Thursday, September 27, 2012

Thursday's Kitchen Cupboard

As the garden continues to put out its last morsels of produce the floor of the kitchen is still cluttered with baskets of produce and jars for canning.  Slowly the pantry is becoming better stocked each day.  Also my challenge of living from the pantry and freezer continues with planning for good meals at a minimum of cost.

The filling of the freezer with meat and the pantry with other staples from the market is almost complete.  I estimate that the cost to replenish everything has cost about $600 so starting this week I will begin to actually see what we spend over the next 6 months on groceries weekly.  It should be interesting as I do not do a budget for such spending.  Just purchase as we need things.  I do have a couple of more items to purchase that is included in the $600 for restocking.

The only thing that has gone into the pantry this week has been from the garden.

 I guess the theme for the next few weeks will be tomatoes as they continue to ripen sitting here in baskets.  Also made more dill pickles as I could never eat fresh all I had picked and they weren't the quality that I like to give away.
I think I have mentioned before I am the primary care giver for my brother who is mentally challenged and now also a type 2 diabetic with a special diet.  During the winter I make a lot of soup for weekend lunches.  Each 12 oz jar contains the correct proportions of carrots, potatoes and celery to make on lunch by adding 1 cup of tomatoes, 2 oz of meat and 1 pint of stock.  The 8 oz. jars are pizza sauce.  I cook my meatballs in a sauce but freeze them separately.  This is sort of a by product of the procedure.  By adding a little tomato paste and a few more herbs it makes a great canned pizza sauce.
I do a lot with left overs in the way of TV dinners for my brother also.  There are some things like a ham that can't be cooked for 2 and not have left overs.  This is scalped potatoes with ham and carrots correctly proportions for a dinner for him.  This picture doesn't show it well but if you use a good quality plastic wrap by placing the dinner in the microwave for about 2 minutes and take it out it will actually shrink wrap the meal giving it a good seal in the freezer.  I just cover it with foil once it is cooled and into the freezer.

I am not sure if I am frugal or cheap but I have come to pinch a penny until is squeals living on a limited fixed income and still eating better than many.

Be sure to visit our host,The Gardener of Eden and see what other have to share in recipes and what they are squirreling away from their garden.


  1. I used to make "TV dinners" for my husband. He brought them to work for lunch. That was a long time ago though. I forget why we stopped. I think he was trying to lose weight.

    I like the canned carrots, celery and potatoes. I couldn't do potatoes, but it is interesting to have a can to open for all the basics that you need. I freeze my carrots and celery for that. I'm always at a dilemma as to what to freeze and what to can. I like freezing if possible because I think it retains the nutrients better, but there is only so much room in the freezer.

  2. You are doing a great job of stocking up to go into the winter months. I am always inspired by your frugal but tasty methods.

  3. What a great and smart way to preserve all of the soup ingredients at once. That sounds like a dream come true on a busy weeknight.

  4. Daphne, I don't have freezer space for vegetables plus I prefer canned vegetables I guess because that is what I grew up on. When I was a kid we didn't have a freezer so we canned everything including meat.

    Laura, thanks, I think I am about ready for what ever old man winter has to dish out this year.

    TS, with my brother eating 6 meals a day, I sometimes think that all I do when he is here all the time on weekends is cook so I try to do things in quantity and have them available for a quick fix if I have something else to do.

  5. Boy you have been busy. I love the pre-made veggies for soup. What a great idea.

  6. That's the way to do it wilderness! Get everything you can out of what you have. I keep track of any produce that we may have to buy over the year. But, I think it's a good idea to keep track of how much is spent on groceries. Most of our store bought items are cat food and litter!

  7. Wow, You really have been busy! I´m most impressed! And You´re really admirable to take care of Your brother as well! At least here in Sweden that is not so common! I have never thought about freezing readymade dinners in trays, I always put (just leftovers) in one reusable plastic box, put it in the freezer and reheat it when needed, can You reuse the trays? Never seen them here... Well, now You got me looking for more recipes for canning! Thanks for the inspiration! Have a nice weekend! :) Mia

  8. GM thanks. I knew I couldn't use all the celery fresh so needed to find something to do with it.

    Robin, when I do grocery costs I don't include paper products which we use very little of except T paper. Don't get a big sears catalog anymore so have to buy T paper. LOL Also of course cleaning and laundry supplies. Only food that we actually consume. I am very frugal about anything else we have usually the cheapest that is available but is a good price for what you need to use. Many of the less expensive detergents etc. you need to use twice as much so isn't a savings.

    Mia, the trays I am using I have saved from when I occasionally buy a TV dinner when they are on sale as sometimes I needed a quick meal for my brother but they don't fit into his diet anymore. I am a pack rat when it comes to keeping things that I might have a use for. I do believe you can buy containers just for this purpose that are reusable. I know I had some many years ago and I do need to check with my son to see if they are still in his house.

    Mrs. P lot done but really not seeing the light at the end of the tunnel yet.

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