Well, for some value of “sandwich post,” anyway.
Kat and I have been, as Kat puts it, “flexing our frugality musclesҸ” lately. Part of this is because we’re looking into buying a house*. Part of this is because we had several startlingly large electric bills in a row. Fuck you too, Arkansas weather.
Luckily it’s been quite nice out for a couple of weeks now, so we can just pop open the windows and the front door, set up a fan, and leave the temperature control off. Since our primary monetary drain over the past few months has been air conditioning, this means that we must turn our attention elsewhere for savings. I’m choosing the pantry, for quality of life reasons.
You see, Summer has this really adorable habit of going back and forth between my desk and the pantry, bringing one or two items over to me each trip. If I sit down for an hour or so, my desk becomes the depository of the entire bottom half of our long-term food storage. Not only does this eventually result in a very cute game in which I try to put things in the pantry faster than she can put them on my desk, it also calls my attention to just how much stuff is in the pantry that never gets used.
This in turn reminds me of a tip I’ve seen featured a couple of times: Base your meals around what’s in your pantry to save more on groceries. This seems like sound advice, but I’ve never gotten around to motivating myself to take a cursory examination of the pantry with meal plans in mind. Luckily, with Summer’s help I’m able to complete a total inventory of the bottom half several times a week – indeed, sometimes twice in one day. So, my tentative goal now is to plan out meals that use relatively little new food from the store and instead empty out the pantry before Summer does. Since I kind of want to blog more frequently than I am right now, this means that you, the reader, receive the high privilege of partaking vicariously in my culinary mistakes. You’re welcome.
With no further ado . . .
Pantry Prettification 001
“Arguably Some Sort of Southwestern Dish”
- 1 can of whole kernel corn (~15 oz), drained
- 1 can of stewed sliced tomatoes (~15 oz), drained
- 2 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
- 1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped
- About 1/2 teaspoon of chives? I think? I would have measured if I’d known I’d be blogging about it at the time, but I just eyeballed it.
- About 1/2 pound frozen boneless chicken thigh strips. See note regarding chives.
- Shredded cheddar, to taste.
- Something starchy, to taste. I recommend rice and/or tortillas. Potato chips would be frowned upon. Pocky is a nonstarter and, frankly, I’m disgusted anyone would actually suggest it.
Something resembling directions:
- Combine everything but the cheese and the something starchy in a large skillet. Cover.
- Cook on about medium-high or so for about 20 minutes, until the chicken is no longer illegal to serve.
- At some point during this time period you should probably prep the starchy stuff.
- Serve the results on, in, under, or in the general vicinity of the starchy stuff. Sprinkle some cheddar on top if you want to.
In this case, the starches in question were some instant rice and some tortillas. The instant rice wasn’t nearly as bad as non-instant-rice-advocates have led me to believe.
Summer skipped her morning and afternoon naps in lieu of conking out about an hour before dinner time. Here we see her temporarily awoken to enjoy the vegetables of my labors. Apparently she liked it. As, in fact, did Kat. I actually thought the end result was a bit bland, but I was expecting that anyway due to the whole not-drowning-it-in-salt thing**. Still, it was tasty. I made my wraps with rice inside and decided to add ranch dressing, and the end result was actually rather nice.
Tomorrow I cheat and don’t hardly use anything from the pantry at all, because I’ve been wanting to try the recipe for Greene Beefe Stewe. Eventually my food pictures will look as pretty as that, and my plan for world domination will be complete.
Ҹ EDIT: Kat informs me that “flexing frugality muscles” is a term she obtained from the blog Mr. Money Mustache. It’s pretty neat. You should go check it out.
*It turns that in today’s housing market, we can get a very nice three-bedroom house with a yard in town and pay about $100 less on the mortgage (including taxes and insurance) than we’re paying in rent on our 2-bedroom apartment with a crappy deck that the apartment management keeps promising to fix before I fall through it again. Given that “get a house” is one of our major long-term goals and I’d kind of like Summer to have a yard to run around in before she grows up, this seems like something of a no-brainer.
**I’ve been trying to do things to lower my cholesterol and blood pressure. A couple of years ago Kat and I had to get blood tests done when we applied for life insurance, and my results arrived with a complementary exorcist. I didn’t get the preferred rate.