Great for: flexibility, people who like to/have to change their plans, making best use of what you have, making different meals from the same ingredients
Have you tried the capsule wardrobe yet? Don’t worry, this hasn’t turned into a fashion blog – stick with me! The idea behind the capsule wardrobe is that you invest in a small number of quality pieces of clothing and you learn how to mix and match them beautifully to create numerous, “put together” outfits. It’s aimed at the person who has a wardrobe full of clothes but nothing to wear!
Well, let me introduce you to the foodie equivalent: Pantry Pools. To make a direct comparison, you buy a small(ish) number of adaptable ingredients and mix and match them in different ways to make a number of delicious meals. It’s aimed at the person with cupboards full of food but nothing to eat!
So, what’s the benefit of Pantry Pools?
Pantry Pools best suit people with flexible schedules.
Imagine you’re on call so you spend your time waiting around in case you have to go to work. You’ve planned to cook Meal A but your schedule changes last minute and now you simply can’t find the time. So you need to turn to Meal B instead – but you don’t have any of the right ingredients!
But, if you had a Pantry Pool in action, you could quickly adapt your A to a B and still fit it in your day without another trip to the supermarket. Sounds like a dream, doesn’t it?
Here’s how it works:
1. When you sit down to think about your food for the week ahead, try to pick meals that have a number of ingredients in common.
2. Pick fairly simple meals that don’t require any specialist purchases or things you can’t use again in the future.
3. Then, like a capsule wardrobe, play around with different combinations of ingredients to make as many meals as possible. If you have to bail on one, then just substitute it for another.
The other benefits of Pantry Pools (other than helping you become super organised, of course) are that you will save money by restricting your purchasing, save time wondering what to eat and save on waste by only having in ingredients that you know you’ll use again. Brilliant!
Isn’t it hard to do?
No! Because you can make it as easy and interesting as you want!
None of the meals has to be complicated. A great way to start is to pick a protein, say, chicken, and think of two different ways to cook it – one fast, one slow. Then, make a note of the different ingredients those two recipes use and come up with a new meal that uses those too.
Take a look at this Supper Sudoku. I just started with a 4×4 grid and then chose 4 proteins, 4 carbs, 4 veggies and 4 sauces/extras to go with them. Then I inputted them to the grid making sure there was just one of each category per row, column or diagonal. Now you can read it in any direction and find 10 distinct meals!
Show me how!
If you’d like to give Pantry Pools a go then download my Pantry-Pool PDF with 24 meals made from just 24 ingredients! You’ll also be subscribed to The Food Brood Newsletter so you can get loads of great hints and tips for easy recipes and meal planning straight to your inbox.