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Are you tired of making repetitive trips to the store only to find out that you already had many of those same items in your pantry? If you want to save money on groceries, one of the best things to do is meal plan right from your pantry. Start by going through your pantry and finding out what is in there. After you do this, you can write down a list of recipes that you can prepare from the pantry staples. This is also a good way to get creative in the kitchen. Here are additional ways to plan meals with the foods you have on hand.
Turn Those Canned Vegetables Into a Soup
If you have plenty of canned vegetables, why not make a healthy soup with them? The good thing about soup is that you can put the soup in containers then freeze or refrigerate them for use at a later time. If you have chicken or fish on hand, add this to the soup. My late grandmother used to do this a lot when I was a kid, and to this day I still think about how delicious her soup was.
Prep Your Ingredients Ahead of Time
It also helps to prepare ingredients ahead of time so that on the day of cooking, you won’t need to chop up ingredients. For example, if you’re making meatballs and spaghetti, you can chop up the onions and garlic at least two days before making the dish.
Get Creative with Leftovers
Instead of throwing away leftovers, create new meals from them. If you made cheeseburgers and you have leftover patties, you can put them in barbecue sauce and turn them into barbecued patties. Serve mashed potatoes or any other side dish you have in the pantry. Or if you fixed chili and you have some left over, you can make chili spaghetti with cheese.
Use the Internet and Cookbooks for Inspiration
You might think that planning meals from your pantry has to be boring, but this isn’t true. You can utilize a variety of recipe websites and cookbooks to locate some interesting recipes. A few years ago I came across a random recipe generator website and I found it to be helpful. I’ll give the link to it here, https://www.randomlists.com/random-recipes. This generator links to well-known recipe websites such as Pioneer Woman and AllRecipes.com.
Mix the Savory and Sweet
If you have a combination of savory and sweet food staples in the pantry, combine them to prepare exciting meals. If you have honey and some chicken wings, you can fry the wings and drizzle honey on top of them. Or if you have some canned pineapple, you can add them as toppings for burgers or as part of coleslaw.
Always Stock Pantry With Basics
Another thing you should do is always stock your pantry with essential food staples as this makes meal planning easier. Some pantry essentials include:
- Canned meats and vegetables
- Vegetable or oil
These basic staples provide the foundation you need to cook right from your pantry and reduce unnecessary trips to the store.
Don’t Overspend Because of Kids’ Dislikes
There will be times when the kids won’t like what you cook. But this is no excuse to head to the store and waste money in order to please them. If you’re on a tight budget, you can find a snack or light meal already in the pantry that you know they’ll eat.
In conclusion, with these meal planning tips, you can cook from your pantry and not spend so much money at the store. I also wrote a post a while back called Eat Well on Less Than $200 a Month .
I’m also including my video on this topic: