Pantry Party!

A big pantry is a good thing and a bad thing.  Good because you can always have one of everything on hand. Bad because then you always have one of freaking everything on hand.

Meet the pantry:
Luckily, organization is my specialty! Organization can improve your productivity and reduce your "losing my mind" feeling. Also, it could save you money because instead of buying olives you would look in the olive section of your pantry and see EIGHT packages of olives. True story.

My plan of attack. Sort items by category:
  • Starches
  • Oils
  • Vinegars
  • Dressings
  • Sauces (hot, buffalo, pasta)
  • Condiments (olives, pickles, mustard, mayo, ketchup, dips)
  • Canned veggies
  • Canned fruit
  • Canned proteins (tuna, salmon, sarrdddiiinnneeesss!!)
  • Beans
  • Soups
  • Baking ingredients
  • Beverages (coffee, tea, cocoa and sweeteners, creamers)
  • Booze
  • Cat treats (yup)
Cat treats before
Cat treats after

Top tips:
  • Contain small packages into a bowl or other container, like the cat treats above
  • If you have a lower pantry of shelf where canned foods are tightly packed you could write "diced tomatoes" or "cream of mushroom" on top of cans with sharpie for easy reference
  • If it's been in your pantry forever, check the expiration date. It probably expired three years ago. 
  • Put contents of nearly empty packages into smaller packages
  • Oh, and have a helper
Ummmm that expired three years ago....

Big bag ---> Small container
this is my helper.
The results! 

Boozey beverages in back, kitty supplies in front.
Condiments, sauces, dressing, oil/vin, and a bin for onions and potatoes
Starches, proteins, canned fruits and veggies, soups, and baking goods.
Hot beverages: most accessed items in front - coffee grinder, filters, coffee.
Another great thing about really taking stock of your pantry is that you can get inspired for a meal! The one meal that you can nearly ALWAYS put together on the fly is a bowl of soup. All you need is some veggies, some protein, some liquid, and spices. DONE. I will share my recipe from the pantry, but it's really just an inspiration. Whatever you have on hand works! That goes for your produce drawer, too. Half an onion here, half a pepper there... You get it. My rule of thumb on spices is 1 tsp from 3-5 of your favorite spices. More than that and you just get lost. 

Here's what I rounded up from the kitchen:

Pantry Chili

  • 1 tbsp EVOO
  • 3 15 oz. cans of beans, with liquid ( I used Cannellini, Garbanzo, and a can of Ranch Style Beans)
  •  1 28 oz can of diced tomatoes, with liquid
  • 1-2 cups of water, depending on how much broth you like
  • 1 1/2 bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1/4 c. left over diced white onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp each: taco seasoning, paprika, cumin, cayenne, parsley flakes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • In a large pot, soften onions, garlic, and peppers in olive oil
  • Once they begin to brown, add beans, tomatoes, water, spices
  • Simmer for 10 minutes
  • Taste, add salt and pepper as needed
  • Simmer for 5 more minutes, remove from heat and cool 5 minutes before serving
  • Serve with shredded cheese and greek yogurt to dollop on top

While the chili is simmering, why don't you make these crazy delicious green onion buttermilk drop biscuits?! They are delish!

Disclaimer: I don't really support the use of a processed food like bisquick, but it's ok if you're cleaning out your pantry. 

Cheddar Green Onion Buttermilk Drop Biscuits
this is hardly a recipe, because I basically followed the box...

  • 2 cups heart smart bisquick
  • 3/4 c. reduced fat buttermilk (this is more than the box calls for because buttermilk is so thick and the extra additions of dry ingredients)
  • 1/2 c fresh diced green onion
  • 1/2 c. 50% reduced fat shredded cheese (I recommend cheddar or mexican blend)
  • Mix all ingredients until just incorporated
  • Drop on a greased baking sheet
  • Bake at 450 for 10 minutes
These were incredible... The buttermilk gave them a tart flavor reminiscent of sourdough. And they were less than 150 calories each! You could also knead them a bit and cut them out for traditional biscuits, but who has that kind of time? Like the soup, you could throw any ingredients into these biscuits. Sun dried tomato and parmesan come to mind... Another day.

If you brushed these with melted smart balance after they came out of the oven, they would be a healthier alternative to Red Lobster cheddar biscuits...


In other news, I had my first class of my MBA education last night: Statistics! I'm really looking forward to it... My professor was entertaining and engaging and my classmates are so friendly. I'm excited for my two other classes on Wednesday, Organizational Theory and Business Ethics. It will be a busy semester, but I welcome it with open arms. 

Happy Tuesday!

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