Despite usually having my fridge and freezer well in hand, they had gotten away from me a bit, with things lurking in dark corners and bits and ends of things accumulating in their foils and plastic wraps.
Evidently the whole using up cheeses mission proved highly motivating for me, because this whole week I'm going to giving you meal tips to help you take charge of the situation in your fridge.
Tip # 1 - Know What You've Got
|The chicken speaks the truth.|
On the left hand size of our notepad we keep a running list of all leftovers in the fridge along with the date they were put there. This way you know what needs to get used up and there's less speculation about the relative sanity of ingesting something of questionable age.
Use StillTasty if you're unsure (oh come on, they have an app). I'm not as conservative as they are, but I like to live on the edge.
On the left hand side is the grocery list.
My husband generally maintains the list. I'm the person who eats the last of something and doesn't tell. At least one of us is a team player.
Keeping a similar list for your freezer will let you know what you have on hand so that you can plan to use it. My chicken and veggie bits bags that I keep for stock had taken over about a third of the freezer so it was time to actually get my act together and you know, make the stock. Now I have happy little quart containers ready to go for soup making.
Tip # 2 - Plan Your Meals
When you plan what you are making, you can make sure you use things up when they need to be used up. You can also be more efficient in the kitchen! I have a spreadsheet organized by protein (ground meat, sausage, chicken, vegetarian, seafood) where I list all my meals. I just pick a starting point, see what ingredients are needed and then see if there's any way to use them up later.
Tip # 3 - Use up the Bits and Bobs
Have a few meal ideas at the ready that will help you use up all those small amounts of protein and vegetables that seem to nestle into the blind spots in your fridge. I'll be giving you a couple ideas later this week that will help you deal with the itty bitty bits, but I'm sure you already have some recipes that are flexible and use up all sorts of random food products.
Share your ideas for meals that help you clean out the fridge! Tell us in the comments!