Monday, July 19, 2010

Reverse Shopping List

When the farmshare arrives each week, I take a quick inventory of what's still in the fridge from the last week, and what's just arrived, and make a sort of "reverse shopping list" of what produce needs using, and what's most urgent.

I like to cook on the fly, for the most part - I'm certainly not one to stick to a weekly meal plan made out in advance. But I am always checking up mentally with what's in the fridge, what the weather's looking like, whether we've got many dinners out coming up, what leftovers we should be eating soon, and so on. And I tend to have a queue, at least in my head, of some meals I plan to make in the next few days. This week, for example, the use-up list includes zucchini with many exclamation points. Some of it got grilled, some of it will go into zucchini bread (enough to freeze), some might go into an omelette or another batch of grilling, and some might get shredded and frozen on its own. The collards got steamed to make them less urgent, but I'm thinking of making a one-pot sautee meal I often make with collards, chicken/sausage/pork, onions, and BBQ sauce. The chinese cabbage went to a potluck, the cucumber will go into a test batch of kosher dill pickles. The tomato didn't even go on the use-up list but it did get devoured - twice with sandwiches and a 3rd meal over pasta with leftover grilled zucchini and grilled sausages. And if I don't have a plan, I recheck our reverse shopping list before deciding what to cook, with a goal of making sure we eat at least one leftover item or farmshare item that's on the list.

So that's a bit of my version of "planning" around a fridge full of food. What's yours?


  1. We don't have the option of a farmshare here, and the farmer's market is really only just now getting going for the season. One thing I do that is similar though, is that if I'm the one cooking (less than 50% of the time!) I'll quick look to see if there is anything that needs used up- half an onion, some bacon, whatever- and try to plan around that. Pretty much the same thing, only without the yummy fresh veggies.

  2. One of my favorite recipes for an excess of zucchini is zucchini-potato pancakes--another great way to get picky eaters to eat veggies.