The last time I really grocery shopped was the week before Christmas.
Sure, I snagged a gallon of milk or bunch of bananas here and there, but, really? I’ve been out of the stores for a LONG time, now.
This is very evidenced by my pantry and fridge.
I realized on New Year’s Day that we were already scraping the bottom of the barrel around here, but ALDI is closed that day and I didn’t really want to shop on the holiday, anyhow. The next day was Friday the 2nd and, to be honest, it was our first day of holiday break that didn’t involve SOMETHING on the agenda, so I really wanted to just let the kids loll around in their PJs and be lazy if they wanted. And then the weekend arrived. Let me just tell you– I am NOT a weekend shopper, for the most part. Crowded chaos really, really affects me and makes me feel overwhelmed, so I try hard to shop on mid-weekday mornings. Finally, I worked from 8:00 – 3:30 in the school yesterday, then took G. to gymnastics from 4:00 – 5:00, then rushed home for supper and off in the other direction to do karate with my bigs from 6:30 to 8:00. Needless to say– shopping didn’t happen!
So, here we sit. It is Tuesday morning and the food supply just keeps dwindling. I *do* plan to get to ALDI today before volunteering in kindergarten and teaching church school, but, still, this menu plan was made based on what I could do with what I have.
It is a “Desperate Times Call For Desperate Measures” Menu Plan. Now, I really kind of want to put “desperate” in quotes because, obviously, we aren’t really in terribly dire straits here. Still, these are meals that rely on some creativity and flexibility and I find they are my go-tos when the pantry runs low.
So, here’s the meal plan for the week along with added reasons why these meals are perfect for desperate times:
B–Cereal, Fruit, Breakfast Shakes ( before 7:30AM Mass)
Brunch– Pancakes w/ homemade cinnamon vanilla syrup, Cranberry Sauce (*Pancakes are inexpensive and popular. I’ve found I can be very flexible in the amount of egg or milk I use, by adjusting water, oil, and baking powder quantities, if neccessary.)
Snack– Cinnamon Roll Bread (*This recipe is crazy easy and uses nothing fancy. It’s yummy, though!)
D–Sunday Supper at Bama & Papa’s (scalloped potatoes and ham, salad, broccoli, fruit)
B–Pancakes, Bananas (+ 2 pieces of PB Toast for my bottomless pit of a 9yo boy)
D–Chicken & Veggie Soup, Braided Breadsticks (*Soup in the slow cooker is PERFECT for using up small quantities of meat or veggies. In this batch, I even threw in a little bit of leftover spaghetti sauce. It’s all good. ***I made my pizza dough recipe with some added oregano for these breadsticks and then simply braided them in long strands and shook on some garlic powder. They were SO popular. And easy. And cheap.)
B–Cranberry Muffins (Muffins are so flexible! These have fresh cranberries and lots of vanilla in them, because that’s what I had. I don’t even really use recipes for muffins– it’s basically flour, sugar, baking powder, a little baking soda, and salt + some eggs, oil/butter, and milk or water. Then add stuff. These are yummy and I’m so glad I got to use those cranberries– they were really on their way out.)
D–Chicken & Rice Burritos (*Burritos are a fantastic way to get by with stingy amounts of meat, when needed. Rice and/or beans are cheap, pantry-stable fillers. The flavor possibilities are really endless– tonight’s are a cheesy ranch, but any taco sauce, salsa, salad dressing, etc. can be mixed in for seasoning.)
B–Muffins, PB Toast w/ Raisins
D–Cheesy Beans & Rice (This one’s a staple around here for a reason– it is well-loved and uses NOTHING fancy!)
B–(I don’t know yet, but I will have shopped by then, so no worries. )
D–Hot & Sour Peanut Noodles (*Peanut noodles are SO flavorful, they can totally stand on their own with no added meats or veggies, if neccessary. Don’t get me wrong– I prefer some other things mixed in, but they really don’t need it to be hearty and satisfying.)
D–Large Cheese Pizza (As long as I have cheese, I can pretty much make pizza. Honestly, the possibilities for sauce and toppings are so vast, this is a fantastically flexible meal idea. Salsa, barbecue sauce, ranch dressing, spaghetti sauce, alfredo sauce… almost anything can be used for a new take on pizza and it’s fun to try new combo!)
. . . . . . . . .
And that’s what I’ve got for now! As you can see, no one is starving around here. We’re all doing just fine and I will soon have the pleasure of filling my pantry and fridge with a whole new supply of food. In the meantime, we’ll happily eat our simple meals and I’ll enjoy knowing that I’ve wasted nothing in the pantry.