Friday, September 17, 2010

Empty Fridge

One reason I'm good at repurposing leftovers and making the most of what I have on-hand is that I can't afford to buy whatever I want and then be wasteful with it. My budget each week for groceries and household items (cleaning supplies, paper products, toiletries) is pretty skinny compared to what I'm sure a lot of people spend, yet it's more than some have to work with. I make all our cleaning supplies (laundry detergent, all-purpose cleaner, dishwasher detergent, fabric softener, bathroom cleaner, etc.) and I use the cheapest quality brands I can for everything. I won't sacrifice quality for price if I don't have to! I trim from other areas in order to shop at a quality grocery store that I know will provide good, lasting, beautiful produce -- combined with great customer service. I use coupons, though I'm definitely not an expert.

But the purpose of this post is to show you what you can do with a little. I have the perfect example for you. This picture of my fridge is typical of what I have to work with by Thursday. (Grocery Day is Friday.)
Top shelf: applesauce, grits, corn on the cob
Drawers: deli meat, cheddar cheese, Laughing Cow cheese, 1 egg, 1 cheese stick, 2 sticks butter
Middle shelf: Mmm ... nothing!
Bottom shelf: whole wheat flour, 1% milk, BBQ sauce
Drawers: apples, lemon, spinach, green onions, 2 carrots

It's not too bad, though, because I do have more stuff in the door:
Pretty much all condiments, more butter, chicken broth, peaches.

It may look hopeless ... and it's certainly not inspiring, but right now it's just not in our budget to be able to bat my eyelashes at Sweetie and ask him to take us out to dinner. He would if he could, but he can't, so we won't! It just so happens that this sort of thing gets my creative cooking juices flowing!

Dinner last night was corn chowder with rolls. I'll post the recipe another time, but here's how it came together with my meager supplies ...

Cream: leftover from a cake on Monday
Cheddar: staple
Butter: staple
Garlic: staple
Corn: leftover
Broth: staple/leftover
Potatoes: staple
Green Onions: leftover
Carrots: leftover/staple
Prosciutto: freezer (bought on sale for $3.99/lb!)
Rolls: leftover (dough from the freezer)

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