Pantry Challenge: Day 14

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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.


Today concludes our two week Pantry Challenge. I really wish I could keep on going. I have some recipe development projects, however, that I have to work on. I can’t put them off any longer! This two weeks has been like a vacation from work. I can make old faithful recipes (as opposed to fine-tuning new ones) and I can make the kids cook more often!

I need to finish up my projects which necessitate some groceries not currently on hand. But, I think I will do some kind of PC/recipe testing mashup and make sure we continue to whittle away at the freezers. They are nowhere near empty.


Some ways that I used stuff up today:

  • We cooked up all those random half bags of noodles for lunch.
  • I roasted about 6 zucchini and the eggplants and made a roasted vegetable puree.
  • I made lasagne with the puree, ground turkey from the freezer and a homemade bechamel (instead of ricotta)

Here’s what we had on the last official day of the challenge:

Breakfast:granola with cranberries and sunflower seeds added

Lunch: Sauteed Chicken and Noodles

Snacks: Zucchini Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Dinner: Lasagne, leftover corn and beans from the other night

I’ll be posting a wrap-up tomorrow along with things that folks have shared about their challenges. Great stuff! If you’ve got something you want me to include in the post, email me at jessica at goodcheapeats dot com. Be sure to let me know it’s for the post. It can be a funny story or a picture or whatever. I will try to post them all, but no promises.

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.

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  1. I was doing so well with the Pantry Challenge! And next week we’ll be cooking the second turkey that’s been in the freezer since Thanksgiving; that’ll free up a lot of space. But I just filled that space pre-emptively with about 18 pounds of bacon. *sheepish grin* There was a SALE. The best price I’ve seen in a year! With no limit. So now we can have bacon every other week (for almost a year) rather than every other month.

    • Harriet says:

      I think bacon should be its own food group.

    • giggle … I think the grass fed beef and bacon sale was the beginning of the end for my attempt at the pantry challenge during week 1. Bacon NEVER goes on sale (at a decent price) any more so of course they do it while the challenge was going on! Enjoy that bacon!

    • Remy — if you are willing, please tell us where the bacon sale is! Thanks. (I’m hoping it’s available here in southern CA!) I LOVE bacon.

      • Pamela, it was at my local Lucky — do you have Lucky down there? We don’t have Sprouts, if that evens it out. 🙂 Only a 3-day sale ending today, though, so you may not see this in time. $2.99/lb for thick-cut applewood bacon from the meat service counter. I usually get 1-pound packages in the processed meats case if they get down to $3.99; this kind goes for $5.99/lb most of the time.

        • Thanks for this info, Remy! No, I don’t think we have Lucky around here. 🙁 That is a great deal on bacon though. Enjoy a piece (or ten) for me! 🙂

    • I would have done the same thing. Carry on. 🙂

  2. We saved some cash this time, which is always great. There was more meat than I thought in the freezer (or I was able to spread it out more than I thought may be more accurate). Bonus: Our local grocery store is a publix and this week was the sale where if you spend $50 on groceries you can get the $50 gas cards for $40. Yay! What a good day for a stock up! I got all new flour and sugar, tons of produce, more meat, dairy, and a gas card – left the store paying just $100.14

  3. Harriet says:

    As you wrap up your two week challenge, I have begun ours. We were on vacation the 1st week and came home to a really full week of work, doctor appointments and life! Yesterday I went to the store and spent $40 on fresh vegetables and fruit, milk and cheese. So, onward we go at the Dodson house! Let the fun begin 🙂

  4. We finally ate the ‘mystery dish’. Turned out to be a tasty chicken and tomato stew.

  5. Good Luck Jessica with your projects and I will be back in January to start the PC all over again. Thank you again for helping to keep me in line and reminding me to take advantage of what we do have.
    Sad to see this Pantry Challenge come to an end but I will continue on until I can see the biggest part of the freezer. I will be using up a small ham and a turkey breast for my mil’s birthday on Thursday. The whole family will be there so that will help me see more white in the freezer.
    Did stop and get milk and fruit and produce to keep us going another week or so. For a total spent in the last 19 days of $63.15. Not bad with less than 2 weeks to go and have next week covered. In fact pretty darn good!

    Breakfast – Egg, ham and cheese tortillas
    Lunch – at IKEA Chicken tenders, French fries
    Dinner – Turkey sausage sandwiches on toasted buns with onion, tomatoes, jalepeno peppers and onion rings
    Snacks – watermelon, ice cream, last of the rice krispies

  6. Your lasagna with béchamel sauce sounds delicious. Would love to see a recipe posted for that.

  7. Tiffany R says:

    Breakfast: French toast using last of the bread
    Lunch: Salad using leftover grilled chicken (me & hubs), PB sandwiches for daughter & leftover mac & cheese for son
    Dinner: Spaghetti & meatballs (Used last package of turkey for meatballs), homemade Rosemary bread

    We will still be working on eating down the pantry/freezer/fridge until Aug. 7th, when the kids go back to school. We will see what happens!

  8. I was feeling very uninspired yesterday.
    Breakfast was our weekly date at the Farmer’s Market followed by a stop at a local restaurant.
    Lunch – Hubs & I had leftover pasta salad from the day before – a concoction of penne, cherry tomatoes (from the garden), basil (also from the garden), and a little mozzarella. I added some feta and a touch of balsamic. It was pretty tasty. Ds#3 had a sandwich using the last of my experimental Cuban bread (turned out more like French bread, but he liked it). I made a blueberry cobbler with some berries that were given to us and we had that for a sweet ending to the meal.
    Dinner was pancakes. I had planned to get some bacon at the market, but it was raining so hard that most of the vendors stayed home. So we did without the bacon. Plain with maple syrup for hubs & me,and with chocolate chips for ds#3. 🙂

  9. Maureen says:

    Yesterday was pantry items for a late breakfast, leftovers for a late lunch, and we just snacked a bit on leftovers, etc. for dinner. Today was pantry items for breakfast, lunch was at a cousin’s baby shower for all but DH, and dinner was out with DH at a work function. We will be continuing on with the challenge for another month, so that I can finally get rid of ALL of the items from the freezer that are haunting me…and so that I can defrost my chest freezer. This week DH has a number of evening work commitments, so the kids and I will finish off all the leftovers in the fridge, as well as a number of odds and ends from the freezer. So, instead of meal planning for the week I am just going to inventory things and cross off of the list as we go. DH is out of town on business next week, so I hope to do the same and see some REAL progress/white space by that point.

  10. We had our brunch of eggs and pan fries, with chopped onion, and mushrooms chopped fine, and glass of milk each. Supper was a bag of unknown meat ( found out it was spare ribs, that I had rolled tightly to fit into the bag! LOL) . I remember getting a huge amount of spareribs on a 1/2 price deal from ribs that were already on sale, so had split the bag and saved 1/2 for another meal. Cooked the ribs in the oven with a soy sauce and garlic brush, then made mashed potatoes and carrot buttons. Very good ( this was Saturday).
    Yesterday we had our eggs and pan fries , with milk for brunch, then supper was chicken breast, and a stir fry the had the coleslaw plus onion, garlic, bacon, the last of the broccoli and stems cut fine, red pepper thin slices, and mushrooms. Again it was good and Dh had leftover stir fry for night snack. There is a small amount left and it will be served today in a soup, just a broth and I will sauté a few more mushrooms and a little chopped green pepper and add it with the other to make a nice soup.
    We always have coffee in the morning and a pot is on all day ( we have friends popping in and out most days and they know we always have coffee on. my best friend calls at the door and heads straight to the cupboard and pours herself coffee! LOL it is good to have a friend that will just make herself at home while I finish up whatever I was doing and come and have coffee with her.)
    Oh , and today I made our usual eggs and pan fries and used up the cup of mashed potatoes from Saturday. Lots of left overs being used up. Tonight is hamburger patties with all the trimmings, mushrooms and onions done in the fry pan, sliced tomatoes, relishes and mustard. We will make this on the last of the Kiser rolls.
    Special for Dh is Saskatoon crisp. This is for his evening snack. I picked the Saskatoons yesterday so will be nice and fresh. These bushes grow wild all around us.

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