If you’re reading this, you’re probably already a little familiar with shelf cooking and want to learn how to make homemade, balanced, nutritious meals for your family all while you lower your food budget, right?
It all hinges on shelf cooking.
Shelf cooking is a style of cooking I coined that describes making meals starting with what you have on hand – in your fridge, freezer, or pantry. You buy only a few ingredients from the store to supplement what you already have, not the other way around. I’m so happy you’re here and ready to kick butt in the kitchen.
When you start shelf cooking what you will be doing is using a smarter, faster, cheaper way of cooking delicious, nutritious meals for your family. And you won’t believe how easy it is.
HOW DID I COME UP WITH SHELF COOKING?
As you may know, I’m a mom of 6 with twins on the way! With such a large family, I get an overwhelming amount of people asking me about dinner time and how I manage to shop for, cook for and feed my family on a budget. Let me tell you, it’s a hefty task. But it’s one I’ve been managing to do for years with a pretty low-key style of cooking that helps me stick to a budget!
Which if you know me, you know I’m all about sticking to a budget.
For a long time, I’ve wondered why my “method” of cooking isn’t more common… as it’s pretty common sense. It’s become increasingly obvious that most people cook backwards based on a recipe they want to make, instead of what they actually have in their kitchen.
It’s time to shout from the roof tops what shelf cooking is all about and help change the world one kitchen at a time! You ready to join the party?
HOW IS SHELF COOKING DIFFERENT?
If you’re like most of the rest of the free world, as dinnertime approaches you start thinking about (panicking about?) what to make. You quickly flip through the pages of a favorite cookbook. Even more likely, you spend some time surfing the internet. And there you find it: a lip-smacking, mouth-watering dish complete with a full-color photo. That’s it! You’ll make that – even if you don’t have any of the ingredients it calls for. You jot down a shopping list and dash to the store. Problem solved.
Uh, no it’s not.
How much smarter to build your meal around things you have and need to use up – not around stuff you don’t have. To cook first with what you do have, not with what you don’t have (and need to break a land-speed record, along with your wallet, going to buy).
Maybe you already do that. Maybe you think that’s the way everybody does it.
Nope. Not even close.
From my years of blogging, appearing in TV segments, posting on YouTube, speaking at all kinds of events, teaching classes, consulting one-on-one, and working with families, couples, and groups, I can say with great confidence that it is NOT common to cook this way.
Here’s how it goes down for most American families. When they do cook or meal plan at all, they pick a recipe off Pinterest or the web. They buy the ingredients they need from the store. They cook the meal (sometimes). Then they let the leftovers go to waste after a few days, or they toss the leftovers out before they even do the dishes because they “aren’t leftovers people.”
Believe it or not, if you are a natural shelf-cooker, if you cook FIRST using ingredients from your pantry, fridge, and freezer BEFORE running to the store, you are a treasured minority. In fact, you’re a rock star!
SHELF COOKING CAN SAVE YOU MONEY
It’s no wonder most American families are in debt and struggle to afford the lifestyle they want. You might have heard it blamed on lots of things; maybe you yourself have joined the blame game on this one. But could it possibly be that we’ve been cooking wrong all along? Could it be that the way most of us feed our families is costing a whole lot more than it should?
Yes. Yes, that’s exactly what it means.
Let me tie it up for you in a neat little package. Ten times out of ten, the families I work with are spending more than they should on groceries, aren’t using the food they already have on hand to its full potential, and/or are letting an incredible amount of food go to waste.
No more! Time for the revolution!
Fasten your seatbelt, because that’s what you’re about to see. And you’ll be stunned at how much sense it makes. Simply stated, you’re going to think about what you’ve got in your home, and you’re going to make it happen! And it’s gonna be fun!
Okay, okay. I get it. If you’re brand-new to this concept, you’re not gonna have a fridge, freezer, or panty stocked to the hilt with all the stuff you need to dish up dinner. But if you commit to joining the revolution, you will have all that and you’ll have it sooner than you think. Because I’m going to show you how.
WHY DOES SHELF COOKING MATTER?
The truth is, there are are a lot of compelling reasons:
- It’s kinder to your wallet. You’ll be amazed at the money you save.
- It reduces waste. Forget about the carbon footprint for a minute and consider all the leftover-sludge footprints. That’s good money you’re just throwing away.
- It teaches you how to cook from scratch as well as some other nifty skills.
- It’s healthier. You decide what goes into your food.
- It helps teach your kids good habits! This is huge in our society. Shelf cooking teaches not only about what they eat, but about how to make it happen without breaking the bank.
- And, maybe best of all, it keeps things creative and exciting in the kitchen – and who doesn’t want that?
So let’s get to it!!
HOW TO START SHELF COOKING
The first step to shelf cooking… is figuring out what you have on hand already. These posts will help you get off to a great start!
- Kitchen Inventory: How to Keep Track of your Food
- After you do an inventory, check out this Pantry Staples post to help you know items are essential to stock up on to be successful in the kitchen.
- Check out why we Love our Leftovers… as not wasting food, using our leftovers in a super smart way, is a huge part of shelf cooking!
- How to Set a Grocery Budget will help you with one of the biggest questions people have about shelf cooking! And it will help you get started on a path that will save you money… that’s gotta be something you are excited about, right!?