The Pantry Challenge

I saw the back of my pantry this weekend. I almost forgot what it looked like. It’s been well stocked, but honestly, more “overstocked” for years. I found some items I don’t remember buying and others that were too old to be there. I am slowly making a dent in what once was an abundant pantry. In an effort to keep my social distance and “flatten the curve”, I’ve been pushed to participate in the Pantry Challenge; to cook with the food that I already have in my fridge and cupboard and to waste less, spend less and create new recipes. Very thrifty and eco-friendly but now, with the Covid-19 isolation, it’s somewhat a necessity.

In researching inventive recipes to tailor to the items I had on hand, I discovered that this Pantry Challenge is nothing new. Jessica Fisher, mom of six and cookbook author proposed this idea on her website “Good Cheap Eats.” Some try it for the month, others a week at a time. She tried it and shaved off almost $1,000 from her monthly grocery bill. Not only does it save you a lot of money, the idea to make all your meals out of what you already have in your cupboard, fridge and freezer has other benefits as well. It clears out unwanted clutter, helps you develop better cooking skills, is good for the planet and fun to do!

Yesterday, with a bag of onions that were soon to be in the trash, leftover white wine and beef stock in the pantry, I created a flavorful French onion soup using a recipe from Ina Garten’s The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook. And even though it is totally gone now, it did help that I had some leftover Swiss cheese to use for the gratin! It was delicious!

Good luck with your pantry challenge. Don’t forget to check out my reading list on our website. There are a lot of great resources available to help you to create mouth-watering meals using what you already have in your cupboard.

You can download this book using Libby/Overdrive.

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