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Creative ways to use up your stockpile – think outside the box people!

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One thing I always hear is “what are you going to do with all that food?”  My answer is… eat it!

The food I keep in my stockpile is all part of a plan. I look at the expiration date and buy enough to get me through to that date. Example: most of my pasta has a date that goes out a year. So, I know I’m safe to keep a year’s worth of pasta on hand, rotating stock when I buy more. My mother could eat pasta for every single meal. But, since we have so much other stuff on hand, I limit us to two boxes a week. That means I can have 102 boxes of pasta in my stockpile and I know it will all get gobbled up before the “best by” date. And since I’ve always been able to get pasta FREE or really, really cheap ever since I started couponing, I don’t think I’ll ever pay much for pasta again!

Here’s where the creative part comes in.  Pasta comes in various packages. When I bought 120 boxes of Hamburger Helper, others I mentioned it to say “oh, I can’t have all that salt.”  I don’t like the salt either! In fact, I don’t care for the seasoning at all.  I use just the pasta! Same with Suddenly Salad. You don’t need to make pasta salad. Use the pasta in any dish!

The same goes for flavored rice, couscous, or any boxed “meal helper” out there. Ignore the instructions and use the ingredients the way you want! If you don’t want to throw the seasoning out, use it as bouillon to flavor a pot of soup. Or use just half in the dish and keep the rest. There are no rules! Get creative and use up that food!

Here are some other creative food “recipes” my mother I came up with:

Boxes Dinners, Hamburger Helper, Boxed Rice: A recap of what I said above plus a few more tips… use just the pasta for other dishes, save and use the seasonings for soups to sprinkle on stir fry as a seasoning, use pasta for casseroles, or use just the pasta and seasoning but without meat for a side dish, make as instructed but add veggies, swap the type of meat you use (you can put chicken or pork in a “hamburger” helper.

Flavored Coffee Creamer – use as dessert topping, add to smoothies, add to baking mixes or pancake mix, pour over pancakes or waffles, pour over ice cream, pour over canned fruit (think peaches & cream but you can use any fruit), add a bit to the milk in your cold cereal, add to instant oatmeal (either in the mix or pour on top), replace 1/4 cup of milk with creamer when making instant pudding, add to milk to make flavored milk, add to soda or seltzer (don’t say yuck) to make a sort of egg cream or ice cream float (add ice cream too, if you want), add to hot chocolate.

Cereal – crush it and use instead of graham to make pie crusts, blend it to use as “flour” for baking, make marshmallow treats (no law saying you have to use rice crispies!), sprinkle on pudding or ice cream, use to decorate cakes, make homemade breakfast bars.

Canned Soup – use as a soup starter! Add water and any kind of leftovers you happen to have in the refrigerator. Sprinkle in some of that seasoning you didn’t use for the hamburger helper. You can turn one or two cans of soup into enough soup to feed your family!

Chunky Canned Soup – use for pot pies! One easy way to do this is to just pour the soup into a baking pan, mix a bit of bisquick with milk or water (make it just thick enough so it holds together but will fall off the spoon on its own, like for dumplings), add blobs of mix on top of the soup and bake at 350 for about 20 minutes or until done (depending on how much you make).

Oatmeal – use for baking! Put it in the blender to make oatmeal flour. Grind it up to use as baby food. Bake oatmeal cookies. Make homemade granola.

Prepared Pudding and Yogurt – add to smoothies, make popsicles, use as dessert topping.

Canned Veggies – blend and add to soup stock, mash and add to other recipes (great way to hide veggies).

Canned Fruit – mash and use as dessert topping, use for cobblers, add to smoothies.

Jars of Baby Food – Veggie food: add to soups and stews to thicken the broth, add to mashed potatoes. Fruit food: add to desserts, baking mixes, pancake batter, use as dessert topping, mix with yogurt or pudding, use as dipping sauce. Meat food: add to meatloaf or meatballs, add to soups or stews, use in homemade dog treat recipes.

Salad Dressing – pasta salad, veggie dip, sandwich spread (thousand island or russian, marinade, add to meatloaf (especially italian), use to baste turkey/chicken, use on baked potato or add to mashed potatoes (bleu cheese is awesome), drizzle over hot pasta, use as dip for chicken nuggets, use as glaze for meat.

Seltzer – Seltzer is almost always free but it’s so blah! Add a bit of juice to flavor it, add seltzer to a smoothie to fizz it up a bit. You can also sweeten seltzer with your favorite sweetener.

Bread – toast it to make croutons, use for stuffing, make a loaf of French toast and freeze it for a quick breakfast (you can pop them in the toaster), feed the birds, make bread play clay for kids (mix with white glue until you have dough, mold and let air dry then paint). 

I think you get the idea. If you really want to start a stockpile, sit down and figure out how much food you go through. Then when something is free or really, really cheap, you will know how much to buy!

 

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