Welcome To Day 9 Of The Empty The Freezer Challenge!
Before we get into day 9, if you’re new to the challenge, I’m taking a little break from my regular postings in December to do a Challenge designed to help save money, simplify, and prepare for the new year:
The “Empty The Freezer Challenge”
What is it? The Empty The Freezer Challenge is my way of encouraging you to not only slow down this season, but save money and get creative! I would guess that most of you are like us: you have tons of food in your freezer which may or may not be edible, that you’ve either forgotten or aren’t super motivated to eat.
They may require some creative meal preparation or presentation, but they’re still good to eat!
Starting December 1st, I’ll by on a mission to use up everything in my freezer – that is still safe to eat. I don’t want to buy anything from the grocery store except for milk. We get eggs from friends who have chickens, so don’t think we’re avoiding using eggs – we’re not.
We may or may not get through all of the food in our THREE freezers, but we’re going to try! Then, on December 25th when we have family over I’ll finally be able to cook with new food from the grocery store!
What Will The Challenge Accomplish?
The Empty The Freezer Challenge have several purposes:
- It will encourage you to spend very little/no money on groceries during most of the month of December – a no-spend month of sorts, but without calling it that.
- It will get tons of food our of your freezer!
- And it will give you a blank slate for the new year – at least as far as your fridge/freezer are concerned
- As a bonus, your family will probably complain a lot less in 2016 when you make a creative or inexpensive meal!
Today, lets talk when company comes over.
We’ve all been there….
In the middle of a no-spend month and company unexpectedly drops by when you were planning on having PB&J.
Or, you failed to plan for expected company and you have to scramble to defrost something from the freezer…all while acting like everything is perfectly normal.
Just last night this happened. My mother in law usually drops by on Wednesdays between work and choir practice, and I forgot this week.
I am used to her coming over, it’s no big deal, but for some reason I forget this time.
We were legitimately planning on having PB&J….
Now, we’ve already talked about how important it is to keep meals simple while completing a challenge like this one, but serving PB&J to guests is probably a little much.
So, when you have company come over unexpectedly, here are my tips:
Make a Simple Switch
In our case, if I had lunch meat on hand, I could have very easily swapped out the peanut butter and jelly for lunch meat and cheese, put the sandwiches on the grills to step them up a notch, and opened a couple of cans of tomato soup.
We didn’t have any lunchmeat on hand, so that option was out, but that’s beside the point.
When company comes over, think about simple swaps you can make.
What can you do to “elevate” simple meals by serving them differently, heating/cooling the meal, etc?
Fall Back on Pasta
I can’t think of a time when I didn’t have pasta on hand, and it’s been my company fallback many, many times.
Throw some onions and peppers in with red sauce and fettuccine, and you have a simple meal everyone will love.
Or, if you have meatballs rolling around in the freezer, spaghetti with meatballs works great.
If you just happen to have some white sauce on hand, everyone loves fettuccine alfredo with chicken and broccoli.
Don’t be afraid of pasta just because you’re having company. In fact, embrace it! Everyone will leave full, believe me!
If making a simple switch and falling back on pasta fails, figure it out quickly, and get something…..anything, really….defrosting in hot water.
I’ve been known to blacken cod and serve a quick cilantro lime coleslaw for fish tacos.
Hamburger can be into a quick taco bake.
And throw peppers, onions, and spices in with chicken for quick and easy chicken fajitas.
Don’t sweat it if company comes over…
The truth is if you stay cool, they’ll never know that your plans got derailed.
Just fake it until you make it!
We’ve been doing pretty well eating from the freezer, and the family actually hasn’t started complaining yet!
Breakfast – Eggs, oatmeal and protein shake….normal fare.
Lunch – Apparently, little miss was still on a banana kick, so she had some protein shake and a banana, the hubs had leftover hamburger helper and chicken noodle soup at work, and I had a protein shake. Obviously, I’m existing on protein alone these days….
Dinner – Spaghetti and meatballs with cheesy garlic bread. I also threw some leftover cookie dough in the oven a made a few cookies for dessert.
What do you do when company comes over?
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