Last weekend I ran out of time to do a good inventory of our freezer and large pantry closet. I did it tonite. I found this helpful- 1 Month Menu Plan Grid It's a nice sized, free printable menu grid/calendar. I also found this nice, simple freezer inventory list here- Organizinghomelife.com
This got me started to write the basics of what we have, in the freezer and pantry closet. Unlike most people we don't have a lot of frozen meats, since we don't eat a lot of meat. We eat lots of vegetarian foods!
We had 2 meals so far- frozen chicken smothered in homemade frozen pesto, with leftover french bread and salad. Ditto the leftover chicken, with taters and more salad.
Tonight I made- Spicy black bean soup and corn bread, good for a cold, rainy night. I use the pre-made "soup" as a base and added what's in the photo, + 1 more can of corn & spices. I mashed the canned beans slightly. Yummy and filling with the corn muffins made with buttermilk.
Main pantry closet
Chest freezer, a great investment!
Our version will look a bit different, since we're not feeding a family with kids. With just the 2 of us, our meals can be more flexible. I know I won't be able to do a whole month without fresh veggies, milks and fruit. I may buy more meats too, since I don't store a lot of those. Some of the items in my pantry are for long term/emergency food storage so they are off limits for this purpose. I am generally just challenging myself to use up more everyday stored foods, to rotate them and then will work on replacing with newer foods. I have a lot more fish than I thought so I'll make a Finnish Salmon Pie. I made it last year, added lots of peas, and great flavor! There's always lots of fresh eggs too. Speaking of the hens- they'll get any freezer-burned foods (if any) so they will be recycled :)
I got out these handy sheets I hadn't used yet to play with menu planning-
Here's a few more tips to save money! Lessons Learned on the Front Lines of Frugality