Canned Frugality

I love a three day weekend. I always convince myself that I am going to sleep in, REALLY sleep in but I never do. Instead, I usually get up early and am happily off and running to any given project. For Memorial weekend I planted more radishes, tidied up the garden and hauled out every canned good to check the dates.

‘It was a bit of an eye opener and not just because the “recommended use by dates” are so hard to read. I checked every can and condiment in my pantry and the sliding can rack tucked next to my fridge. I stacked everything in three piles, use by 2023, use by 2022 and use immediately idiot. The last pile was a bit too big for my comfort, I don’t like canned goods as a rule but my partner buys them all the time. Sigh. I only had to toss a couple of cans, they were dented somehow but nothing was out of date.

Not yet.

I found five, count them FIVE cans of tomatoes and sauce that were nearly ready to expire so I had to make my super secret pasta sauce. At least my partner thinks it is super secret. It’s not really, it’s pretty easy as I make it in the slow cooker which is a good thing because I like to spend most of the day outside bossing my partner around as he grills.

I put all the use immediately idiot cans on the slider rack next to the fridge and made sure my partner knew to not touch any other cans. Meanwhile, I will let you in on a secret, pasta sauce isn’t hard but it needs a bit of attention at the end to make sure the usually acidic sauce is balanced. You can easily do that by adding a tablespoon or so of sugar toward the end of the cook.

So, the goal now is to take a can every few days and use up whatever my partner bought when I wasn’t looking. I like to cook fresh and from scratch but I have a bunch of cans to use up so I’ve let my partner know that there is a moratorium on buying more canned food until we use up what we have.

Next up, I will go through all the boxed foods in the pantry to make sure there is nothing out of date there. The fourth of July is coming up so I will have another extended weekend to make sure nothing goes to waste.

And to boss my partner around as he grills again of course. What can I say, we have cherished family traditions to uphold.

About to Expire Pasta Sauce


5 cans of tomato sauces, chopped tomatoes, whatever you have

Can full of water

1 to 1 and 1/2 cups of sautéed onions, carrots and celery combined (I happen to have half a bag of shredded carrots in my vegetable crisper so I grabbed a handful of that along with two stalks of finely diced celery and half an onion)

1 cup roasted tomatoes, sundried will do as well if that is what you have

Giant fist full of fresh herbs (I used parsley, oregano, rosemary and basil) stems are ok too

1 tablespoons of dried herbs (I used basil, garlic pepper and dried onions)

1 can evaporated milk (yes, I had a can of that ready to expire as well, luckily enough)

Salt and pepper to taste


Mix everything together well and place in a slow cooker for five to six hours on low. Taste for balance. If too acidic, add a tablespoon or so of sugar. I prefer brown sugar for this. Cool then blend until smooth, herbs and all. Freeze in clean glass jars until ready to use. Sauce will be lighter red, not fake jarred sauce blood red and the evaporated milk makes it creamy. I have been known to add a generous slug of red wine when nobody is looking about half way through the cooking process.

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