Save. Spend. Splurge.

How to achieve a minimalist fridge

This is my minimalist fridge, and I keep getting lots of questions that pretty much center around:


And the following week:


We don’t buy the gallon-sized tubs of anything.

We also don’t stock up on anything unless it can be kept – dried pasta, lentils, beans, dried noodles, chia, quinoa, etc.

We don’t eat out of cans nor any other pre-processed food mixes, boxes, etc. It’s just not what we do, but if that stuff keeps and you use it often, go ahead but don’t overstock like crazy unless you REALLY USE IT ALL.

You won’t know what you have and you will end up not using any of it because you won’t see it in your kitchen.


Instead of buying ketchup, we make it.

A photo by Dennis "DieTa" Klein.

It’s really just tomato paste, water, sugar and salt, and you can customize it to how you want it to taste.

To be quite honest, I have never liked the taste of ketchup, I always found it so oddly sweet and never developed a taste for it.

If I liked mayo, I’d make it from scratch too.


By that, I mean, choose a recipe you want to make for the week, and whatever you have leftover, like half an onion, let’s say.. plan to use that in another dish and supplement until everything is done.

I riff off this until I end with a menu.

For instance, this week, I started with the idea that I would make a spaghetti dish with onions, garlic and Parmesan cheese and vegetables (unsure of which ones yet). I only use half an onion in my dishes (a whole one is really too much), and I still have Parmesan left over from the bit I would use in my pasta.

I also have this idea that I need to add a quick squeeze of lemon to mix into the pasta to add a hit of bright acidic lemon.

So I decided that since I would have half an onion, Parmesan cheese and a lemon leftover, I’d make a guacamole to eat with tortillas and some vegetables.

So I added some avocados to the list, tomatoes to cover that (uses up more of the onion, use another squeeze of the lemon to keep it fresh).

As for the vegetables, I can use the same ones in the pasta as I can with my tortilla wrap:

  • Red peppers
  • Mushrooms
  • Spinach (cooked down)
  • Rest of the onion, raw and sliced
  • Rest of the Parmesan cheese grated in

I still sort of have a bit of lemon left, about half a lemon, so I thought I’d make a cake.

Enter: butter, and eggs.

I can use the lemon as the acid the cake (I make it without using any baking powder), along with using up all of the butter in my pasta.

As for the eggs, I could kind of turn it a bit into a carbonara pasta, and use an egg or two when I make it.



  • Spaghetti carbonara vegetable dish
  • Vegetable tortilla with guacamole
  • Lemon cake (see below):

Shopping List

  • 1 large red onion
  • 1 bulb of garlic
  • Wedge of Parmesan cheese
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 pack of tortillas
  • 4 avocadoes
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 box of mushrooms
  • 1 box of spinach
  • 1 block of unsalted butter
  • 12 eggs


  • 8 eggs left
  • Rest of the garlic cloves for the next meal

These eggs are easily used up during the week where I just hardboil it, or throw it into my noodles with some Bragg’s seasoning sauce and done!

The garlic cloves are also easily added to next week’s meals…

Sometimes my partner also raids the fridge and uses whatever is in there to make a stir fry on the fly or an omelette to use up everything.


Then we just pick it up on the way home.

This leaves almost no room for spontaneity, like:

Gee what do I have in the fridge that I can make a mish mash stew out of?

…but we also don’t have rotten food lying around.



Then I’ll usually go to the grocery store and pick up something to make it different, maybe some salmon, or something else I can cook up quickly and add to the dish, like broccoli.

The only things I really have to go out and eat, would be pho.

Vietnamese noodles are damned hard to replicate truly, and I don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen slaving over making a broth that we have no freezer space to keep.


  • pdx_leslie

    Ah! Just finding this post after you linked it on Instagram. We’ve made similar choices. I’ve debated on getting the tripp traps, but now I’m sold- I want to match with my little one 🙃

  • Cora P

    I lOVE this concept. Especially how you plan your meals around the ingredients that you will have on hand. I’m interested in starting this process with what I can get from the local Farmer’s Market, and then making a grocery list for any odd and ends that I still need for the week.

    Big Question: What about breakfasts?

    • Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      My breakfasts are super simple. Whatever is in the fridge.

      If I am really hungry, then a boiled egg (2).. with some sliced bread and half an avocado..

      Or nothing at all, just two cups of tea, and I eat like a pig for lunch 🙂 IT depends on how much I ate the night before.

  • Sylvie

    Gorgeous, but so impossible. I have a small convenience store near me (read: processed heaven), but the closest affordable grocery store takes 20min to get to via infrequent public busses. You bet I’m going to stock up on canned and frozen produce, the latter of which are more nutritious than “fresh” produce.

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