Practicing Good Pantry Skills...

Discussion in 'Kitchen Chatter' started by AuntJamelle, Mar 24, 2020.

  1. AuntJamelle

    AuntJamelle Well-Known Member

    With everything going on - caring for our supplies in our homes is probably on our minds more than it might normally be. There are lots of little things we can do - might do normally - that help a bit here and there.

    It might be nice to share tips and tricks - links to DIY recipes, etc. Things we are finding useful.

    Use it up, make do or do without is a motto that comes to mind! :)

    What things are you doing or do you plan to do to be frugal, thrifty, creative, cautious, etc.?

    Please share!
    Minta likes this.
  2. AuntJamelle

    AuntJamelle Well-Known Member

    One thing I am going to do is tie up my onions in pantry hose to hang from the pantry ceiling - figure I can find a YouTube video somewhere on how to do it, right? LOL If I understand the principal correctly, it helps the onions last a lot longer - lets air circulate, etc.

    I've got other ideas, will gather my thoughts and post again!
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  3. Ahorsesoul

    Ahorsesoul Santa's Elves

    I have been fixing "leftovers" dinner more often. Tonight I made stuffed mushrooms from a package that was a few days old. Then DD had the leftover fruit tray, some mushrooms and a slice of pumpkin cheese cake for dinner. Dh finished off the leftover Mississippi pot roast and I was "forced" to eat the leftover leftover prime rib we've had for two dinners already. And I fried up the potato skin I saved from last nights dinner.

    I have down Pasta for tomorrow night but I see I have a lot of fresh lettuce that will not make it but a few days so maybe Shrimp salads tomorrow. I'll stir fry up the spinach too.
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  4. sweetpumkinpye

    sweetpumkinpye Well-Known Member

    This thread is going to help many manage over the next few months. Maybe when times are good again we can use these hints too.
    Tonight I am using up old tortillas. I will coat them in parmessan cheese and oven bake...should be nice.

    We are cooking less so that there are less leftovers, but any left overs MUST be eaten. I will not waste food.
    I need to store fruit and veg better so that they do not spoil.
    We need to think back on how our grannies looked after their families, some great hints there.

    One of my favourite blogs is an Australian blog called Down to Earth If you have time pop over and see what she is up to at the moment. She is making bottom wipes out of old pillow cases.
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2020
  5. Holiday_Mom

    Holiday_Mom Well-Known Member

    I went through our cabinets to day to take inventory of what we have and don't have. I, too, am trying to use up every last bit. We are going to be having left over night either or Thursdays or Saturdays. It will be determined on how much leftover food is in the refrigerator on Thursdays.
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  6. Ahorsesoul

    Ahorsesoul Santa's Elves

    Just received an order for some bottom wipes. We have been using cheap washcloths instead of toilet paper. They seem a lot nicer than toilet paper. Toilet paper really isn't soft in that area and they are usually bleached so filled with chemicals. I'm now ordering the soft baby/personal wipes on Amazon to build up a stock. I'll continue this even after we can find toilet paper on the shelves. Between DD and I we use to use a roll a day. So that will be a nice savings.
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  7. sweetpumkinpye

    sweetpumkinpye Well-Known Member

    Diedra, if possible can you post a picture of the wipes you have ordered?

    BTW the tortilla chips were delicious
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  8. Minta

    Minta Administrator Staff Member

    When I am cooking dinner I plan to make enough for dinner plus DH's lunch for the next day. If I make a large chicken or roast I am thinking of ways to repurpose the left overs or to freeze them.
    This past weekend we wanted burgers but didn't have enough hb buns. Let the kids have the buns and DH and I used some tortilla shells for ours.
    Last week I made a prime rib for DH's birthday. Cut the bones off before slicing up the prime rib and placed the bones into a bag and placed them in the frig as the bones still have a good chunk of meat on them. A few days later I used them to make a beef barley veggie soup.
    I have been making homemade and after 4 days if there is anything left I am drying them out in the oven to make bread crumbs or freezing them to be for stuffing at another time. Usually there are only the heals or a couple slices left.
    Just used up some bananas that were very ripe and made banana bread.

    I have a stand alone cabinet that I use to store all my baking ingredients. I took everything out wiped it down and reorganized it. I also took inventory of what I have and made a list of items that I am low on so I can keep an eye on them when I am at the grocery store.

    I bough a seed start tray with a dome, soil and a bunch of veggie seeds so I will get those going by this weekend.
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  9. MrsSoup

    MrsSoup Well-Known Member

    I, too, am going to take inventory of my pantry and keep a running list, crossing off what we use so I know what we might need to look for the next time we go out. We just thoroughly stocked up so we are filled up now. I will be making sure to use the veggies before they go bad, fruit as well, because it's not cheap and I don't want to waste.

    The other items in our pantry it will be important to take stock and see what meals can be made with them and figure out how they can be combined for lunches and dinners since we are all here now for all 3 meals of the day. The kids often whine about lunch (there's nothing to eat) and then half the time they don't like what we make for dinner because they are picky. I'm no longer allowing them to eat poptarts or things like that because when they run out we might not be able to get more for a while and that's a staple breakfast food for them, so they have to have a sandwich or something similar, or they can come together and make something easy for themselves in the realm of dinner food.

    As little waste as possible is the focus right now. I plan on banana bread and zucchini bread. I also stocked up on flour, sugar, yeast and other baking items so we can make an assortment of things if we want to, but mostly bread should it come to that.

    Katrina- the tortilla chips sound good, will have to try that!
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  10. AuntJamelle

    AuntJamelle Well-Known Member

    Storing Things for LONGER...some random thoughts

    Fresh berries - Strawberries, Blueberries, Raspberries, Blackberries, even grapes - all will last much longer after you buy them if you do the following: Fill a bowl that will hold the fruit with cold water. Splash in a couple good glugs of white vinegar (apple cider works too). Put in the fruit, swirl it around a bit and let sit for 10 minutes. Rinse well. Let fruit air dry a while. Then put in an airtight container or bag in the fridge. The air will rot that fruit quicker than a wink.

    NOTE - Fresh fruits in general are something I am taking extra care in washing right now. Really a good idea ANY time but I wash outside with regular soap and water for 20 seconds before peeling/cutting. Otherwise you run the risk of transferring things from the outside to the inside before eating.

    Asparagus - You’ll notice that the bundles are sitting in water when you buy them at the store. Do the same thing when you get them home - a pint Mason jar or any container with flat bottom and tallish sides will work. Just put in some water and the bundle of asparagus. Kind of like giving flowers a drink. It will keep several days like this.

    Fresh herbs - I put them in water just like described above. I also take the plastic bag I put it in at the store and loosely cover the herbs in their jar. If the inside of the bag is super wet I turn it inside out first. They still don’t last long but this helps.

    Potatoes - Never store bag of potatoes with your onions. They’ll rot much faster. If you need to save some time by peeling potatoes ahead you can store them, covered in water in the fridge for up to 24 hours. Longer and the potatoes will start to break down. The water keeps them from turning grey in the fridge - which peeled potatoes will do if left exposed to air. Yuck!

    Celery - A bundle of celery will keep for at least a couple weeks in the fridge if you take it out of the plastic sleeve it comes in and wrap it tightly in one long piece of aluminum foil This totally works!!!!

    Avocados - If you only want to use half of the avocado - keep the pit in the other half and wrap well in aluminum foil. It will keep at least a day without a lot of discoloring. I just lightly scrape any darkened flesh off with a spoon - it’s fine to eat but doesn’t look very appealing! Also, when choosing an avocado - even if it looks really dark - lift up the stem a bit - if still bright green underneath it should be good to go. I do give a gently squeeze as well to make sure it’s not TOO soft.

    Salad - Put a paper towel or two into bags of salad lettuce, open heads of lettuce, etc. Or if you prep a salad ahead - put some on top in the bowl before covering and putting in the fridge. It will help absorb the moisture from the lettuce and keep things crisp.
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  11. luludou

    luludou Well-Known Member

    I visit that blog Katrina, I like it it's really cosy.
    Aparagus in water, I've never seen that at the grocery store.

    I deep cleaned pantry this week and took notes about what needs to be eaten first.
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  12. sweetpumkinpye

    sweetpumkinpye Well-Known Member

    Lucie, it is a good blog, one of my favourites.
    I have never seen asparagus in water here. I might try to store it in water.
    Am going to try the washing of the fruit with the vinegar.

    I am really into menu planning at the moment, not for a week or fortnight but for whenever I get ingredients. Tonight's dinner is turkey and chicken breasts that I will coat with seasoned flour, potato and corn and some more tortilla chips. Nothing fancy but using stuff up.
  13. halimer

    halimer Well-Known Member

    We have always had leftover day on Thursday but I am running out of leftovers!

    Still have sufficient food, though.

    The celery tip is a good one although I find celery lasts forever anyway.
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  14. AuntJamelle

    AuntJamelle Well-Known Member

    One thing I've done at this point is to go through the fridge and make note of exp dates on most items - so we can make sure we use up things in order. Found that one tub of cottage cheese expired way before the other, etc.

    Need to finish doing the same in the pantry - mostly checking for anything that has been in there a while - although I find that googling typically reveals items are good past the exp date for a little while - especially if they were unopened.

    I inventoried all my spices and made note of any we are low on. DMIL grows herbs and dehydrates all summer long so she has us pretty stocked on most things! :)

    For those of us that can, consider turning fruit in the freezer into jams, preserves to free up space. I have a couple pouches of liquid pectin about to expire so want to try and do this! I have sour cherries left in freezer from a bulk purchase a while back - also a whole gallon bag of cherry juice that I "might" be able to turn into a jelly.

    I'm also trying to plan "domino meal effect" a.k.a. using leftovers as best as possible...if we had bacon for breakfast saving a couple pieces to crumble for top of something else later in the day (IF I can save a couple pieces from these boys!)

    Mainly I'm trying to use up fresh produce. Only have 1 lb of fresh potatoes left - need to use today or tomorrow.

    I'm going to give "regrowing" my green onions a whirl.

    Starting to plan for deck plants for this spring...we're getting close to planting time...I wasn't going to do plants this year but have changed my mind!!!!
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  15. sweetpumkinpye

    sweetpumkinpye Well-Known Member

    AJ I have a container of cottage cheese that I bought by mistake, any idea of what I can use it in? Would it be similar to ricotta if I added some spinach and did spinach and cottage cheese triangles?
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  16. Ahorsesoul

    Ahorsesoul Santa's Elves

    I use it like ricotta. I think Cottage cheese might be more moist so you could strain it.
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  17. sweetpumkinpye

    sweetpumkinpye Well-Known Member

    Diedra, thank you. I thought it was ricotta when I picked it up only to realise that it was cottage cheese. I will remember to drain the cheese well.
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  18. missjane

    missjane Well-Known Member

    Doing this destroys the water soluble nutrients in them, so do it only when you must.
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  19. missjane

    missjane Well-Known Member

    I'm trying to be mindful of what we have that needs to be used., especially from the freezer. I did a big grocery run before we went onto lockdown. We can still go to the grocery store, but I know that the less we're exposed and the less we expose others, the better. We had begun to try to "eat down" what we had so we didn't have to pack and move as much when it was time, but when all the uncertainty hit, I re-stocked since we knew some things would probably be scarce.

    We're trying to do something simple for lunch and more substantial at supper. Since I'm at home all day right now, I have more time to plan and cook. I've enjoyed it.
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  20. Minta

    Minta Administrator Staff Member

    I have made lasagna using cottage cheese instead of ricotta. It was good.
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