Friday, October 4, 2013

Deluttering and Preparing a Menu for the Week

As I have been going through my kitchen cupboards and starting my decluttering in October to prepare for the holidays, there are other benefits besides organizing.  Going through my cupboards helps me to know just what I have and what needs to be used.  As I went through my food cupboards yesterday, I saw that I had a little bit of dill, some rice noodles, a little bit of manicotti, etc. I thought of things I could make this week to finish up some of the things that needed to be used.  I had a few things that were about to expire, so I thought of recipes that I could make to use them before it is too late.

This is the menu I came up with for the week:

Tuna casserole: Used extra noodles and a little bit of dill along with the tuna, peas, cheese, cream of celery, etc.

Baked Ziti:  Used some cottage cheese people didn't like and pulsed it in the blender, used a little bit of Parmesan cheese I had on hand, used a 1/4 pound package of Italian sausage for flavor, used several packages of cheese that had just a little left in them.

Spanakopita:  Had a half package of spinach in the freezer, 1/2 package of filo dough, an onion that had a bad spot.  Added some feta cheese and spices.

Manicotti:  Had 4 manicotti shells so I will use them and use up the leftovers of some cottage cheese, cheese, etc.

Stir Fry:  Will use the rice noodles along with some soy sauce that needs to be used and some misc. veggies that I want to finish up.

Tomato basil soup:  Will use some canned tomatoes that need to be used.  I also have some carrots I will cook and puree and add and hope that it works out!
I have started using smaller containers for things since I am not cooking for a big family any more.  If you look closely, you might be able to see the dates on things where I have labeled them with a sharpie so they are easier to see.  After I label things, I put the ones that need to be used first in the front.  I moved my flour and sugar off the floor from the big buckets I used to use to medium containers on the shelves.  I also had some leftover drinks from a party I included, but those aren't something we normally have!

It seems like we use different foods at different times of our life.  Years ago, I made casseroles with canned soups, but now I rarely use them at all.  I don't think I even used more than one can of cream of mushroom soup this whole year.  I also made broccoli cheese soup, but now we don't have that much at all.  I do keep canned food for emergencies, but we don't eat them on a regular basis.  The amount of storage you keep changes as your family grows or shrinks. 

Today I should finish up going through the bottom cupboards, most of which left are dishes.  It should go very quickly.  I may even make time to inventory what is in the freezer and fridge and clean both of them.

Yesterday, I stated that this month was for decluttering, not for deep cleaning.  That doesn't mean that you shouldn't wipe off a shelf when you have taken everything off of it.  It seems silly to take everything off and then put it back and wait until next month to wipe off the shelf.  Take stuff out of drawers or off shelves, dust of wipe off and then return only what you really want, need and use to the drawer or shelf.    Good luck!

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