Time To Clean the Fridge and Menu Plan


I made a menu plan a couple of weeks ago.  That week, I cooked a lot of food, and then cruised along on the leftovers this past week.  For instance, I ate the last piece of lasagna last night for dinner along with some green beans.  I did have to cook some things, but it was minimal.  Today, when I went to make a menu plan, I quickly realized I could not make a grocery list because there was NO WAY to tell what I had or didn’t have in that over-stuffed, disorganized fridge.

So, I spent the morning cleaning it out.  I found things to toss.  I found lots of yucky stuff that had gotten tipped over, ran down the fridge, and settled into unidentifiable masses on the bottom.  There were crumbs, smears, and what looked like relish all over the shelves, and plastered to the door, even.  The leftovers were piled in stacks in no apparent order, random things like bowls of rice were piled onto mostly empty bowls of chili…..you get the idea!  So, I sorted, discarded, put contents of bottles together when people had opened new ones even though there was still some in the old one, washed and scrubbed, and ended up with a clean fridge.  Now I know exactly what I have to work with and I had a feel-good morning.  There’s nothing like clearing up a big mess to make me feel virtuous. Then,  I made a menu plan.

I am continuing with the theme I’ve had for the past couple of weeks–clean it out and use it up from the freezers, pantry and canning cupboard in preparation for summer, when I will grow a garden.

Breakfasts are choice of:  oatmeal, muffins, eggs with ham bits, homemade granola, cereal

Lunches are: leftovers such as soup, scalloped potatoes, salad, etc.


Today:  Rob barbecued chicken drumsticks, veggies, brown rice I cooked last week

Sunday:  Not sure yet–my sister and I still have to decide, but I’ll take whatever she tells me to bring

Monday:  Sausage and beans, using frozen pinto beans Rob cooked a few weeks ago, veggies

Tuesday:  Enchiladas, using some meat and bean mixture that was leftover from the chili-mac I made Thursday, veggies

Wednesday:  Roast beef, carrots and potatoes in crock pot

Thursday:  French Dip from leftover roast beef, carrot sticks

Friday:  Beef soup/stew with remaining beef–in Crock Pot

Saturday:  Home-made chicken nuggets, green beans, home-made fries

Veggies consist of my home-canned and frozen veggies, plus a huge bag of carrots I have.  I also have some salad greens and a cauliflower

To Make:  muffins, scalloped potatoes with ham (for lunches when there are not enough leftovers), big container of cut-up carrot and celery sticks for people to munch on, apple crisp with some apples that are getting a little wilty, roasted hazelnuts (from a bag I discovered in the freezer), and Chex Mix.

I need to buy:  1/2 and 1/2, milk, French dip buns, celery, look for potatoes on sale, and a few non-grocery items.  If I see something I regularly use on a super good sale, I may get a few more things, but I’m very pleased with the shortness of this list.  Any extra grocery money I may save will be put towards a Costco trip in a week or so.   It’s not hard to use up excess money.

So, here’s your challenge!  Does your fridge need cleaning?  Why don’t you go see what treasures you discover when you do?  It’s a feel-good job that you can accomplish in a couple of hours and you will feel “oh-so-successful” and thrifty when you do.


17 thoughts on “Time To Clean the Fridge and Menu Plan”

  1. I love the feeling of a cleaned out and clean fridge! Mine is good right now other than a bowl of coleslaw that might need to go. Sweet friends came and did a good clean of my fridge while hubby was in the hospital.

  2. Yes, mine surely does 🙂
    I have been saying that for the last 2 weeks, while closing its door. It happens to be one of my least favorite activities for some reason, not quite sure why…
    I will get to it probably on Monday which is when we are planning on doing a big grocery trip.

  3. My fridge always needs cleaning, Becky. As a fellow canner, I’m sure you know all about jars spilling over because people (who shall remain nameless) putting them in the fridge without screwing a cap on them. I try to keep all those little jars of jams, pickles, etc. in an old enamel pan, so if they do spill over it’s a matter of taking out the pan and cleaning it, but of course the very same people that don’t put caps on the jars, also don’t put things in the pan. Ha!

    Your menu sounds tasty. Good eats!


    1. That’s a great idea–putting all the little ones in a dish. I had thought of putting some kind of little tub or something in there, but didn’t do it. Yes, I’m the expert on the little spilled jars of jam, syrup, relish……..I’m hoping by making the fridge a little emptier, things won’t spill as easily.

  4. My fridge I must say is really never a mess. A long time ago I read about a tip that has helped me. Every night when cleaning up the dinner dishes I clean off a shelf, drawer or door shelf. I only do one per night (two if feeling like super woman!), and the fridge is virtually always clean with no nasty leftovers or spills. If there are leftovers, they are kept in the same spot so that they can be used up or if they are no longer suitable for eating then they are given to the chickens or dog (I never keep leftovers after 2-3 days). I start at the top shelf work my way down to the drawers then do the door shelves. It really only takes a few extra minutes and is totally worth it to me. Thanks for sharing, sometimes I struggle with meal planning because I can’t think of ideas but without a plan, our meals get a little iffy, if you know what I mean!

    1. Go Jenn in Indiana! That’s a great tip.

      We don’t eat as many veggies as I want if I don’t make a plan. People don’t despise leftovers, but they just overlook them, unless they are preferred foods such as pizza–that’s gone in a hurry. I have several members of the family that would love nothing more than to live on chips and cheese:) Or PJB sandwiches. 3 times a day. So, if I want balanced meals to go into mouths, I do have to plan for it, dish up the plates, and hope people find something to eat (or not). I find that if I put carrots or beans in front of them, they usually eat them, but they won’t fix them for themselves. Lovana cooks for herself since she’s chosen to be a vegan and is 20. (No problem getting her to eat veggies–NOW–you should have seen her when she was young–different story)

  5. It’s such an awesome feeling to have a clean fridge. That is one my list of things to hopefully get done this week. I don’t think I have to many things to throw out, but it does just need a good cleaning. I try to always make a habit of labeling my leftovers. I tear off a piece of masking tape (freezer tape), and write what it is and the date I put it in there. That comes from years of working in kitchen at church camp where we had to date everything to meet health regulations. (Although, there you have to put the use by date…health requirements say you must use leftovers up within 7 days). Anyway, labeling helps me know I have to hurry and use it up. Enjoy your clean fridge. ….Vicky in Ky

    1. Labeling is a great idea. I remember that from times spent at camps, mission trips, etc. The problem for us is that I’m still adjusting to having only 1 fridge–our other one bit the dust in the move, and this one is too full. I’ve been using the camper fridge to help the problem out, and am also trying to have less food on hand.

  6. CLeaning the refrigerator… is the worse job in my house hold..lol I hate it… and I procrastinate horribly.ha Proud you got yours done and got your menus fixed.. so nice.. Have a good evening.

  7. Mine surely could use a cleaning. Like others, it’s not high on my list of favorite chores. Your post inspired me to put it on my list, which will help me get it done.

    1. Awesome! Go for it! Mine still makes me feel good when I look in there–hopefully you will feel the same sense of accomplishment. (Yours may not be as awful as mine was, but sounds like it still might give you that virtuous feeling) 🙂

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