So this week my mission is to prepare dishes that will help me use up the ingredients that I have on hand. I know I'll have to buy some meats and fresh produce, but I'm going to try to limit my shopping to the fresh stuff.
Here's what I've come up with for the week:
2 cans black beans, 1 can beef broth, 1 package brown rice: Easy enough. I'll make Black Beans and Rice and will probably only need to buy an onion and a bell pepper.
1 jar peanut butter, 1 carton chicken broth, 1 box whole wheat spaghetti: I'm thinking of some kind of Thai noodle dish.
2 containers McCormick's Crusting Blends, 1 can madarin oranges, 1 can sweetened coconut: I'll dredge some boneless pork chops in the garlic-lemon-rosemary blend and bake for about 15 minutes. I've got a package of broccoli in the freezer and will steam that. Maybe there's a can of pineapple somewhere in the pantry that I can combine with the mandarin oranges and coconut to make a shortcut ambrosia.
2 cans tuna, 1 box Keebler crackers: I have eggs, pickle relish and mayo in the fridge, so it's tuna salad and crackers one night this week. A friend brought us some fresh tomatoes, so we'll have tomato slices drizzled with balsamic vinegar.
1 can fat-free refried beans: I have some corn tortillas in the freezer and a jar of salsa and some cheese in the refrigerator, so I'll make bean nachos. Instead of mashing canned pinto beans, I'll just substitute these refried beans. I've got cumin and chili powder on my spice shelf, so this should work just fine.
Dried sweetened cranberries, 1 large carton Quaker Oats, 1/2 box Grape Nuts cereal: I'm in luck here. I don't have to buy a single thing and I can treat myself to a slice of Cranberry-Orange Bread. I don't have any buttermilk, but I can use 1/2 cup of regular milk and add 1/2 tablespoon of lemon juice as a substitution.
With these menus, I'll use 17 items from my pantry, a few ingredients from my refrigerator, plus some staples like baking soda, flour, and vegetable oil. Hopefully I can clear out enough space to stock up again soon.