We all have those months where there’s only one week left, but your budget doesn’t feel like it’s going to stretch that far. But, don’t despair and reach for two-minute noodles just yet. With a proper pantry inspection and some clever organisation, you can still eat delicious meals without skipping a beat.
By Jana du Plessis
1. Take stock
Open your pantry, freezer and fridge and take stock of everything that’s still left in each. From the tiny jar of pickles to the loaf ends of your bread, write it down to see exactly what you have before you go out and buy things you may already have sitting around. Don’t forget to add in spices, condiments and other flavourings – they can turn the simplest ingredients into tasty eats.
2. Think creatively
Now that you know what you do have, see if you can find any interesting ways to transform these ingredients into delicious meals. With stale bread, you can make an Italian panzanella, and any veg can be cut up to make a stir-fry . Roast veggies and eggs are your best friends in a pinch – think fritatta, savoury pancakes or omelettes!
3. Make a shopping list
Now that you have an idea of what you can cook with the ingredients you already have, make a short list of the absolute essentials you need to buy. Remember to stick to recipes with affordable ingredients, such as tinned goods, dried beans and rice; and distinguish between nice-to-haves (like avocado on chilli con carne) and non-negotiables (the tinned tomatoes or mince in that chilli). Take your list along to the shop and don’t deviate – your wallet will thank you!