Quite possible the biggest road block we hit in the day is the dreaded “what’s for dinner” question. Not so much that the kids are asking, but neither Jon nor I have made any plans for this meal. As a family we all sit down to this meal 90% of the time, it is not generally so much what the food will be but the experience, that being said, no one enjoys waffles or cereal or an afterthought meal thrown together EVERY night. So what we need is a plan, an organized plan that can smoothly get us through this meal.
Problems that we need to address: ‘The Rut” we need to expand beyond the same old recipes that we have as tried and true stand bys, “The Time” unfortunately with a family of 6 we often do not have a large amount of time to prepare a meal with loads of steps, and hoards of dishes in the aftermath, and lastly “The stash” Jon and I are known offenders of grabbing a few things from the store on most days of the week, this has provided us with a nice supply of staples that we can usually creatively come up with something that will pacify everyone hunger for dinner, but can also lead to waste in excess and no again no firm plan.
Jon is gone for 2 full weeks this month, which gave me the push I needed to detour all 3 of the above problems. I planned out 5 days worth of meals, breakfast, lunch and dinner, including new recipes for dinner and shopped for all of the weeks needs, ( minus a few items that I will buy fresh the day of for a certain recipe). I brought the entire horde of groceries home and went to put them away in our pantry….
Whoa!! Where in the world was I going to put all these groceries??? What in the world was I thinking, whose stuff is this in the hallway pantry?? The cart was obviously in front of the horse on this plan….
First Problem “the Stash” aka the pantry was no in desperate need of being solved….I set to work immediately.
It took me 3 days, and 2 trips to target since they ran out of the certain bin that I needed, but I successfully made our pantry into an organized, planned evening meal, stash closet in an OCD fashion that I did not even know I was capable of executing.
Our pantry is in a hallway making it very difficult to get a good straight on shot without crawling into the wall, but I think you get a good idea of what is going on with the Stash:
Top Shelf: Food dehydrator, bread maker, small hand mixer and small crock pot, these are appliances that we do not use on a regular basis.
Lower 2 Shelves: Each of these has 3 green plastic bins, each bin has a designated food, from left to Right: First Shelf: Soups/broths, sauces/dressing, pastas, Second Shelf: baking mixes/cake mixes, canned fruits and veggies (we don’t buy many of these, most of the time we buy fresh), rice.
Bottom Space: Kitchen aid mixer, large Crockpot and water bottle hoard. We use these appliances at least once a week, and the kids can grab and fill a water bottle anytime. With all our activities I need these to be easily accessible for them.
The dinner plan is in full effect with these clear bins, I can fit 6 across the top of my second from the top shelf. I have clips on the front of everyone. This is where I clip a dinner recipe and then I put all the dry ingredients needed for the recipe in the bin. Simple I just grab a bin and there are the ingredients and recipe I can either use fresh ingredients I have or pop to the store the day before or morning of and dinner is set.
Here is another bonus to this project, I realized that some of the food on our shelves had expired, that is waste that I am going to try and avoid with proper planning. There is an over flowering box of items ready for the spring garage sale, and a small grocery bag of items to donate.
I guess marshmallows do expire??!! Who knew!
All for sale!!