Meal Planning for Our Pantry Challenge: Week Two

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Meal Planning for Our Pantry Challenge: Week Two

We’re heading into the second week of our pantry challenge. It seems like we haven’t made much of a dent in the freezers. Oy! I do enjoy the white space in the fridge, though. I focused first on the most perishable items, the fridge, and am moving toward the next perishable, the freezers, with the side-by-side going first since it’s the hardest.

Oy! Again.

Here’s the meal plan going into the next week, subject to change:


I did a lot of breakfast bar type stuff last week. I realize that the kids seem to prefer HOT breakfasts: waffles, pancakes, eggs. In the summer? Go figure. I’m working a few more of those into the mix.


Meal Planning for Our Pantry Challenge: Week Two

Since children are ravenous in the summer, it’s proving to be better to make lunch as soon as I can after breakfast. I’m not really loving that idea, so I’ve chosen meals that the kids can make.

We’re getting our passports this week so we’ll have at least one lunch out because an hour in a tiny post office with all six kids? Yes, I’ll take a Double-Double, please. I’m planning for my sanity with this meal plan.


Meal Planning for Our Pantry Challenge: Week Two

I’m finding that leaning on our family’s favorites during the challenge, as ingredients allow, makes for very happy people. Since I’ve been so immersed in recipe development, they are actually thrilled to have some old standbys. That’s dinner this week.

What are YOU having this week?

About Jessica Fisher

I believe great meals don't have to be complicated or expensive. There's a better way, and it won't take all afternoon.

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  1. Mona says:

    Seeing a little room but still have a nice selection to choose from so thinking breakfasts will be cereal (hot and cold), toast or bagels (bagels from freezer) with Nutella or cinnamon butter. Lunches leaning toward Ham, egg and cheese muffins (muffins from freezer), Pancakes and sausage (freezer), mac and cheese, tortillas with cheese, Turkey (from freezer) and cheese sandwiches, and grilled cheese sandwiches. Dinners will be Baked cod, baked potatoes – Chicken alfredo (leftover chicken) with mushrooms – Orange ginger pork over rice, cabbage rolls (freezer) and mashed potatoes – Ham (freezer), scalloped potatoes – General Tso’s chicken and fried rice. That’s the plan unless something falls out of the freezer before I can find whats listed. lol

  2. CeCee says:

    I feel like we are finally making some headway after two weeks. There is a bit of a dent in the freezer and mostly condiments and beverages in the icebox. We broke down and are out twice (once with a BOGO coupon). We do have a seperate dining out budget, but we are trying to keep that low this month as well. So out goal for this week is to not eat out at all!

    Breakfasts: cereal & milk, muffins, biscuits, bacon and eggs & leftovers
    Lunches: leftovers except on weekends when we do PB&J and other similar things
    Dinner: homemade pizza, baked chicken, chicken pot pie, fried shrimp, cowboy beef & bean soup.

    We already bought groceries to supplement the meal plan on Saturday. We spent 39.05. We are at $80 this month so far and hope to keep it under $150

  3. Remy says:

    Yes, the white space in the fridge (or, in my case, the freezer) is marvelous! I look forward to emptying the top freezer and cleaning it properly at the end of the month. (We’re preparing to move still/again, so this pantry challenge is helping us condense freezer food to the chest freezer only, because it will come with us.) I used up a bunch of chopped frozen spinach making spinach balls (vegetarian, egg-free, can also be dairy-free and gluten-free, but I used parmesan and wheat bread crumbs) like, which we ate with homemade paneer ( And because I found FOUR separate containers of cocoa in the pantry, I made some very chocolatey vegan pudding ( I think part of the pantry cleanout and move will be to transfer most ingredients to glass jars. I have a bunch that I’ve collected while thrifting; just have to decide what goes where and label them.

    Coming up this week: lots of chicken recipes. We have chicken soup, chicken breast, and game hens in the freezer. I stopped by the farmers’ market yesterday and spent $8 on green beans, squash, and cauliflower, and I’ll probably pick up a $3 watermelon today. That should round out the menu with produce. I’m looking forward to having my own garden, so that I can shop at home this time of year!

  4. Kelly says:

    Do you see yourself extending the challenge if you still have lots in the freezer?

    Doing ok here. I’m seeing some space in my fridge freezer but my deep freeze is still full, Full, FULL! Part of that is about 25# of whole wheat flour I store but i need to make more of an effort to use up a few things.

    I’d love to see a post here or on Facebook at the end of the challenge about the strangest thing people uncovered/used! 🙂

    • Yes. I am nowhere near emptying the deep freeze. But, I’ll need to get a bit creative with some things. I will probably loosen up a bit and buy some things.

  5. Whitney says:

    I always like to know what you’ve purchased at the store during your Pantry Challenges (perhaps to make me feel better about my “urgent” trips to the market for various things like sandwich bread, butter or cheese when I run out mid-week, and need for our planned meals). Are you running out for dairy or any other items to stick to your meal plan? Or do you juggle things around and/or change your meal plan if you run out of ingredients so that you’re only using what you have? Thanks for your great posts!

    • I’ve posted grocery pics on the days I’ve bought groceries. I think our total as of 7/16 is $133 for the two weeks for 8 people.

  6. Megan D says:

    I love how real you are…..after taking six kids for passports, you most definitely earn a trip for burgers!!!! Thanks for the inspiration in the pantry challenge. We’re doing really well with it and I just took about two hours to completely clean out and organize our cubbie room where we keep excess pantry items, our deep freezer and excess baking/serving dishes. I thinned out the dishes (sending 10 items to thrift store!!) and organized the pantry items, now I know better what we have and what I should/shouldn’t stock up on when all the back to school snack sales start.

    • Love it that you’re cleaning out other things in your kitchen that you don’t need. Great job on the clean sweep.

  7. Lori Moffit says:

    We’re doing this too, as we are moving this Saturday. I want to use up the freezer and fridge stuff before then. My grocery shopping this past weekend consisted of milk, margarine, store brand cereal, english muffins and 6 eggs to go with the six that were in the fridge (DH always makes breakfast for supper on Saturdays).

  8. Pat says:

    We have just about finished the small ham I cooked last week. I have worked ham into so many meals! In pan-fries for brunch, sandwiches, salads. have enough for perhaps one last sandwich. Today is hot so have put the crockpot on and am making up a bunch of chilli. It will be supper tonight and show up for brunches a couple of days this next week…. I am thinking taco’s might be another use later this week with lettuce out of the garden.
    Friday we had to go to town for some banking business and Dh took us out to the Chinese restaurant across the street. It is nothing fancy at all, but oh my we had their special I had black bean sauce, on greens and velvet chicken, rice and sweet and sour chicken on my plate. It was fantastic. the bean sauce was so tasty I’d love to be able to make it. and the sweet and sour was not overly sweet. Very good. Neither of us felt bad after we ate ( no msg for sure , even when some places say they don’t use it we both feel sick later). So didn’t need to make brunch that day.
    I still have bread in the freezer, also pork roasts, hamburger, a couple of steaks, stew meat, and a whole chicken , chicken legs and a few fillets of fish. some frozen corn on the cob, bacon, and other frozen vegetables. I’m hoping we get a few cool days so I can do some oven baking. But I can see a little dent in the freezer now! Even found some vanilla ice cream, so had an evening treat for dh the other evening.

  9. Lizzy says:

    I agree with your kids on breakfast! Hot breakfast in the summer is so appealing because I have so little time for breakfast during the school year. I often have to eat running around the house or while spreading peanut butter. I know it’s not good for me, but neither is getting up at 4 AM. (I understand this may be good for some, but for a breastfeeding, working, not-sleeping-through-the-night Mama, not so much.) Anyway, summer is slower and I like my hot breakfast even if I have to ward off the kids while I fix it! Maybe your kids are subconsciously aware of the effect summer pace can have on breakfast.

  10. June Combs says:

    Hi Friends ~ I read your comments and you all sound like you are doing a great job! You’ve incourage me to thaw the small turkey in my freezer ugh!

    I’ve spent almost $400 this month and I feel like that’s a lot for a pantry challenge? But I didn’t start until the 4th lol! I still have lots of freezer meat and I get my happy box once a week?

    I loooovvve food! Especially healthy nutritious food? Which I think costs more?

    • You make your own rules in the pantry challenge. The goal is to make the most of what you have. You’re the best person to figure that out.

      • June Combs says:

        You’re right! Thank you! Xo

  11. Janet says:

    I spent the afternoon in the kitchen using up baking odds and ends. I used the last of the pumpkin to make 2 loaves of bread. I used the last of a box of Bisquick to make a large batch of waffles. My husband is taking the kids on a car trip in a few days, so I also made snacks for the road starting with granola. I didn’t want to use any chocolate chips – much too gooey for a car trip. I substituted a combination of shredded coconut and dried blueberries. I was out of powdered milk, but substituted fresh skim milk and it came out well. The kids seem to like it as well as the chocolate chip version so perhaps we have a winner.

  12. Heather M says:

    HI! I wouldn’t say I’ve planned specifics for the week, but I sat down late last week and went through a pile of recipes for ideas based on food we have in the freezer/fridge/pantry. That was before i actually inventoried the freezer, which i did yesterday. And I discovered a few things I’d forgotten about. And discovered less of other items (only a pork tenderloin, and I thought I had chops as well; found a package of tilapia I’d forgotten, etc). I planned well for today (Sunday), and it will depend on how our days end up what meals we actually eat. This month the days seem to be moving targets with so many things coming up, changing, having to get done, etc, before a whirlwind of travel, which one person starts in 10 days and the rest of us join in on the 1st of August and doesn’t end until Sept. 10 for the last of us. So it’s a crazy time, including getting a child off to college as far away from home one can go and still be in the US (DC area to Hawaii). A good time, but crazy. Definitely trying to eat down the freezer and pantry since I won’t be cooking again until mid-September (except one week in the middle of August, the craziest of weeks) and it would be nice to start then with lots of space. While I am gone and the boys are home alone in Sept. there will be no cooking, except the heating up of breakfast sausages and the pouring of cereal. It will all be takeout. the hubs just doesn’t cook and gets home too late from work, and I won’t be able to leave them with anything prepared either, since we will have been gone so long prior to then. Planning is a difficult thing sometimes. But my meager prep is doing the trick and I’ve only bought the necessary fresh items this month and we are eating well. Yay!

  13. Cherie says:

    Oy – agreed! I just finished my meal plan! We have bagels and cereal for breakfasts but mine also prefer ‘hot’ [though only one likes eggs much] so I think those buttermilk corn waffles sound perfect – I may add some bacon to some – hmmm – will make a big batch to freeze if I can since I hve buttermilk – but I’m in the midst of dealing with a mouse issue – so I may not get to it LOL – next week will work too

    Our dinners are baked ziti, turkey burgers, pork tenderloin & rice, fried rice [leftovers] and grilled chicken – all from the freezer/fridge, with salads to go with – kids have lunch at camp/work this week

    But now that I’ve seen your plan I suddenly want tacos . . . maybe over the weekend LOL

  14. I’m going to be super busy with VBS this week so I will be relying on freezer meals. Yay! I made Pot Pie, Enchiladas, Meatballs, Shredded Pork & Mashed Potatoes for dinners. I also froze muffins, waffles, etc. You can read more about that in this post if you are interested. (If you don’t want me posting links in your comments, please let me know as I never want to offend). Your taco pic is making me hungry!

  15. Megan says:

    Oh my goodness. I am doing just horribly with this challenge! Well, I do have a little more white space in the kitchen freezer, which is encouraging, but we’ve been eating out far too often.
    Moving on!
    I love reading the updates and comments — very inspirational! — and plan to have better days ahead.

  16. Sharyl says:

    Newbie here..but I am on the 2nd week of a clean out. And loooving it. Have everything planned out through Saturday. Plan on doing a good clean of the fridge and freezer and then buy what I need only for two weeks.

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