Finding Recipes for the Ingredients You Have on Hand
I caught some amazing sales at the grocery store this past month and our pantry is now stocked with all sorts of goodies. I aim to save at least 20% each time I head to the store and today I saved nearly 45% by lining up coupons with the sales circular! I cleaned out the pantry as soon as I got home. First I removed each and every box, bottle, and can. Then I wiped down the shelves, organized the items into groups and lined everything back up.
This time around I placed the items back on the shelves in reverse order. I placed the newly purchased food towards the back of the shelf and put the soon-to-expire items in front. Now I can clearly see exactly what I have in stock and run less risk of allowing food to go bad.
I checked the date on everything and I’m happy to report that almost all of the food is still edible. It’s been so long since I organized the shelves that I was a little worried that some of it may have expired. This go-around I only lost one small can of tomato paste. The expiration date was actually a few months away, but when I opened the can it didn’t look or smell quite right so I tossed it’s contents.
Tonight I pulled out the oldest cans of tomato sauce and paste and a fairly old box of pasta noodles and made the most delicious lasagna. I didn’t have ricotta cheese in the house so I searched allrecipes.com for a recipe that didn’t include it. My husband and I aren’t exactly big fans of ricotta so I was actually quite happy to find an alternative recipe.
I’ve come to depend on allrecipes.com’s ‘ingredient search,’ to figure out exactly what to make with a pantry full of food. The website lets you search for recipes based on the ingredients you have on hand. Tonight I typed tomato sauce and tomato paste into ‘ingredients I want’ and ricotta cheese into ‘ingredients I don’t want.’ I added lasagna to the ‘additional keyword’ box and clicked ‘Go.’
The site presented me with a lasagna recipe that uses sour cream in place of ricotta. Sounds strange doesn’t it? Well let me tell you it was one of the tastiest lasagna recipes I’ve made. I have to admit that I only use recipes for general guidelines and actually put in my own measurements and often tweak the ingredients and instructions quite a bit, but tonight’s dinner was absolutely scrumptious.
I’m so glad I live in the age of the Internet, without it I probably would’ve found myself driving to the grocery store in search of ricotta.