Do You Play The Clean Out The Kitchen Game?

After the holidays everything needs to be purged in my house…..including the kitchen.  The fridge and pantry have been bursting at the seams for weeks now and it is time for them to get back in shape for the new year.  My freezer is bursting the most and needs attention desperately.  What I have been doing with my family is to try really hard to not go to the grocery store until we have most of the stuff cleaned out.  In the last week I have spent under $20 at the grocery store.  This is unheard of in my family of huge grocery bills.  But sometimes it is good to try to make do with what you have.  Why should you do this?  It is good for your budget, it is good for your kitchen to be cleaned out, it is good for your imagination to try to make something out of what you have and it is good for your kids to be told “no”.

  • Last night for supper I had found BBQ’s that I had previously frozen this past fall….time to go in the crock pot.  Yesterday for lunch it was grilled cheese to get rid of all the bread in the house.
  • Today I will make a ravioli bake as when I pulled out the frozen BBQ’s I found a bag of frozen ravioli…..score!  Dump some tomato sauce on top, sprinkle with some parmesan cheese, bake and viola, supper is served.
  • For me, it has been nights of frozen fish roulette, cod, talipia and salmon.  You see, I buy fish and forget it….my intentions are good.  So in the oven with some olive oil, fresh lemon juice and seasoning goes my fish for dinner this week.
  • Middle son and youngest son fought over the frozen corn I had found as the side dish for last night’s supper.
  • Youngest son has said to me, “it is ok to throw out the ice cream as nobody is going to eat it”.  Perfect as I need that bucket for a recipe that I want to make.
  • I remind my middle son that there are frozen breakfast sandwiches that he can eat… he comes into my room at 11:59 pm and tells us he is starving.  You see, he is 15 and eats every 2 hours….kind of like a baby.
  • I just remembered I have butternut squash from our summer CSA we participated in.  I think I am going to be making this soup for tomorrow……I have all the ingredients!

Curried Butternut Squash Soup (based on a recipe from Ina Garten)


  • 3 to 4 pounds butternut squash, peeled and seeded
  • 2 yellow onions
  • 2 McIntosh apples, peeled and cored
  • 3 tablespoons good olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 to 4 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 1/2 teaspoon good curry powder  


  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Cut the butternut squash, onions and apples in 1-inch cubes. Place them on a sheet pan and toss with the olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Divide the squash mixture between 2 sheet pans and spread it in a single layer. Roast for 35 to 45 minutes, until very tender.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the chicken stock to a simmer. Either puree the vegetable/apple mixture in a blender or food mill before adding to the pot, or use a hand immersion blender once the vegetables and apples are in the pot. Add the curry powder, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Taste for seasonings to be sure there’s enough salt and pepper to bring out the curry flavor. Simmer until it reaches the desired consistency. 


To Joyful, Simplified Living,

MS. Simplicity

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