Meal Planning: Pantry Challenge Week Four

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We’re entering week four of the Pantry Challenge. Here’s the meal plan.

I think it’s a little wrong that I choose to do a Pantry Challenge during a month that has five weeks. Maybe next year we should do it in February instead. Or just make it an even 28 days.

This is going to be a hard push for the next 11 days. We don’t have a ton of stuff to draw from in the freezer. Lots of bulk stuff like applesauce, cranberries, butter. Lots of small amounts of ingredients. Not a lot of meat. What’s there is bargain meat (ie chicken thighs and pork) which isn’t my family’s very favorite. We’ll make do, though.

This weekend it’s time to do a big baking session. Most of our breakfast stuff from the start of the month is gone. So, time to restock our homemade convenience foods. Last night I made granola and have plans for more baking today.

We’ve got ten days left in the challenge, so here’s the plan for the week at least.


Monday (holiday)



  • Popovers and Jam, Fruit
  • Soup from the freezer, Cheese, Crackers, Fruit
  • Pasta with Red Sauce, Veg, Bread




I’m a little skeptical that we’ll be able to keep to the plan. I think we have groceries to see us through to the end of this week. But, it will be a fair amount of work. All the easy food is gone.

Was there really any easy food?

So, that’s the plan. I’ll for sure need to be creative at this time next week. But, we’ll just take it one day at a time.

How’s your meal planning going?

 Check out Menu Plan Monday for more meal planning ideas.

About Jessica Fisher

I believe great meals don't have to be complicated or expensive. There's a better way, and it won't take all afternoon.

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  1. Laurie says:

    A quick trip to Costco today and spent $60 for some staples. Dh needed granola bars and raw almonds to keep in his work truck and we needed eggs, butter and a few other things. I ran into Von’s because they were out of the chicken breasts last night. I bought 15 lbs. for 99cents a lb. I made the mistake of taking dh with me to Von’s with me last night. Why is it you always spend more when they’re with you? $35 later (needed a quick dessert for company last night and we needed milk) I’m still doing well money wise for the month. I told dh I’ll probably be good for meat till the end of Feb. I can’t pass up some of the great deals I have found the past couple of weeks on meat.

    • Karen says:

      @Laurie, Great idea to keep some snacky stuff in DH’s work truck. I’m going to do that, hopefully he won’t be so tempted to stop off for a bite on the way home because he’s too hungry to wait.

    • Angela says:

      @Laurie, I made the mistake of letting my husband shop with me at the beginning of this challenge. He bought steaks.

  2. Katie says:

    What are popovers? Is there a recipe?

    • Jessica says:

      They are similar to Yorkshire pudding. I’ve not yet posted the recipe.

  3. cwaltz says:

    I personally avoided the pantry challenge because it’s been a rough month. I don’t feel super duper well, on top of that spouses schedule is all over the board(which means his paychecks too) so it’s just another thing I’d end up beating myself up over if I chose convenience over cost. Some days(or even months) you do what you have to and just remind yourself that making it through to a month when you can do better counts too.

    I’m rooting for you though and when I feel better I hope to maybe do some of my own challenges to help with my own ambitious goals (flooring for our house and a summer minivacation and a Christmas trip to Great Wolf Lodge.)

  4. Angela says:
  5. I’ve started meal planning again this month and am really enjoying it! Here’s mine from last week:

  6. I had to do some grocery shopping this week because we are running out of everything. Yay! I’m glad we are doing this because now we are getting used to having only a little meat in dishes. Eating almost meatless dishes isn’t so bad.

  7. Mary says:

    I’m still enjoying the challenge. Spent Saturday making soup – Chicken and Spinach with Ditaleni, Cream of Celery and Garden Vegetable for planned lunches this week. Evening meals :grilled shoulder lamb chops, brussel sprouts with bacon and pecans,roasted new potatoes; creamed chicken pot pie,salad; Trout fillets, l/o brussel sprouts, quinoa; tortillas. We have 2 planned evenings out, so I won’t be cooking.

  8. Sandi says:

    Chicken thighs ARE one of our favorites. They are so much more flavorful! I was going to attempt some chicken and dumplings – yes, I’m 40 years old, live in the south, and have never made this – but realized I don’t have any thighs. B/S breasts do work better for some recipes, but I don’t think they would for this. I do, however, have some cooked turkey in the freezer, as well as some homemade broth, so I’m going to use that later this week. That’s the plan, anyway.

    I had a surplus of carrots, celery, and bell peppers languishing in the fridge. Some stalks of celery had gotten soft and brownish, the carrots were starting to look a little dry, and the bell peppers still looked okay but I knew their age so it was only a matter of time. Not wishing to feed the compost any more than necessary, I decided to salvage what I could. I diced up all the still-firm-and-green celery (almost 2 quart freezer bags), chopped the carrots with the Pampered Chef Chopper (2.5 lbs), julienned the green, red, and yellow peppers (3 lbs) and flash froze them all. I’m clearly all set for those veggies for quite a while. I have a little yellow squash and zucchini that was going to grate and freeze as well, but I was tired and stopped. Hopefully I’ll finish it today. The kid said he was “afraid to ask what dinner is because you’ve been cutting up a lot of healthy foods today” which made me laugh. He really dislikes big veggie salads for dinner, and I’m sure that’s what he thought was coming.

    • Heather M says:

      @Sandi, One thing you can do with drying out carrots and bendy celery is make sticks out of them and store them in water in the fridge. They bounce right back to their crunchy yummy goodness. I just did this last week and it was the best move I made all week. Salvaged over half a celery head and quite a few baby carrots. If it’s baby carrots, just stick them in the water, no trimming necessary. With regular carrots, better to prep into sticks. Good luck with your veggies…

      • Sandi says:

        @Heather M, Good to know for the future. These are already chopped and frozen now. I did previously try wrapping the celery in foil, and it certainly seemed to extend the lifespan substantially. I had plans for these when I bought them, so I didn’t bother doing that, then plans changed and I forgot about them. I didn’t really need to chop up that many baby carrots, so glad to know they can be resuscitated. It makes sense, since they do just fine if I throw them in a soup or pot roast or something with liquid, I just didn’t think to research if it would work keeping them raw.

  9. Vanessa says:

    Spent about $28 on food items yesterday (mostly meat). Baked a loaf of white bread for the fist time ever and it was delicious! Also, made some chicken broth for soup later in the week. My meal plan is more like a guide, I never stick to %100.

    – ham scrambled eggs, toast and banana
    – sandwich, leftover mac n cheese and apple
    – Ham and Beans with corn bread

    -chocolate chip pancakes
    -snackie lunch
    -Chicken boxed dinner (why did I buy this?) And veg

    -ham scrambled eggs
    -mini pizzas
    -Pot Roast, potatoes, carrots

    -biscuits w/ cranapple butter
    -Tuna casserole

    – breakfast burritos
    -sandwiches and fruit
    -Loaded Baked Potato Soup

    -Stir Fry with leftover Roast

    -biscuits and gravy
    -snackie lunch
    -Chicken Tortilla Soup w/ corn bread

  10. KimH says:

    I havent even thought about a meal plan this week.. Guess I should.. We have chili in the frig right now so that’ll be supper at least once and probably lunch for me a couple days. M’boy will probably take it to work for lunch too.. Hope so anyways.

  11. Heather M says:

    Just been inspired by these comments and think it’s time to get to planning for the week. I’m sort of stuck watching Inauguration coverage (I’m silly like that…. regardless of who I support I enjoy these things and the unity and all that; plus I’m a news junkie). So I think I’ll go through recipes and plan for the week. Thanks everyone!

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