2015 Winter Pantry Challenge: Day Nine

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This month our family is participating in a Pantry Challenge. We’re focusing on using up what we have in order to save money and time as well as to reduce waste.

pantry challenge minestrone

It rained! All night and all day. Maybe this will help our drought situation. We’ve been on water rations since the late summer, so this is welcome relief. Some of the hills are starting to green a tiny bit.

As it was a rainy day, I was a lounge lizard once again. I think my nerves about the mammogram on Tuesday may be getting to me after all. I’m not worried, but maybe I am self-consciously.

Anyway, here’s how day nine went down:

Breakfast: Raspberry Baked Oatmeal

Lunch: Chicken seasoned with Jamie’s Spice Mix, Jessika’s Roast Vegetables

Snacks: Nanna’s Fudge made by my 8yo. See how big a piece she served me!

Dinner: Minestrone made from leftover pasta, a frozen knob of tomato paste, the rest of the pesto, a small bag of mixed frozen veg, garbanzo beans, potato, onion, barley, and that hot Italian sausage that FishBoy17 pulled out of the freezer on Friday. Also made Drop Biscuits that I added mozzarella and paprika to.

Dessert: Jessika’s Amazing Chocolate Chip Cookies

Im-Taking-Pantry-ChallengeThis post is part of the 2015 Winter Pantry Challenge. Read through the archives to catch up.

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  1. We were fortunate to have BOTH of our college girls home last night to attend a friend’s wedding and they stayed overnight. So, my treat for them this morning was to make a big breakfast – – skillet scramble (eggs, onion, green pepper and potato), bacon and cranberry walnut bread. I only used half of the green pepper and it was looking less than stellar so I chopped what was left and tossed it in the freezer.

    I had already promised the oldest girl that I’d go with her to WalMart this afternoon to get her stocked for the 2nd semester (paper towels, toilet paper, trash bags, etc. + toiletry items + cleaning products). I thought it would be in my best interest (think get me home quicker!) to grab a quick bite out for lunch before we did our shopping so I splurged and took the girls to Wendy’s for burgers. Tonight it was oven tacos which provided enough for 3 of us to have lunch tomorrow. I had to make my first substitution tonight since beginning the PC; recipe called for tomato sauce and I was out so I substituted tomato paste and added water. I also prepped Taco Soup for the crockpot. Had all the ingredients in the pantry and used black beans from the freezer. The college girl that’s still here will plug it in for me at noon tomorrow so that dinner is ready when I get home from work since I have a night meeting to attend.

    First week was a success. Let’s do it again in week 2!

  2. That minestrone sounds delicious. 3 times this week we were hosted elsewhere for dinner, so I haven’t yet felt the bite of the pantry challenge. Tonight is the first night of ham — it’s just come out of the oven with a honey-mustard glaze, some roasted brussels sprouts with shallots and bacon, and yellow crookneck squash. There will be several days of ham & veggies, ham & eggs, mac & cheese with ham, ham sandwiches, and split pea soup to come!

  3. Stephanie M. says:

    Today was an uneventful day. Hubby and I ran to the gym first thing in the morning; then off to Home Depot to order new garage doors and then to Walgreen’s to get some pictures developed. Other than that, it was a nice, quiet day.

    B – Hubby had oatmeal; I had muesli cereal.

    L – We had home made mini pizza bagels from the freezer.

    D – We had leftover chicken noodle soup.

    Dessert: We had a slice of home made banana cake with chocolate icing.

    * Jessica, I always worry too but if you haven’t heard anything after Tuesday, you’re good. No news is good news.

  4. Was actually a nice day, 40 degrees today but temps to drop and they are calling for icy conditions until 1 pm Monday. The last two weeks have been nothing but snow and ice! Brrr….Spring can’t get here fast enough!
    Nice day to start prepping for next weeks meals.
    Breakfast – pancakes and sausage
    Lunch- finished off the sub and soup
    Dinner – baked perch, baked cheesy potato cubes with cheese & bacon, green beans

  5. It was supposed to rain here as well but never did. Didn’t even look all that gray. Maybe they jumped the gun and it will show up today.
    Breakfast: yogurt with berries from the freezer (mix of strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries)
    Lunch: beef hot dog, fresh strawberries, dab of hummus
    Dinner: red beans – I had soaked the beans at the beginning of the week, then had to put them in the fridge as I didn’t have time/energy to make them. I finally had time to get it all in the crockpot so it could simmer all day while I wasn’t home. This used up a bag of beans from the pantry as well as the ham bone from Christmas and some celery that was starting to go soft. I have 2-3 more meals of it in the fridge and now 3 individually packaged meals (2 servings each) for the freezer. I just forgot to make rice to go with it, so will have to make rice for next time. Last night, we just ate it as a bowl of beans. It was still yummy like that. The kid always forgets he likes that meal, and is less than enthused when he hears what I’m making, then he enjoys it. Cracks me up when he is surprised it tastes good.

    • I had beans start to ferment on me once when I let them soak too long. It was so weird. Glad that yours didn’t go funky.

      • I had some I soaked for either 3 or 4 days once, and they definitely went funky and got tossed. This time, I only soaked them for 2 days, then I drained them and put the plain beans in the fridge. If I have time, I will often soak them 2 days to help get that gas out. They will be all foamy and bubbly, so I rinse them pretty thoroughly. I’ve noticed a lot fewer side effects from eating them if I do that than if I only soak them for a couple of hours. I was only planning to have them in the fridge overnight, not most of the week, but thankfully that all worked out just fine. I guess not having them in the liquid kept them from going bad.

        • So you think that drained and refrigerated works. The ones that I let go too long smelled really, really bad. I’d never experimented or read anything about it, so I figure we’ll make sense of it together.

  6. Broke down and hit the grocery stores for major stock up.. With the unpredictable winter weather I NEEDED to do recycling and shopping when the weather and roads were stable and clear!
    Breakfast- kids ate cereal and fruit
    Lunch- husband reheated take out pizza from the evening before
    Dinner- was supposed to be homemade taquitos – to use up the last of the shredded turkey and a random package of corn tortillas… FAIL.. I really do not like Corn tortillas( had them for a recipe daughter wanted to make)… after 3 failed attempts and tortilla breakdown I grabbed the bag of blue chips I purchased at Aldi and poured onto a baking sheet.. covered with shredded turkey and taco seasoning.. Jack and cheeat cheeses.. INSTANACHOS!
    served with salsa, sour cream and fresh berries I could not pass at a great price!

  7. Melissa F says:

    It was a grey day for us here with the rain rumbling in after we went to bed.

    Warm cheesy grits with bacon for breakfast and a nice bowl of pineapple with strawberries. We cut the fresh pineapple hubby bought on his trip Thursday.

    Leftover quiche for lunch – one piece left that I put in son’s lunch for today along with the leftover rice a roni with a small piece of leftover smoked sausage. I have to say, having a son who doesn’t mind leftovers for lunch helps keep the fridge cleaned out and waste to a minimum.

    Snack was sliced apples and melba toast with a sundried tomato spread I made with a half a brick of cream cheese I had in the cheese drawer.

    Dinner was creamy chicken enchiladas with a small side salad. I did have a little more chicken than I thought which I will use to make some chicken noodle soup using a package from a Harry & David gift basket my husband got a while back.

    Dessert was some chocolates we got around the holidays.

    Today is a little gloomy with fog and more rain. I see a day of reading here….and laundry!

  8. Tiffany R says:

    It was wicked cold here yesterday so except for church, we stayed home.

    Breakfast: finished the steel cut oatmeal (me & DH), bagels & juice (kids)
    Lunch: Turkey wraps/sandwiches, baked chips
    Dinner: Spaghetti & meatballs (using GB from the freezer), sautรฉed spinach (adults), leftover green beans (kids), homemade bread from the bread machine (since oven isn’t working)
    Dessert: Blueberry cobbler in the crockpot (it was so-so, I kinda felt like I wasted my frozen berries on it)

    My hubs ordered the part for my oven. This is the 3rd time we have had to replace this part in 9 years. I guess I use the oven a lot. It is still cheaper to fix it than replace it, so we will keep calm and carry on.

  9. Stephanie says:

    This has nothing to do with the pantry challenge, but I noticed your dessert, and yes, those chocolate chip cookies ARE amazing! During the week of Christmas I made a batch every. single. day. They are that good! Thanks for a fabulous new recipe!

  10. B-Muffins, cereal, leftover banana bread
    L- Finished up the leftovers in the fridge
    D-Pot roast, potatoes, carrots, spinach salad

    I think I need to plan out this week a little better. Last week I left all the ideas in my brain and decided each day what to have, but I dont thing my brain is as reliable as a post it note on the fridge! Today I need to do some more planning and work out the ideas!

  11. Day nine was uneventful. We were all tired so slept in until we had to get moving for meetings at church and then church. I think I ate a couple of cookies running out the door and my son had a gatorade. Finally got a lit of the Xmas decorations down last night while “watching” the Golden Globes. Successful day that way.

    B: cookies for me; Gatorade for son; nothing for hubs
    No lunch because we were gone 12-4:30.
    D: hubs and son were desperate for burgers so they picked up burgers for themselves, knowing it’s the end of our crazy takeout spree for a while. I had noodles w/tuna and veggies. Later hubs ate more of the leftover chicken from Friday’s over purchased Peruvian takeout. I polished off a few more of the Xmas goodies since today I start back tracking what I eat/being healthy again and I won’t be eating many treats. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Not stellar challenge-wise, but not bad. This week will be great all around now that we’re back to a normal schedule. Speaking of, I, off to the gym. Yay!

  12. Also, does anyone have any ideas on what to do with honey nut Cheerios besides eating them? We have an almost full huge box my daughter opened. Then she left. None of us really eat them enough for it not to go stale.

    And also frozen bananas. Tons of them. But not smoothies, muffins, or bread. Looking for other ideas besides the usual.


  13. Day 9 was very uneventful.
    Breakfast: I had leftover soup, husband had oatmeal
    Lunch: I had a baked potato with sour cream, bacon bits and cheese, husband had a burrito and an apple
    Supper: We had poor man’s shrimp scampi (no white wine)
    For snacks we had homemade naan with hummus, and olives.

    • Randi, Do you have a good homemade naan recipe? Naan, hummus, olives and peppers are one of our favorite lunches. And I have one pepper left! I buy the kalamata olives at Costco in the huge jar. They last forever.

      • I do! I actually JUST found it about a week ago, and tweaked it a little. SO easy… http://thecafesucrefarine.com/2012/08/herbed-naan/

        My tweaks were: herbs optional. If you omit herbs, no need to brush the naan with olive oil. They toast up and taste better leftover if there’s no olive oil on them. Cook them on a pancake griddle if you have one. I also subbed the flour for a whole wheat/all purpose blend, and only needed 4 3/4 cups. I also cut the sugar in half with no bad results.

        They freeze very well, so I made probably 15 small naans from this recipe.

  14. we are doing really good of eating from the pantry. Haven’t eaten out once or brought home take out even though I am down sick (head cold went to chest cold and I trying to keep it from pneumonia) and Hubby had to take over some of the cooking. We have only bought a gal of milk since the 2nd when we did our meat buy.

  15. Great day again!
    breakfast-Cheerios and yogurt
    lunch-gifted tamales homemade from a student’s mother (OMG delicious!), apple slices
    dinner-pulled pork with coleslaw on Jessica’s homemade bun recipe, sweet potato fries.
    Hub complimented dinner saying “Is it really day 12? That was really good!”
    Still at $0 for groceries. I did have to buy toilet paper and tomorrow will buy wine, but that’s under different budgets. Seeing some white space!

  16. I varied our usually menu around this week to adjust it to the challenge but not by much. I asked boy2 to get some meat from the freezer on Sunday, thinking something for Tuesday. He brought me in a 16lb turkey. Whatever, I will cook it on Thursday or Friday. With my stove I can delay start time and cook until its at temp so I can cook while at work.

    I haven’t posted in the challenge yet. So far I’ve spent about $60 on groceries, not counting today’s ice cream for the birthday party for boy2 this weekend.

    tonight for supper we had venison steaks, mashed potatoes, home froze sweet corn and a camouflage birthday cake (we’re too busy to celebrate it on his birthday this year so we celebrated early). Tomorrow, nachos, Wednesday boys cook mom barely has time to eat.

  17. Sunday was a quiet day.
    For breakfast, ds#3 polished off the pumpkin pie, hubs had his usual eggs & bacon, and I had hot tea and an apple with peanut butter. I’m just not a breakfast girl. I’m just not.
    Lunch was big chef salads with steak/chicken on top. We had a whole steak left from grilling last weekend, so I wrapped it in foil and heated in the crockpot so it would be ready when we got home from church (did the same with some leftover chicken)… the texture seems to be better than microwaving it. Sliced the meat to top the salad and my guys were very happy (“this salad is great! Can I have this for lunch tomorrow??”)
    Dinner: hubs wasn’t feeling great, so he had Triscuits & cheese. Ds#3 & I both had chicken tenders & sweet potato fries, and I also had broccoli. Hubs decided he needed some fries so I made some for him, and that was our day. Easy, good use of what we had, and no $ spent (for the day). ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. We made our much put off Costco run this weekend and first things first โ€“ Jessica in answer to your Facebook question regarding the price of eggs โ€“ we paid $4.59 for three dozen eggs on Saturday. Other than the eggs we bought milk x 2, Tillamook cheese, orange juice (3 pk), tomato basil soup, romaine, organic spinach, peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, mushrooms, kiwi, bananas, apples, chicken breasts, turkey bacon, olive oil and coffee โ€“ total $119.00 – painful but necessary. I am still on the hunt for the after the holidays reduced turkey prices, the best Iโ€™ve seen so far is 89ยข – Iโ€™m going to hold out another couple of weeks and see if I can find them for 59ยข like we did last year.

    From the freezer this weekend we used ground pork, remaining ยฝ of a pizza, garden green beans and zucchini, left over vegetable soup, Torta sandwich rolls and pimento cheese spread leftover from Christmas entertaining.

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