A Summertime Pantry Challenge

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This is a one of the CSA boxes I got last Fall. Each week we received a box loaded full of fruits and vegetables. Some I had no idea what to do with! But, as my creativity got going, we discovered some new foods that have become favorites. And I developed some family favorite recipes like this bolognese and this stew.

That’s how food adventures often go. Making the most of what you have leads to creativity and deliciousness.

And that’s what I intend to do this month. Be creative, eat deliciousness, and make the most of what we have — in a summertime pantry challenge.

A Summertime Pantry Challenge

As I mentioned earlier this week, this Summertime Pantry Challenge is going to be a little different than the one I do in January every year. I don’t want to feel pressured. I don’t want to feel guilty for spending grocery money. I want to relax!

So, I’m not going to set a money limit. And I’m going to stock-up on those seasonal things that go on sale only in summertime. (See Carrie’s list for more ideas of what I’m talking about.) But, I think we’ll save money anyway by focusing on what we have first.

My goals for the challenge:

  • To build my menus from what we have in the freezers and pantry.
  • To supplement with sale items and in-season produce. (Kinda hoping that my gardener friends will want to unload their excess on me.)
  • To reorganize my dishes and kitchen stuff – looking through my gadgets and tools might remind me of foods I could make that we haven’t made in awhile or inspire me to use up ingredients that we have.
  • To streamline our kitchen a little, making it easier to operate in and easier for people to put things away. (Ahem.)
  • To maybe lose some of the spare tire I’m sporting around my waist. (Fresh produce, beans, and rice always seem to help.)

I’ll be posting daily updates on how we’re doing right here. And this month’s posts will be all about how you can make the most of what you have, featuring ideas of what to do with pantry staples and how to add flavor to foods when you don’t think there’s anything to eat.

Want to come along?

I’m not doing this gig alone. I’m collaborating with a great group of bloggers to give you glimpses of what “eating from the pantry” can look like in other homes. These girls know how to eat good — and cheap — so I know I’ll be able to learn a lot from them. And so will you!

Join me and the girls for a Summertime Pantry Challenge!

We don’t all have the same goals for the challenge, so it will be extra fun to take a peak into their kitchens and see how they’re making things work at their houses.

Would you like to join us?

Just write a post on how you’re going to challenge yourself to make the most of what you have, being sure to link back to Good Cheap Eats. Share your link below and then pop around to the participating blogs and see how you can be inspired to “eat from the pantry.”

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  1. Love this! I always glean great ideas from this!

    We are in the rebuilding stage with our pantry after moving this spring and passing the yuck around ad nauseum. This week it has been process 29 pints and 10 quarter pints of cherries with cherry jam and possibly a pie to follow…. And next up is rice from Costco (frozen for 3 days and them moved to food safe plastic buckets of course).

  2. I am very excited about this challenge. I am going to be visiting my Farmer’s market a lot more and using what I have on hand to create meals. This challenge will also help me clear out my kitchen to try and start making room for some freezer meals. Thanks 🙂

  3. Jessica, I’d like to join you in this challenge. I will be visiting the farmer’s market each week though. Let me see how that goes. I would like to empty my freezer and pantry. 🙂

  4. I’m in!
    Is it okay to use that nice logo in my blog?

  5. I need this challenge. My pantry, fridge, and freezer are stuffed and my grocery spending has been thru the roof. Time to use up some of that excess inventory before I end up throwing it out. And that just kills me.

  6. Amanda Y. says:

    Oh I so need this inspiration. I have been out of work but getting money while I was going to school and working part time for the school district, so for the summer I have no income (I did put much of the money I earned all year in savings but now I’d like to leave as much there as I can) so I need to eat from our pantry til Sept. way more than we normally do! Hope you can keep inspiring us

  7. I am excited to join. I was just telling my husband I was pretty sure I could feed us for at least a week without going to the store at all 🙂

  8. Susan T says:

    I bought lots of staples with the albertsons gift card promotion that just ended so I do need this promotion to clear out the odds and ends. I want to join in to.

  9. I didn’t have much luck with the January challenge but I’m trying it again! Thanks for hosting.

  10. I am looking forward to the challenge!

  11. Definitely good timing for this!

  12. We started on May 1st 🙂 and we’re still going. I won’t be buying any food this month, either.

    I don’t have a blog on my site, but I DO have a facebook page now, and I’m writing over there about what we’re eating, and what we’re harvesting from the garden each day, etc. Today I picked peaches and tomatoes.

  13. this is my first time participating and im very excited. i love your other blog and im looking forward to reading this one and getting ideas
    id love if you would visit my blog and check out my Summertime Pantry Challenge
    I subscribed via email so i can follow your progress and maybe get some ideas!

  14. SHARONA says:

    Did the Jan Challenge which extended into March, had that much! But now, with it all restocked, it shouldn’t take but a month with the boys home for the summer, instead of away at college. It will be nice to live from the garden and freezer/pantry, and not have to drive to the stores.

  15. After a month of hosting guests are pantry and freezer are still fully stocked. We will soon be an even smaller household as kids go off to camp. We have a need to clear out our pantry.

  16. patti keil says:

    I am new to this, but I feel I need to give it an honest try. Must try to use up what’s in the pantry, freezer and fridge…my household budget has been sideswiped by the government shutdown currently going on in Minnesota which has resulted in a lay-off from my job.

  17. I just told my husband *this morning* that we need an Eat From the Pantry month. Perfect, perfect timing!

  18. I would love to have a functional pantry!

  19. Tammy in OR says:

    I found your challenge when I was checking up on some of the blogs I read. I’m going to try to feed my family from what we have in the freezer and pantry. We are going on vacation out of state later this month so this is a good time to do this. Good Luck everyone!

  20. Thanks for the inspiration, I look forward to using up some of the odds and ends we have as we get back into the swing of fall!

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