The main thing is you have to PLAN for the thin times, no money to buy food, no way to get to the store due to weather etc. and you have make it a habit.It takes a bit of time to plan and about 30 days to make it a habit of doing it constantly. It also takes time to actually do the work. If you plan it, use a crock pot, your oven, the refrig and freezer, a pressure cooker if you have one, things can be simplified for you and take less hands on time.
When I first started making vegetable broth we had Thanksgiving dinner.I had shared some of the broth with my youngest daughter and we were talking about it while preparing the big dinner. AFTER we were done prepping the vegetables we both realized we had just peeled everything directly in to the trash can. Needless to say a few mentioned to us that we were giving that trash can strange looks and they were wondering why. We figured we had just tossed 7-8 qrts of broth into the trash.We didn't dig them back out as one grandkid asked if we were going to but it was a definite lesson on where we peeled the veggies from then on.
I have a pantry, I have a hugh pantry for only two people but it's nothing for the kids to call and need help with groceries or for me to provide meals to others in need.
I didn't always have a hugh pantry.It has been years in the making with a lot of planning that let it come about. My son in law still teases me for having can goods under the bed, under the couch, love seat and in bedroom closets.He found them as he was helping us move.I did the same when I lived in a two bedroom trailer with all the kids.Now I have a hugh basement for my pantry like I did when the kids were younger.Things keep better in a cool spot and I have a better veiw of what needs used up first.
I always have kept the staples which is the list I already posted.Might not have paid the cable or phone bill so I could but food and a roof over your head comes first.
I am in a place where my landlord has blessed me with his okay to plant as big as garden as I want.I have did container gardening when I didn't have a place to plant anything or I hit the farmers markets, the pick your own farms, and the sales at the stores (Aldi's and Save-A-Lot along with the rest). My groceries are bought on sale and I try to buy in season. Before I buy any meat I check the marked down meat and base my menu on it.
I keep a running inventory of my pantry especially the freezer. I thought I needed ham and ground beef this week but I don't when I checked the inventory. I do need ground pork,pork chops,sausage, bacon and ground veal. I finally put the inventory on an excel sheet that helps a lot with updating once a day after I pull what I am fixing for our meals.
The fat of any meat(pork,poultry,beef, sausage,bacon etc) goes into ice cube tray and is frozen then put in a freezer bag.
Shells of seafood into the freezer to make fish stock. This is usually around the holidays when my mother brings shrimp and cocktail sauce.
Wash the veggies before peeling them and toss the peelings into a gallon freezer bag to make veggie broth. Include onion peelings, garlic and mushroom stems. I keep the broccoli and cauliflower separate as they are strong. I also keep the broccoli,sweet potato and white potato separate if those soups is coming up on the menu.
Leftover vegetables, toss into a container in the freezer or frig for soups, stews or casseroles or in this family a "big egg" which is actually a frittata,omelette or a crustless quiche.
leftover meat, you can either toss each separately into a container or toss them together put in the freezer or frig for soups, stews or casseroles or in this family a "big egg" which is actually a frittata,omelette or a crustless quiche.
Keep bread on the table at all times. Whole grain is better for your health but white will fill you up when you are low on food. You can spend a small fortune on buying bread for a large family or a small family of big eaters. Learn to make bread etc. Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day By Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois is a great book if you don't have a lot of time or just don't want to spend a lot of time on bread. Borrow it from a library and check it out. You will be buying the book in the end anyways.
Another thing...have the family drink water at all meals and during the day. Save the juice for morning only and only let them have a serving which is 1/2 cup ( 4 oz not 16). Give only an 8 oz glass of milk once a day and serve the other 2 servings of dairy as cheese,cottage cheese, sour cream or yogurt etc. Let the sodas before for special occasions.