Monday, July 29, 2013

The Use It Up Menu Plan

Given that we are expecting to move by the end of August (holy SMOKES that's coming up fast!!!), my goal is to use up everything we can out of the pantry & freezer. I plan to give anything remaining (and usable) to my sister when we move.

As such, you'll see lots more meals from the freezer, freezer items turned into meals, etc. I'm going to create a loose, one month menu plan to get us through until (the tentative) move date. Should be an interesting month. ;-)

In addition to the dinners, lunches will be leftovers (I have a bunch of soup in the freezer that can fill in any gaps) & I have boatloads of bananas that need to be turned into muffins & breads.

Monday - 7/29 - Leftovers spaghetti & meatballs that are hiding in the fridge.
Tuesday - 7/30 - I have a friend & her daughter coming over for dinner, & need a vegetarian meal option. I'm thinking of pesto penne with fresh mozzarella, and a salad. Fresh fruit for dessert.
Wednesday - 7/31 - Oven baked chicken risotto, to use up some fresh mozzarella.
Thursday - 8/1 - Leftovers
Friday - 8/2 - We may be in the bay area, doing some prep/recon work. If so, eating out. If not, Easy meatless manicotti, using up some noodles that are lingering in the pantry.
Saturday - 8/3 - If we're not in the bay area, chicken enchiladas from the freezer
Sunday - 8/4 - Homemade pizza using up the last of the fresh mozzarella with thinly sliced burgers (freezer) to create our favorite - meatball pizza!
Monday - 8/5 - Taco night! Using up ground beef (freezer) & tortillas (freezer)
Tuesday - 8/6 - Chicken salad wraps (using chicken from the freezer)
Wednesday - 8/7 - Leftovers
Thursday - 8/8 - Grilled chicken & ravioli - both from the freezer
Friday - 8/9 - Burgers (from the freezer)
Saturday - 8/10 - Italian baked chicken and pastina casserole (using some canned tomatoes & grilled chicken in the freezer)
Sunday - 8/11 - Pizza night, using whatever scraps are available :-)
Monday - 8/12 - Spaghetti & meatballs (both from the freezer)
Tuesday - 8/13 - Leftovers
Wednesday - 8/14 - Chicken marsala casserole (using rice & grilled chicken)
Thursday - 8/15 - Leftovers
Friday - 8/16 - Clean out the fridge night before camping
Saturday - 8/17 - Family camping trip!
Sunday - 8/18 - Family camping trip!
Monday - 8/19 - Family camping trip!
Tuesday - 8/20 - Home from camping late. Likely eating camping leftovers or something quick & easy.
Wednesday - 8/21 - Spaghetti & meatballs (both from the freezer)
Thursday - 8/22 - Chicken taquitos (freezer)
Friday - 8/23 - Grilled chicken & ravioli - both from the freezer
Saturday - 8/24 - Taco night (beef & tortillas from the freezer)
Sunday - 8/25 - Pizza night, using any leftover scraps
Monday - 8/26 - Italian baked chicken and pastina casserole (using some canned tomatoes & grilled chicken in the freezer)
Tuesday - 8/27 - If we still have ground beef left, likely a 1/2 batch of lubia polo to use up canned green beans, rice, & any remaining ground beef.
Wednesday - 8/28 - Leftovers
Thursday - 8/29 - Use up whatever is left!
Friday - 8/30 - Use up whatever is left.
Saturday 8/31- (Tentative) travel day!
Sunday - 9/1. I'm sure we'll be eating out, grocery shopping & restocking while we get settled.

If we can stick to this plan (mostly - dinners are not fixed to any particular night, but more to give me a sense of what's available & what to make), we shouldn't need to buy any: meat, cheese, noodles, rice, etc until after we've relocated. Purchases should be mostly produce, milk, eggs, & a few recipe items.

Have you moved with a fully stocked kitchen & freezer? Did you end up wasting food, or have a masterful plan to use it up before you left? Any tips or tricks you could share?


  1. I really have nothing of value to add. The last time we moved was almost 13 yrs. ago from a tiny house with a small kitchen/pantry to here. I don't recall how much food I hauled with us by car but it must have been minimal.
    I would suggest that if possible and if it won't cost you more, to take a box of staples with you in the move. Sort of an "oh my goodness, I have to feed everyone and I wasn't able to get to a store yet at the new place" emergency food box. You'll be exhausted just from moving so may not feel like traipsing around lots of grocery stores to gather up what you need. If that happens, an emergency food box might keep y'all from succumbing to the siren song of fast food. ;-)

    1. I may be taking a box of supplies. Originally we were going to fly and the movers would pack our stuff. Once they pack it, you can't access it until you move out of temporary housing, as it goes into some sort of giant warehouse. Now it looks like M will drive one of the cars, so we'll get a little flexibility to bring a few things that we need.

      I'm shivering at the thought of restocking a full kitchen!

  2. I have moved several times. Your movers (I'm guessing you will negotiate movers) will move all your dry and canned goods. I don't think they will move anything from the freezer. They won't move any liquids so if you have oil or anything like that, you will need to use it or give it away. At least this is how it was when the army hired movers for us.

    I always try to use everything possible up before the move. I also ended up giving away lots of freezer items before our last move.

    I was wondering if you would be traveling there to check out the area before the move. Make sure you get a good realtor and lender if you're going to buy. As somebody who has had bad experiences with realtors, I would get a second and third reference.

    1. We are getting movers, but we're incented to reduce as much as we can before the move (as we get additional benefits on other parts of the relo package). I'm trying to use up the vast majority of what we have, save for a small crate/tub of the basics that we can use to get us through our temporary housing stint.

      We are definitely going to check out the area. Likely next weekend. We also aren't planning on buying right away. We've gone back & forth, but that's the current plan. ;-)