I will admit that there can be a rather chilly detente that occurs in my refrigerator. There are certain shelves that see a fairly brisk rotation of items. These spaces are the accepted free trade region. To the sides are the condiments that are the story keepers, the elders of the fridge that rarely cede their spots to newcomers. In the crisper I do my best not to let the denizens liquify but how much parsley do I really need? Oh sure I could freeze it but as long as it is visible I can tell myself I am going to make a fresh and healthy soup. It is a green leafy badge of clean eating superiority.
So what has this all got to do with being penny pinched? I admit that some days I am intimidated by my fridge. I open it and see random supplies and am not sure what to do. I might see one dish for a meal but I get a little sketchy on how to make it reflect the food rainbow. I’ve been told a handful of M & Ms does nothing to meet the requirements of the bottom of the food pyramid. Elitists.
That being said I realize I will never balance my food budget or dietary needs without some help. I had gotten into the habit of buying new food because I didn’t know how to use up what I had. This is where I found this helpful tool on allrecipes.com. I had been looking for the perfect cornmeal muffin recipe and I noticed that one of the search engines was to list the ingredients I wanted and also the ones I did not want. This opened up a lot of possibilities. I decided to haul everything out of my fridge. Green Peace launched a formal complaint as the contents of the veggie crisper were being considered as a part of a self sustaining eco system but I prevailed. I found recipes that would use up the scraps of cooked chicken, 1/2c. of green beans, red pepper paste and pearl onions. I began to make headway into hostile territory and dismantle the peculiarly stacked architecture of tupperware, take out boxes and ziploc bags. (In my defence there was really only one takeout box but the visual image was too cool not to use).
I also found that Pinterest became a great place to store recipes that worked for me with veggies where I was lacking a bit of imagination.Translation: I sometimes need encouragement to not settle for just meat and potatoes. The photos help.
This new year coming up I am setting Friday as ifits day. If it is in the fridge then that is what’s for dinner. If it is still there the next week it is time to shuffle it off to that great compost pile. My goal is for a couple of empty shelves because I learned to use what I already had. Now to go back into negotiation with my tartar sauce who is staging a sit in. Wish me luck.