Pantry Cooking Month, January 2017

One way to save money on food? Stop buying food! (Not forever, of course.)

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canned food
Stock image purchased from depositphotos.com

The good news: We’re getting out of debt!

The bad news: We’re still spending too much money on food.

Thanks to a plan I discovered in Anna Newell Jones‘s The Spender’s Guide to Debt-free Living, we are practicing needs-only spending for a year while we try to pay off some of the debt we incurred during our move down to San Diego. We’ve never had credit-card debt before, and I hate it, so I am taking a very drastic measure. If we don’t need it, I’m not buying it.

That means no eating out, no new clothes, no junk food, etc. However, groceries are an obvious need, so I’ve been buying all the groceries I want, and when I looked at my grocery bill for December 2016, I was floored. It was a LOT.

Pantry Cooking Month to the rescue! I have a ton of food in the house. I’ll take some photos so you can see, but basically, I’m pretty sure we can get through the month with almost no influx of food. We’ll buy anything we really need that we run out of (bread or flour for making bread, for instance), but I plan to see how empty I can get my pantry by the end of the month.

I will, of course, post any fun/weird/creative recipes I come up with.

Today, I’m cooking for the kid’s birthday. I already made the mango pudding, and the kalua pig is in the oven. Next, I’ll throw together her favorite salad.

What are you cooking lately?

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Author: Serene

I run The Mom Food Project, which was born out of love for my mom and a desire to preserve the recipes of my childhood, which didn't actually exist in written form until I quizzed my mom and wrote the recipes down.

4 thoughts on “Pantry Cooking Month, January 2017”

  1. I’ve been laid up pretty dreadfully since August, and have only in the last few weeks been allowed to walk on my left foot. So I wasn’t cooking much, as it’s hard to cook from a wheelchair. Several times I nearly upset hot pots off the stove onto myself. Chopping and slicing was difficult; I had to do that on the kitchen table as standing at the kitchen counter wasn’t possible for the length of time I needed.

    Now that I can walk, the first thing I’ve cooked was a Broccoli and Stilton soup. It’s always a hit with HWMBO, and it’s a good way to use broccoli that is somewhat past its prime. Plus, you use all the broccoli including the stem. Minus: you can’t make it vegan, although it’s quite vegetarian-friendly if you use vegetable stock.

    1. Oh, my. I cannot tell you how happy I am that you’re walking!!! I’m so sorry it’s been so rough, but that’s encouraging news.

      Broccoli and Stilton soup sounds AMAZING. If you’d be willing to share the recipe, I’d love that.

      Please continue to feel better. I am just thrilled that you’re healing.

  2. Thanks for your kind words. It’s been a long slog but I hope I’m winning the health battle.

    OK, recipe! I will be kind of vague on amounts as I just cook by eye except when I’m baking. If you substitute Roquefort or another blue cheese there will be a difference in taste as Stilton is quite a bit more assertive than Roquefort. This soup is a really good way to use up broccoli that’s been languishing in the fridge a bit longer than it should have and has some yellow spots on the florets, but if it’s gotten moist and soft it’s not suitable for this. The soup is good hot or cold, and keeps well in the fridge for a couple of days.

    Ingredients:
    3 heads of broccoli, florets removed from one and reserved, the rest coarsely chopped
    Stock (vegetarian or chicken)
    3 medium onions, roughly diced
    thyme
    1/4 lb of Stilton cheese (Roquefort if you must)
    some dry sherry (if you like it)
    2 cups or so to taste of half and half or milk or light cream (single cream if you’re in the UK)
    olive oil or butter

    Method:
    SautĂ© the onions in the melted butter or olive oil. When they’re transparent, dump in the stock. Probably about a quart and a half or so, just enough to cover the broccoli, which should be dumped in now along with a large pinch of thyme. Bring to a boil until the broccoli is tender. Remove from the fire and mash with a potato masher so as to break up the broccoli. Put back on the fire and add the cheese, crumbled up, and the sherry (as much as you like, although a full wineglass is probably too much). Heat on medium flame, stirring, until the cheese has mostly melted. Remove from the fire again and use a hand blender to liquify the soup. It will be quite thick and no flour is required. Put back on the fire, add the cream and heat through. Meanwhile, microwave the reserved broccoli florets in a bowl with a bit of water and reserve. Once the soup is heated through (but don’t boil it once the cream is added), serve in bowls with a few of the reserved florets floating in the soup and perhaps some croutons if you like them.

    We often have garlic bread and a salad with this and that makes a real meal.

    If you don’t like broccoli you can make this with celery. However, to be successful you must use a potato peeler to remove the “strings” from the back of the celery before boiling it. If left on the “strings” will not liquify and you’ll have to strain the soup before adding the cheese in order to remove the strings and this is teejus in the extreme. Believe me.

    1. Thank you so much! I intend to try this soon. And sorry your comment got held in moderation. I apparently messed up some setting or other during my ongoing site design.

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