Sadly, in the past, I would often find out of date items in the back of my pantry that I had forgotten were even there and would unfortunately have to throw them out. I would kick myself for such unnecessary waste. Does this sound familiar? I have since come up with my own little system that minimizes wastage and saves me quite a bit of money over time.
On a regular basis, I sort through the contents of my pantry to identify items that are due to expire in the next 2-3 months. I shift those items to the front of my pantry so they are easily visible. I then go onto my favorite food and cooking websites (such as this one) and use the search button on the site to enter the name of that food item. Recipes that include that food product will appear in the search results so you can choose the recipe that appeals to you the most and incorporate it into your next family meal plan.
To get you started, here are some ideas to use up 10 common pantry ingredients:
Yes flour does go out of date if you leave it in the pantry for too long. These Savory Scones and Vanilla Cookies are a terrific way of using up flour plus you will have some yummy treats for the children’s school lunchbox.
Canned food does tend to last a long time but I don’t like cans sitting forever and a day in my pantry. Kidney Beans can be used in a wide range of family friendly recipes such as this Mexican Lasagne and Slow Cooker Chili Beef.
Cream of Tartar
I don’t do a lot of cooking with Cream of Tartar so when I do buy it for a specific recipe, it does tend to sit in the back of my pantry. When I realised that Cream of Tartar is a common ingredient of homemade Playdough, my kids and I started making Playdough on a regular basis. A few batches of different coloured Playdough can keep the children entertained for hours during the holidays and of course it uses up any excess Cream of Tartar.
This ultra healthy high fiber food does expire after a few months so why not whip up this healthy Bran Cake which is a nutritious after school snack.
There are lots of things you can do with a can of chickpeas. They can be sprinkled over salads, stirred into casseroles or added to soups. This vegetarian Chickpea Frittata is high in protein and is a healthy dinner recipe.
Rocky Road is an easy, yummy recipe idea to use up excess marshmallows. Another idea is to stir marshmallows through store bought ice-cream. If you have kids at home then you probably don’t need any ideas to use them up. The children may just love to eat marshmallows straight out of the bag or with parental help, skewered then roasted until warm and gooey.
Red Split Peas
One of my all time favorite recipes to make will use up any excess Red Split Peas in this tasty Sri Lankan Dhal. My kids love it with rice for lunch and I enjoy a small hot mug of it for a morning snack.
This short rice is the traditional base for most Risottos. Use up your pantry stores of Arborio Rice with this fast and easy Baked Pumpkin and Pancetta Risotto or this delicious Bacon and Mushroom Risotto.
For more ideas on using up your pantry items and for some money saving frugal cooking tips check out award winning eBook Dining on a Dime.
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