Thursday, August 8, 2019

New Food Uses AND Monthly Motivation Check-in

I know there are others out there that have a lot of certain food items in their pantries.  I had this conversation yesterday with a friend.  Sometimes we just have to find some new uses for old items.
I will hit on a few items that I always have an abundance of in the pantries.
I hope this gives you some ideas.

I have so many jars of jams and jellies.  I very seldom use them.  I give what I can - but golly, there are a lot of jars.   Here are a few new ideas for all that sweetness!

Melt and pour over ice cream - makes a good sundae
Serve over yogurt
Thumb print cookies
Jelly rolls (I got to make one of these soon) - a favorite from my younger days
Blend with other ingredients for BBQ sauce or glazes
Use with cream cheese over crackers for snacks or appetizers
Topping for cheesecake
Put in smoothies or milk shakes
Cupcake centers
Mix with vinegar for salad dressing (specialty dressings are expensive)
Top oatmeal
Melt and use as syrup on pancakes, waffles
And of course PBJ and on toast!

A super versatile item.  Tomatoes and things made with tomatoes can be used in so many ways.
Soups, stews, casseroles
Mix salsa and rice for Spanish rice
Salsa chicken
Spaghetti sauce can be used as pizza sauce
Use in cold soups
Crockpot meals
Top pizza with tomatoes or use as a base
Roast tomatoes
Add to salads
Add tomatoes or salsa to mac n cheese (one of my favorites)
Salsa and eggs
Stewed tomatoes
Anything Italian or Mexican - just add different spices
Sauce or paste can be made into juice
Salsa (or tomatoes) and cheese melted together is a yummy dip

Not just for breakfast anymore!
If you do eat a lot of oatmeal - top with jelly/jam, peanut butter, fruit, nuts, etc.
Use in cookies, muffins and breads
Make granola
Add to trail mixes
Grind  into flour
A childhood favorite - mixed oats with honey or syrup and ate on bread or crackers!

So many options to choose from and so many uses.
Beans & ham or sausage
Make into refried beans
In soups, chili, casseroles
Huge in Mexican dishes - meat, tomatoes, corn, beans, seasoning  Burritos, enchiladas, tacos, etc.
Turn into (veggie) burgers
Dips - can mix with all kinds of things
Beans and rice
Canned beans are great in all kinds of salads (hot or cold)
Red bean (or any type) salad
Add to stir fry
Serve with breakfast food
This is a great protein item.  Handy to have on hand and keeps for years.  I include split peas, lentils, black eyed peas, etc. in this group.  There are just an unlimited amount of uses for an inexpensive price!!!!!  One of the cheapest foods/ingredients that you can purchase.

Canned, frozen or home canned can be used in a variety of ways
Over yogurt
On ice cream
In Jello
Use in muffins or sweet breads
Turn into fruit butter (I am getting ready to do this with home canned apples & applesauce)
Use in smoothies and shakes
In salads
Over pancakes, waffles, French toast, oatmeal
Over cake
Stew or fried fruit is yummy
Puree and use instead of oil in baking
Turn in jelly, jams, syrups
Freeze and use as a frozen summer treat
Make pies, cobblers or crisps

Hopefully this gives you something to think about and maybe a few options to use up what you have.  Waste not want not!!!!!  It's nice to have options - never be hungry!!  Never waste!

How are you doing on cleaning, lists, using what you have, projects, etc.???????  Are you making any headway?
I have cleaned  several walls (washing down) and working on cleaning lots of knick-knacks.  UGH.  SO many dust catchers around this house (but I love them)!
Let us know how you are doing - help to motivate the rest of us with your projects!!!!!
Happy Thursday!


  1. Love this post. I unpacked all my canning boxes and put in the cupboards here at the new house. I have canned so much, ugh. I do add grape jelly when I make sweet and sour meatballs. And I use fig jam over cream cheese for appetizer. I share quite a bit with my sisters too. But I need to do better about eating it up! Thanks for the ideas.

    1. You are very welcome. I like to mix chili sauce and grape jelly for meatballs - yum.
      Never had fig jam - I bet that is good. I use spicy jams that ay as well.
      Glad you got some ideas you can use!

  2. One of my goals this next week is to go through my pantry and figure out what needs to be used. I want to can tomatoes but may have too many from last year. So need to do an inventory. I also use my older jams for pancakes and in cookies and on cakes and things.

    1. I have a lot of tomato products left from last year as well. I think I will make a bitch or two of salsa - as everyone loves it in the gift baskets.
      Love using older jams that way. We all need to get creative!

  3. I'm making slow work of cleaning out my basement freezer, but when ground beef was on sale at Costco this week I bought some and split it into smaller packages. No room left in the fridge freezer so it went downstairs. So I guess I need to work on cleaning out the fridge freezer... :)

    1. Good for you for taking advantage of a good sale. We need to stay on top of those things!
      Freezers are notorious for needing cleaned out. Come home and stuff things in = mess!
      Slowly plug away and you will get it done.

  4. I need to print this list out! So handy! thanks Cheryl.

    1. Thanks Vickie. I was hoping it would help someone!

  5. Lots of great suggestions here for utilizing pantry staples. I admit to sometimes being over-zealous in stocking up when I see a great deal, so I will use some of these ideas for sure.
    I'm an only child and my parents are in their 80's, so I'm "it" for them, as well as for an elderly aunt who never married or had kids and lives alone. So, several days this past week have been used for helping these folks with medical appointments, shopping, etc. Some weeks are just like that. However, I did manage to make some progress in clearing out the closet in an extra bedroom (read: junk room). Our home is old and the closets are small, and my mbr closet is a cluttered mess. So I decided to move my clothes and shoes into the extra bedroom closet and let my husband have the other one to himself. Problem is I've also been over-zealous in Black Friday shopping at times and I have a multitude of small appliances, Pyrex, Corningware, etc. that I have to sort through and relocate or donate. I'll keep chipping away at it this coming week.
    Carol in NC

    1. Carol, God bless you for helping out. I really miss those days with my Mom and my aunt.
      Closets are such traps for STUFF! My house is old with small closets as well and it is amazing how much stuff you can get in them!
      That is a good idea to split the closets amongst you two.
      Stop that shopping girl! Stay home this Black Friday and re-gift some of those items you have.

      Keep plugging away!

  6. This week it was my jewelry drawer and some old magazines. I know longer do the "Power Suit & Statement Necklace" look so needed to let go of a few pieces. Some of the ladies at church like to do the dressing up every week - hats included - so I am taking in a few this Sunday for them to choose from.
    I also have a number of magazines about Scotland that I will take in to another woman whose husband has early alzheimers - he can only read slowly but loves magazines and they help to keep him occupied. I gave her a few a couple of weeks ago to see if they interested him and they were a hit so I'll bring in the rest this week.
    I also managed to get a bit of shredding done - but not nearly as much as I need to get through! Baby steps!

    1. YAY! Great job. That is so nice to share with the ladies at church. I bet those ladies will love being gifted the 'new' jewelry!
      How kind with the magazines. That is amazing. Sometimes little things bring so much joy to those with Alzheimer. Thank you for helping him.

      Yes mam, baby steps. Keep moving forward.

  7. I make something my family calls "stuff" mix cooked rice with ground beef, turkey, chicken, etc. Add diced, crushed, tomatoes or tomato sauce and season (I usually used Italian seasonings), top with shredded cheese and french fries onions and bake.
    I also drain chickpeas add a little oil and season with Greek style seasonings and bake at 400° till crispy, then serve in a warmed pita or flat bread with onions and tomatoes and tzatziki (grate and drain cucumber, mix with yogurt (can also used sour cream) Dill, lemon zest, a pinch of sugar, and salt and pepper. My kids love these "gyros".
    I also used a can of progresso tomato-basil soup for pizza sauce last night as that was what I had on hand.

    1. Yum. That all sounds so good. It is amazing the wonderful 'favorites' that we can come up with, with just what we have on hand. How creative and great that the family loves it!

      Good idea on the soup! We just need to open our minds and be creative.

  8. Thank you for the list Cheryl. Nancy

  9. Always love your ability to use up and find good uses for your stockpile of goods

    1. Years of having to! I had to learn as a child watching Mom and as an adult early years.

  10. Those are all great ideas. I just had to throw out 4or 5 canned items that were past due date. It just bugs me to have to do that! I need to be more proactive on using stuff up. xo Diana

    1. Those dates really mean nothing. They are 'best if used by' dates - not expiration dates. They are only there, because the govt. got involved and said they needed to put something on the cans. The dates are random and basically used to get us to spend more money.
      Use it up and waste not!

  11. Great ideas!

    Since the boys grew up and moved away I find I am canning less. I do pickles and relish though and have started to make pie fillings instead of jams and jellies.

    God bless.

    1. I will be doing less as well, now that I am alone. I still want to be prepared however.

  12. What a great list to have on hand when I'm out of ideas on what to do with all the extra food in my pantry! This isn't the first post of yours that I have printed out.

    1. aaaahhhhh that is sweet. I know several people who have made a folder/binder with printed ideas they will someday use from lots of sites.
      If the computer goes down - it is nice to have access to those ideas and recipes!
      Thank you!!!!

  13. That's what I do with Jam or Jelly - is to put it with some plain yogurt and flavor it. It's especially good financially when we find plain yogurt on markdown.

    I used oatmeal in a peach/blueberry crisp this week, so many good uses for oats. I love to make granola bars with it.

    LOL, I'm not fan of knick-knacks as I call them dust collectors too. But I do need to take some things off the walls and clean them.

    I hope you have a great weekend, Cheryl. :)

    1. Yep, all good ways to use things in a new way.
      My house is dust collector!!! I have so many things hanging and sitting - it can be a pain. I love my things, but a pain to clean.
      You have a good one!

  14. One idea for the oatmeal. I make my own protein bars/balls. It's very simple, with oatmeal, peanut butter, protein powder, and honey. (You can also add chocolate chips, but I skip). They are delicious, and much cheaper than something you can buy at the store. I pack them for the kids when they have sports practice, etc.

    1. YUM. Never thought about that. I have everything here to make them. THANKS! Another one to add to the list.

  15. I add oats to my burgers .. it stretches the meat a bit and the family loves the burgers.

    1. Forgot about that!!!!! I add it to meat loaf as well. Thanks for the great reminder!

  16. Your list of suggestions is wonderful, Cheryl. I need new ideas and ideas to try from time-to-time or I get in a rut. I'm working at clearing out (save, donate, toss) but it's slow going for this old girl. I just keep doing small bits at a time. Thanks again. Shirley

    1. Thanks Shirley - I think we all get bored with our meals at times.
      Slow and steady wins the race! Good job.

  17. I, too, thank you for the list. Especially the idea of making "fancy" salad dressing from jelly/jam. I'll see what jars are lurking in the back of the fridge and make some this week. We tend to get in a rut with salads around here. Farmer likes his rut so I'll let him stay there but I like to branch out. Last week I found a yummy recipe on the back of the Sam's Club Romaine Hearts package (In case anyone else wants it.) It included feta, craisins, pears, cucumber and a dressing that used up the dregs in the bottom of the dijon mustard bottle. :D
    Cleaning list: Not sure if this is necessarily cleaning, but I need to keep working on farm bookwork. And then I really, really need to clean out the storm room in the basement. If we would have a bad storm, no-one could get in there.

    1. You are very welcome. I like those fancy dressings once in a while and they are pretty pricey! I like a variety too. My husband was pretty open to trying new things - bless his heart.

      Oh book work counts!!!! UGH! Don't envy you that.
      Yes mam, you would surely need a gathering room in case of a storm.
      Don't work too hard!