Meal Planning: Pantry Challenge Week 3

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Meal planning during a Pantry Challenge is essential to its success.

We are a third of the way into the Pantry Challenge. I confess, I’m getting a little weary. However, yesterday’s Grocery Geek tally tells me we’re on a good track. If all things hold steady, we could end up saving a few hundred dollars this month on groceries.

I spent a little time on Friday thinking through our meals for the upcoming week. We have a lot of great produce on hand thanks to last week’s delivery, so that is dictating how we eat throughout the week.

Again, I created a 3×7 menu plan to help me direct the week’s meal preparation. One added benefit of this is that since the boys are now helping with meal prep, they are stepping up to take on another meal during the week if they’re hungry and I haven’t gotten around to fixing things yet. Win!

Here’s the plan for the upcoming week:


Full Breakfast
Asian Chicken Salad with Noodles
Stuffed Shells (cookbook), Green Salad, Garlic Rolls


Breakfast Bar
Snacky Lunch
Summer Rolls


Breakfast Bar
Sandwiches (sunbutter, grilled cheese, or tuna salad)
Beans and Rice


Mix and Match Muffins, fruit, smoothies
Pasta with Red Sauce, Steamed Veg, Focaccia


Sauerkraut and Pork
Soup Night, Good Bread


Quiche, Salad
Pizza Night


Full breakfast
Pork Tacos
Baked Shrimp, Rice, Vegetables

What’s your plan for the week?

 Check out Menu Plan Monday for more ideas!

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  1. I have a fridge full of leftovers so I informed the family that nothing new will be cooked today. If all goes well, we will have an emptier fridge by the end of the day.

    Breakfast: waffles and biscuits (both leftover) plus bacon and eggs (DH doesn’t think breakfast is complete without a meat and eggs)
    Lunch: Leftover ham biscuits, grapes, carrots
    Dinner: Grilled Chicken and grilled potatoes (both leftover from dinner last night)
    Snacks: leftover muffins made on Friday, homemade granola

  2. I was hit by a nasty stomach bug yesterday evening. Trying to think of planning a menu but, yuck, nothing seems to appealing. I asked dh if he would bbq some bs breasts tonight. That way I can use them in several dishes over the next week. He’s very easy to please so he’ll probably make a burrito out of the chicken. Hmmm, maybe I’ll make a minnestrone soup using some of the veggies in the box and toss in a little chicken instead of beans for protein.

  3. Breakfast- sausage and fried potatoes
    Lunch: Egg Noodle Lasagna from the freezer with broccoli and/or green beans (we had partial pkgs of both)
    Dinner-2 cans healthy choice soup (fed everyone) served with tuna salad on crackers or salad with plain tuna

    Tomorrow is leftover night. We could have had them tonight, but I am sick of food. I would love to have a vegetable plate but things are getting a little skimpy on variety. But isn’t that he purpose of this challenge?

    Tuesday dinner-Meatloaf and mashed potatoes
    Wednesday dinner-kids eat at church and we eat light
    Thursday dinner-potato soup
    Friday dinner- crock pot chicken

    • @Harriet, I don’t know that lack of variety is the “purpose” of the challenge. Don’t make yourself miserable. Go buy veggies!

      The purpose is just to be a good steward. Don’t buy something if you’ve got something else that will work just as well.

  4. Heather M says:

    Can I help motivate you, so you’re not so weary? I am LOVING this challenge. More than I ever imagined. I’m so gung ho, it’s going to keep going into february. I WILL be able to see space in my cupboards by the time I stop. Yes, the planning is crucial, but I’m kind of doing just a few days at a time. It doesn’t take as long, and allows for flexibility. And, breakfast and lunch is the same as it has always been. Just a changeup for dinner, and a real effort to send the hubs with leftovers for lunch, so he won’t spend $$ on it. Setting a goal of a fun spring break is motivation for sure. Thank you for posting every day and doing this. It’s really wonderful. And motivating.

  5. Menus Sunday:
    Breakfast: Cheese, mandarin oranges and milk
    Lunch: Fried rice with pork, mandarin oranges and pineapple spears
    Dinner: Bacon and scrambled eggs with assorted homemade muffins. The leftover muffins we will use for breakfast the rest of the week.

    Menus for next week:

    Bread: We have 1 loaf of homemade pumpkin bread; 1 loaf of homemade raisin bran bread; ½ dozen homemade orange, cranberry muffins and ½ dozen homemade apple cinnamon muffins.
    Dairy: We have yogurt, cheese and milk.
    Fruit: We have apples, oranges and bananas as well as applesauce and canned mandarin oranges.

    Lunch: It is leftovers for the adults and lunch at school for the kids

    Monday: Roasted chicken with baked potatoes
    Tuesday: Hamburger, potato soup with English muffin garlic toasts
    Wednesday: Chicken tacos and rice
    Thursday: Brats and Tatar tots
    Friday: Crock-pot pasta E Fagioli soup and garlic bread sticks

  6. Honestly, I feel like I am losing steam for the PC. Mainly b/c I’m not seeing huge savings. Right now I am about $50 less than where I would be in a normal month. We eat so much produce and I feel we’ve upped the amount recently so we are shopping twice a week for fruit/veg. My DH also rides 100+ miles a week on his bike so he needs lots of protein. If anything, the PC opens my eyes to see we don’t spend extravagantly, we just eat well and have different needs…and that’s something I won’t change. :). The other thing I’m doing to help myself is to make a note on my menu plan about what needs to be prepped ahead of time. Huge help! I can wake up, look at the list and see “Defrost chicken, shred lettuce”. A no-brainer….I need those sometimes. 😉

    Here’s our 3×7 plan for the week:

    Stuffed shells (freezer meal), salad, bakery bread, cookies and cream milkshakes (using up Trader Joe’s candy cane cookies!)
    Quesadillas or cereal/oatmeal night
    Taco salad
    Grilled cheese, fruit
    Sweet and Sour chicken, brown rice (freezer), stir fry veggies. (did not have last week)
    Sliders, ore Ida Griller fries, grapes

    Egg sald on toast, ham/cheese and PBJ sandwiches, HB eggs, crackers/cheese, cottage cheese/applesauce, fruit

    Whole wheat cinnamon waffles, oatmeal pancakes, cereal, pumpkin coffee cake, French Toast, Chocolate chocolate chip muffins, Free Chick-Fil-a chicken minis

  7. Things going well,I have always used a menu plan – so that’s not new. Challenge is to use only what is in house. Have made some purchases – but minimal (dairy, produce and fish for 1 night))
    This week : Grilled Pork Tenderloin, frozen vegetables, potato au gratin; Chicken, quinoa with butternut squash, left over frozen snap peas; Red Beans and rice ( made extra last week and froze) Salad, biscuits; Spaghetti and Meat balls, garlic bread, salad: Steak, glazed carrots and french fries; Chicken breasts, orzo, green beans; Beans and hot dogs, Cole slaw, hot dog buns. Lunches will be left overs and breakfasts will alternate between yogurt and walnuts, english muffins with either butter or almond butter, or Banana Bread (am making tomorrow). Snacks will be Lara Bars ( my new addiction)/fruit.

  8. I dont have a full weeks menu yet but today it was leftovers.. tomorrow is one of our daughters birthday & we’re going out to Olive Garden. Im planning on making swordfish one night & beef stew another. I think I’ll probably make onion pork loin one night and rustic garlic chicken another. Thats as far into the future as Im going to think for today. 😉

    Im the only one who eats breakfast so its almost always oatmeal and lunch is either leftovers, tamales, or soup.

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