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Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Stocked Pantry Method of Meal Planning


A while back I mentioned that I like to use the Stocked Pantry Method for feeding my family. But what did I mean by that? The Stocked Pantry has multiple meanings. There is Martha Stewart’s stocked pantry, there is the The Foodie Pantry, The Prudent Pantry and the Frugal Pantry.
I am not a couponner but I do stock up when there is a sale, buying food in season and setting it aside for later. A couple of times a year I stop buying food and  eat down our stockpile. There have been many times I have been thankful for a stocked pantry. When a snowstorm that promises to shut down the state is forecasted I don’t have to go and get “the essentials”
So What does a Stocked Pantry Look like?
Well it all depends on what sort of food you eat.  Most families eat the same basic 10 dinners over and over again. If you are a menu planner simply look over your past months menus to see what you have eaten. Over the years the compostiion of my pantry has changed. We had lots more canned goods. Now my pantry includes more organic products and things like Jerusalem artichoke flour pasta, buckwheat soba noodles, canned beans, dry beans,
When I use up a product I write it on my shopping list, and when I get ready to go shopping I take a look to see if there are any holes in my pantry inventory, just in case I forgot to write something down or somebody else used up the last of the salsa. Once I have my list I take note of what I need. I plan my strategy. Some of the pantry staples I use are best found at different stores. Since I try to go shopping every two weeks, I map out my plan. the items needed dictate  what stores I visit.  While I am shopping I do take advantage of sales, not necessarily planning meals around the sales but to set aside. Where I buy my meat they often mark down  the meat a couple of days ahead of the sale by date. I got 1.75 oz. eye of round for $1,87 this week. Great for my lunch and dinner for the kids tonight.
What is in my Pantry?
Since I cook seasonally it varies from season to season but I would have to say that the must haves in my pantry are, in no particular order of importance.
  • Canned tomatoes, when tomatoes are out of season organic canned tomatoes in BPA free cans are a great flavor boost to any recipe
  • Organic Canned Beans – black, red, and navy beans are the most used around here.
  • Dried beans – lentils cook up so quickly and can be added to almost any soup recipe for a shot of protein
  • Natural Peanut Butter – I have been a fan of Smucker’s for years.
  • Tea – all sorts of herbal teas, since we do not drink juice we drink herbal and black teas, coffee beans.
  • Salsa – In the Winter it is hard to make my own so I like to keep a couple of jars, they make a great base for soups or chilies.
  • A quality Spaghetti Sauce – this is one of my convenience items. My 7 year old will use this to make himself a quick snack “pizza”
  • Grains – Brown Rice, Quinoa, Oatmeal, Barley
  • Cereals for son and husband – Raisin Bran and “Cheerios”
  • Aseptically packaged milk – this is an emergency item – we tend to get snowed in about once a year and this is good to have on hand.
  • Flours, whole wheat, almond and buckwheat flour
  • Maple Syrup, Brown Sugar and Local Honey
  • Onions, potatoes, sweet potatoes, winter squashes, garlic
  • Sea Salt, coarse and fine, Herbes of Provence, Turmeric, Allspice and Ginger (I actually have a spice problem, I have too many according to some, but I use them all)
  • Pastas - Jerusalem Artichoke Flour Pasta, Buckwheat Noodles - these seem to be the best gluten free options, in my opinion

You may notice that I do not have canned soups on this list. As a rule we do not have canned soups or chilies in the house.  I make a big batch of soup or chili at least once a week so there is no need to have any canned soup or chili in the house.
I also have not included any fresh produce or frozen foods or meats on this list. I am just strictly speaking pantry today.
What are you pantry must haves?

this post is linked up to Living Well Blog HopFresh Bites Friday


Sheila said...

Oh, that's what I do! I didn't know that was a "thing." I shop every two weeks and buy all the same stuff, just whatever I have run out of. Most of it actually lives in my fridge -- I do buy some dry goods, but not a ton (beans, rice, flour, olive oil, honey, a few canned things like tomatoes and spinach). But on an average grocery shop, I buy a lot of dairy products, some meat, frozen and fresh vegetables, and fresh fruit. It can get a little dull, but everyone else in the family likes the same food all the time, and to please myself, I often buy something new and unusual just to see what I can do with it later. The closest I get to menu planning is saying to myself, "Hm, tonight I want to do something with chicken. Better take it out!" or "I'll put on beans tonight, I'm sure there's something I can do with those tomorrow. Maybe chili, but if I don't feel like that, I'll do tacos." Since I always have the same stuff in the house, I don't have to worry about not having something I need for one of my usual recipes.

Anonymous said...

About 5 years ago I gave up buying pre-processed foods - specifically snack type foods. There is an exception or two - my husband loves salsa and tortillas so they have to be 100% organic. My pantry is full of beans - canned and dried, whole grain pastas and canned tomatoes. I also keep a very full spice shelf - some grown by me and then dried, frozed, etc some bought and as a baker I keep a very full baking pantry. I get my milk from a dairy and seafood off the docks. Meats are bought on an as needed basis. I had a habit of forgetting to take meat out for dinner. I shop every 2-3 weeks and fill in missing items or look for sale items of basics. I also play "Chopped" 2x a week for dinner. I pull out 4 ingredients from pantry and fridge and make an entree. it's quite fun and several times I have surprised myself with what I come up with. I highly recommend it. Kim

Lisa - the Granola Catholic said...

I wish I could shop from the docks for fish. I buy meats from local farmers or co-ops and I replenish produce about once a week or every two weeks or as needed. I rely on my crock pot an awful lot given that my kids are young and we are gone nights in the week. Soup night is my favorite night.

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