The coronavirus has millions of people rushing to the stores and hoarding items like toilet paper. It’s a scary time and our big concern isn’t TP. These sisters are both wise shoppers and go to places like Sams Club to do our shopping for most items. When there is a sale, we stock up so paper products were the least of our concern. Our concern was fresh produce and keeping vegetables in our daily diet. Here are a few ways we’ve learned to stretch supplies during the coronavirus.
Stretching Food Supplies During the Coronavirus
- Know what you have. Take inventory of your pantry, spices, canned goods, and freezer. Guaranteed you have a few items you forgot you had. I found beef broth I bought for something a couple of months ago in the back of my pantry. BONUS!
- Start a NEW list. You WILL forget items. But that doesn’t mean you should run out to the store and grab it now. Instead, start making your list and ORGANIZE it. Put it in order of your store is laid out so when you finally do have to go back, you can make your way through as quickly as possible.
- Inspect your food. Every day we take a look at our refrigerators to evaluate the condition of our fresh items. My potatoes are starting to grow eyes and a few of my carrots are starting to get soft… now what? Remember my bonus beef broth from #1? Well, I also remembered a small pack of stew beef in my freezer, had half a cabbage, and half a turnip leftover from the St. Patrick’s day meal we made at the start of the Coronavirus outbreak. I’ll give you 3 guesses what I did. You guessed it! Beef stew in the crockpot! The beef was a little sparing BUT I saved a lot of vegetables that would have been wasted AND created 10 meals for us.
- Ration and portion. I don’t know about you but when I make something we usually eat it until we are sick of it. And sometimes we throw the last part out. Not now. I’ll take the stew from #3 and freeze half of those meals for another time.
- Use the fresh and expiring items first. Yes, I LOVE french fries and I have them in my freezer. Yes, I love American cheese slices and have some in my refrigerator (I keep telling my husband to leave them alone!). But what makes the most sense? Use the fresh items first. Save the frozen, canned, processed foods and focus on the items that will go bad. And of course find ways to preserve fresh vegetables before they go bad.
- Grow your own. Check out our new post about growing vegetables in the winter. Spring is here but you can still grow some items right now – celery, lettuce…
What do you do when you finally do have to go out again? I’m not talking about being safe. We all know about social distancing and wearing gloves or using hand sanitizer. I’m talking about what do you buy? A LOT of people are still going to be thinking about toilet paper and if you find some, great! But be on the lookout for the important items. Be on the lookout for the foods that are going to give you energy, keep your immune system up and keep you full longer. The goal is to stay home as long as possible without going out again so you want to make your trip matter. Here are some items that are on my list already:
- Northern Beans (and molasses to make Baked Beans)
- Olive Oil
- Milk – did you know you can freeze it?
- Egg Whites – these last forever and are a good fall back
- Cream of Mushroom Soup (can)
- Cream of Celery Soup (can)
- Cheddar Cheese (can)
- Thin Spaghetti or Angel Hair Pasta
- Tomato Sauce
Some ideas of what to do with all the fresh food
When I shop I buy in bulk anyway. As I said, I’m a Sam’s girl. I buy 5 or 10 pounds of burger, 6 peppers, 3 pounds of fish, 10 pounds of chicken and cases of canned goods already. Just before the outbreak got really bad, we were planning on going to Florida (obviously we didn’t!) but weren’t sure what to expect when we got back home so I prepared a bunch of meals for the freezer to ensure we had meals that had vegetables in them. Vegetables are important! Here’s a list of what I made from the supplies I bought with a description and the recipes:
- 30 Turkey Burgers – these have yummy zucchini and garlic mixed in and are a family favorite!
- 6 Zesty Beef Meatloaf – these have red peppers and spinach mixed in!
- 10 servings of Vegetable and Beef Chili – Peppers and garlic make this simple chili quick to make, yummy and a nice treat as nachos when you run out of salsa. 🙂 Throw some beans in to make it go further.
- 2 Taco Casseroles – These are made with beef, salsa, and cauliflower. Yup, cauliflower but you wouldn’t know it.
- Tuna Casserole – my all time favorite recipe passed down from mom. Not only can you freeze it but ALL the items that go in this are either canned, boxed or frozen so pick up the supplies and just store them til your ready. Make in bulk or just as needed. It’s a no fail meal plan!
- Turkey Vegetable Soup – This one came after. I had celery, a pepper and some rotisserie chicken that were going to go bad so I combined it with some other ingredients for a delicious healthy soup.