Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Frugal Challenge-Don't Throw Food Away

It's a new year and with all the fresh starts we are making how about a good look at your pantry and freezer for food that is close to expiring so you save money and don't  throw food away. Not necessarily a fun job but if we are going to really stretch that grocery budget we need to use as much of what we already have so we don't have to buy it again soon.

pantry, cheap food

So here is what I found in my pantry about to expire:
One container of oatmeal
One bottle of ranch dressing
Half bag of chocolate chips and about a third of a bag of butterscotch chips.
One can of creamed corn

In the freezer I found these items that need to be used and are in danger of freezer burn:
Leftover turkey meat from Thanksgiving
Small bag of already cooked ground turkey
Pecans that need to be used
Half a bag of mixed veggies

If I hadn't of checked all these items might have had to be tossed but instead I am working them into this weeks menu.
The shredded turkey will go into a pot of turkey veggie soup with the half bag of mixed veggies.
The can of creamed corn will go into my corn bread to be served along with the soup tonight.
The ground turkey will be mixed in with spaghetti sauce one night for dinner.
I will use the oatmeal to make cookies and throw in the assorted chips and pecans. Yum! I could have missed out on these. I will have oatmeal for several breakfasts and mix it into our pancake batter to use it up quickly. The ranch will be put out with our salads this week and used on wraps we make for lunch. Right here I probably have almost $10 in food that if I had not checked would have been thrown away.

Also, don't forget dairy. If it is nearing the expiration date and you can't use say shredded cheese, then freeze shredded cheese to use later. It melts perfectly and is just a bit crumbly when thawed.


  1. Great idea!Thanks for sharing. I need to get in there and check on things.

  2. My husband is the rotater of the food...he is quite crazy in that regard...and since I changed my shopping habits the last couple years we haven't had hardly any waste...great post...I'm amazed at how much gets thrown out each week by people...and can we really afford to do that?? I think not!!Have a great day!!

  3. I have already done my freezers, but really need to do my pantry. Thanks for reminding me. Great suggestions.

  4. Good idea to check the groceries...
    I hate having to toss food.
    This is a good reminder.

  5. Really and truly, there are probably a lot of things each of us can do today, just like saving by using food in your freezer and cupboards.
    We've all gotten used to always having plenty, so that it's not a big deal to throw perfectly good food out.
    Thank you for the reminder. Cindy

  6. Hi Elaine I saw you on Wow Us Wednesday and here I am. I am so impressed with what you're doing with your expiring dated foods. You are my kind of cook. And everything sounds delicious. You've inspired me to go check mine now.

    I am a brand new blogger of just 7 weeks and am enjoying finding creative food people like yourself. I am now going to follow you. Thanks for the frugal ideas. Way back when Phil Donahue was the big day time show in the early
    90s I was on it for being a frugal tightwad. It was a fun experience. Looking forward to more of your delightful blog.


  7. Love that you are using up your expiring foods. There is so much food that goes thrown out in this country. Such a waste. When we do that we might as well save the time to shop for it and the gasoline to get it by just burning the dollar bills.

  8. I am kind of doing the same thing here. I am trying to cook through the freezer. And use what is in the pantry!!! It is hard!!

  9. This is smart. I actually did the same thing this week. I purposed not to go buy groceries until I had used as much as I could from my cabinets. Amazing how much room I cleared out without throwing anything away.
    Happy New Year!

  10. We waste so much food, great you are making the most of your, Laura

  11. A few of those are perfect to make granola bars :)
    Oatmeal, chocolate chips, pecans! those are perfect to fix some homemade granola as well. It would be delicious with a few chocolate chips mixed with it... :)

  12. Great idea. I need to do this more often, although we don't throw out much food around here, it gets eaten up too quickly :)

  13. I need to do this more often...I am especially guilty at throwing produce away since my husband's not a fan of most veggies but I buy them for me and for our toddler son to (hopefully) eat. I usually end up overbuying and then they go bad before I can eat them all. I've been making more of an effort to stick veggies in the freezer after a few days if I don't think I'm going to use them right away, but I know I could be doing more. Thanks!

  14. Great ideas! I have so many leftovers from the holidays, I need to rethink how to use them. Thanks for sharing.~Sara

  15. I had no idea that Oats had an expiration date.
    I keep my chocolate chips and that sort of thing in the freezer and they never go bad before useage. Just an idea.

  16. Hi Elaine,
    This is such a good time of year to be doing this. Too cold for me to be outside, so I've been doing some reorganizing. I've been taking stock of what's left in the freezer and pantry. Rearranging shelves, etc. You've reminded me to check the expiration dates on things like oatmeal, etc. Thanks a bunch!

  17. I hate to waste food and you are very resourceful and have opened my eyes, I'm about to check the pantry to see what I'll be cooking for dinner tonight!

  18. Thanks for sharing this! I will check my pantry and fridge tomorrow too. Visiting from My ROmantic Home.

  19. We love Pantry Diving!! Great ideas..Love it! Thanks for linking up! Check out my giveaway....

    XO, Aimee