Before I launch into a month of tracking how much I spend on a month's worth of groceries, I am getting a head-start now at cooking from my pantry. Yesterday, I took inventory of what I have in our pantry, freezer and fridge, and typed all the ingredients into supercook.com. I love that website! Once all my ingredients are on the list, it searches recipes all over the internet and tells me all the stuff I can make. So easy to use, and it saves me money by delaying my trips to the grocery store. It also came in handy when we were planning to leave town on vacation, and will be very helpful when we prepare to move at the end of this year.
Our pantry has a hodge podge of ingredients, because since May 29, we've either been traveling (total days gone this summer = 31) or cooking theme weeks! In between our three family trips, we chose a different cuisine and planned our entire menu that week around it. One was Mexican, the next was Asian, and the latest was Italian. There were a few special ingredients purchased for each one which weren't all used up. Also, I've made at least two trips in the last 2 months to take advantage of combined sales with coupons.
From all that, I came up with a list of 8 things I can make from what we have on hand, so I have a week's worth of dinners planned already. Those ideas go on a list on a piece of scratch paper onto my fridge. My first shopping trip in August will probably be small, just milk and fresh fruit. I have plenty of breakfast cereal and bagels on hand, and some waffle mix. I have two loaves of bread in the freezer for sandwiches for lunch, although we sometimes have leftovers from the last night's dinner. My garden is currently producing onions, green beans, swiss chard and zucchini plus basil, oregano, cilantro and parsley. Our pantry/fridge/freezer includes:
chow mein noodles
Dream Whip mix
peanut bars (Nature Valley)
Philidelphia cooking cream (2 pkgs)
red pepper flake
roasted red peppers
suddenly salad mix
Uncle Ben's rice pouch
A week from now, we'll see what's left!