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The Pantry Project: Day 5 (or, the Costco vortex)

September 5, 2010

Yes, DH went to Costco yesterday, because he “needed” fudgesicles.  Of course, he asked if there is anything I “need.”  Crap.  It’s impossible to pass up the bulk food buying opportunities that Costco presents, but it really messed with my Pantry Project, since shopping at Costco is not cheap, though it is more economical in the long term.  I have decided to compromise and only tally those things which I asked for and which contribute to the overall reduction of food stocked in our fridge and pantry.  Therefore, the typical Costco impulse items will not be counted:

If only I had some scissors to open this package.

I will take ownership of the jug of 100% natural maple syrup (because pancake syrup grosses me out), the huge tub of crumbled feta, and the 2 lb wheel of extra sharp white cheddar.  Combine those items with the $3.49 I spent two days back for a big bag of dried chickpeas, and I have to add $30.86 to the Pantry Project, for a running total of $51.56.  Dang!  That’s going to make it harder minimize the grocery bill this month, but we use the feta ALL the time (omlettes, paninis,etc) and the syrup lasts forever…the last bottle, which was half the size, lasted four months.  The cheddar was for a recipe I found (and adjusted) that would use several items we had on hand, and it can be used for lots of other things.

I modified this recipe from Annies Eats, and it made dinner for 2, plus leftovers for lunch:

  • 1/2 box whole grain penne (or other tube pasta), cooked al dente
  • 1 T butter
  • 1 head roasted garlic, mashed to a paste
  • 1 T  whole wheat pastry Flour
  • 3/4 c vegetable broth
  • 1/4 c dry white wine
  • 1 head broccoli, cut into florets and steamed to bright green (5 minutes)
  • 3/4 c shredded sharp white cheddar
  • salt and pepper to taste

Melt the butter in a small sauce pan.  Add roasted garlic paste and saute about two minutes until fragrant.  Add flour and cook another minute until the flour is all soaked into the butter and garlic paste, then add broth and wine and bring to a boil.  As soon as it boils, turn down to simmer (or turn the burner off if you are cursed with an electric stovetop) and mix in the cheese until melted.  Toss broccoli, pasta and sauce together and serve with a salad.  I made a romaine salad with slivered almonds, red onions, dried cranberries and balsamic vinaigrette.

This meal used up an open, half-full box of pasta, a head of broccoli lurking at the back of the crisper, a whole head of garlic and the last of the romaine I had on hand, which is great because I got two more huge heads of romaine in my Bountiful Basket.  I need to start planning what to do with the nectarines, sugar plums and canary melon that came in the basket.

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