Like Saving Money? Food management on a Homestead

Today's Post by Wendie ❤️
One of the more difficult things for me about homesteading and having a blended family with children coming and going (ages 10-22) is food management. I don’t want to waste food. I know I can improve on this. I work about 30 hours a week running two micro-businesses, and hubby works both writing and teaching. It’s possible we may have a bit much on our plates, but we manage it. 

Speaking of plates, on our homestead we have two pescatarians, three meat lovers, and there’s me. I could eat a salad or soup and be really, really happy but I also enjoy a nice steak once in a while. 

Food Management on a Homestead 

food management
Todd's Popovers
I’m going to share two recipes today that go well with this homesteading food management theme. One for corn potato chowder and the other for a really quick veggie soup that is very popular in this house. (Except Joey who doesn’t like soup as he says it reminds him of being sick. He’s missing out on the glory of a good soup.) 

Hubby is the baker of the house and makes fresh bread so everybody wins. His popovers are gone in a flash with everyone asking for more.

We are not fancy, just good people trying to feed and nurture kids and help the earth a bit by reducing waste and raising as much of our food as possible. It's what makes homesteading our thing. 

We are an incredibly normal household. A homestead, yes, but a household nonetheless. Possibly even boring. And for the kids it might be a drag that their parents are both writers. Books are stacked everywhere and often mornings involve quiet time by the fire with keyboards clacking away. But this is what we do. It makes it all the better with a good pot of soup on the stove. Add in a nice salad and some fresh bread and (almost) everyone is happy. 

Because of the variety of desires and diets in this house we eat mostly pescatarian-friendly recipes. Veggie chili, veggie lasagna and stuffed shells are among our favorites. Some nights it’s a really cheesy mac and cheese from scratch with crumbled, buttered crackers on top. Other nights it’s a giant salad with lettuce, peppers, fresh tomatoes, avocados, cucumbers and fish cakes on the side. But then there’s the kid who just wants a burger, a sausage sub, Swedish meatballs or chicken parm. 

Our Homesteading Menu 

food management
So we end up with a variety of things in our fridge and the hope is that it doesn’t go to waste. I do my best to make sure things get to the freezer. The vegetarian scraps go to the chickens, including leftover noodles, salad fixings that are not quite fresh enough for us, melon rinds, etc. We have a Russian tortoise too, and he appreciates a nice salad. Gus free roams the house (ok maybe this house isn’t as boring as previously stated) and when he makes an appearance, he gets breakfast. 

If we have a roasted chicken carcass I stick it in the freezer and make broth when I have time. I also keep a scrap bag in my freezer for things like carrot peels, onion peels, and celery ends to add to the broth. We can applesauce (a huge hit in this house) and when we have time, make jams and jellies. 

We still have some waste. I hate throwing away good food. Just yesterday I apologized to the chicken scraps I placed in the trash. That bird gave its life for us and we didn’t use it fully. I know I can do better. Sometime life gets busy and food goes bad. I’d love to hear your ideas on how you manage food storage in your house. 

Meanwhile here are two nice food management recipes for winter soups. Enjoy! 

Winter Soup Recipes 

Shortcut Veggie Soup:

2 stalks celery diced
1 large onion diced
1 bell pepper diced
3-4 carrots diced
1 zucchini diced
I package mushrooms quartered
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 large bottle of V-8
Ample amounts of basil and oregano

In a pot, sauté the veggies in a double swirl of olive oil (twice around the pan). I like to do the celery, onions and carrots first. Then once those get going for a bit toss in the pepper, zucchini, and mushrooms. 

food managementHang out with your veggies for a bit, stirring occasionally and enjoying the aroma. Add more oil if necessary. Just enough to coat them so they don’t burn. You can add a pat of butter too if you like. 

Toss in about 2 tbsp dried basil and 2 tbsp oregano. Breathe in the deliciousness. Add a bit of salt and pepper. I prefer kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper. When that smells too good and you just want to eat that, add in the whole bottle of V-8. Bring it to a bubble and ring the dinner bell. 

Corn Potato Chowder New England Style: 

3 Russet potatoes peeled and diced
¼ diced onion
Swirl of olive oil
2 tbsp butter
One bag frozen or fresh corn 
1 ½ teaspoons Old Bay
1 quart chicken stock or veggie stock
2 cups milk (2 % is my preference)
½ cup cream (half and half is fine)

In a stockpot place olive oil and butter. Sauté onion and potatoes until onions are soft, add in Old Bay. Add in chicken or veggie stock. Cover and simmer until potatoes are fork tender. Add in milk and corn. Simmer until warm. Bring up to a small bubble. Add cream and warm gently. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with garlic bread or bread of your choice. 

We love sharing our lives with you all, and would love to hear from you. What food management techniques do you use to reduce waste? What are some of your favorite homesteading recipes? Let us know in the comments below!