Pantry Challenge Day 17: Conquering the Butternut

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This is Day 17 of my month-long Pantry Challenge series  where we’re eating down the pantry (and freezer and fridge) to use up what we have, rotate stock, and save some cash. Today I tackled the hoard of butternut squash.

I spent a good two to three hours in the kitchen today. Man, does a pantry challenge take some time. I guess we’re seeing how convenient the rest of life is! May I never complain again.

This morning I got a workout on Kitchen Patrol. In those first two hours I started lunch (pork chops and sauerkraut) in the slow cooker, dinner (sausage and barley vegetable soup) in the other slow cooker, made a homemade juice and cleaned out the juicer, started a vegetable stock going on the stove with the pulp from the juice, and started roasting the butternut squash in the oven. Oh and I made some eggs.

However that time investment did pay off throughout the day. I was able to visit with a friend for over two hours this afternoon without worrying about fixing dinner. It was already prepared. I’ve also got butternut puree for tomorrow’s pancakes and 6 cups of vegetable stock to use in some experiment later this week. Booyah!

So, here’s how day 17 went for us:


The morning meal was mostly fend-for-yourself. Those who wanted oatmeal made it themselves as did those who wanted eggs. I made juice for the masses: a concoction of broccoli stalks, apples, orange, and ginger. It was amazingly sweet and not very much like broccoli.


Lunch was pork chops and sauerkraut, one of my kids’ favorite meals. I normally make this with country pork strips. The last couple times I’ve used other cuts of pork, but not liked it as well. The kids don’t seem to notice. But, one can of kraut is not enough. Who knew?

For the record, hubs does not care for this very favorite meal of my childhood. At first neither did my children. Slowly, I’ve won them over. We enjoy it at lunch when he’s at work.


For dinner we had a twist on Thursday Night Soup. I took some Swedish Meatball gravy and chicken broth from the freezer. Those went into the crockpot with chopped veg, barley, wild rice, and turkey sausage. I let it cook all day. It was great!

I served the soup with the very last of the 5 minute bread dough and some sliced cheddar.

The day was easy and hard at the same time. I had to invest on the front end, but the evening when I was tired went quite smoothly. Yeah for crockpots!

Day 17 Menus

Breakfast: homemade juice, Instant Oatmeal, eggs
Lunch: Sauerkraut and Pork, Boiled Potatoes
Afternoon snack: Chocolate Almond Biscotti
Dinner: Vegetable Barley Soup

How did Day 17 go for you?

This post is part of a month-long Pantry Challenge series. You can read more about my goals for the challenge here.

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  1. Breakfast: Shredded Wheat cereal
    Lunch: I think it was what you call rice bowls
    Dinner: burgers & fries (dinner out for work fundraiser planned since Dec)

    I adore my crock pot. Your soup sounds delicious.

  2. Heather M says:

    Jan. 17 was another success:

    Breakfast: turkey sausage, banana muffins, fruit
    Lunch: leftovers for hubs and me, lunchboxes for kids (yay! 11yo finally back at school)
    Dinner: beef chili noodle soup (other 1/2lb of beef from 16th, already prepped, macaroni and chili from the cupboard) which was loaded with veggies; cornbread (I adore the mix from Trader Joe’s… yes a mix, but it’s good and I had a few boxes in the cupboard)

    I re-planned Friday’s dinner cuz I need fish or seafood this week. Trying to come up with a plan for Sunday still. My hard day. Saturday looks to be a fend for yourself kind of day since we have to be in different places with different kids, including leaving the house by 5 for the evening with the 16yo. We’ll see how it shakes out.

  3. I’m not a crock pot person. I tried, and it just turned out not to work for us. Possibly because they’re so good for meat, and we don’t eat meat.
    Today I have a weird lunch because we’re running out of things. No milk to make yogurt, no hummus, no time to make hummus, no tomatoes for lunch, no red peppers for lunch. So I’m having random stuff from the freezer. We’ll see what it is at lunch time!

  4. Today its an odd day. Boys don’t have school, instead they have dentist appointments, tutor appointment. and a swimming date all back to back.

    I am in the middle of making potato bread for the sandwiches for supper, and the banana bread for the tutor is finished.

    B: cereal
    L: IDK yet maybe fast food
    S: 8 y/o is making egg salad sandwiches. (he has already boiled the eggs and its only 8am).

  5. Your kraut looks delish! I need to make some soon!

    Had oatmeal with honey for breakfast, lo pork loin with onion & gravy for lunch, swordfish, potato with butter, and green beans almondine from the freezer (garden) for supper..
    For snacks I had oranges & bananas.. and a handful of Hershey’s peppermint white chocolate kisses. 🙂

    Need to pull my crock pot out today… sounds like a good idea to me!

  6. Breakfast-grits for me; biscuits for the men; bananas and pb for the college child
    Lunch-everyone packed one except me (took my mother out for a salad for her b’day today)
    Supper-Chicken Alfredo, salad, rolls (meal brought to us yesterday)

    I did cook 3 pounds of venison cube in the crock pot all day. I am going to freeze it to use on work nights.

    I went by Aldi today and bought luncheon meat and cheese.( Necessary around here to have these on hand for the never full growing 12 yo boy.) Other than that, we are doing well on our challenge!

  7. The challenge is going well. We have been eating cranberry-orange granola, milk and bananas for breakfast all week. Lunch was red beans and rice with ground beef. Dinner was a basketball victory party at the local pizza parlour.

  8. I don’t think I’ll still be awake for Friday’s post, so I’ll add my Friday success posts to this Thursday post. I used to track every single thing I ate on my nutrition calculator, and that got just too tedious. I think I need to make a spreadsheet to track just general meal foods like these posts have been. I think it would be good to reference later to look for trends.
    Breakfast: cranberry bread with cream cheese (about one day left of this)
    Lunch: finished L/O lamb shank stew served on L/O quinoa
    Dinner: finished L/O shepherd’s pie
    Dessert: ice cream in a waffle bowl

  9. I needed to cook the chicken kebabs I had thawed out so I broiled them and added them to the leftover pilaf, bread and veggies from last night’s dinner out. DH cleaned up afterwards. I’m so thankful cause I’m pooped from the trying work week. I’m ready to chill a little this weekend and watch the 49ers win!!!

  10. LOVE my crockpots!!!!
    My hubby is a fan of sauerkraut, but ds & I are not 😉
    Our pantry challenge for the day went pretty well –
    Breakfast: everyone’s usual
    Lunch: lunchboxes
    Dinner: Hubs had class & took a chicken salad sandwich with him; ds & I had leftover ham slices, potato gratins & salad

  11. Oh – have you ever made butternut squash in ravioli? I was thinking of trying that…

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