I’ve written pretty extensively here before about my cushy grocery budget. We do a lot of scrimping and saving in other areas of our life to be able to afford such a luxurious grocery budget. Plus, my job is recipe development and food photography, so groceries are a business expense for me. I know it isn’t possible or realistic for every family to spend the kind of money we do, so my philosophy has always been to buy the best food you can with what you have.
This all being said, let me tell you, our food bill has gotten totally and completely out. of. control. Last month we spent $1223.95 on groceries (which I know with a few clicks in YNAB—the best budgeting software ever). That doesn’t include eating out (we live in the middle of nowhere, there is no eating out here really). Or anything fancy (no lobster dinners with caviar). That $1200 is particularly ridiculous when you consider the fact that we don’t need to buy eggs, have enough food stores in our house to feed a small army, and live in an area of the country with a very low cost of living. So where does that $1200 come from? Well, I had a lot of food photography work last month. And we had family in town for a week, but honestly, much of it is from laziness. Pure laziness. That’s where.
Instead of creating meals based on what we have in our freezer or pantry, it’s been easier to just pop into the store and grab a few items for dinner—even if we have duplicates at home. I would come home from the grocery store, and try to put groceries away, but our fridge, freezer(s), and pantry were so full, I had no room to put the new groceries away.
Doh. I think that means I need to start shopping from my own kitchen! So that’s what I’m going to do. Say hello to my first pantry meal, Veggie Mediterranean Quiche—using only ingredients I already had on hand. Which you’re going to laugh at. Because who has this kind of stuff just lying around their kitchen gathering dust? This girl. That’s who.
In the Mediterranean quiche are eggs (from our ladies, of course), sundried tomatoes (that we dried from our Chadwick Cherry tomatoes this summer), red bell peppers (frozen from the garden), garlic (from the garden), onions (in our pantry), spinach (frozen from the garden), dried parsley and oregano (from our garden), kalamata olives (from the pantry), plus cheddar cheese sent to me from my friends at Cabot Creamery and some feta we had kicking around in the fridge. We buy both butter and flour in bulk, so we always have those on hand to make a pie crust.
I know you’re seeing those olives in there and about three-quarters of you are turning up your nose in disgust, but let me try to convince you that you need to leave them in the recipe.
My husband is a reluctant olive eater. He’ll eat them if I cut them into small slices and hide them inside something. And honestly, he’d probably prefer if I never brought another olive into the kitchen.
On the other hand, for me, a dream vacation would be a lounge chair and a free pass to the Whole Foods olive bar. Yum.
So keep this in mind when I tell you that my husband was happily nomming away on a piece of this Mediterranean quiche for dinner the other day, he looked up at me and said, “These are Kalamata olives in here, right?” And I told him they were. And his response was, “They add a really great flavor to this. Super good. It’s not really olive-y. Just a nice, salty taste.” Music to my ears. Try the olives. TRY THEM.