Now that you have your master menu, you need to take inventory of the ingredients in your fridge and pantry as part of the master menu plan and the creation of your prepared pantry. The point of this is to create the shopping list you need, as well as starting a master shopping list for pantry ingredients to stock up on when sales come along.
Group like-items together by category, such as meats, dairy, deli, produce, frozen foods, canned & bottled foods, dry goods and baking & spices. Now you have created a master list for ingredients of your top 20 meals. When the ads come out each week, you can compare and stock up when the prices are good.
Let’s say you make lasagna once a month. When the pasta noodles and marinara sauce go on sale, that is the time to stock up with at least three of each item, so that you will have them in your prepared pantry.
You should also do an inventory of your freezer and pantry as you get started to know what you have on hand, and what you need to acquire. You should always label the foods you put in your freezer with the date, so you know how long they have been in your freezer. A good tip is to tape a sharpie marker to the fridge on a string, or, put a piece of Velcro on the fridge and a sharpie so that you are always ready to label.
In our software, Feed 5 for 50!, you will find a Recipe Ingredient List that you can use to start this process, as well as a list of shelf-life for foods in your freezer and pantry.
Next up, three words the hubby doesn’t like to hear “Let’s Go Shopping!”