Save Money on Groceries: The Clean Fridge
When you’re looking to save money, most people think of their grocery budget first. You have more control over this area and can see some quick savings with a little effort.
If I had to pick my best tip for saving money on groceries, it would be clean out your refrigerator!
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve put this chore off. When I do eventually get to those science experiments in the very back, I think, “Oh man, that was a total waste of money. I could have gotten at least another meal out of this food.”
Disappointing and expensive.
Make it a date.
These days I make it a point to go through my fridge every Wednesday and see what is in there. Foods that have been in there for a few days will become someone’s lunch or part of our supper that night.
It’s like getting a free meal since it other wise would have been shoved to the back and forgotten.
Make it different.
We like to use leftovers in a new meal. Soups, casseroles, and stir fry show up in my meal plans fairly often for this reason. This gives new life and stretches what is left of the chicken we ate the night before.
Our family’s favorite way to use leftovers is on homemade pizza. I try to make it about once a week. It’s such an easy way to use up the little scraps of meats and veggies that don’t seem like enough to mess with.
Another reason we like pizza is because it’s a great way to use up those leftovers that everyone is sick of eating. It somehow doesn’t seem like “chicken again??” when it’s on pizza.
Here’s our favorite (and super easy) recipe:
1 pkg quick rise dry yeast
1 c warm water
2 1/4 c flour (can do half whole wheat)
2 T olive oil
1 t basil or your favorite pizza herb
1 T brown sugar OR honey
1 t salt
Instructions 1. Dissolve yeast in warm water in a large bowl. 2. Add remaining ingredients. Mix well. 3. Allow it to rise for at least 10 minutes. 4. Roll or press dough to form the proper shape for your pizza pan. 5. Add your favorite sauces, cheeses, and toppings. 6. Bake at 425F for 15 to 20 minutes until crust is brown and the cheese is bubbly.
I usually make our pizza sauce using a small can of tomato paste or sauce (depending on how thick you like it) with Italian Seasonings, garlic powder, and a dash of olive oil. I warm it up just until it begins to bubble.
If you have leftover taco night foods, you could use refried beans as your sauce and create a taco pizza. Or use ranch dressing as your sauce for a chicken pizza. That’s the beauty of pizza, there are so many varieties and so many ways to use those leftovers!
I’m willing to make a casserole or soup out of just about anything I’ve got lying in the fridge. Toss together your meats (though you might be wary of adding fish to certain recipes), veggies, potatoes, rice, or noodles together with some cheese, milk, tomatoes or cream of soups or just some broth.
It will come together well, especially if you add your families favorite seasonings to it. If you want a Mexican taste, add cumin. Italian seasonings make a yummy Italian flavored meal. Or even just garlic and onion gives some great flavor.
Many times I will pull all of the food from the fridge and put it on the counter. We let the family choose what they want to reheat, sort of like a buffet line. The little ones enjoy choosing their own meal sometimes.
Another option is to bake potatoes for everyone and let each person top their potato with leftovers. Many main courses would taste great on top of a potato! Chili, barbecued meats, taco toppings, and other things would be delicious toppings.
This helps to stretch leftovers when you have just a little bit of a few different things left.
It’s easy to forget foods in the back of your pantry, fridge, and freezer. Many times we forget about foods or are reluctant to eat them as leftovers. If you create a new meal from your leftovers, no one will be the wiser. You’ll have a delicious and frugal meal.
Make it a point to keep your fridge cleaned out on a regular basis and you’ll probably be able to put off that grocery shopping trip for a few extra days. And staying out of the store always saves money!
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