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Pantry Challenge Days 26 & 27

This month we are eating down the pantry to save money and reduce food waste. Join me every day for the Pantry Challenge!

pizza night square

Sorry for not posting yesterday, all. It was FishPapa’s birthday, and believe it or not, I don’t have many pictures to show for it. Weird. Today was an office day, so I didn’t make very photogenic food so not too many pics from today, either.

I do have this pizza photo from last night. I even periscoped a little demo of how I do pizza dough. You can find that here.

While I have been to the store, we’re still using up random things, like seasoning mixes or sauces from the freezer to go with new stuff that I’ve had to purchase.

I’m really pleased with how our grocery bills added up for the month. Yay! This is probably the barest I’ve let the pantry and freezer ever get, so I know that restocking will be a bear.

I will post one last update tomorrow afternoon before returning to regular Good Cheap Eats blogging. I hope you’ll hang until the end!

Friday’s Pantry Challenge

Breakfast: Bagels and fruit

Lunch: Birthday Boy’s choice of restaurant

Dinner: Pizza

Saturday’s Pantry Challenge

Breakfast: Cereal

Lunch: Leftovers and BLTs

Dinner: Best Ever Pulled Pork on buns with sauce and seasoning from freezer

How’s the challenge going for YOU?

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Comments

  1. Lets see
    Day 26
    Breakfast eggs and cheese for hubs, peanut butter toast for me.
    Lunch me last of the spaghetti from the other day and a clementine hubs?-at work
    Dinner I was the only one home I found five plain meatballs in the freezer so I had those and the last of the cheesy potatoes.
    Everyone else was at a catering job and had chicken, baked potatoes, green beans and salad
    Day 27
    Brunch pancakes and sausage patties
    Dinner grilled ham and cheese and tomato soup
    Snacks pudding and popcorn

  2. This is the home stretch!

    Friday
    Breakfast: Eggs and toast or yogurt
    Lunch: Leftovers
    Dinner: Dinner out

    Saturday
    Breakfast Eggs and toast or cereal and fruit
    Lunch: Leftovers
    Dinner: Tilapia, mashed potatoes, veggies

  3. Stephanie M. says:

    Day 26

    B – Hubby had cereal; I skipped breakfast

    L – Hubby had the last of the leftover rice with chunky beef veggie soup over it. I had a yogurt and a banana.

    D – Soup and sandwiches. I always have cream of chicken and cream of mushroom soups in the pantry for various recipes. I realized I had six cans of cream of chicken and no cream of mushroom so hubby had that and a roast beef sandwich. I just had the sandwich.

    Day 27

    B – We were out running all kinds of errands and before we left, I wasn’t hungry, but, of course, that changed and one of the places we had to go was to the grocery store and as we all know, it’s NEVER a good idea to go there hungry, so we had to make a stop for an egg mcmuffin.

    L – Neither one of us ate lunch.

    D – Leftover Salisbury steak, mashed potatoes, and corn.

    I’m sorry this challenge is coming to an end. I do so much enjoy the camaraderie. I will be continuing though on the pantry challenge chatter.

    • Question Stephanie M…..Did you stick to your list? That is my biggest problem. Every thing I see suddenly looks good and that is what gets me all the overflowing food in our house. If it only cost you an Egg Muffin you did real good!!
      Will see you in the PC Chatter room!

      • Stephanie M. says:

        Well not exactly. Today was a real mess with my menu. Our 3 year old grandson is here and I had two packages of turkey sausage in the freezer. I bought a couple of zucchinis, some grape tomatoes and some heavy cream. All that together along with some parmesan cheese was going to be a pasta dish that I usually always make with leftover strips of London broil. (kind of like an alfredo sauce). Now I could have cheated and bought the London broil but I didn’t so I did okay there. I also bought a bunch of things I’m going to need for our annual Valentine’s Dinner party next Saturday night. So I was good there too because I would have bought those things anyway. And, of course, I snuck a few goodies in the basket that were not on my list. I stood in the bakery department staring at this delicious looking cake. I never ever buy cake because I bake all of my own desserts but I just wanted it. Well, I resisted that too in favor of the apple turnovers I have in my freezer already. I woke up last night and started thinking about dinner and realized that I can’t make that dish. Paul is going to Los Angeles on Monday morning for a conference and won’t be home till Thursday night and I can’t freeze that meal with the cream. So while he was sleeping, I was thinking about what to do with these sausages. When I got up this morning, I decided to add them to some leftover marinara that I have in the freezer from a few weeks ago but there were too many sausages for the little bit of sauce I had. So I asked Paul if he could run to Shop rite for a few cans of crushed tomatoes and I would add that to the sauce from the freezer. He was supposed to pick up our grandson at his house by 9:30 and he left at 8:30 to go to the store. Before he left, I added a few things to the list – kitty litter, small cans of tomato sauce, and 16 large white onions for the onion soup I’m making for the party. I told him to call me when he gets to the kitty litter aisle so I could tell him which kind I wanted because I forgot the name of it. (I just know what the bottle looks like). Before he even got to the store, I decided that instead of just pasta with sausage, I would make baked ziti instead. So I called him just as he got to the store and told him to pick up mozzarella cheese, and New York garlic breadsticks. He told me I was crazy and started laughing. I told him again to call me when he gets to the kitty litter. After we hung up, I realized I forgot to tell him to pick up aluminum baking pans because I wanted to send home a tray to our daughter and her husband. But at this point, I was NOT going to call him again. Not at all!!!!! When he called me a few minutes later about the kitty litter, I told him then about the pans. He is so used to this kind of thing with me. Many times on holidays, I have him back and forth at the store several times. I have to learn to plan better. In any event, he came home and as I was going through the bags, I found that he forgot the mozzarella. He was just getting ready to pick up our grandson and I had to tell him. I couldn’t go myself because I was making our grandson’s breakfast. So he picked him up and came home and went back out. This is why he is called “Poor Paul” and everyone calls him that.

        But to answer your question, I didn’t really stick to my list as well as I could even though I denied myself that cake and by the time we ate dinner last night, it was too late to make apple turnovers and I was wishing for that cake. And yes, more times than not, I always “color outside of the line” and pick up things I don’t need just because they look good and then they sit in the freezer or pantry till the next challenge. LOL

        Do you see how much I talk just to answer one simple question. Paul calls me Edith Bunker!! 🙂

        • Heather M says:

          I love you stephanie!! This is awesome. 🙂

          • Stephanie M. says:

            Thanks Heather. Paul just walked by and saw this large narrative that I wrote and he said, “someone wrote a lot; was that you?” When I read it to him, he started laughing and said, “Oh my God, Steph!” It is almost 6:30 on Monday morning and the car will be here in 20 minutes to pick him up to take him to Newark airport for his business trip to Los Angeles this week. He said he was going to miss me but I wonder if he’s secretly looking forward to getting away from all of my talking. LOL Seriously, when the UPS man knocks at our door, he seems to always be in a hurry. I wonder why? 🙂

  4. Day 26

    Breakfast – Bacon & cheese omelets
    Lunch – Sandwiches, pretzels
    Dinner – Cheese dogs and the last of the Chicken orzo soup (last of the chicken quarters)

    Did get some blueberry and chocolate chip muffins baked

    Day 27

    Breakfast – Muffins
    Lunch – Frozen pepperoni pizza
    Dinner – Potato soup and sub sandwiches

    Its hard to believe the Pantry challenge is coming to an end….especially with how much food we still have to eat down in this house, but looking forward to hearing from everyone who is taking part in the Pantry challenge chatter. Thanks again Jessica for helping me realize how much we have and that we do not have to be spending all the extra $$ because something is “on Sale” or looks good! Especially, when we can eat as good as we have for 1/3 of what we normally spend and still have lots of goodies left to use up! Can’t wait to see what February brings….hubby getting excited that “maybe” this will be the month that we will get our deep freezer cleaned out and defrosted. Fingers crossed

  5. Been following on and off and will be starting this in February. Question, though: after you eat all your freezer and pantry stuff, how do you restock w/o spending a fortune?

    • Menu planning is really the key. Writing a meal plan each week and coordinating it with the sales helps us slowly restock. Over time it accumulates and we’re ready for another challenge.

  6. Fri 1/29
    Breakfast: hummus and crackers
    Lunch: ChickFilA wrap with a co-worker (he had to use up his calendar card LOL)
    Dinner: spinach and cheese ravioli

    Sat 1/30
    Breakfast: granola, mixed berries thawed from freezer
    Lunch: chicken sausage, chips and salsa
    Dinner: leftover potstickers turned into soup plus Asian salad for me, leftover basil pesto pasta for kid
    Dessert: finished off one of the ice cream tubs

  7. Tastycook says:

    Day 26
    Breakfast: Toast and marmalade
    Lunch: Cheese and crackers, coffee cake
    Supper:: Chilli with french bread

    Day 27
    Breakfast: Toast and marmalade
    Lunch: Coffee and muffin
    Supper: Leftover roast pork from the freezer, with mashed potatoes and peas and apple sauce.

    I am enjoying the challenge of making myself use what is here already and hubby is happy to see a little bit of white in the freezer. Being just 2 of us, I find that this month there really hasn’t been an awful lot of cooking even, as I have been working on eating up the frozen leftovers from other meals. Eventually I might get them used up but will I remember how to cook??? Will definitely keep going tho – it might take until May to make a really noticeable difference!

    • I bet you will remember. I finally got around to bread baking today, after taking over half a year off and found the rhythm came back easily, although I did get out the recipe to be sure I remembered the amounts correctly. I know what you mean about just the 2 of you, I have been trying to alternate between leftovers and cooking to use up some of the older stuff. I figure the new leftovers I freeze will be good for quite awhile.

  8. Oh my goodness! I just did another inventory of the freezer. I can make at least 39 meals out of the protein we have left (purchased half a beef last year). And that doesn’t include the leftovers some of those meals will make! I will definitely be carrying over into February and beyond! The best part, aside from only spending $124 this month, is that the guys haven’t really noticed the pantry challenge. What does that say about my grocery shopping habits?? Right now the house smells great with a roast in the crock pot! Looking forward to my pantry challenge dinner.

    • Heather M says:

      You sound like me, though maybe not 39 meals worth of protein. I looked this afternoon and in the freezer we have 10-12 meals worth of proteins, plus canned salmon, tuna, and chicken, and we eat vegetarian meals as well (beans, cheese, etc). So we could easily go through February without buying more proteins, but I’ll be buying at least some shrimp and salmon fillets. We can’t go much longer without those! And just like you, my guys really have zero idea we are doing a pantry challenge. We have eaten really well and will continue to, keeping our spending down to way less than our usual. We must have similar typical grocery shopping habits! Ha! 🙂

  9. Laurie in CA says:

    Didn’t cook much on days 26 and 27. But haven’t spent money at the store. I’m waiting 3 weeks to eat down the pantry more and then give it a good cleaning and reorganization.

    Day 26
    B – avocado and egg on toast for me, cereal for hubs
    L – salad for me, leftover Bbq beef for hubs
    D – dinner out with our best friends. We had yummy Mediterranean food

    Day 27
    B – peanut butter on toast and an orange for me, cereal for hubs
    L – we both ate our leftover chicken Tahini and bulgar from the night before
    D – hubs former boss and wife took us out for a very nice Italian dinner

  10. Yesterday I woke up to the smell of freshly baked cinnamon rolls! My 11 year old son loves to bake, he woke up at 3 am to make them. I made a ham roast in my oven and beef stew in my pressure cooker. We ate them for lunch and dinner, I packed the rest into family freezer meals I will use in February. I did my meal plan for the next 3 weeks in February, but the last week was more challenging as most of our pantry and freezer will be nearly empty. So I thought at that time, I?d see whats left and go from there.

    B= Cinnamon rolls
    L & D= leftovers, ham or beef stew

    • Heather M says:

      Ok, REALLY impressed with your 11yo son! What a delight! And, wow that you’re already planned out three weeks! So impressed! Go you!

    • *I* don’t get up at 3AM for cooking, even on Thanksgiving, so major kudos to your son for that kind of ambition! I hope that 3-week plan works out well for you.

  11. Did decent, could have done better. Going to do another month.

    http://chefowings.blogspot.com/2016/01/end-of-pantry-challenge-13116.html

  12. Hope you’ll join the “chatter” for the month of FEB as I’ll still be in the midst of the ongoing pantry challenge myself!

    I know FEB may be more expensive than what I spent in JAN while doing the challenge but that is because I’ve begun to run out of some things. I’ve been on a challenge since DEC and still can go into FEB. Talk about evaluating ones spending habits! OMG! I held my JAN spending to $50.38.

    For me, the personal growth that I’ve seen is in going outside my comfort zone for trying new recipes as to not waste even a little bit of what I have on made. I thought I was good before, now I’ve gotten better.

    Consequently, more seems to be going into my freezer as I transform little leftovers into larger meals!

    Found a recipe for carrot waffles using mushy leftover canned carrots! Seriously, out of this world delicious!

    With a handful of leftover ham bits, made 4 large round ham/cheddar waffles! I even made a ham/potato patty topped it with a fried egg and had it as a brunch dish.

    I learned how to finally and successfully make flour tortillas without a tortilla press.

    My “cowboy bean” dish was an epic fail but I transformed it into a bean puree mixture and had 10 bean burritos for my freezer!!! See why my freezer won’t empty down? LOL! I also made 12 batches of seasoned black beans for my freezer. I do love to cook once and eat as many times as possible.

    I pulled out my mom’s old bread machine and made a loaf of bread. First try was not the greatest but edible. I’m not discouraged. I bought bread flour this week to try again in FEB. Would like to conquer pizza dough in the bread machine too.

    Kudos to Jessica for pulling this pantry challenge together. So much appreciation goes out to my fellow PC posters who kept me accountable and filled me with the promise that I could pull this off and not feel “deprived” in my eating habits. You are some great cooks and I love reading your ideas.

    Looking forward to FEB and your ideas, resolved struggles and transformative dishes! I have purchased some meats this week that were ridiculously too inexpensive to pass up and my inventory had been depleted of those meats. Anyway, that is how I was able to justify the spending! See you next month!

    • Heather M says:

      LOVE reading all of this, Felicia! I’ll be in on February with you! I’m finding the same satisfaction and creativity in the kitchen as well. It’s a great feeling! I too will spend more in February since we are virtually out of seafood (only canned items and one dinner’s worth of mahi mahi left in the freezer) and we eat fish or shrimp at least once a week, not including tuna sandwiches. And we’re too low on basic breakfast/packed school lunch food for my 14 1/2 yo growing teenage boy. So I will have to spend a little more. But I’m seriously going to eat down the pantry more. I’m finding things in there that are way too old. Sad throwing away food.

      One tip on the breadmaker— I’ve used mine sporadicallly and it’s been a long long while. Last weekend during our snowstorm I decided to try baking some bread again. I found a recipe i thought would be good (new to me) and decided to only use the dough cycle. Then I did a second rise in my oven warming drawer and then baked it in the oven. I was AMAZED at how good the bread ended up being. I think using the breadmaker for kneading and first rise only (the dough cycle) is the way to go. I’ll be doing it again. I am by no means a baker. I’ve always been intimidated by yeast breads, worried I’ll not do it correctly. I was pleasantly surprised and I’m ready to try more breads/rolls this way now. Thought this might be useful for you.

      See you on the Feb. pantry chatter!

      • I agree about the breadmaker. Just use it for dough cycle and let it rise again and bake in the oven. Much better! Also I make pizza dough every week in the breadmaker, comes out perfect, once again just using dough cycle.

        • Will have to give this a try…at what oven temp and for how long do you bake the bread?

          • The recipe I use is this one- Homemade Wheat Bread
            1 cup warm water (110-115 degrees F.) 1 c. all-purpose flour
            1 tablespoon milk 2 tsp. active dry yeast
            2 tablespoons oil
            4 tablespoons brown sugar
            1 teaspoon salt
            2 cup whole-wheat flour (I use freshly ground but I think you could sub white wheat flour)
            Put all ingredients in the bread machine in the order listed. Set on dough cycle. When dough cycle is finished, take dough out and shape into a loaf in a greased bread pan. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 20-45 minutes (until doubled). Bake at 350 degrees F. for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.

          • Thank you Laura! i’ll have to give this a try!

  13. Friday
    Breakfast: Hubby packed his usual for brunch at work. I had a pot pie from freezer, since not in the mood for traditional breakfast.

    Dinner Country style pork ribs baked in oven, Brussels sprouts and Israeli couscous

    Saturday

    Breakfast I had leftover couscous for an early snack with my meds then fixed whole wheat blender pancakes for Brunch. Hubby had his with syrup, I fried an egg and made an egg and cheese sandwich with 2 of the pancakes.

    Dinner – early- was chili then I had a bowl of veg soup with my evening meds.

    I will be continuing on in Feb. as well, but am happy to see some of the pantry and freezer disappearing.

  14. Fri.

    B-The usual.

    L-Usual packed lunch for son; date lunch for hubs and me.

    D-Pizza

    Sat.

    B-The usual.

    L-LO pizza, salad, crudités & hummus (the last of that batch), applesauce, clementines, pita chips

    D-Tuscan veggie soup using carrots, yellow squash (frozen last summer), and kale from the garden, celery from the freezer, dried onions from the pantry (’cause I was out of fresh), the rest of an opened box of chicken broth, fresh thyme and sage from the garden, and tomatoes and cannelini beans from the pantry. Toast.

    S-Pistachios.

    This was my first time actually participating in the PC, and I’m really glad I did. Our grocery spending was down 68% from the average ($297.82 saved). Even our eating out spending was down. Woo Hoo!

    Some takeaways:

    Our breakfasts need a little shaking up. 🙂
    We probably eat too much bread.
    We definitely eat out too much.
    I need to “shop” the garden, the pantry, and the freezers BEFORE I look at the grocery ads.
    I need to realize that a family of 3–even when one of those 3 is an 11-year-old male swimmer–doesn’t need a stockpile that would be appropriate for a family of 8. (Duh!)
    I can’t wait for our chickens to start laying again (free-range eggs are expensive!).
    It is truly possible to eat healthy, good-tasting meals without spending a fortune.

    • Heather M says:

      Love your takeaways. Mine are quite similar, except the “shop the garden” part, since no garden. And no chicken. Also have a 14yo boy so I understand that eating. 🙂

  15. Heather M says:

    Hi All! We had a good Friday and Saturday. more getting stuff done around the house and not spending much time away from home. Due to the snowstorm and ice, etc. in the past 10+ days, we also ended up saving A LOT on gas, as we haven’t gone far from home at all. I’m sure that will change this coming week, but I only put gas in the car twice this entire month of January(after we got home from vacation Jan. 3). And have a pretty full tank still. Apparently we Challenged the gas too! ha!

    Friday/Day 26:
    Breakfast: leftover slice of pizza for me (ahem); nothing for hubs who raced off to work; son slept in so none for him (no school again!!)
    Lunch: hubs ate at work; son had leftover pizza; I had another slice of pizza too (small slices, I promsie), and a graperfuit
    Dinner: Chicken Caesar Salad (last of the breaded chicken -costco- from the freezer); ice cream

    Saturday/Day 27:
    Breakfast: chocolate buttermilk bread for me; nothing for hubs and son who both slept in
    Lunch: i had a banana oat muffin, since i was making an early dinner; hubs had some sort of fruit; son had leftover pizza
    Dinner: son had his favorite chicken-pepperoni quesadilla; hubs and I had awesome layered burritos– I used the leftover beef-bean mix we had over nachos last Sunday, then layered on leftover rice, pickled jalapenos, chopped tomato and avocado. I had lettuce in mine, too. Oh gosh these were good. That spicy beef bean mixture was perfect for a burrito filling.

    Jessica, the chocolate buttermilk bread is a recipe I found once when searching for things to make with buttermilk. I finally tried this particular recipe and really like it. It’s made with buttermilk, greek yogurt, a little butter, and I replaced half the AP flour with white whole wheat (cocoa and leavening too– off the top of my head I can’t remember details). It’s tangy and not too sweet. Just yummy. I’ll be making it again one day. 🙂

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