Friday I updated my pantry index, and it got me thinking. I do this pretty regularly — but I still base my menu on what I see on websites, blogs and in magazines and not what’s in my pantry.

Vegetables still go bad in my rotter, and milk products go bad in their containers in my fridge. So this week I’m going to try and put my idea into practice.

Using the data
So, I have my hastily written list in my planner. Now I have to use the data. Here it is thrown into a table – without much thought or planning, it is at least a start.

Day Servings Type Cooking Method
Saturday 6 Dinner out
Sunday 3.5 Cooked chicken Roast/Easy
Monday 2 Black beans Easy
Tuesday 2 Soy-Ginger steak Easy
Wednesday 6 Lentils Crock-pot
Thursday 2 cooked pork loin Easy
Friday 6 Meatball soup Crock-pot

The above is all stuff I have in my fridge/freezer. Now, using that along with the salad, potatoes, frozen vegetables, and rice I have in my pantry–I now have to come up with a menu.

I used google and SuperCook to find recipes that would use the leftovers and limit the other ingredients I have to buy. All told it took about 2 hours. Ug!

Day Servings Type Cooking Method
Saturday 6 Dinner out
Sunday 3.5 Sante Fey Chicken and salad with vinagrette
Monday 2 Supper Huevos Rancheros, salad & vinagrette Easy
Tuesday 2 Soy-Ginger steak & baked potato wedges Easy
Wednesday 6 Lentil patties Baked Trout and steamed vegetables
Thursday 2 Pork Burritos Easy
Friday 6 Meatball soup Quick

Last, but not least is the grocery list. If I did this right I won’t need to buy much.

Grocery List

  • Taco sauce (Sunday:Sante Fey Chicken)
  • Sour cream (Sunday:Sante Fey Chicken, Thursday:Pork Burritos)
    Tortillas (Thursday:Pork Burritos)
  • Monteray Jack cheese (Monday:Super Huevos Rancheros, Thursday:Pork Burritos)
  • Romain lettuce (1 head)
  • 6 pieces of Fruit (lunches)
  • 1 tin diced tomatoes (Friday, Meatball Soup)
  • 1 lb mixed Dried fruit (To make oatmeal bars)
  • Skim milk
  • 2% milk

What worked & what didn’t
I’ll update this (somehow) through the week.
I blew my budget. Seems I’ll have to pay more attention to the snacks and extras I pick up when I go shopping.

  • Sante Fey Chicken – too much acid. I need to modify the recipe somehow (use less salsa and more taco seasoning). The recipe is a great casserole for using up leftover chicken. It’s easy to make and smells terrific when baking.
  • Huevos Rancheros. Seved them open faced (to the other) and rolled like a burrito to me. I scrambled the eggs and made fresh salsa and black bean sauce to go with the meal. Unfortunately the avocado’s were well past saving, so I couldn’t make guacamole. It worked very well; then again breakfast for dinner usually does.
  • Tuesday. Forgot to take the steak out to thaw. Had La Commensale’s vegetarian pea soup instead. It’s a deli soup (bought in plastic, ready to heat and serve). Served it with whole wheat baguette. It made a great dinner for a cold night.
  • Baked trout and lentil cakes. Maybe it’s just the nature of lentil cakes–but these came out really dry. I added salsa to the mix to give them some taste and served them with a red curry sauce and no-fat sour cream. The sauce was way too hot for even the sour cream to tame. I put a dijon mustard and thyme coating over the fish. Smelled divine, but I put too much coating on and most of it was scraped off at dinner. Looked really good though. I’m definitely doing this one again (but with less sauce on the fish, and a better lentil cake recipe).

21 Feb 2008. Updated: The What worked & what didn’t section for the week.