Meal Plan for the Week {January 12 – 18}

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Cranberry-Sunflower Oatmeal

Cranberry-Sunflower Oatmeal

The freezer inventory is dwindling. Except for a lot of grain items that I have in there for long storage, most of the proteins are on their way out this week. I should be able to thaw at the end of the week and then hopefully do some freezer cooking over the weekend.

Saturday morning I sat down with the inventory and a meal planning sheet from my planner and mapped out meals for the week as well as the groceries I really need to make it successful. We are low on butter and milk, items that tend to bring great joy to our days. With only $26 left to spend between now and Wednesday, I’ll be cutting it close.

Here’s how I plan to make the most of what we have this week:



  • Breakfast – Oatmeal Bar
  • Lunch – Sunbutter Crackers, Apples, Carrots
  • Dinner – Pot pie with leftovers from Sunday’s dinner OR Pancakes


Oatmeal Bar with Toppings





Have YOU got a meal plan for the week?

meal-planning-101 Meal Planning 101 resumes next week, once I recover from the Pantry Challenge! You can catch up on the series here as well as check out upcoming topics.

If you’re looking for a FREE meal planning service, check out the 30+ menus and grocery lists that are available on our sister site, Life as MOM.

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  1. Meal plan for the week in no particular order

    Breakfast- The last of the yogurts -we have 3 containers left, eggs-boiled, scrambled, etc., grits, bacon-one lb. left so it will probably be rationed, bananas or other fresh fruit.
    Lunches- leftover soups- lentil or chicken and vegetable, pot pie, miscellaneous leftovers
    Dinner- Chicken with green salad-use up spinach and mixed greens, salmon with orzo and spinach, probably pizza, sandwiches.

    This week is more about working on some specific food items that I want to finish before they go bad such as yogurt, greens, leftovers, fresh fruits. I do plan on cooking two or three meals but I want it to be a lets clean out XY&Z affair. If we can make it through this week only buying milk and fruit I will be a very happy camper. We have $40 out of $50 left in our budget and I am going to try and only use $15 at the end of the week if possible.

  2. Here’s my menu for the week:

    I love tacos, I need to add that to the rotation next month! Yours look delicious.

  3. I’m starting to feel the pinch of the Pantry Challenge as we’re running low on eggs (a go-to ingredient for vegetarian and breakfast-for-dinner meals). Lunches this week are soups and chili, and dinners include:
    roasted beets & squash
    hoecakes & brown sugar syrup, applesauce
    muffin tin meals (leftover & snacks)
    leftover roasted beets & squash, chicken breast
    turkey barley soup
    baked pasta with spinach and cheese
    chicken & rice casserole

  4. Kim in AZ says:

    I have a question that always occurs to me when you have Pantry Challenge. How do you balance the feeling of needing to stock food (for emergency, sanity, ease) with wanting to clean out the pantry and save some funds? I always worry that the month I decide to clear out the freezer completely will be followed by a month with an unexpected child illness or dentist trip or something – or, worse, an emergency that is more than short term.

    I work on preserving with bottling meats instead of just relying on our freezer. And, I love the idea of a complete freezer empty and overhaul (minus turkeys and hams from holidays, that is). But, I also struggle with letting myself do that with the uncertain times we live in now. My freezer now has a lot of chicken from a Zaycon order, about 20 lbs turkey bacon (Costco coupon), 1/6 of a beef from sharing one with family a few months ago – just examples, but I’d love to streamline it more. It’s just that thinking about seeing the bottom of my freezer seems intimidating in ways too…..

    I’d love to hear your thoughts on this one. 🙂

    • That’s a great question! I have a few thoughts on that, in random order.

      1. I rarely use EVERYTHING, but try to focus on emptying/thawing the big freezer. I usually stuff the fridge freezer full of whatever we don’t use up during the challenge and that process of thawing only takes about a day. Then we have breathing room when we move that stuff back into the deep freezer. Currently those items will be grain items that won’t get hurt if they thaw.
      2. I have an emergency stash of food in a special storage bin for true emergencies. So, if an earthquake hit at or near the end of the challenge period, we wouldn’t starve. We’re truly not eating everything we have. (Details on that are here:
      3. We have EIGHT grocery stores within a 3-mile radius of our home. If we had the illness type emergency it would not be a problem to stock back up. It might be more expensive, but we’d have saved money during the challenge, so that would be a wash.
      4. We have an emergency fund in case of job loss/longterm financial troubles. We’d have that money to fall back on. (Details about that here: Doing the challenge keeps my “make-do” skills sharper than they are normally. So, if we had a financial catastrophe after a challenge, I’d probably be logically able to do it because I’d be in that mindset already.

      I hope that helps!

      • Thanks for the clarifications. I always feel like I am on this narrow fence, trying to decide how to accurately rotate food while still maintaining the proper supply – and not letting the whole thing push me over the edge either. 🙂 It makes much more sense to hear you say that you move things from your deep freeze to your refrigerator freezer while you defrost. I’ve never had our deep freeze entirely empty in all the years we have had it – and your explanation makes much more sense to me in the big picture. Thanks!

    • I don’t look at pantry challenge the sham was most. I don’t clear our freezer for many of the reasons you list. Instead I make it a priority in January to use up as much of the misc bits and pieces that have taken over my freezers. The lone pork chop, the small ziplock of taco meat, the frozen meal I got free with coupons but we never ate, etc. pantry challenge to me isn’t cleaning out the stock, it’s using up things that need used up in order for me to be less wasteful and have more space to stock up more 🙂

      • Heather M says:

        That is kind of how I approach the Challenge. I could not clear out entirely. But getting to things that need to be eaten up or have been in the freezer or pantry long enough has to happen, in order to avoid waste/throwing away what used to be good food. 🙂

  5. Trân H??ng says:

    This is just a great meal plan! Your site is a treasure of great recipes 🙂 Me and my husband just started out eating strict sugar free and we’ve been researching to find a solid meal plan and many people recommend the 21DSD reviewed on Tim’s blog ( Do you have any experience or opinion one that particular book ?

    Thank you,


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