Sunday, April 14, 2013

A Lesson in Frugal Eating

A large, echoing void. A vacant chasm. A strangely luminous abyss. . . .This is my refrigerator today. Can you relate?

It seems like I encounter this image about once a week, usually at 7:30PM right in the middle of four or five exhausting workdays.

Now, normally this results in a dreary errand out for frozen pizza and microwaveable soup. But today I was already in my pajamas. And my feet hurt, I'm tellin' ya!

So I decided I was going to come up with some sort of breakfast and lunch for tomorrow out of the available resources or die trying.

What do we have to work with?


  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • a tub of Country Crock spread
  • a colander of thawing strawberries
  • 5 eggs
  • some almond milk
  • a Brita water pitcher
  • a heckuva lot of lemon juice
  • and 2 random jars of half-used spaghetti sauce.
Never mind what's in the door; it's just a bunch of condiments and a couple sticks of butter.

Normally, I don't make it past the depressing refrigerator inventory. I give up, give in, cry uncle, and buy pizza.

This time, I gave the freezer a more searching look.  The most prominent features are a couple bags of pecans, a cup or two of Quaker oats, a frozen banana, too much ice cream, and some wheat berries that I can't find a use for.

Hmmm. You can't bring an ice cream sundae to work for lunch, folks. 

But behind it all, I found one leftover cod filet, some slightly freezer burnt broccoli, and exactly 3/4 of a cup of uncooked wild rice.

*A Fanfare of Trumpets*

Lunch! By George, I think we've got it!

Breakfast was even easier to figure out. A fried egg, and some oatmeal spruced up with strawberries. Boom!

So out of the seeming nothingness of my leftover groceries, I have found meals. Not only meals, but healthy meals.

Healthier meals than if I had gone to the grocery store in a fit of laziness and desperation and bought pizza and microwaveable soup, in fact.

Moral of the Story

When you're looking in your fridge, groaning, "Awww, there's nothing to eat!!" . . .

Square your shoulders, look again, think outside of the box, and don't go out and buy "instant," over-processed, easy food.

Because you probably don't have to.

And hey, by using up your odds and ends instead of making an extra trip out, you've probably saved an extra $10 on your monthly grocery budget!