It feels like everyone thinks January is a time to completely change who they are. They make resolutions, set goals, gyms are packed and everyone is on a juice cleanse. If that is you, way to go and I hope it works out. That is not me.
That being said, I saw a post on Instagram that I thought was great! It was on @andhattiemakesthree‘s feed and it is called No Buy January 2021 (#NoBuyJanuary).
I will do a bit of some of these, none of others. But number five on the list is really speaking to me: Empty your pantry for new creative dinner ideas. This I can get behind. This I NEED to get behind. I have way too much in my pantry, fridge and freezer(s). And I am continuously buying more food because I want to try out new recipes. Well, I can try out plenty of new recipes with things I already have! And I am truly excited to see how much I can get rid of by February 1st.
Now, I always have too much in my freezer and pantry but the pandemic took it to a whole new level. I was a little more nervous than most a little earlier than most. My main fear was being stuck in the house for months. Truly stuck, like… all grocery stores would be closed, etc. So by the end of February 2020 I had A LOT of food in this house (and apparently not enough toilet paper). We may have only eaten beans and pasta for months but we weren’t going to go hungry. Of course, the grocery stores didn’t close so… I just kept having groceries delivered. It was like compound interest but with food.
I’m assuming that some of these January pantry meals will be healthy and some not so much. That’s ok. My goal is to get rid of stuff. I can start fresh in February.
I had meatballs (pg. 114 in the cookbook) I had fried up last month in the freezer and jars of sauce I canned (pg. 123) in the basement. I always have a zillion pounds of pasta. I had 1/2 a baguette in the freezer. Our first official #NoBuyJanuary meal was spaghetti and meatballs with garlic bread. After Thanksgiving, I made turkey pot pie filling (pg. 92) with all our leftovers and froze the filling. Our second meal was turkey pot pie with store-bought pie crust (because I was feeling too lazy to make my own).
I thawed Easter ham I had in the freezer, used a few stalks of asparagus I had in the fridge and made quiche (pg. 22) one night with Trader Joe’s frozen hash browns. (Sidebar- My sister introduced me to Trader Joe’s frozen hashbrowns and I’m never turning back. They are like McDonalds hashbrowns!) I could have also made a frittata, but quiche was specifically requested. If you have frozen ham from Xmas, click here for more ideas on how to repurpose it.
I had one small frozen pizza, my cousins (who stayed at our house over the holidays while we were in Indy) left a bag of frozen toasted ravioli in our freezer, I had a little cheese, salami and crackers left over from NYE and we had hummus, tzatziki and pita chips. We had a side of ranch left over from a take out order and I served it with the pizza I cut into bite-sized pieces. Don’t judge me. There were no rules for “dinner of snacks” night and everyone was happy.
I also have a lot of turkey left over. We will get into why another time. Maybe you have leftover turkey in your freezer too. I think tonight I will make chicken soup (pg. 34) but with turkey and chicken stock I have in the pantry so it will be quick and easy. Perfect on this chilly winter night. Or maybe I will make turkey & dumplings. I have everything to make that too. I’ll probably make both before February is out. Don’t forget these other options for leftover turkey. They will all help in cleaning out the kitchen.
I’m no fool. I can’t not buy ANY groceries in January. We will need milk, bread and eggs. I don’t want to see my husband if he is deprived of lunch meat/sandwiches for an entire month. But, I can make a significant dent in this disaster of a pantry and freezer. Stay tuned for more recipes coming your way!
p.s. don’t forget to share your great kitchen clean out recipes below in the comments and/or tag @andhattiemakesthree #NoBuyJanuary