Use It Up {A Fresh Start – Meal Plan}

What are the statistics?  Is it that 40% (or some other insane number) of the food Americans buy goes to waste?  That.Is.Crazy.  I’m pretty sure it’s not that bad around here, but I’ve sure felt the guilt when cleaning out the fridge a time or three.

One way to get a fresh start in the new year is to use up what you have.  What’s lurking in the depths of the deep freeze?  What’s hanging out in the back corner of the pantry?  January is a great month to dig it all up.  Get creative with what’s on hand and maybe save some cash on groceries in the process!

We started our little pantry challenge last week, and my people are none the wiser.  I haven’t been to the store since December 23.  My husband made a quick run for stomach bug supplies (gag), and my aunt picked up some flour and sugar for me one day (hmmm, must have had a cinnamon roll hankering).  We’re nearly out of fruit and veggies now, though, so to town I will go tomorrow.  Hopefully it’ll be a quick trip.

Here’s what we’re eating this week.


  • Breakfast ~ oatmeal with raisins (4 bowls if you’re the famished toddler), homemade granola with dried cranberries and dark chocolate (if you’re the husband who won’t touch oatmeal)
  • Lunch ~ bacon, fried eggs, homemade hashbrowns, oranges, and pumpkin butterscotch muffins (courtesy of 1/2 a bag of butterscotch chips in the pantry)
  • Supper Smorgasbord ~ french bread pizza leftovers, twice-baked potato soup leftovers (recipe coming!), a random assortment of fresh fruit and veggies, and “Mom Rocks! Nachos”.  I had some leftover burrito filling and no tortillas, so I made the filling stretch with some homemade refried beans, then topped tortilla chips with the mixture plus shredded cheddar cheese, salsa, and sour cream.  Definitely a winner.


  • scrambled eggs with cheese, muffins, fruit
  • french toast, fruit
  • fried eggs, toast, fruit
  • oatmeal or homemade granola


  • sloppy joes and homemade french fries, veggies and dip
  • roast beef, mashed potatoes and gravy, carrots
  • veggie beef soup with rice (I’ve had soup bones brewing up some beef stock in the crock pot)
  • ballgame food (hard boiled eggs, popcorn, cheese sticks, fruit, Santa cereal)
  • egg fried rice, fresh fruit and veggies

With all the illnesses flaring up everywhere (is it rampant where you live?!) I feel the need to keep meals both simple and rich in fresh fruits and veggies right now.  Lucky for me, that’s our kids’ favorite kind of eating.

Anyone else cleaning out the fridge and pantry in January?  Find anything interesting lurking in there?   (I’m fairly consistent about planning our weekly menu, but really bad about posting it here.  Should I be better?  Do you find it helpful at all?)


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  1. I am weirdly nosy and like to know what other people eat. When I really think about it or say it outloud it makes me feel kind of freaky, but based on the # of meal planners posting apparently I’m in good company!

    • Ha! Um, yes. I do think meal planning posts are fairly popular, or people wouldn’t feel led to post them. 😉 You’re in good company, friend!

  2. Laura Miller says:

    I enjoy seeing meal planning posts. It helps me get new ideas for planning meals for my family.

  3. I do like to see what others are eating. Gives me ideas. I had a big stock up grocery trip on 12/28. Had to do a a quick trip yesterday for milk, bread and some fruit. Got enough to last another week or so, but with using stuff up I’m hoping to not have to do another big trip until the end of the month.

  4. Sheila Laurence says:

    I am always trying to come up with meal ideas, so I love the meal plan posts. It helps get me out of my ruts. I generally don’t mind cooking, but I do get so tired of trying to come up with ideas!

  5. I think your menu plans are helpful. Thanks for posting them 🙂

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