Semi Annual Cleaning and meal planning

Twice a year I get fed up and clean the fridge.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t scrub it or anything, that’s crazy talk.  I go through and throw out all the gross stuff that isn’t edible anymore.  Food that was never eaten, leftovers that were forgotten about, i even found an old mummified avocado in there.

I hate doing this, which is why I only do it every 6 months.  I hate the smell, I hate the mold, It’s absolutely disgusting.  Above all that, above the forcing myself to deal with nasty stuff, I hate the thought that we waste food.  We struggle so much to keep food on the table that throwing anything away seems like such a travesty to me.  Like we were saying, “I am hungry, but not hungry enough for THAT”.

To me that’s not ok.

Yesterday was the first time I have cleaned out the fridge and have felt really good about it.  We wasted very little.  There were about five small containers of leftovers, a half a can of beans, a half a container of tomato sauce, a small container of Christmas ham that we got tired of eating after 4 days, and a small portion of rabbit stew from our crock pot, oh and a mummified avocado.  very little of what we have bought in the past 6 months has gone to waste.  We make sure that when we buy things it’s not because they look good, but because they have a purpose.  If we buy produce we process it (vacuum seal it or dehydrate it) within a few days of buying it so it doesn’t go bad.  Those processed foods either go into containers on the counter, the fridge (if i have plans for it within a week or two), or the freezer.  The same goes for the meat.  I take inventory of what we have left in the fridge when we go to the grocery to make sure that my meal plans involve the items in the fridge that we still have.  We bought a giant chunk of blue cheese two weeks ago.  We currently have half of it left.  I bought sweet potatoes this week so I could make sweet potato cakes with blue cheese sauce.

When I was done cleaning my fridge it was pretty empty, and I was happy.  It should be empty.  There should only be food in the fridge that will be consumed within the next 3-5 days, no longer than that.

This is what my fridge looks like:

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The next 10 day meal plan looks like this:

– leftover jambalaya (cost about $8-10)

-grilled veggie sandwiches with mac and cheese (cost $6)

– jalapeno popper grilled cheese with sweet potato and kale chips ($7)

– pulled pork sandwiches with steamed broccoli ($5)

– chili rellenos and rice (free because i made and froze them 3 months ago)

– stir fry quinoa and veggies ($5)

– hashbrown casserole ($5)

– calzones ($6)

– white pizza with grilled brussel sprouts ($6)

– sweet potato cakes with blue cheese sauce (maybe $5)

plus there is leftovers, ham and cheese, and peanut butter and banana sandwiches for lunches.  Breakfast consists of pancakes, scrambled eggs, cranberry or apple oatmeal, mini hash brown quiches.  The only thing we have to buy in the next 10 days is butter, bread (if i don’t make it), and milk, and possibly more cheese.  Everything we need for all this food is in the freezer, fridge, cabinet, or produce basket. The only thing coming from a box is the mac and cheese, and the rice (which technically is in a bag).  We have enough food to last us until the 23rd and we still have $200 of our food stamps left.  You don’t need to be rich to eat well.  You just need to plan well.

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