Woohoo, it's another series on DM! Last weekend we went on a preliminary home hunting trip to VA, which left Ed excited and me overwhelmed. This morning I had an excellent conversation at the park with my friend Lindsay about moving, meal planning, home organization and the like, which actually had the opposite effect, and I came home inspired to start somewhere and do something.
It feels a little too early to start packing (we are moving in July) but before you can pack you've got to sort, and this is the most time consuming part. There's a whole psychology to it, but we'll get more into that later in the series. My brother Dave and his family are moving to England - today - and even though they had professional packers and movers do the job, they themselves had to sort, sort, sort - England, short-term accessible storage unit in U.S., long-term inaccessible storage unit in U.S., give away, throw away. A few times Dave called me for a "lightning round" of "Do You Want...?", usually regarding nonperishable food items like jars, cans and pasta, which they will leave with my parents in VA. In fact, when they came to visit in February they brought me a big bag of cake mixes that I am working my way through.
So now that we are about 3 months out I decided to start in the kitchen, especially since that's a good place to work with kids around - either get them eating something at the table or give them tupperware to play with. I am a great Peter Walsh fan, and he would say doing something is better than doing nothing, and you can start small, one room at a time.
So today I got on the stepstool and emptied the cans, jars, boxes and baking mixes from the cupboards. I wrote an inventory of each on index cards and taped them on the inside of the cupboard doors. Did the same for the Bermuda Triangle freezer. Now as I do meal planning, either in advance like I should, or 5 minutes before we need to eat, I can see what we've got and try to use things up that we already have. This is probably good practice for all the time but especially when you need to literally clean out your cupboards in a few months.
Now that I know what I've got I should have no problem using up most of the stuff - chicken broth, pasta sauce, canned peaches, etc. - but a few things left me stumped and wondering how or why I got them in the first place.
So, my friends, I appeal to your combined culinary expertise. I need to know what I can or should do with:
5 to 34 ounces evaporated milk
15 to 30 ounces Bush's Homestyle Chili
12 to 28 ounces salsa verde
canned green beans (besides eating them straight - yuck)
canned black beans
canned tuna (I don't like tuna salad - gag me - so I'm looking for a casserole here or something that will help to balance or neutralize the strong tuna flavor)
This is much more fun than flipping through cookbooks - someone out there must have good ideas that are tried and true. You can give them in the comments, call me or email me recipes, whatever. No idea is too simple - believe me, I haven't thought of it or else I wouldn't have asked. And I do have almost every kitchen appliance available (except an industrial grade deli slicer) so have at it. Thanks in advance and stay tuned for more of the Moving Out series as my stress level steadily escalates.