Cooking From the Freezer and Pantry

Does anybody else have ingredients in their kitchens that just never seem to get made into anything? For my Frugal February Challenge, most of what we eat will come from our freezer and pantry. I will still buy some fresh produce, a little cheese, butter and, of course, raw milk and eggs from the farm. Other than that, I’ll be cooking a ton from scratch. It may get pretty… creative around here.

My Stockpile

Here’s an idea of what I have to work with:

  • 1/4 of a cow
  • 1/4 of a pig
  • a few chickens
  • lots of frozen veggies
  • rice, oats, nuts and tons of grain
  • “extras” like coconut oil, organic maple syrup, herbs and spices, etc.
  • the dairy and fresh produce mentioned above

The beef and pork are pastured animals that we purchased directly from the farmers. There are many different cuts and I do have bones from the cow for making beef stock and fat from the pig to render into lard. Some chicken stock is simmering on the stove right now (courtesy of my dear husband!), so tomorrow I will freeze it into easily usable portions.

My Plans for this Month

Although I will be creating a menu, I won’t be posting my meal plans in advance. I would like to share how successful (or not) each week is, so I will do a summary at the end of each week. If I create a new recipe, I’ll post it some time the next week… if it was edible! 😉 So far, we had dinner at my parents last night and leftovers tonight, so I don’t have much to tell you, yet.

Long-term Application

When we were on a very tight budget, I would have an “eat from the freezer and pantry” week every few months. It always saved us quite a bit of money. When something we liked to eat was on a really good sale, I’d buy a bit extra. It all added up to amazing savings. I intend to get back to doing that when “Frugal February” is over. I already do this for some things, but for dry goods (like pasta, rice, beans or jarred food like pasta sauce) I just don’t think of it. I’ll keep a list in my purse of foods to check the prices on so that I don’t miss sales.

Once I know how quickly the extra food collects, I’ll schedule a “no shopping” week once every four to six weeks. That will help keep me focused and motivated. It will take a little extra effort and planning, but the savings will be worth it!

Do you ever take a shopping break and get creative with what you have on hand?

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4 comments to Cooking From the Freezer and Pantry

  • Thank you so much for linking up at Thrifty Thursday! This is something that would be a good challenge for me right now. I don’t know how food accumulates in my pantry so quickly and then I’m left with random ingredients 🙂 Thanks for the reminder to use it up!

    • LOL! I think the random ingredients multiply while we aren’t looking!! I really need to do this again… maybe next month we’ll limit our store shopping and clean out the freezer and pantry, again. Thanks for commenting and hosting the link-up, Jenn! 🙂

  • Miki

    So when you’re not buying food for the week do you take your normally budgeted money for food and set it aside for a future purchase like the cow or pig? I’m trying to come up with a way to “save” the money I’m saving buy buying a side of beef (I haven’t bought a pig yet, I really want to but it’s so much more expensive than the beef).

    • Yep, that’s exactly what we do. Some weeks I spend only half of my “normal” food budget, so we just allot that amount for our bulk purchases. For some things, we’ll intentionally save just for that purchase, like the half a cow or pig, but mostly it’s just “food money” and we use it as needed.

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