Pantry Challenge Day 19: Making Poutine

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This is Day 19 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 even did something wild and crazy; I made poutine.

Today was a beautiful, sunny, warm day in San Diego. I say this not to brag as my sister claims, but to express my extreme gratitude over fair weather. I am a wimp. I do better with warmth and sunshine.

It was also the start of a three-day weekend for us, and I am so thrilled that there are still two more days left. Here’s how the eating went down today:


For breakfast we had berries, cream, and Lemon-and-Honey Flax Waffles. The waffle recipe is in my cookbook. Hubs made the waffles while I prepped the berries and whipped cream. he mixed the waffles less than I normally do, creating a very light waffle. I was quite impressed. I told him he’s now in charge of waffle mixing. He can thank Alton Brown for his new assignment.

It was such a yummy breakfast.


Today was also the day when hockey was put back on the table. After months of a player-owner dispute, the season finally opened. While it’s not a huge deal to me, it is to certain people in the family. So, in honor of Celebration Saturday, I hunted down “traditional hockey food”.

Based on my quizzing folks on both Life as MOM and Good Cheap Eats facebook pages, the consensus was that poutine was as traditional as it gets. Forget that I’d never eaten poutine, I was on a hunt to make it. I read Shaina’s recipe multiple times before proceeding on my quest.

That meant tracking down cheese curds in San Diego.

An internet search, an email, and two phone calls later, I found out that Spring Hill Jersey Cheese sells it at San Diego farmer’s markets. So, I headed out with the three littles this morning for the farmer’s market. They had different expectations than I did. Namely, they associate the market with kettle corn and crepes. So, I bought them a crepe to share and a bag of kettle corn to take home for the hockey fans.

We also grabbed our cheese curds (both plain and firehouse) and headed home. While traditional poutine would have had plain cheese curds, I also bought a package of their Firehouse curd. Both varieties tasted like a creamy Mozzarella or Monterey Jack, with the latter having a definite kick. I loved the Firehouse flavor. Yum!

The curds, however, are not cheap. They are certainly a quality artisanal product, but not a regular purchase that I see in my future.

Unfortunately, the cheese did not squeak as folks had said it would. Internet research told me that only the freshest curds squeak. Who knew?

I whipped up a gravy, similar to Shaina’s, only I used a different stout, a Russian variety that my sister had brought last week. I should have stuck to traditional brown gravy because I didn’t like the after taste of “Old Rasputin”.

For lunch I served poutine, but I was the only one to eat it all together. Hubs and the kids tried the curds and ate the fries, but I had no takers. Seriously?

Thankfully for them I had also grilled some sausages to go with lunch so they didn’t starve.


For dinner we had rice bowls with black beans that cooked in the slow cooker all day, rice, and a Pork Fajita mixture along with traditional toppings. FishChick4 ate three bowls full, so I guess it was a winner.

FishBoy10 baked us a cake from a mix I had in the pantry and we made a chocolate glaze to go over.

And that’s all she wrote.

Day 19 Menus

Breakfast: Waffles, Berries, Whipped Cream
Lunch: Poutine, grilled sausages
Dinner: Rice Bowls, Pork Fajitas

 How did the day 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. The poutine description doesn’t sound immensely appetizing, but if it is that popular then it must taste better than it sounds. If I make it to Canada, I’ll give it a try up there. Your waffles, however, look amazing.

    Breakfast: we both slept in so late, we opted to just skip it
    Lunch: L/O basil chicken, spaghetti noodles
    Dinner: pork ribs, sauerkraut, potatoes (your recipe) that as expected, the kid was not excited about but I liked. He didn’t mind the meat, even with the kraut flavoring, but really didn’t like the kraut itself.
    Dessert: caramel cookie wafers from Costco

    • @Sandi, sauerkraut is an acquired taste. Probably like poutine. LOL.

    • Jessica, it’s been a while since I wrote on your blog but this one I had to write something! As a Quebecer, you wouldn’t find a good poutine outside of Québec where it is from. Although, many cities in the province battle for the title of who invented it first! Of course, nobody beats my hometown! 🙂

      The cheese must be fresh cheddar cheese curds. The one that squeeks under the teeth! It looks like you did a good job for your first try. The gravy should be something like a hot chicken sandwich gravy. And if you can add fresh french fries, the better!

      Nowadays, you have a lot of varieties… you can add cooked chicken, meetballs, where I used to live before moving to the english speaking part of Canada, a restaurant had one with “magret de canard” in it. So, I invite you to come and practice your french in the province of Québec and try a poutine!

      Have a nice day!

  2. which farmers market did you go to in San Diego? still trying to find a good one…do you recommend one? thanks!

    • @kristen, honestly, I don’t like any of them. I’ve been to four across the North County.

      If you want to grab a food truck dinner or some artisan food like the cheese, they are a great place. But the farmers have mostly left the market — now it’s just overpriced produce. I can get more and for cheaper from Abundant Harvest Organics. That’s what I would recommend.

  3. Poutine was a great way to honor the start of the hockey season! Too bad it didn’t meet with approval from the fam. Hockey drove our decision to order in Chinese food. Still haven’t mastered that type of food myself.

    Breakfast for us were waffles, made by my husband. Got him to make a double batch. Now boy has something he will eat for breakfast before school besides cold cereal. My milk drinker has to cut back on it so as to not interfere with medicine he is taking.

    Lunch for husband and I was a fritatta made with leftover roasted potatoes–glad they are finally gone–and the filling from a pulled pork taco (restaurant leftovers). Was tasty and now I have a lunch to take to work.

  4. Another good day here in the pantry challenge, although I did have to restock on some things at the grocery store. I spent more than I initially planned, but still less than I normally spend!
    Breakfast: oatmeal with butter and brown sugar, milk, coffee
    Lunch: tuna melt on whole wheat (tuna salad, tomatoes, red onion, cheese)
    Dinner: crock pot taco soup (avocado, cheese, and sour cream for toppings)
    Snacks: red delicious apple, kettle chips

  5. Heather M says:

    As suspected, Jan 19 was not so eventful in the challenge. breakfast and lunch were grab your own affairs. The 16yo, 3 friends of hers, and I headed to the other side of town where they attended a concert. We stopped at McDonalds, since they weren’t going to eat (they got in line by 5, and weren’t picked up until after 9:30, so dinner was tricky). After I left them (which really was after I sat in the car in the neighborhood nearby until just before they let them into the venue, so I could collect their coats… yes I’m good like that sometimes), I found a place to eat a sandwich and read in peace. I thought the hubs and 11yo were going to go out to eat, but a friend came over to play video games, and they ended up scrounging through leftovers and whatever else was available. So that was actually a win.

    Today will be interesting. I have no plans yet for dinner, am prepping to teach young children this afternoon at church (not a regular thing… I’m filling in for someone), the hubs has a required work thing all afternoon (inauguration reception thingee, so there’ll probably be food). We’ll all get home around the same time, and he’ll be full, we’ll be hungry and I’m trying to figure out an easy/fast plan. If he’s not full, he may offer to go out. He wanted us all to go out last night, until he remember the concert plans. So who know? I guess we’ll be flexible.

  6. Allie Zirkle says:

    I think your group would much prefer Mexican poutine! (carne asada fries lol)

  7. We are enjoying our long, 3-day weekend. Yesterday was a baking day. We made 6 dozen cookies for church. I had gingerbread and sugar-peppermint dough in the freezer leftover from Christmas. We also made pound cake which we served with sliced strawberries also from the freezer.

    Kroger has split chicken breasts on sale this week so I purchased several pounds. We roasted those as well. After de-boning also make several quarts of chicken broth.

  8. cheese curds can be made squeaky by putting them in the microwave for a short time. FYI when I get them from the cheese factory down the road (WI has cheese factories all over), they don’t refrigerate them at their store front. Oh but I know that they make the curds MWF so I won’t go buy them any other day.

  9. Um, I think I’ll pass on the poutine.

  10. Breakfast: ds left for Boy Scout camp and had cereal to go. Hubs came home and I made cheese grits, scrambled eggs, bacon, and English muffins.
    Lunch: Chicken salad sandwich for hubs, turkey on crackers for me as I was headed out the door for errands. Apple w/peanut butter later.
    Dinner: mish-mash of leftovers – I made a pan gravy with mushrooms and tossed the remnant brisket in, and served it over whole wheat egg noodles for hubby. I made myself a baked potato, and sauteed some spinach and chicken to put on top, along with a sprinkling of cheese. Yum and everyone was happy. And there are a few less leftovers in my fridge!

  11. I love good fresh cheese curds… yum!

    For breakfast I made one of my childhood favorites.. an open faced Curried Cheese Grill with the rest of the smoked gouda and edam from my Christmas Anti-Pasta trays .. It was delightful and I had 1.5 of the sandwiches. Yum!!
    Lunch was a little bit of leftover mashed potatoes & the beef tip with red wine mushrooms.. then M’honey grabbed me by the hand out the door to a surprised unknown destination.. Surprise!! 🙂 One of my favorite places. A Mexican grocery, bakery, & taqueria. ?? Oh yeah! I had a pan dulce on the way home and a tamale when we got home. Did I say ????
    Then for supper, M’honey made his one time a year pot of chili… Its a HUGE pot.. after we ate a bit, I canned 8 pints and 1quart for the pantry and we still have at least 10- 12 cups in the frig..

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