Pantry Challenge Check-in Week 1

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It’s been about a week since I “officially” declared my pantry challenge. And of course, we went out of town for three days rather spontaneously, as soon as I said that.

We woke up on Sunday morning and decided to head to the grandparents’ for the 4th. I was lucky to remember toothbrushes and clean underwear in our rush to beat the LA traffic. Oh, wait. I forgot the toothbrushes. And we didn’t beat the traffic. A 3-hour drive took 6.

Needless to say, I didn’t pack much food to share. Instead, we stopped at Trader Joe’s and picked up the fixin’s for 2 meals so that Gramma wouldn’t have to work too hard. But, we’re not counting that in my challenge because it was vacation — and besides, I’m making up the rules as I go along.

Meanwhile Back on the Ranch

But, this week we’re getting serious. I made one trip to Walmart for some staples like milk and yogurt. And I’ve been rifling through the freezer and pantry to find out what lurks in there. I haven’t yet done a complete inventory, but that’s on my to-do list for the weekend.

However, frozen meatballs, fish, and cinnamon rolls were easy things to grab. I’ve got about 6 chickens and 1 turkey in the deep freeze, too. So, I’ll be scoping out a cool day to roast a bird or two. And we’ve got some cranberry sauce to go with!

You can catch up on what we’ve actually been eating over here.

There are some really great sales going on at my local grocery stores, so it’s going to be hard to control myself. I decided to limit my purchases to fresh produce, dairy, and really, really, really good sale items. The latter is quite rare these days, so I got to grab them when I can.

What are the girls up to?

A wonderful group of ladies is accompanying me on this journey. 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. Be sure to bop around and see what’s cooking over here:

How are YOU doing?

If you’re doing the Pantry Challenge, tell us how it’s going. If you’re struggling, let us know. Maybe we can help you trouble-shoot. That’s what friends are for.

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  1. Susan T says:

    Thanks for the reminder about the pantry challenge. I just inventoried my deep freeze and am still using up the last of my albertsons catalinas from milk and groceries from the free granola thins. With catalinas from the gift cards at albertsons, I know what you mean about not being able to pass up some sales. I did freeze the ralphs raspberrys so that should help with a few more meals. Now, I need to plan some meals to use up things in the cupboard, freezer that I have~!

  2. I’ve actually been pretty pleased with my progress so far. Last January I was planning on participating, wrote a post and then let it fall by the wayside. This time I’ve actually completed cleaning out the pantry, cleaning out the fridge/freezer and started menu planning. My grocery bill was actually down for the first time in a while (and we actually got food!)

    If interested, you can read the full update of my Pantry Challenge here;

    Glad you had a good time at your parents. Thanks for hosting the update.

  3. I’m working on the pantry inventory. Did the corner area and ONE shelf (all canned goods) and found that I’ve got quite a bit of tomatoes in one form or another, so that called for a batch of red sauce to be made (which required me to dig in the freezers for some sausage) … we got off to a late start on the challenge because of the holiday but this week I’m determined, starting with inventory (need to finish it up…will post the list when done later today so hop on over!) … trying to stay with stuff that goes in the fridge only (and bread) for purchases, we’ll see how well that goes … b/s chicken breast are on sale for $1.29 a pound this week … I can NOT pass that up, so 20 lbs (maybe 30?) should set me up (and make plenty of work repackaging too) …

    • Jessica says:

      @jan, I know! I went through the ads last night and there were quite a few meats at very low prices (at least for the prices I’ve been seeing lately.) So, I may just need to make a corner of the freezer for new, while I work on rotating out the old.

  4. I really needed this challenge, as our freezer and fridge are overflowing, and this month we will have fewer than the normal number of people. Our two oldest are traveling and off to camp. Never the less – I can’t do without my fresh veggies and fruit. Especially since my garden wilted and fried in 100 degree temperatures here today.

  5. I worked on the challenge this week and it was fun. Here’s my post: Today I cleaned out one of our freezers. I’m trying to figure out what to make next week. I like being creative since we are on a tight budget after having a baby 2 months ago.

  6. We will be cooking our meals out of our pantry and freezer!

  7. Loving this challenge so far. I really needed to clean out our big freezer. My husband’s been asking for pork chops for a couple of weeks and I told him we’d have to wait for a sale. I had pork chops down in the bottom of the freezer! My only real problem is that it’s so stinkin’ hot, I don’t want to bake. I’m going to have to bite the bullet and just do it this week.
    Great challenge, thanks again.

  8. This looks really interesting. I’m not participating in the challenge, but I’m enjoying reading about this. Is their a particular list of staples that you always have on hand? I’m not sure if you blogged about that or not…but I’m a bit clueless today 🙂 🙂 🙂 My dad and I are on an extremely limited food budget. So any pantry wisdom is always welcome 🙂 🙂

    Love and hugs from Oregon, Heather 🙂

  9. I would LOVE to try this. We just got back from grocery shopping after a long vacation and I had no room for the food. We had so much that just keeps getting pushed behind everytime I put more in. Too much BBQ sauce, pasta sauce, soo much chicken I thought I was getting a good deal on which I would have if I only used it. They are leg quarters and they scare me quite honestly. They look frost bitten so I wonder if I have to throw them out.

    I have 7 to feed and a few with limited diets because of special needs and allergies. Just not sure how to use all of this food. It’s embarrassing actually.

    Do you just pull a few ingredients and search recipes? I have a huge binder of recipes, alot from this site but none with my many ingredients.

    Any advice would be wonderful 🙂


    • @marisa, On, you can search by ingredients. You can also tell it to exclude certain ingredients in the search. I love that feature! Good luck to you.

    • Jessica says:

      @marisa, I would think outside the box. Many sauces can be used on pizza or in hot pockets or wraps. Let me know what you don’t know how to use and we’ll post it and generate ideas! 🙂

  10. I missed the last time you hosted the Pantry Challenge and I am SO needing this. While my pantry is pretty good, I do have several items that were purchased on past vacations that I need to use up before our next vacation. I call it our ‘souvenir food’. 🙂 And my freezer needs some help too. I’ll be hit or miss with some activities we’ve got coming up that will mean no cooking for me at all, but hopefully I’ll be spending less on the nights that we are home by using up what I already have.

  11. I have been doing well this first week….It’s been tough doing a bunch of cleaning, but I know that I will soon enjoy making meals in a nice clean kitchen. It has been relaxing to know that a lot of the hard work is now behind me…..I am going to be focusing on getting more meals prepared for the next time.
    Here’s my update on my challenge:

  12. It’s not been tough but I still don’t think I’m making any progress around here! Do I really have THAT MUCH stuff?? Ok. Here’s where we are after a week or so (I considered my start date on July 4th, a holiday no less).

    I do have to say that I’m still in shock by what I have in the pantry and what I don’t … one can of tuna? Seriously!?

  13. Loving it, Jess. I haven’t gone grocery shopping in NINE DAYS and won’t for the rest of the week (we had milk on hand). Writing up my post now.

  14. I am eating fresh and freezing fresh garden stuff galore over at my site. We collected a table full of fresh bounty for our monthly mission meal. My goal is to freeze some for the fall and winter months. Zucchini is so easy to freeze, berries are great for smoothies and cobblers and trying out collards next. We’ll be eating on these for a while.

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