more on the pantry principle

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I'm afraid I've cooked so many meals using the pantry principle since I promised you more on the subject, that I can't even remember them all. Life is never boring here on the Frugal Farm, here's a sample of recent events...

*we passed our final inspection on our addition! No carpet, wood floor in the dining area, or trim/baseboards, but we're signed off with the city! YAY!
*the weather has turned to spring and I finally planted peas and onions but haven't gotten to the other spring crops.
*the Frugalbaby got a double ear infection and the pediatrician was out of town so I had to wait 2 hours at urgent care instead. FUN!
*above ear infection's antibiotics caused much intestinal distress and baby gets probiotics, too!
*we were able to refinance our first and second mortgages into one mortgage at a really low rate. Who knew that would take so much of my time?
*It takes F.O.R.E.V.E.R. to shop for carpet and other flooring
*I put a bunch of strawberries in the freezer
*I had a clogged milk duct that thankfully didn't get infected before I was able to work it out

But back to cooking. I like to try new recipes but I am pretty picky because I hate buying special ingredients. They are often expensive and perishable. If I don't get to something because the baby gets an ear infection, I don't want food to go to waste (note to self:cook ground pork tomorrow so it doesn't go bad, those potstickers won't make themselves!). When I find a recipe that looks interesting, I often won't make it until I happen to find the ingredients on sale.

I have a potato salad recipe that I just love. I don't even know the source, but my mom sent it to me a while back. It has a bunch of ingredients that can be really expensive. Red potatoes, red bell pepper, salami, and fontina? That screams expensive. But a couple weeks ago red potatoes went on sale for .40/pound. The store had bags of salami ends for $3/lb, and red peppers were .68 each. I had to buy the fontina at regular price but it was worth it for this salad.

So how does this relate to the pantry principle? You minimize your food costs by buying what's on sale. If you want to make special dishes and you aren't picky about when you make them, you just watch for sales and markdowns. While I love it, I literally haven't made this salad in 5 years because I am too cheap to buy the ingredients. But this time I found them for pretty cheap, so I got to have this salad and it inspired this one, too. If I made a menu and decided that this salad belonged on it, I'd have to buy the ingredients no matter what the cost, and I'm just too darn cheap frugal.

So here it is, the recipe. It calls for cooking potatoes in the microwave but my sister suggested roasting the potatoes in the oven instead and it turned out fabulous.

PIZZERIA POTATO SALAD

2 pounds red new potatoes
1 cup water
2 ounces sliced pepperoni, quartered (I use salami)
4 ounces fontina cheese, diced
1 green bell pepper, chopped (I use a red one)
¼ cup minced onion
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon dried oregano
Salt, to taste

Wash but do not peel potatoes. Cut them into 3/4 –inch cubes. Combine potatoes and water in a 2 to 3-quart glass casserole. Cover with lid or vented plastic wrap. Microwave on high 14 to 16 minutes, stirring mid-way through cooking, until fork-tender; drain.
Add pepperoni, cheese, bell pepper, onion, vinegar, olive oil, oregano, and salt. Toss well. Re-cover and let stand 5 minutes. Serve warm.