I haven't really been acquainted with my pantry since right before Christmas when my daughter was in town and we had a baking blitz. I'm not proud to admit that but I thought it might be helpful to reveal this truth to others who are having a pantry crisis!
When we bought our house 4 years ago, we converted one of the linen closets (we have a split foyer and only really needed one linen closet) to a pantry. The kitchen has Zero space for pantry items so I needed some place to keep things handy. Hence, the re-purposed linen closet! It's been a great space and I really maximized it with wire racks, turnstiles, graduated shelving and clip on-hanging shelves. But like I said . . . it's been a while . . .
Anyway, I'm swallowing my pride to share what I found and what I plan to do:
1 tortilla chip bag with about 30 chips in the bottom, along with some crumbs--not well sealed and so stale. These will be used when I make chicken enchillada casserole this week (which will also include the 3 cans of cream of mushroom soup that had been hiding way in the back as well:-)
1 bag of French's fried onions with about 2 casserole's worth of fried onions left in it. These will also be used up this week--my family is really going to be excited!
1 bag of Cheez-its with about 1/4 cup of crumbs in the bottom. These are now in a zip lock bag, ready to be used later - either as filler in a meatloaf or as a topping to a casserole or vegetable dish. (These items are stored (with the boxes of actual crackers and chips, etc.) in plastic baskets on the floor.)
2 batches of my oatmeal cookie mix now combined into one huge batch- I made one last week and didn't even know I had one already in the back of the pantry!
Lots of pieces and bit of baking supplies left over from our baking frenzy over Christmas. Combined, sorted - and yes threw out some of these. I had two bags of coconut open, 2 packs of baking chocolate (for my "world famous" dipped fruit) unused, 2 bags of marshmallows previously opened. I'll use the marshmallows up with the box of Rice Krispies just calling out to be made into Rice Krispie treats, various cans of evaporated and sweetened condensed milk.
Then I organized all the pasta and rice bags and boxes, pulled out all cans and organized and replaced in a logical order--not necessarily all together but by how they will be used--for example, the can of refried beans is next to the pack of taco shells. The canned tomatoes, tomato sauce and paste are next to the canned kidney beans and cans of ro-tel for one last end-of-the season batch of my husband's yummy chili, etc.
For small packs of seasoning mixes, like stir-fry and tacos, I have attached a gallon-size freezer bag with velcro to the inside of the pantry door. Easy to see, out of the way, and they don't get lost in the back of the pantry (in theory, of course:-)
I feel proud of my pantry again and will be able to be much more frugal because I won't be purchasing items I already have on hand.
Oh . . . I pulled out a couple of extra boxes of pasta and 2 jars of pasta sauce to take to our church next Sunday for delivery to an area food pantry.
What's in your pantry?
I consider frugality an art form and a religious conviction. I learned about paying cash for purchases, recycling and reusing just about everything and being generous to friends and those in need from my parents.
My faith instructs me all things are gifted by God and so I am compelled to be a good steward of my gifts. [The highest heavens belong to the LORD, but the earth he has given to man. Psalm 115:16]