Pantry Challenge Day 5: Slow Cooking

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This is Day 5 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. Slow cooking was the theme.

Today dragged and flew at the same time. I had so much to do and each individual task seem to take a day in itself, but of course, the day disappeared before it all got done. I suppose that is life.

At least we ate well.


According to my meal plan and my kids’ weekend preferences, we had a full breakfast. For us that means, eggs, meat, potatoes, pancakes — basically whatever they’d get if we went out to breakfast.

One child requested we go out tomorrow when hubby has the day off. It was a great time to explain the dollars and sense of it. I can make at least 5 breakfasts at home for the price of one out at a restaurant. As much as I love letting someone else do the cooking and the dishes, it’s lost its lustre. We can cook just as well at home.

My 8yo cracked eggs and flipped pancakes while my eldest made ham and eggs. We baked the bacon leftover from NYE’s stuffed mushrooms and cooked up some hashbrowns. Since the milk is running low, I used powdered milk in the pancakes

And since I still had that baby kale in my mind after last night’s pizza, I made my own Bacon, Egg, and Kale skillet. So good. Especially with a side of hashbrowns and some hot pepper sauce.


We didn’t finish up breakfast until 11. See how long things took around here?! Why did breakfast take 2 hours to make, eat, and clean up?!

That meant lunch was late. I had a salad. Yes, again. Salads make me happy. With bleu cheese. I had greens, kale, garbanzo beans, an avocado, and a roast beet from the freezer. Oh, and bleu cheese. I also toasted the last two slices of rye bread, including the very thick heel, to go with.

The kids had sunbutter crackers and freeze-dried fruit snacks.

I had meant for us to have chili for lunch, but because everything was ssssllllooooooowwwww around here, it wasn’t done in time. I didn’t get the beans into the slow cooker until about 9. But, that means we have one meal already prepped for tomorrow. Win.

I took lunchtime as an opportunity to plan out next week’s meals. I’m excited about using up things. Those little random bits in the freezer are haunting me.


FishBoy12 was in charge of dinner. Earlier in the day he made Irish Stew in the slow cooker which meant we had both slow cookers going. See? Slow cooking — theme of the day.

He followed that up with Irish Soda Bread. We  had  sweet corn (from the freezer) on the side.

I like this thing about having kids cook!

Day 4 Menus

Breakfast: Ham and Eggs, Bacon, Pancakes, Hashbrowns, Bacon, Egg, and Kale skillet for the mom

Lunch: sunbutter crackers, freeze-dried fruit snacks, salad for the mom

Dinner: Irish Stew, Irish Soda Bread, sweet corn

I am probably going to need to go to the store for milk, cream, eggs, and a handful of other things. I’ll keep you posted. I’ll share next week’s meal plan tomorrow.

How’s the pantry challenge treating you?

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  1. I found a stumbling block to baking in January. I ran out of cinnamon and vanilla! I finished up a couple batches of cookies. But in the middle of making Snickerdoodle bars I realized exactly HOW low I was on cinnamon. That can not be for that recipe! I leave out the nutmeg and you HAVE to have cinnamon for snickerdoodle anything! So, I resorted to using our larger container of cinnamon/sugar mix that I made in a previous cinnamon container. Fortunately it was heavy on the cinnamon and I just left out a little bit of sugar that the recipe calls for. I took the time to inventory my spice rack while I was at it so I didn’t have to improvise on something impossible! 🙂

  2. Today was a mishmash over here as well. Breakfast i had out with my son. He had an early morning hair appt and we ended up at a coffee shop after with a large play area. A win win in my book, it filled a bit of time and i got to have a breakfast wrap and chai latte. Lunch was late, and we had popcorn and oranges. Dinner was hamburger barley soup (a freezer dump recipe, so all ingredients in bag and frozen) thawed and dumped into cp to cook for the day. Still have loads and loads in freezer. I think i maybe able to last into Feb as well for pantry and freezers.
    Cleaned out fridge and other than some fresh veggies we should be okay for a little while. Must plan for rest of week tomorrow.

  3. Since I havn’t purchased andy groceries since Dec. 21st, a trip to the store was in order (my grocery bill for Dec. was $170 below budget). Von’s had some great deals on meat and canned tomatoes and a few other staples so I spent $130 there (plus got a $10 coupon good to use by 1/13). I spent $16 on produce at Save Mart. The meat should get me through February and my veg delivery starts back up Tuesday.

    I had my slow cooker going too. I found a small chuck roast I had on hand and put green salsa over it and cooked it over night. Shredded it and we had it for lunch and enough left for another couple of lunches. I bought 4 whole chickens today and put one in the cp when I got home. We had chicken, baked potatoes, roast cauliflower and french bread for dinner. I sliced off the rest of the breast for a couple of my work lunches this week and the bits and pieces of chicken that were left will go into a white bean/chicken dinner this week.

    I’m putting a mix of 1 lb. pinto and 1 lb. black beans from the pantry in the cp overnight and will use some for lunches and freeze the rest. I found a recipe for pumpkin chili in the cp and I’ll probably make that this week or next with some of the beans (I’ve got a can of pumpkin in the pantry). Beans are my main source of carbs so I use them a lot (I get normal carbs on Saturday, whoo hoo!).

  4. I leave to go out of town on Wednesday, so I know I’ll have to get milk before then….or risk hubby going to the grocery store while I’m gone. And we’ve already learned how that turns out!
    Today was a good day on the challenge – we had leftover bits of things all day (I had a salad for lunch too), and that now-infamous steak for dinner. Which was still cheaper than going out, but more than I planned. I tried my hand at pumpernickel bread, which is hubby’s fave. It didn’t turn out exactly as I had hoped, but it was still good.

  5. Planning my pantry challenge didn’t happen until yesterday, but I have 21 meals (we’ll go out a few times) for the rest of the month that consist of 90-95% freezer and pantry items we already have. Pretty proud of myself. Today I am doing my first freezer cooking too. 2 different pancakes and banana bread. I’ll do pumpkin bread later in the month. I got your book for Christmas and I am loving it to pieces!

  6. Breakfast – English muffins with peanut butter
    Lunch – Sandwiches and tomato soup
    Dinner – Niece’s Birthday Party Pizza, Salad, veggies and dip, cake and ice cream

    Haven’t had to make a grocery store run yet. Will need to get milk next week but everything else still looking good.

  7. i am following along but also doing some freezer cooking!!loving you having your kids in the kitchen!the past year or so i have really been trying to help my 7 learn more in the kitchen!!dont want to send them out in the world without being able to make meals for themselves(although my oldest 17 year old boy insists he will only have sandwiches and doritos(which are not allowed in our house) when he has his own thanks for all you do!!

    • @kelly d, well, the kids in the kitchen resolution is only a year old. It was about time I got to it. It helps being able to hand them the cookbook now.

  8. Yesterday was great.. I got up late so went right into lunch soon after I got up and then the day got busy.
    We just had leftovers. I had LO Mexican food for lunch, and LO black eye peas & ham for supper. M’honey had ham sandwiches, split pea soup & chips for supper. He doesnt eat breakfast or lunch, bad as that is.. He refuses.

  9. PS, love that adorable little smile there on the edge of your photo.. shes looking like a happy little girl!

  10. Jan 4 – not so successful. Although I was – able to use up some stuff in the fridge for left-over lunches and try out some misc. recipes for home-made waffles made with soy milk), we caved and went out to dinner. Hubby didn’t like my idea of spaghetti for national spaghetti day — too much clean up. Wish we hadn’t! The boys had no patience and I didn’t either. Gotta work on this!

    Jan 5 – made up for it. Made enough Holiday ham and bean soup to feed a dozen people probably! (4 2cup freezer bags for later use plus a quart-sized container in the fridge for later in the week). Breakfast was waffles from day before. Lunch – more leftovers, yogurt, etc. Big bro had the rest of the chicken nuggets and shared the bread we used to sop up our soup for dinner.

    Jan 6 – waffles for breakfast again. (breakfast is easy to please). Lunch – 2 year old had 2 fluffernutter sandwiches with hidden flax seed and half an apple … he was hungry today. Mom and dad finished the leftover turkey for sandwiches. Dinner – aunt came over and we made a vat of creamy pumpkin/potato soup (made with almond milk) as well as roasted the pumpkin seeds to garnish … delish! Sent her home with a take-out container (as well as a 2 cup freezer bag of the ham and bean soup made the previous day).

  11. I love your “teachable moment” about the dollars and sense of eating out. I have had that same conversation at my house (and sometimes it is with the tired mama in the mirror!). I’m really enjoying the pantry challenge. I think it is such a great idea. Thanks for the ideas and guidance!

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