Pantry Challenge Day 4: Kale Pizza and Other Such Yummy Stuff

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This is Day 4 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. I even put kale on a pizza.

We’re getting into the swing of things with this month-long Pantry Challenge. (Not sure what I’m talking about? Head here for the details.)

Things are starting to get fun, especially as I see clean space in the refrigerator. I love open space in there! We don’t get a produce delivery until Wednesday, so I’m going to enjoy watching it empty.

I find that during a Pantry Challenge, I’m much more disciplined to use up the leftovers and my creative juices start going. It helps that you are keeping me accountable, too, so thank you.

I’m starting to feel a little energized about the challenge. While I have a little grocery list going, I’m going to hold off going to the store as long as my people will let me. That might be as long as 24 hours. We’ll see.

So far, I’ve only purchased snack size ziptop bags for our instant oatmeal packets. (I don’t normally count paper and wraps in my grocery totals, but I’m going to for that since I couldn’t have made the packets without the bags. Hubby also bought some coffee. But, we’re on the last gallon of milk, last dozen eggs, etc.

Anywho, here’s how we ate today:


Since I had done all that breakfast freezer cooking yesterday — go here to download the cooking plan — I had plenty of things to lay out for a Breakfast Bar: Cranberry-Orange Granola, Wholesome Energy Bars (cookbook), Better Instant Oatmeal PacketsSlowcooker Applesauce, and Orange Juice.

I ended up eating later than the kids so I toasted and buttered my energy bar and made a homemade juice of carrots, apples, and ginger. Yum! I’d already had coffee, so I called it my Second Breakfast.


We ended up having a late lunch of repeats.

I reheated the LO (leftover) Chicken Gumbo for the kids and served it with cheese and crackers. I had some strawberry milk boxes that I had bought for stockings, but didn’t have room for. They had those with their lunch.

I had a repeat of yesterday’s lunch minus the egg: Green Salad with Homemade Croutons, avocado, carrots, garbanzo beans, and bleu cheese.

Bleu cheese makes me happy.


We have pizza on most Friday nights. Tonight was FishBoy10’s turn to cook. He stirred up a batch of Five-Minute Artisan Bread Dough in the afternoon. The dough turned out to be a little unwieldy for him. So, I formed the crusts and he did the toppings of the Pepperoni Pizzas.

While he was doing those — it was heavenly to be able to delegate that, by the way — I made an experiment: Kale Pizza with Peppers, Onions, and Three-Cheeses.

Yes, really. It was amazingly good, especially since I loaded it with cheese. It almost cried out for a fried egg on top. They do that in France, you know. And I love fried eggs with greens, so I may try that next time. They just crack it onto the pizza and the egg cooks at the same time as the pizza.

I brushed the crust with olive oil and garlic, layered on baby kale that I had bought last weekend on markdown. Then I sauteed a green pepper, chopped garlic, and half an onion in olive oil and seasoned it with Jamie’s Spice Mix (cookbook). The sauteed veg went over the bed of kale and I topped it with mozzarella, jack, and asiago. So good!

I almost always make my own funky kind of pizza on pizza night. I don’t like pepperoni. Blech.

Day 4 Menus

Breakfast: Breakfast Bar of Cranberry-Orange Granola, Wholesome Energy Bars (cookbook), Better Instant Oatmeal PacketsSlowcooker Applesauce, and Juice/Coffee

Lunch: Chicken Gumbo, Cheese and Crackers, Strawberry Milk for the kids; Salad for the mom

Dinner: Pizza Night

So, that’s our Day 4.

How did yours go?

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. Too funny! I made my family kale pizza tonight, too. Gluten free with Greek olives and Feta.

  2. After spending over 5 hours purging, cleaning and organizing the pantry (you can see pics posted on my blog:, the thought of cooking was, um, double ick. DH was out and about so we made our big meal lunch and he brought home El Pollo loco. For dinner I made lentil soup with some yeast rolls that were in the freezer. Right now I’ve got black and pinto beans soaking to put in the cp tomorrow night and will toss a chuck roast in the cp tonight with some salsa to shred up for burritos.

  3. I am really enjoying racing your pantry challenge, especially the bits about France. I majored in French too and it’s so easy to forget all the great food things I enjoyed while I was there.
    We’ve been eating from our cupboards this week to give me space for some freezer cooking next week when kids are back in school.
    Even a week is good 🙂

  4. Breakfast: hubs went out w/our pastor, I had yogurt w/cranberries & pecans, ds did not have anything because he slept so late!! (he’s gonna have a hard time when we are back to school next week!!!)
    Lunch: miscellaneous leftovers for everyone – ds had leftover mac’n’cheese, I had leftover taco salad, dh had a sandwich
    Dinner: I had teriyaki chicken planned, but hubs asked me if we could do spaghetti instead. So… we did. I actually had it planned for later this month, so not too much damage.

  5. Breakfast stayed simple with oatmeal, lunch was on the go PB&J, apples and yogurt while we drove to our homeschool co-op. Dinner was loaded nachos and a total hit. I made a quick shopping trip after co-op because we were out of milk. You can read about it at Today I’m taking your cue and baking some goodies for breakfast.

  6. I am inspired this weekend to take a complete inventory of freezer, pantry and refrigerator and work on some more freezer cooking. The energy bars and cookies sound like possible additions to our frozen stash. If my high schooler likes them, might be good options for him on early school mornings.

  7. Breakfast – Oatmeal
    Lunch – Hot dogs and buttered noodles
    Dinner – Beef stew, baguette

  8. Today wasn’t one of our best days. First Friday back in school for the high school dd and the first basketball game; college dd worked 2 jobs, starting at 7AM and finishing at 10PM. We did fine with breakfast at home – yogurt, bagels and fruit. I had lunch out with co-workers and for dinner we picked up Subway for all and we delivered to both girls and then spent the evening on the bleachers watching basketball. Planning to get organized this weekend for the week ahead.

  9. Day 4 Menus:
    Breakfast: milk, applesauce and granola bars
    Lunch: Spaghetti with meat sauce
    Dinner: Fried rice, bananas and applesauce

    I loved your idea for a breakfast bar so decided to combine that idea with the need to clean out some of the baking supplies. My youngest helped me and we made cinnamon bread, molasses bread and oatmeal jelly bars. We also boiled up a dozen eggs and sliced up a couple of bars of cheese leftover from a Christmas basket. Breakfast is set for the weekend along with afterschool snacks for next week. Have you ever noticed if you have homemade baked goods with cold milk for snacks, your house is the location to be for your kids and their friends after school?

  10. Did really great yesterday! We had friends over and I made homemade bread which we turned into grilled cheese sandwiches. Then for dinner I had chicken, onions and BBQ sauce sitting in my crockpot simmering away all day. Which was then added to the homemade pizza dough, topped with ranch sauce and green onions. It was a hit!

  11. Yesterday was a crazy insane day for me.. For breakfast I had my oatmeal with maple syrup and then I was on the phone half the day and out to Dr visits and running errands the other half. I didnt get to the store as I had planned and decided to make a detour into Taco Bell, first only for something to drink, then I decided what the heck.. I’ll have a taco too.. then I decided to call M’honey to see if he wanted something since it was already 7:30 and I haddent been home all day, I was stressed to the max, and still had another errand to do before I got home. He first said surprise me, then changed his mind & said he’d surprise me… and said he’d take me to my most favorite Mexican restaurant for dinner.. I bee-lined it home.. forget that errand. Crash & burn on the pantry challenge.. We ate out then I ran to the grocery store where I picked up a few essentials for the frig.. eggs, half & half, bananas, and not so essential chips, peanut brittle that was marked down to 69 cents, marked down Dutch caramel wafers, and a Tai Chi book/dvd set for $3.99. Oh yes, I REALLY needed it. 😉 I spent $15.22 total there.. Oh well.. Im ok with it.. 😉

  12. Heather M says:

    Love that you’ve posted every day so far! Hope you continue all month. And love all the comments. We returned home Jan. 2, and i did a quick grocery shopping, then decided we’d also do a pantry challenge of sorts(still buying fresh produce, bread, etc), and only eat out when necessary (like tomorrow, since it’s my birthday). My kids have set ideas about breakfast (11yo likes a protein w/bagel or bread & juice, 16yo likes fruit and cereal), and we eat whatever is easy/available. Lunch is usually leftovers for hubs & me(or salad, soup, etc). DInner is when I get creative, and make enough for hubs to take for lunch. Dinners: Jan. 2: fish, side of angel hair pasta w/herbs, salad. Jan 3: fried rice w/leftover rice from chinese takeout xmas day(yes, that’s what we did), onions, carrots, celery, peas, ham, teriyaki sauce, Also hosted book club at our home and my contributions: veggie dip w/celery, cucumbers, carrots, and sliced stollen my neighbor gave us(just used what was in the house- no special planning). Jan 4: used up bag of spinach-mozzarella ravioli from costco, baguette, fruit (16yo had 2 friends over too, so needed bulk & fast before they headed to HS basketball game). Working out a menu for the coming week. I have cupboards crammed full and my freezer (sadly, no place for a deep freeze) is too. It will be nice to empty out a little and use things up before they expire(esp the buried canned goods… i have no pantry & things get buried in my large corner cabinet)

  13. Today was a scrapbook Crop at a friends house. The whole family ate breakfast at home. I carried a salad to the Crop and the family ate leftovers at home. Tonight they have all gone hunting and will hit a drive-thru on the way home (they won’t be home until 8ish. I am having a homemade pizza and will freeze the rest for school lunches this coming week.
    Tomorrow we will eat whatever I decide to cook after church and for supper we will have the turkey leftovers from last night. I am working on my weekly menu for this week. I am amazed at how much food we have in the freezer and in the pantry to make complete and tasty meals. I am sure that by the end of the month I won’t be saying the same thing!

  14. Today I did some freezer cooking for breakfast including a double batch of waffles and a egg sausage hashbrown casserole baked in muffin cups so they are individual. I made enough for 2 weeks. It will really help out DH who makes a big breakfast every morning including eggs, meat and toast. Now he can just microwave his 2 portions and go. I also froze pancakes yesterday and will make up a big batch of muffins tomorrow. It makes me feel good to have food ready to eat in the freezer.

    For the pantry challenge, we had a few tablespoons of Frank’s hot sauce in the fridge that needed to be used so I made Buffalo Chicken Fingers. DH and I had ours on a salad that helped to use up some stuff in the fridge, including a plethora of feta cheese I bought over Christmas and didn’t use. We also had leftover sweet potato rolls along with – those were made yesterday using leftover sweet potatoes from earlier in the week. Feeling good about using up all the leftovers – no waste!!

  15. MomofTwoPreciousGirls says:

    We here stick to a tight weekly grocery budget and haven’t really started stocking up, BUT I did cook dinner every single night this week…I usually run out of steam on some night! Tonight in addition to cooking dinner I also prepped a French toast casserole. I had found some marked down challah bread and although I loved the one I made for Christmas, when I had the leftovers I had an allergic reaction to the pecans! First time I my life! So I did not get to enjoy it further and so I made a small one just for us four without the pecans for the morning. It made me feel good to handle all the meals on my ow this week (baby steps here!!!).

    Quick question, I am newer to your blog (fell in love with both after I got your book) when you talk about your children, is the number after to indicate their age? (I was pretty sure you don’t have 15 kids after seeing fishboy15 yesterday)

    Thanks for the inspiration.

    • @MomofTwoPreciousGirls, ha! Yes, I’m from the dark ages of blogging when we didn’t share names online. I feel like their names are the one thing I can keep private for my kids. So to differentiate they are FishBoy15, FishBoy12, FishBoy10, FishBoy8, FishChick6, and FishChick4 (formerly known as FishBaby).

      It probably seems silly, but there we are. 😉

      • MomofTwoPreciousGirls says:

        @Jessica, not at all silly in our world today! I have started to dabble a little and use all our nicknames instead of real namesake I totally get it.

        I really just wanted to know, so that as I see the responsibilities you give them I can relate it to my household. I grew up when the outside of the stove got hot when cooking, so we each burned our hands on more than one occasion so I have a fear of my kids being in the kitchen much! However, I want them to learn so the are not just starting to learn how to cook at 34 like I am! I also hope they will open up their tastes a bit so they will eat more and feel if they make it they may try it.

        • @MomofTwoPreciousGirls, I am still learning my way in how to let loose of my control in the kitchen. My mom was very happy to let me learn on my own, so that by ten I could bake a pie all by myself. I’ve hovered over my big kids a little too much. I now look at recipe and cookbook writing different because I am now handing off the book and telling them to go make it!

          This week I started what will become a habit: each child, 8 and up, is making a dinner mostly on his own, with help, if needed. Hoping that I can relax more and let them do.

  16. Breakfast – breakfast cookies (and raisins for the kids)
    Lunch – leftover pork, lima beans, and cheese grits from dinner last night
    Dinner – stirfy using the rest of the pork, vegetables, rice

    I actually went out with a friend for breakfast, and after not having spent any money this week on food and using what we had, I felt ridiculous paying “that much” for just breakfast for myself. Before doing this challenge it probably wouldn’t have phased me. I am thankful for the way this challenge is making me think and use our resources more carefully. I did wind up going to the grocery store today, as we were out of eggs, fresh fruit/veg, and almost out of butter, milk, and bread. There were some great deals on organic meat and so I did get several packages since it doesn’t go on sale that often. We also were out of tp and diapers, and I do include those in our grocery budget at my husband’s request. 🙂

  17. Day 4 will likely be the fanciest of our pantry challenge. It was my mom’s last dinner with us before we had to fly home. I had a turkey in the freezer, and we had recently used up the last of the cubed turkey I keep on hand in the freezer, so we roasted a turkey to go with gravy, bacon green beans, slaw salad, and some unique mashers. I couldn’t see boiling potatoes when I had left over german potato salad and a yam. So I mashed them all together with cream and asiago. With the bacon and onion already in the potato salad, these actually turned out quite tasty.

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