I’m starting to learn that blogging is an exercise in talking out of both sides of my mouth. No sooner do I wax poetic about my meager grocery budget and call out the many luxuries that are wont to crop up on shopping lists, then I indulge in the biggest luxury of all: I waste money and food with a single trip to the garbage can.
Last night, everything was going according to plan. The veggies were sauteing, the rice was simmering, and the chicken was defrosting. I had just mixed the veggies, chicken, spices, and teriyaki sauce together in the sauté pan when I opted for a little taste.
I’ve ad-libbed stir fry meals so many times, I should be able to whip one up with my eyes closed. Yet, this creation was utterly unpalatable. No amount of seasoning was going to fix it. Not wanting to risk another bite, I can only assume that the chicken had suffered such a major case of freezer burn that it tasted like I had eaten a mouthful of metal. This meal was going in the garbage. Afterwards, three important reminders appeared as the silver lining to this mealtime mess.
A Little Wiggle Room Never Hurt Nobody
As disheartening as it was to have to throw out part of a meal (the rice is safe!), Mr. P quickly reminded me that we could more than cover the cost of this food. One quick check of my budgeting app reminded me of what I already knew – we’re nearly halfway through another month and I’m not even close to half of our grocery budget yet. Plus, if our grocery budget does get tight for month, I can always take some money out of our spending/fun money to cover the cost. While I often lament the fact that our budget is not as bare bones as it should be, in situations like this, I’m really grateful for a little extra wiggle room.
Have a Backup Plan
In my quest to eliminate excess from my kitchen, I did remove and use up a lot of overlooked grocery items. Still, I always try to have some other meal on hand. It doesn’t have to be fancy, just edible. In this case, I eyeballed a half used bag of shredded cheese from an appetizer I made for a party last week and our PB&J bread. A toasty, crusty grilled cheese sandwich would absolutely take the edge off of this stressful Monday. Grilled cheese, grilled potato wedges, and grilled zucchini spears along with a green salad from the garden reminded me that meal planning is an imperfect art, and it pays to have a plan B. Especially in the event of funky chicken.
Laugh a Little…Or A Lot
Here’s the thing: most days, I take life way too seriously. For whatever reason, though, once I realized that the foul taste was likely an indicator of freezer burn, not a precursor to food poisoning, I started to smile. With a few quick jokes about the hazards of married life and a vow to take over kitchen duties for all of eternity*, Mr. P had me laughing so hard that I almost forgot how annoyed I was just moments before.
*If I took him up on this cooking offer, we’d be eating Rice Krispies and ice cream on the regular.
So Tell Me…Have you ever had to throw out food? Do you, like me, wish you had a compost bin for moments like these? How do you get over feeling guilty if you end up wasting something?