Kathy G Writes

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Cleaning out the Fridge

Kathy Gustafsson - February 10, 2021

How do you grocery shop?  Do you buy a bunch of stuff and hope that you can throw some meals together?  Or are you a planner, making a list of what you need for each recipe throughout the week?  Or do you go to Trader Joe’s on the regular and just buy all your favorites knowing it will keep you happy and fed until your next trip? 

Meal planning is not something I’ve had the time or desire to do for the last few years.  I knew what I could throw together with some basic ingredients, and we have our Trader Joe's favorites that go into the cart whenever I make a trip.  But it got to the point where our pantry and freezer were packed!

So I did what anyone would do - I took inventory.  A list for the pantry and a list for the freezer.  The amount of food we had for two people was a bit ridiculous.  Then I wrote a list of meals.  Two weeks’ worth of meals, with leftovers and the occasional dinner out (TN is open to indoor dining), we had enough to get us through a month.

And it did.

We tried Dinner then Dessert’s Black Beans and Rice recipe – YUM! 

We made a tested and true favorite, Minimalist Baker’s Spicy Jackfruit Tacos and used the jackfruit for burrito bowls. 

We had a few meals with our Ikea favorites.  Grönsakskaka – cheesy veggie cakes and Huvudroll – veggie balls.  Ikea food is a treat for us, and we were super thankful when they starting including plant based options in their menu.  We make the trek (3 hours to the closest store) a couple times a year and stock up on our favorites.

We made spaghetti and pad thai, we heated up vegetable soup made last fall, and enjoyed some of our favorite Trader Joe's frozen meals. 

I used frozen strawberries to make Cookie & Kate's Strawberry Chia Seed Jam.

I used frozen blueberries to make Shauna Niequist’s Blueberry Crisp Recipe.  (noted below) This crisp is gluten free, with no added sugar! It's great warm with ice cream, or paired with yogurt for breakfast.

We ate like kings while whittling down the inventory in our freezer and pantry. 

And now that I have more freedom with my schedule, meal planning has gone into full effect.  Time to utilize all the cookbooks I have, plus all the recipes I’ve been tearing out of magazines for most of my adult life.  Then there’s the sourdough starter which is resting nicely at the back of my refrigerator, an adventure all unto its own.

BLUEBERRY CRISP by Shauna Niequist from her book Bread & Wine

4 cups blueberries (or any fruit)

Crisp Topping:

1 cup old fashioned oats

½ cup pecans, halved or chopped

½ cup almond meal

½ tsp salt

¼ cup maple syrup

¼ cup olive oil

Heat oven to 350.  Mix together the crisp ingredients.  Pour the fruit into an 8x8 pan, and layer the crisp topping over it.  Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until fruit is bubbling and topping is golden.

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5 comments on “Cleaning out the Fridge”

  1. I am so not a planner, figuring out dinner after school pickup and homework for the next 14 years will be the death of me. But, I will be making these someday! Yum!

  2. God knew I needed to save this one for today! I think all this food sounds amazing!!!!! I am so glad you are a fabulous writer and cook! I want to try everything you just wrote about!

  3. Hah! I soo want to do this as well, just watch a cool YouTube video about the same idea. She called it "Reverse Meal Planning".

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