As I struggled to find room in our kitchen for my latest grocery purchases, I realized that our “pantry” is overflowing. Of course, having a (tiny) European kitchen dictates that by “pantry” I in no way mean a separate closet just for dry food (and shame on those of you who complain about their kitchens while they have a walk-in closet for their pasta). But alas, every cupboard and drawer seemed to be full of food. So if that was true, why did I just drop 300 euros on…well…more food?!
Also in the back of my head is that we are only in Basel for five more weeks! In just over a month’s time, movers will come and pack up my home and ship it all to the US of A. As I contemplated having Apple Inc. pay to relocate my 12 super-sized bags of bowtie pasta overseas, I figured it was time to get creative.
And so begins the Pantry Challenge! Over the next four weeks, I will set out to use as much of our pantry food as possible. Not only will I save the hubby’s new company a few bucks in shipping costs, I’m looking forward to taking a chunk out of our excessive grocery budget.
If you can think of a reason you’d like to pocket a few hundred bucks this month, why not join me?
1. Make a list of all the items you have in your cupboards, pantry, and freezer.
Our European freezer is all of 1 cubic foot…so that one was pretty easy.
2. Decide what items you will still purchase in the month.
For us, we will still buy fresh produce, meat, dairy and eggs but I will be making all our bread in order to use up my backlog of bread flours.
3. Write down your usual monthly grocery budget and your goal for the coming month.
We typically spend 1,200 Swiss francs per month and I hope to trim it by 500 francs.
4. Create a meal plan, one week at a time.
This should help with how you’re going to start using up those mish-mash of ingredients. Not sure what to make with a random combination? Visit AllRecipes.com and search by ingredients. I have found some of our favourite meals this way! To find the best recipes once you have searched by the ingredients on hand, click the “by rating” filter so that you can see the top-rated recipes first.
If you decide to join me, let me know in the comments section and please keep me posted on your progress! I’ll be doing weekly updates to keep a running tally of the budget and to let you know if my family has started protesting against spaghetti yet.