Moving groceries is not the most ideal of situations. You’re left worrying about spoilage, spillage and, let’s be honest, having another thing to move. Lighten your moving day load by planning ahead of time so that you have little to nothing left in your fridge and pantry to take with you.
To do this well it’s important to start at least a month before the move. Start by cleaning everything out – the pantry, your fridge and your freezer chest if you have one. Get rid of everything that is expired, stale or you just aren’t going to eat.
Take inventory of what’s left and categorize this list much like you would when creating your grocery list. So categories could be: meats/proteins, frozen vegetables, toaster/microwave items, desserts, dairy, fresh fruits and vegetables, grains, sauces, condiments, and snacks.
Next, it’s time to get creative and meal plan around these ingredients supplementing with items from the store occasionally as needed. The idea though is to do as little shopping and use up as much as you can with your meals for the month ahead. If you feel stumped on how to use what you have on hand utilize recipe websites that can pull recipes based on the ingredients you input into their system.
Write down the meals you plan into your calendar or day planner. If you use an app for planning you can write down the recipe and set a reminder to it. Apps like Trello, Evernote and Asana are all free and perfect for this.
A few meal ideas:
Use ingredients to create items that are more stable, like baked goods, to take with you. Make homemade pizzas, soups, stews, salads, omelets and casseroles. The beauty of these types of dishes is the variety of ingredients you’re able to use in them. Be playful and make hybrid meals – spaghetti on pizza, taco omelets, a buffalo chicken rice bowl, french fries in a casserole (similar to hotdish, a Midwestern classic).
Hectic. Chaotic. Busy.
Moving week is many things, but there is one thing it is not – the time to cook elaborate or the creative dinners you’ve been eating throughout the month to use up items.
Plan this week well ahead of time, if not first, and make it all the easier by planning freezer meals you can just pull out and heat up.
Cooking items to keep out as you begin packing:
Salt and pepper
Cooking spray or oil
Spatula and a pan or two
A chef knife
A mixing bowl
Enough cutlery for everyone
Enough plates, cups, and bowls for everyone
Sponge and dish soap
By using up all your items as much as possible before the move you are creating the perfect opportunity to start over with your pantry. As you clean out items take note of what your tossing and steer clear of those when restocking or note to buy a smaller package to avoid future waste.