. I need to work on that. Thanks for the tips!

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  3. Yes, wasting food is something I really don't like. It seems like we always have extra food from left overs that no one wants. I have been trying to be better about what goes in the garbage, giving more scraps to our chickens and other food in the compose pile. But, it would be nice if we could get rid of the waste altogether!

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  4. Hi Sue, I’m Anne from Life on the Funny Farm (http://annesfunnyfarm.blogspot.com), and I’m visiting from the barn hop.

    These are great tips! I'm definitely guilty of tossing food sometimes, for some of the reasons you cited here. However, with farm animals, at least it never really "goes to waste", but to feeding the chickens or goats or what-have-you. At least, I always feel better justifying it that way!

    Anyway, it’s nice to “meet” you! Hope you can pop by my blog sometime to say hi…

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  5. Great post!!!!
    Love the thoughts. I'm sending my married daughters over here.

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