Yes, it’s the new year and you’re wondering how your pantry will survive the harshest parts of the winter still ahead. If you failed to stock up before the holidays (as money was probably spent elsewhere) please realize it’s not too late to stock up.
During the warmer months people naturally tend to eat lighter, cooler and crisper. In the cold times of the year we tend to want warm comfort type foods. Comfort foods are filling and help in regulating your temperature. In other words, they help keep you warm. In the wintertime you’ll want to eat more soups, stews, casseroles and breads. Are you stocked in ingredients to make these, especially if you are snowed or iced in?
Prepare The Pantry
Those that do stock their pantry probably have the basics, canned meats, flour, condensed soups…. This time of year you’ll probably be making more sauces. You’ll need flour, powdered milk, or condensed cream soups. Do you have canned fruit? You can make cobblers, pies, and turnovers with canned fruit. These are tasty and filling! Do you have a bread machine? Or bake bread from scratch? You’ll need flour, lots of flour, as well as yeast. Have you stocked yeast? (I buy my yeast in bulk and store in the freezer.)
What does your family tend to want during the winter? Chili? Spaghetti? Beef stew? Tuna casserole? Think about what you normally eat and in the winter, take note of what it takes to make each of those and that’s what needs to go onto your grocery list.
Do you have canned or frozen vegetables? You still need veggies in the winter. If you didn’t can vegetables this past year, buy canned goods now and plan on a bigger garden this spring. I like to keep vegetables in different forms, some frozen, some canned and some dehydrated.
The basis of most soups is stock. Do you have canned chicken stock, beef or vegetable stock? In a pinch bouillon will do but starting out with a good broth is paramount for a good tasting (and filling soup). I have saved leftover vegetables in a single container in the freezer from the weekly meals. At the end of the week, I’d brown some ground beef, add it to a pot of beef broth and toss in all the frozen leftover vegetables. You can supplement with barley, noodles or rice. I like to add some dried herbs to the mix such as a bit of thyme. It’s delicious (especially with some fresh crusty bread or cornbread) filling, warm… and a good use of your resources saving you money.
Do you have flavorings? Flavorings such as mustard and ketchup, mayo, and sauces like Worcestershire can also ‘beef’ up a dreary meal.
Do you have breakfast grains? Breakfast grains like oats (malt-o-meal and cream of wheat) are nutritious, filling and affordable on a per serving basis. Oats are very versatile too. They can be added to breads and more.
How about items to fill up the hungry folks? Potatoes can really stretch a meal. Keep some over-winter in a cool dark spot and store dehydrated potatoes for hash browns, and instant potatoes for mashed.
How does your pantry look? It’s never really too late to stock up! Add some basics to your weekly grocery list this week and before you know it, you’ll be stocked and ready to feed your family, no matter the weather.