Fridge Organization Tour & Simple Meal Prep Ideas

This fridge organization tour will show you how to use up leftovers, eliminate tossing out food, and get healthy, made-from-scratch meals on the table with less mess and stress. It won’t be a fridge organization tour focused on being pretty, because I am practical instead.

Let’s get to the tour, so I can show you the fridge-organization tools I use and the meals you can make with a mostly-from-scratch fridge.

Kombucha in the fridge door

The fridge door

The bottom panel of the door houses ready-to-drink kombucha brew, beverages, and homemade recipes I’m trying to use up. Canning, fermenting, and preserving gives your kitchen flexibility. You can extend the shelf life of produce for months.

Homemade condiments

Transitioning to homemade condiments is easier than you think. It saves money, eliminates unnecessary or inferior ingredients, and gives you a better flavor.

Main shelf of the fridge

The main shelf

The main shelf of my fridge has seasonal produce and ferments. This week my stackable, airtight, wet jars are storing a mixed greens salad and crunchy fermented onions. A few are intentionally empty waiting for leftovers.

Glass swing bottles store staple liquid ingredients like orange juice, half and half, buttermilk, dressing, and lemon juice. They help with clutter-free fridge organization and let me monitor the quantity of items.

Top shelf of the fridge

The top shelf

The top of my fridge keeps eggs, lunches I’ve prepped, and the use-first basket. This basket contains ingredients approaching expiration that I need to use up.

Ferments and spreads

To the left side are ready-to-eat ferments, home-canned ingredients, and mixes.

Produce bins

Produce bins

One bin stores fresh, whole, seasonal fruits and vegetables. I’ve also got produce in cold storage in our basement.

Sourdough and sprouted grain bread

The left side has defrosted sourdough and sprouted grain bread. This is all we need for this week.

Meal fridge basket

My fridge basket and freezer meals sit on top of the produce bins. Now let's start making some meals.

Meal preps

Maple-dijon chicken

Maple-dijon chicken

I keep one or two freezer meals on hand. This is one of my favorites. Maple-dijon chicken is filling and flavorful. You make a glaze, prep vegetables, marinate the chicken, and bake it.

How to make a quick marinade

Since a quick marinade rarely penetrates deep into the food, use your hands to massage the surface of your veggies.

How to make maple-dijon chicken

Transition your veggies to a pan, top with chicken, and pour on the remaining marinade. Pop it into the oven and prepare for your house to smell scrumptious.

Chickpea salad

Chickpea salad sandwich

I can my own chickpeas. Y’all, this recipe is sneakily close to a tuna salad sandwich but uses protein-packed chickpeas as the base. Chopped onion, healthy, homemade garlic and dill mayo, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and fermented celery give it a classic, fresh flavor.

Chickpea salad sandwich

I batch cook our lunches for the week. This tin container doesn’t retain stains or odors. I love it. I’m going to prepare sandwiches, herb-and-garlic-infused fermented carrots and sliced cucumbers, and sweet, dried prunes. That’s lunch for the week.

Breakfast prep


During the week we keep breakfast simple. Monday through Friday, it’s oatmeal. I always change the topping. This week, I’m adding home-fermented cranberries.

Meal baskets

Meal baskets

Fridge baskets are the best fridge organization hack. When I come home from the grocery store, I immediately take the ingredients I need for specific meals and drop them into their corresponding baskets.

That way, I don’t have to search the fridge to make dinner. It’s a great way for me to build meals with ingredients that are going to expire. I add those ingredients to one of the baskets to remember to use them.

When I try a new recipe from a cookbook or online, I’ll print the recipe or write the cookbook and page number on an index card and throw it in the basket. It’s like my own meal kit service.

Homemade, dehydrated ground beef

Taco Tuesday

It’s taco Tuesday. I can’t wait to show y’all how my homemade, dehydrated ground beef brings this meal together in minutes. My fridge basket has everything I need to get started when I come home from work. The meat retains its color, chewy texture, and taste after you rehydrate it. It’s such a time saver.

I add my own seasonings and toppings. This week it’s homemade canned black beans in a ham broth, leftover guac, barbequed kale and collard kraut, pico de gallo, and homemade fermented sour cream. I know I'm giving my family toppings that contain probiotics, veggies, and added nutrition.

Cauliflower mash

Cauliflower mash

It’s simple but savory. I made a cauliflower mash and paired it with a simple salad topping with items from my use-first bin and my homemade condiments, like pickled onions and homemade balsamic dressing. This salad came out tasting every bit as good as it looks.

Baked ham

Baked ham

Tonight, my home-canned, honey-orange slices are the star of the meal. I love layering them on baked ham to add a moist glaze. I also grabbed a jar of green beans and made mashed potatoes paired with kimchi. Another weeknight meal cooked up in under thirty minutes.

Glass jars

Glass jars

Having an arsenal of quality glass jars and bottles is my preference. They’re easy to clean, don’t stain or retain smells, and they’re clear, making it easy to monitor quantity. My wet jars are leak-proof and freezer safe and can stack in the fridge.

Half-gallon bottles with durable lids

These half-gallon bottles with durable lids, easy grips, and carry handles are also a favorite.

Swing-top bottles

Wide-mouth jars for condiments are a must, but for dressings, I like these fermentation grade, leakproof, swing top bottles that come with a pour funnel and labels.

Canned jars

Beef Stroganoff

Instead of noodles, I’ll use spaghetti squash. I also grabbed milk, home-canned chicken broth, mushroom, French onion soup, flour, seasoned salt, and fermented celery. While the squash bakes, I’ll cook meat in the crockpot.

Squash with meatball stroganoff sauce

Once the squash is tender, it’s ready to soak up the meatball stroganoff sauce.

Beef Stroganoff

I added parsley from my use-first basket and it was so good.

Breakfast quiche

Breakfast quiche

I make leftover breakfast quiche using what’s leftover from meals in the fridge. I’m convinced there’s nothing a flaky crust, cheese, and eggs won’t make right. Add a dollop of dijon, herbs, and spices, and you’ve got yourself a new meal.

Fridge organization & meal prep

Fridge organization and homemade meals can go hand in hand. It’s easy to get started. What do you want to try to make from scratch? Let me know in the comments.

Join the conversation
 1 comment
  • Kristi Smith Kristi Smith on Jun 12, 2023

    Interesting approach but "too organized for me". I just buy staples on sale to supplement produce I purchase or acquire (friend's bountiful garden). My leftovers go into small, labeled containers and stored in the freezer. When I have a small amount of leftover meat, I make soup, adding the frozen leftovers to the broth. as well as adding coconut milk, stewed tomatoes, garbanzo beans, etc., and spices to taste. The spice combo comes from a cookbook. Soup is garnished with shredded cheese or a dollop of sour cream or shredded cheese, and served with bread.

    Rotation of food in the frig is important. New food in the back; first to use in the front. I have a side by side and the left/adjacent side of the frig sometimes freezes. Anything containing salt (pickles) is stored on the side closest to the freezer.