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  • Pantry Challenge – Week 1 Update

    I decided to join the Pantry Challenge at Good Cheap Eats last week, with the goal of using up some random ingredients I have on hand:

    Ronzoni Healthy Harvest egg noodles
    Sweetened condensed milk
    Canned cannelli beans
    Cornmeal
    Jam
    Anchovies

    From this list, I used one package of egg noodles to make what was supposed to be Tuna Noodle Casserole, but as I posted on Facebook, I totally forgot the tuna and ended up with a sort of macaroni and cheese dish. It still tasted good, and I did use up a bag of noodles, but I felt rather foolish for forgetting the “tuna” in “tuna casserole.”

    I also used about 1 1/2 cups of cornmeal to make calamari (I soak the squid in buttermilk, then coat in seasoned cornmeal and fry).

    I realized that having a written-out menu plan will help me use up these items faster, although the only items I worked into this week’s plan are the cannellini beans (in Friday’s soup) and more cornmeal for cornbread. But I’m also using up a couple items that aren’t on the list, like an almost full but open bottle of red wine with tonight’s short ribs, and the carton of cream of mushroom soup that’s already open in the fridge.

    Also, now that both kids are back in school, I’m hoping to have some time to bake, which should help me use up some condensed milk and jam. I’ll probably make some Key Lime Bars to used up the condensed milk, since it’s been a while.

    I am going to have to think harder about how to use up the rest of these ingredients in the coming weeks . . .

    Comments

    1. I have two recipes to help you use up those noodles:

      Stroganoff-Style Chicken–it’s a lighter version (no cream of __ soup)
      http://www.bhg.com/recipe/poultry/stroganoff-style-chicken/

      Mushroom & Artichoke Chicken–the sauce is super yummy (lots of butter)
      http://www.moneywisemoms.com/2012/01/mushroom-artichoke-chicken/

    2. I always saute 2-3 chopped anchovies with my onions when I’m making tomato sauce (takes no longer than boiling the pasta). I love Trader Joe’s tomato sauce as a base, I just saute some onions and anchovies for a couple of minutes, throw in a cube or two of that frozen garlic and frozen basil they also sell at Trader Joe’s, pour in a can or two of the tomato sauce, a splash of red wine if I’ve got some, and voila!

      • Chief Family Officer says:

        Thanks for the great idea and tips! I always have that frozen garlic on hand, but haven’t tried the basil yet – will have to now :)

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