Pantry Challenge: Day 12

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This month I’m doing a Pantry Challenge. For two weeks, I’m focusing on using up what we have to save money and time and to reduce waste.

ham dinner

Sorry for the late update. I played the Ladybug Game last night instead of posting our update for the day. Let’s see if I can remember what happened. Oh yes!

I started out the day trying to use up some zucchini. We have a lot of zucchini. I like zucchini. I think folks have misunderstood me. But, my people do not like zucchini in obvious ways. No zuke noodles here. The girls and I made Cinnamon Zucchini Waffles and a Zucchini Cake. The former was breakfast. The latter is dessert for Friday night because I never got around to making the frosting.

At lunch I made a version of my Cheddar Cheese Soup (using zucchini!) as well as Gruyere instead of cheddar since we didn’t have any at the time. I ended up buying 1/2 pound of cheddar and a gallon of milk at Target later in the afternoon, upping my grocery total for the challenge to $143 for the two weeks.

Thursdays are “Dinner with Dad”. FishPapa is taking one kid per week out of the restaurant of his choice. FishBoy13 and Papa went to Sonic while the rest of us had ham, green beans, melon, and corn.

Breakfast: Cinnamon Zucchini Waffles

Lunch: Vegetable Cheese Soup

Dinner: Ham, Corn, Green Beans, Melon

Pantry-Challenge-GCE-150x150This post is a part of the Summer 2014 Pantry Challenge where we’re trying to save money on food by using up what we have. I’ll be posting daily updates on how the challenge is going.

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. Laura says:

    We had steaks from the freezer, potatoes and onions and a green salad.

  2. Maureen says:

    Breakfast has been out of the pantry for a number of days, but I just realized how many open boxes of cereal are in there. That’s not a regular breakfast option, but it somehow got out of control this summer. There are a few bags on chips that are almost gone, too. We need to work on that for the next week (or more). Lunch was leftovers. Dinner was mostly from the freezer and pantry. The kids are spending some nights at grandparents houses the next few days, so we’ll be missing one of them each day for a while. I need to work up a meal plan that accounts for that and focuses on the freezers.

  3. Mona says:

    Seeing more white but still a long ways to go.

    Breakfast – Oatmeal w/ blueberries
    Lunch – Egg, ham and cheese bagel, blueberry frozen yogurt
    Dinner – Pepperoni and mushroom pizza, salad
    Snacks – watermelon, apples, marshmellows, ices (buried in the bottom of the freezer)

  4. Asha says:

    Just wanted to chime in and sat that I love the “dinner with dad” idea! My brother in law does this with my nieces and nephews too, they all really look forward to their turn!

    • The kids are really enjoying it. My husband is too, but their dining choices are interesting. Ha!

  5. Tiffany R says:

    Breakfast: oatmeal w/raisins (me), eggs (hubs), bagels (kids)
    Lunch: PB Sandwiches (kids) and Turkey sandwich (me)
    Dinner: Frozen pizza, leftover chicken quesadillas & grapes

    The freezer and pantry is looking more empty but the fridge seems more full. I want to concentrate on using up fridge leftovers this weekend. I did pass on some zucchini and tomatoes to a friend today since we are just overloaded with both.

  6. Stephanie M. says:

    We are also getting pretty empty around here but still eating.

    My husband wakes up at 4:30 a.m. every morning to be at work at 7:00. Several days this week he had to work from 7:00 a.m. till midnight on a project at his data center. I usually wake up with him. I woke up this morning at 3:30 and couldn’t sleep any more. I went back to bed at 4:30 and he was awake and told me he wanted to surprise me and he was taking the day off. So I got up again while he was still in bed and prepared a picnic breakfast with taylor ham and cheese on a large English muffin for him and cereal with blueberries for me. I packed up a picnic basket with placemats and all and off we went to a nearby park very early before the rest of the world woke up. It was so nice just the two of us by the lake. Then we to the grocery story and did lots of shopping for a large BBQ that we’re having next Saturday.

    B – Hubby had taylor ham and cheese on an English muffin. I had cereal with blueberries.

    L – Hubby took me out to lunch to an Irish Pub. He had a pulled pork sandwich and I had a steak salad. It was a special day since he was home so he wanted to go out to lunch.

    S – We were both not hungry after lunch. After shopping, we came home and hung out by the pool and drank some wine. What a nice day we had! 🙂

    • Heather M says:

      Stephanie, that sounds wonderful! What fun!

  7. Shannon says:

    Past two days:
    Breakfast – blueberry muffins (fresh, not freezer) for kids and green smoothies for me using up odds and ends of fruit and some pureed greens from freezer. I also enjoyed a cup of coffee (I gave it up since caffeine gives me headaches if taken regularly) using camping coffee (the “tea bag” coffee) we had left over from a camping trip. It expires in August so a good excuse and soooo good! I miss coffee!
    Lunch/dinners: Kids had pizza using up more sauce, crusts and grated cheese (they wanted pepperoni but not on this clean out!). Made sweet potato salad using up more sweet potatoes, shrimp from freezer with fresh veggies, tried to make my own mayo (failed – will have to try again sometime but I bought some today), made coconut macaroons using almond pulp (I made almond milk two months ago, trying to make more stuff from scratch – froze the pulp and then googled how to use it up today- good recipe!). My kitchen freezer is half empty now and I took your Smoothie Drawer tip and created one! Yay! Nice to have it all organized in one spot! Garage freezer is still too full – my pantry clean out can easily go another two weeks!!
    Snacks – made a trail mix using odds and ends of nuts and dried fruit – created more space in pantry to have it all consolidated into one place. Also let the kids finish off dregs of chips and the last squeezable applesauce and some dried fruit sticks.

  8. Stephanie M. says:

    I just wanted to say one more thing even though it has nothing at all to do with the challenge: At 9:00 we came inside after enjoying a nice evening at pool side talking about our upcoming cruise in November with our friends from Germany and we wanted to sit down and watch a movie. My husband noticed that some of the speakers to our new surround sound weren’t working. The surround sound is only 2 weeks old. He moved the couch and found that our 1 year old very cute puppy chewed the wires! Well, that was the end of our nice day! He is quite angry right now and I’m in the next room snickering. It’s awful, I know, but my husband is so handy, he’ll fix it and all will be well again but for now, he is not a happy camper! I don’t mean to laugh and make light of it all, but such is the life with a young dog. One hour ago, while we were outside, he was throwing the ball for him and saying what a sweet dog he is and now, well you can imagine! 🙂 Oh well, such is life! He just walked into the room where I am sitting writing this and said, “Almost fixed.” Thank God.

    Hope this brightened everyone’s day and gave you all a little laugh! 🙂

    • Heather M says:

      Oh, life. What can you do? 🙂

      • Stephanie M. says:

        Hi Heather: Just thought I’d tell you, my husband fixed everything and we were able to watch our movie after all last night and he forgave little Theo who also joined us on the couch! Ha Ha!!!!!

    • Love that story. Poor guy.

  9. A zucchini crisp tastes JUST like an apple crisp but healthier and is a great way to use up zukes. I made a cheesy zucchini casserole that was gobbled up by the kiddo too! Very versatileast food!

  10. Heather M says:

    Day 12 was a good Challenge day. We seem to go from almost no one home and eating one day, to a great Challenge day the next.

    Breakfast: cereal for the kids, bananas and peanut butter on toast for me

    Lunch: son had bread with marinara sauce, crackers and cheese; daughter made herself a salad; I had a tuna sandwich and sliced cucumbers; hubs grabbed something at work on what was an insane day for him and now given the world events of the past 24 hours, will likely bleed into the entire weekend. When one covers the military and intelligence beat for a major news organization, life can be 24/7 and completely nuts. And depressing.

    Dinner: I made a new soup (adapted from a cooking light recipe, but I changed it up a lot) and it was a HUGE hit. A spicy chicken mexican type of soup that used up fresh red and green bell pepper, onion/garlic, 2 cans of diced rotel tomatoes, chicken stock, frozen corn, frozen cooked chicken breast, and chipotle in adobo. I also threw in cumin and fresh cilantro. Delicious! I used the one can of chipotles I had, but since you only need one, I froze the rest individually in an ice cube tray and they’re in a ziploc now for future use. Great way to not waste something one usually only needs a small bit of. I also used up the rest of the hot dog buns and made garlic bread with them. yum!

    Can the Challenge please go on the rest of July? I’m so in a groove right now and have lots of ideas for the rest of my summer (which really isn’t long… July and one week mid-August is all I’m around).. 😉

  11. While we appreciate your updates, playing the Ladybug Game is also very important! 🙂 LOVE the idea of “Dinner with Dad”. What wonderful memories that is creating for your kids! Thanks for the Cinnamon Zucchini Waffle Recipe. When the gardens burst with zucchini, I am always looking for a new use for it.

  12. Vanessa Ball says:

    Kids are hooked on cereal and since we have so many boxes I am allowing them to eat it everyday. So not much cooking in the morning this week. I did make your Zucchini Cinnamon Waffles last week and there are still some in the freezer. Those things are delicious and any time I can make the children eat vegetables for breakfast it’s a win for me.
    Lunch was leftovers for me and the kids requested Jimmy John’s Sandwiches but I’m not buying lunches right now so I fudged it a bit and made them sandwiches on hamburger buns. They ate it and everyone was happy.
    Dinner was AMAZING! I made Stromboli with pepperoni and salami for the husband and kids and a pesto, pepperoni, salami, kalamata olive and feta stromboli for me. The proverbial icing on thr cake was a soft butter, garlic and Italian seasoning mix that I spread on the outside and then sprinkled parmesan cheese on top. Heavenly! Oh and there was some kind of vegetable side that I can’t even remember now.
    Pecan Brownies and ice cream for dessert.

  13. Angela says:

    I’m tracking our eating here –
    Friday was a good day overall – hubs had scheduled himself a breakfast appointment with our pastor and a lunch appointment with a good friend…and as a result, I did not leave the house or even take a shower until 1pm!!! LOL
    Breakfast for me was a smoothie with swiss chard from our garden, fresh cherries, blueberries that were given to us, & a chunk of pineapple. I also had a slice of homemade bread w/PB. Ds#3 didn’t get out of bed till 11am!
    For lunch, I made some homemade ranch dressing, and dipped pretzels & cucumbers in it. I attempted to make some Cuban bread, which hubby & ds love… my attempt tasted more like French bread, but ds liked it and had two sandwiches on it, so I guess I won’t complain!
    For dinner, hubs grilled burgers (freezer – from our July 4th cookout) and I made a sort of Caprese pasta salad – used cherry tomatoes from our garden, quartered mozzarella balls, basil (also from the garden), and penne pasta. Tossed it all with a bit of balsamic and a little feta and it was a hit.

  14. Betsy says:

    Day 11 at our house. I’ve been plugging away at the challenge although I’ve been forgetting to post on here. We’re leaving on vacation next week so I don’t think I’m going to make much more progress. I’m still pleased with our results though. Our total spent for the challenge so far is $125 for our family of 8, yay! And I should be able to defrost my freezer Monday, which was my main goal for the challenge!

    Breakfast – blueberry muffins and fruit

    Lunch – pasta with red sauce, green salad, apple sauce

    Dinner – pizza, green salad, iced tea

  15. Angela says:

    I’m curious what the timer is for on your dinner table? 🙂

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