Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Meal Planning Starts with an Organized Fridge and Pantry~Part 2

Yesterday I shared our organized frig with you. I shared how by taking just a few minutes each week prior to meal planning and grocery shopping, you could save not only time but money.

Today I am sharing our organized "staples" pantry.  We have two other pantries, one smaller and one a good size that we use primarily for baking supplies and snack items.  And, at the end of the post I will briefly share how I meal plan each week.

The pantry door houses most of our extra spices (I store the majority in a drawer near the area where we prep most of our meals), salts, peppers, honey, corn syrup, molasses, various oils and vinegars, cooking wines and extra condiments.  The unit is from the Container Store's elfa collection, one down support with various sized baskets added to hold items.  I love this system because it is adjustable unlike some that have stationary shelves/bins.

Inside the pantry, the very top shelf (not pictured) holds cake and cupcake storage as well as a couple plastic pitchers we only use on occasion.

The next shelf from the top is where we store all of our stock and broth, as well as our the gluten free stuffing we stock up on during the holidays.

The next shelf down is where we store our canned beans, sauces, soups, olives, jellies and to the right seasoning packets and box mixes.

On to our pastas, rices, and instant potatoes.

Then baking mixes (pancake, pizza dough, corn bread), panko and bread crumbs, cake and muffin mixes and our spice rubs/marinades. The containers are part of the OXO line, and the chalkboard labels are Martha Stewart for Office Max/Office Depot.

A glance at them all together.

The very bottom is where we store our little Cairn's food and necessities.

Having all of the basics on hand is a real time saver when planning our meals for the week.  And, there is generally enough staples to pull together a quick meal in a hurry if we need to.

For meal planning, I have a binder filled with just plain notebook paper.  I have used fancy planners in the past and I have used spiral notebooks. All work equally as well.

I pull out my cookbooks, cooking magazines and things I have pinned off Pinterest and get to planning.  I write the week at the top, and then go day by day.  As I decide on recipes I add ingredients we are in need of at the bottom of the page, thus creating my shopping list.  I generally transfer this to another pieces of paper that might also have other items that we need to restock.

I generally try to write where the recipe came from so that on the night of that particular meal it is easy to find the right cookbook, etc.  It also helps when we go back a few months later and want to make the meal again.

I hope these tips help simplify meal planning and grocery shopping for you.


Stacey said...

Lauren, my husband would be the happiest man in town if I were as organized with cooking as you are. He loves left overs too!! I'm working on it. Thanks for the inspiration and examples. :)

Melissa Fitch said...

WOW!!! Your fridge and pantry look incredible! I was going to start on the office and all the millions of papers, but you've inspired me to work on the pantry instead. I must confess I'm forever buying supplies because I'm unsure if we have some or not. Thanks for the tips!

Gina said...

Wow - all of this is very impressive! And I thought I was organized! I will be studying your pics to see what I can do differently! said...

You are so organised Lauren-I need to put some plan into action here, as I am all over the place at the moment with regards to meal planning and grocery shopping!

Mike @TheIronYou said...

Now that's what I call an organized pantry. Big round of applause for Lauren! :)

Erin Marshall said...

Your pantry is awesome. I have been meal planning since the beginning of the year and it is working out awesome. I will definitely continue! I love seeing your meals on Instagram.

Andrea Nine said...

You did an awesome job organizing! It's such a good feeling and makes cooking so much more enjoyable! Looks fantastic!!

Kristin @ My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia said...

Oh my gosh, will you come over :) My pantry is pretty good but I need to work on the fridge. Happy New year!

Nancy said...

Ok. here's what we need to do. I move next door to you, we become bffs and I pay you to double your recipes. then i'd do all the dishes because I love cleaning. would that work for you? :)

Lisa Odom said...

I am envious of your pantry and fridge. Mine are a BIG mess right now. Christmas and having all the girls home really does a number on my organization . I usually spend January in the house organizing and decluttering. I cannot wait to have a clean fridge!

Leslie said...

I agree! Organizing the refrigerator and pantry was on my to-list;) and it's so nice to be able to find things now!

Christy @ 11 Magnolia Lane said...

This is so organized and beautiful--it really inspires me to work on my own pantry. I've been so disorganized so far this year because we've been so busy!

Mountain Mama said...

Wow. All I can