First off, I want to show you what new pin on Pinterest I have been experimenting with. Yes it is bread, yes- it is stinkin’ easy and yes-you must plan ahead. No Knead Dutch Oven Crusty Bread is the recipe I used today-and it is lovely. And it is to be my reward for doing my least favorite of all homestead chores-Pantry Rotation.
We keep 3 months of food on hand at all times. Why? Because the nearest large super market is 35 miles from our rural town. Why 3 months? That was an arbitrary length of time that I chose to be prepared for. I could feed my small family for 3 months with no trips to the grocery store. The really funny thing is that just after I had worked my pantry up to that readiness, the Piper was forced into early retirement, and we went for three months with no income-until his pension started paying. Gulp. But we had plenty of nutritious food available, and did not have to worry about that aspect of our lives. And you all know that I worry.
The responsibility that comes with keeping a fat larder is that you must make sure that you rotate all of your stored food. First in-first out.( Except when you send someone else to the pantry to get you something-they may grab the most recently purchased.) So, twice a year I go into the pantry and check the expiration dates on the canned and dried goods, see what is expired or soon will be, arrange the cans on the shelf with the oldest in front, and come up with a plan of action to consume whatever- before the date is up.
Today was a good day. There was some spaghetti sauce and pasta and canned mushrooms that were soon to meet their expiry dates. Sounds like Baked Ziti to me! Do you make Baked Ziti? I don’t have a real recipe. To me, it is just toss whatever you want in with a pound of cooked ziti and bake it until you can’t stand the wonderful aromas pouring from oven-and you must consume cheesy goodness.
This is my reward for finishing the task of organizing and rotating the pantry-hot bread and baked ziti. I’ll probably throw some kind of green stuff on the plate too. I used an expired (by one month) box of ziti, a can of expired (by one week) can of spaghetti sauce, a can of diced tomatoes with basil, two cans of soon to be expired mushrooms and some not-so-gracefully aging “fresh” mozzarella and Ricotta cheese from our fridge. I included some grated mozzarella and Parmesan and some extra Italian spices as well as a big pinch of dried red peppers. No waste. That is the goal.
I also have a couple of other dishes lined up for this week that will use up other expiring ingredients from the pantry and fridge. We throw so much food away here in America. It is a boring, sometimes dusty job to rotate your pantry, but the savings in food, money and time at the grocery store is well worth it. So-what is about to age out of your pantry, fridge or freezer?