Summer 2013: Pantry Challenge Day Fourteen

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I’m taking the Pantry Challenge, eating what’s in the fridge, freezer, and pantry, and trying to save some cash.

pizza night

As I type, I’m prepping tonight’s dinner. It’s been a day. We canceled an out of town trip so that I could catch up on my writing projects. FishPapa has rode herd with the kids. I know he wanted to go get fun food, but he humored me and my Pantry Challenge.

So, I’m multitasking right now so that as soon as I hit publish, I can clock out for the day, enjoy Pizza Night with my people and watch another movie. Tonight it’s The King’s Speech.

Anywho, the day’s meals were a little less exciting than many. If all the stores in the world closed tomorrow, we could still eek out an existence on random stuff in the pantry and our Emergency supply in the garage, but for most purposes, we’re striking the bottom of the barrel.

Breakfast was Cinnamon Toast, Cereal, and Melon. No big.

Lunch? Two different, but similar chilis from the freezer thrown together in a pot with the leftover rice from the other day. Hubs thought it was a cookbook recipe and said it needed to go back to the drawing board. Ha! Once I explained it was using up what we had, he said, “Oh, it’s fine for that.”

The cornbread I made to go on the side was a major fail. I have no idea what happened. That WAS a cookbook recipe. Back to the drawing board….

Dinner is pizza: Homemade Dough, Homemade Sauce. Salad on the side. Yum! Can’t wait!

Breakfast: Cinnamon Toast, Cereal, and Melon

Lunch: Chili, Cornbread

Dinner: Pizza Night

How did the Challenge go for YOU?

I’ve created a page for those of you still doing the challenge to leave comments and help each other out. I’ll be reading and commenting as well. Go here for Pantry Challenge Chatter.

pantry challenge sum 13This post is a part of the Summertime Pantry Challenge where we’re trying to save money on food by using up what we have. You can read more about it here.

I’ll be posting daily updates on how the challenge is going. You can read through the PC archives here.

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  1. I so enjoy your posts – how you cope with your big family. I especially love the pantry challenge! well done.

  2. Pamela J says:

    I’ve never added rice to chili. Do you just mix it in or serve the chili on top? Interesting way to stretch the food. Thanks for all the inspiration!

  3. Heather M says:

    Enjoy The King’s Speech. It’s a great movie! This Challenge has been so much fun! Will be looking forward to the next one!

    Day 14 for us involved the son arriving home late morning from scout camp, then me doing nasty laundry. eating involved:

    Breakfast: minibagels, turkey sausage
    Lunch: hubs had leftovers from last night’s asian satay noodles, I had cheese and crackers, daughter had a salad with salami in it(she just discovered this combo with italian dressing and she’s in love), son actually had what we had for breakfast, as he had eaten breakfast at scout camp and that was what he wanted. We all had some sort of fruit, too.
    Dinner: Made my son’s favorite breaded chicken for him (and those who insisted on having more than the vegetarian dish I made, namely daughter), along with whole wheat couscous and his favorite purchased french bread. Strawberries on the side. For the grownups I roasted the random lone vegetables(some mushrooms, a zucchini, a green bell pepper, the last 5 grape tomatoes, a small red onion) with olive oil and greek seasonings, tossed them with the couscous, a can of garbanzo beans, some feta, and a little greek salad dressing and lemon juice to dress it. Yum!

    I’ll miss this daily update, but will continue to love reading your blog, Jessica. It’s really quite wonderful. Thank you for it!

  4. Today was an insanely busy day catching up from our crazy work week. We went to the dog park, farmers market, cleaned the house, ran errands to pay bills, etc all day long. We have about 50$ (haven’t added up all receipts yet) of the months budget left for 10 days. I gel like it can be done

    Breakfast: (Brian) Cereal and 1/3 cows milk 2/3 almond milk. (Cecee) cereal and all almond milk
    I FINALLY got the hubby to drink almond milk. It’s the only thing I drink due to being lactose intolerant, but he swears by his regular milk. I ALWAYS get almond milk on sale/with coupons so I’m glad I got him to drink some, even if its only with cereal.
    Lunch: leftover chicken and dumplings (both)
    Dinner: more LEFTOVERS! Glad that the food waste is going down.

    Our goal is to continue to cut the grocery budget in 1/2 for the next 6-8 weeks, at least until Labor Day. My husband is on board “as long as he doesn’t feel deprived” so wish us luck!!!!

    • Patricia says:

      GOOD LUCK! I’m going to try to do the challenge until mid-September so that I can use up what meat I have in my freezer (which is tightly packed). I refuse to spend more than $132.00 a month on groceries (only for me – a 66 years old and retired – eating two lunches a week at the senior center). I don’t know if I could do it with hubby and kids so I admire your challenge to do it for an additional month.

      • I wish I could say I was that inspiring, but really it’s the hubby, I, and two dogs. (I do include dog food in the 300$ and its normally 60$ a month)

  5. Breakfast was cereal and strawberries. For dinner and lunch, it was every person for him or herself. For dinner, I made fried rice with the remnants of the pork tenderloin we had two nights ago and the last of a bag of mixed vegetables from the freezer. Hubby and son loved it, as always. Fried rice has become one of our favorite ways to use up leftovers. Next up, a can of tuna, a can of diced tomatoes, some basil from the garden, and kalamata olives will make a good sauce for pasta.

    • Heather M says:

      We’re big fans of making fried rice with leftovers! Whatever protein and veggies are left languishing make great fried rice! Glad to hear I’m not the only one.

  6. I usually do a good job keeping up with the Pantry Challenge, however, this July has sucker-punched me. My youngest brother passed away and literally stopped all of us in our tracks. Fortunately, we had people rally around the family and feed us. I may try again for August, but this month just did not happen around here.

  7. Going to miss sharing everyone’s challenge but will continue on until Labor Day week when we go on vacation and will start fresh when we return. Did manage to put 2 containers of stuffed cabbage, 1 container of stuffed peppers, 3 loaves of zucchini bread and a dozen zucchini muffins in the freezer yesterday. Also froze 5 cups of blueberries for smoothies and shakes. Will be making ham, green beans and potatoes today. Thank you Jessica for another great Pantry Challenge!

    Breakfast – Pancakes, sausage
    Lunch – Salads with chicken and veggies from the garden
    Dinner – Cabbage and noodles with kielbasa, sliced tomatoes

  8. We have cut the grocery budget in half this month so a very succesful pantry challenge for us. Thanks for the inspiration.

    Breakfast: blueberry muffins, grapefruit, skim milk
    Lunch: Mock Outback mac and cheese, carrot sticks, grapes and cherry tomatoes
    Dinner: Chicken fingers, home fries and rootbear floats (yummy)

    To maintain our savings we are continuing the challenge until the end of the month.

  9. Patricia says:


    Breakfast: Van’s Buckwheat & Berry waffles with iced coffee. (These are great – 8 frozen in a pkg and organic, I top them with crushed berries – no butter or syrup)
    Lunch: Ham (w/pistachio – found it in the crisper drawer from two weeks ago – supermarket sent it by mistake in my home order) sandwich with lettuce and tomato on whole grain burger buns (from the freezer)
    Dinner: Beef with Broccoli (left over crockpot beef without the pot & carrots) but using up broccoli heads before they “turn” – it was yummy. 4-oz cup of pineapple chunks in natural sauce (from my Granddaughter’s snack stash).
    And to drink all day – LOTS of water with either a lemon slice or crystal lite.

  10. Dena Damron says:

    Angela, so so sorry for your loss!! FishMama, I have a fantastic recipe for cornbread-handed down from several generations, so let me know if you want it. I have followed along with the Pantry Challenge, but ended up spending $60 for basics. Love Love Love this blog!

  11. Trying to use up odds and ends without anyone really noticing. Hubs thought pantry challenge ended but I just wanted to get rid of a few more things…

    Breakfast: French toast, leftover breakfast sausage, fruit
    Lunch: Leftover pulled chicken and leftover rice rolled into a burrito, fruit (I used the rest of the leftover chicken in chicken salad that I will eat for the next few days)
    Dinner: Used 20 roma tomatoes from my garden that I had frozen and some leftover spaghetti sauce to have enough sauce for dinner. Delish! Finished up a partial box of spaghetti noodles and a small amount of egg noodles that have been in my pantry FOREVER.

    Great day of using of this and that. I will continue to do so until we get them all used up, I am tired of seeing them laying around!

  12. Kathryn says:

    Meals this weekend included taco salad, grilled hamburgers, spaghetti with meat sauce, and fiend for yourself leftovers from the fridge….

    I ended up buy about $30 worth of groceries this weekend, but I will continue on with the pantry challenge to get rid of some of the older stuff that has been collecting on the selves.

  13. Breakfast: it was yesterday, a lot has happened since, and I’ve plum forgotten. Today’s was a smoothie.
    Lunch: yesterday was tuna sandwich, today was salmon filet
    Dinner: yesterday was dinner out to celebrate a co-worker’s departure, today was chicken quesadilla with rice

    I didn’t end up saving as much money as hoped this month, but I did not actually buy all that much. There were things such as olive oil and pure maple syrup that are simply expensive. I am pleased with what did get used up from the freezer, and plan to join others in continuing the challenge. Except, of course, for this next week when I will be traveling for work and thus simply trying to eat healthy foods without spending too much.

    I have a funny mental image of your hubs trying to delicately share that the chili wasn’t quite up to snuff. It’s probably not at all how the conversation went, but it is cracking me up.

    • Jessica says:

      I was a little miffed, to be honest, and then the kids kept saying how great it was, and then the corn bread was a disaster. It was only after we were all done, that we started to understand each other. Such is life. It is really funny, now.

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