2015 Winter Pantry Challenge: Day Six

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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.

Day Six of the Pantry Challenge - 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.

I’m finding that the fridge/freezer compartments are starting to show some white space. That’s a good thing. We are running out of green, leafy vegetables. I only bought one head of lettuce last night at the store. It was inhaled at dinner.

Tomorrow will have to be the day for veggie dippers and cole slaw. We’ve got cucumbers, carrots, and celery, a bit of kale, and some cabbage. All that should fit well into tomorrow’s menu of tuna sandwiches and pizza. But, that’s tomorrow.

What about today? 

I’m particularly proud of all the bread crusts and leftover sourdough toast that I had stashed in the freezer. Cubed and tossed in olive oil, they made the BEST croutons for our caesar salad. That was my triumph of the day.

Breakfast: Yogurt, Homemade Granola, Frozen Berries (thawed), Vanilla Cranberry Bread (from Not Your Mother’s Make-Ahead and Freeze Cookbook)

Lunch: Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, Homemade Pickles, Apples

Snacks: Apples, Bananas, Vanilla Cranberry Bread

Dinner: Alfredo Mac and Cheese, Poorman’s Caesar Salad without the Chicken; Indoor Smores for dessert

How did the day go for YOU?

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. This being a week of 12-14 hour work days, I haven’t been quite as focused on this as I had previously been expecting. The work I was doing made taking lunches rather unrealistic, so those ended up being purchased. At least I kept them reasonably healthy choices. Dinner has been chipping away at things from freezer/pantry. Monday and Tuesday were snacky dinners as I was too tired to really want a whole meal.
    Yesterday was salmon, roasted potatoes tossed with herbs de provence, and broccoli. And an ice cream bar.
    Tonight was a box of rice pilaf from the back of the cupboard that was old but still tasted great when cooked in chicken broth, thin chicken cutlets with some dijon mustard smeared on them and topped with some dried out brie cheese that melted over them, and green beans. I wasn’t sure how well the dried out brie would work, but it actually came out great.

  2. Stephanie M. says:

    This challenge has been a breeze so far with such a variety of inventory in my freezer and pantry. I have not yet had to come up with any strange concoctions in order to stay out of the store. But I am happy to report that slowly but surely, my freezer space is getting bigger and so is my pantry. I really haven’t had to map out a meal plan. Each night, after dinner, I decide what we’re eating the next day. Sometimes it’s leftovers and sometimes I have to take something out of the freezer. Either way, there’s always something to fill our tummies with and I am sticking to my guns and not buying anything I absolutely don’t need. Yesterday I had made a stir fry. There were not a lot of leftovers so I made a small pot of marinara sauce and will hold on to the stir fry for hubby’s lunch on Saturday since he has to work. With the marinara, we ate it today and tomorrow I am going out to lunch with two of my girlfriends so I won’t want to cook when I get home in which case, hubby can finish the sauce.

    B – I made hubby an omelet using up the last of the pepperoni, cheddar, and scallions. I had two waffles and some strawberries.

    L – Hubby had a meatloaf sandwich with the leftover meatloaf I made the other night. I had a salad.

    D – We both had pasta with marinara and garlic bread, using up two of the three small rolls I had in the freezer.

  3. Nothing very newsworthy to report. Not having to be very creative in the kitchen…YET!

    B – bagel with cream cheese
    S – sesame snack mix
    L – salad (greens, deli ham (tuna for hubby), tomatoes, carrots, olives, craisins)
    D – stuffed green peppers, garlic bread, sliced pears
    post dinner snack (hubby) – sliced apples and peanut butter

  4. Another good day here.

    Breakfast – Belgium waffles
    Lunch – Finished off the Confetti chili and cornbread
    Dinner – Pizza with pepperoni and mushrooms, salad
    Snacks – Cut up fruit and popcorn

  5. you’re all doing great – I did a pb a few months ago and it was well worthwhile – now I’m overstocked again LOL – I think I will start a new one beginning on the 15th – that will leave me bare-ish by the time we leave for our vacation – which is a good goal

  6. Vanessa B says:

    DAY 7
    Used up the rest of the ham so it didn’t go to waste. Yay! Our diet so far this pantry challenge has been very heavy in bread, potatoes and cheese. My tummy needs something healthier so I bought a bag of Almonds and some eggs and spent $7. This brings my month’s total up to $27.
    Breakfast – none, I was the only one at home
    Lunch – Tuna sandwich, little guy had a hot dog and banana
    Snack – Everyone had random bits, crackers and cream cheese, string cheese, apple slices with peanut butter
    Dinner – Ham, Egg and cheese on homemade Biscuits and fried potatoes. Everyone loved this dinner but I desperately need a big salad.
    Dessert – Raspberry Cream Cheese Bars

    • Heather M says:

      I understand the need for salad. That’s why my version of the Challenge includes buying whatever fresh produce (or dairy, etc) that we need. I still spend a lot less, but don’t deprive our diets. I just can’t give it up! 🙂

    • Yep, I bought a clamshell of organic spring mix, some peppers, and a bag of clementines yesterday at Costco when I went to get yogurt and some tortilla chips (on sale!). I could just feel that I haven’t been eating enough fresh things and really needed some. Had a clementine for a snack and a nice salad for dinner last night; I also thawed some frozen berries that I put on my yogurt for breakfast this morning. I’ll have another clementine today. It was weird how it was an almost instant ahhhh after eating the salad, so I’m guessing some of it may have been psychological as well. I definitely feel better including some fresh produce in the diet, though. If I make inroads on all the rest of it, I’m okay with purchasing a little bit to keep the health quotient in balance.

  7. Breakfast-out with my wonderful friends for over thirty years-every Thursday, same friends, same restaurant, even same table! Thirty years of Thursday breakfasts!
    Lunch-PBJ, yogurt, oranges
    Dinner-from the freezer chicken cacciatore, salad. I bought the romaine in the package of six at costco at the end of December, wrapped it well and still have three to go. They really last.

  8. Melissa F says:

    Husband’s trip to stores were alright (he has a tendency to pick up something extra while shopping) – $24 at Food Lion for produce, tortilla chips, he found a marked down whole cut up chicken for $5.60 (this was marked down by half) and the item that found its way into the cart was a box of Little Debbie swiss cake rolls! lol he thought it would cheer me up! We always look for marked down meat at this store and get lucky more times than not – the brats we enjoyed the other night were found there for half the price. Publix was also $24 for 4 different kinds (bricks, slices and string) of cheese, strawberries, bread, half & half and salsa – tostitos is our favorite store bought when we don’t make our own, nice to have in the pantry. Those trips bring our total spending to $88 (since our start date of December 28th)

    It was chili for dinner last night and we have just enough leftover to make chili con queso for lunch today for Hubs and I.
    He made us scrambled eggs and bacon for breakfast this morning – a nice hot breakfast on such a cold morning. I will have my grapefruit a little later. We are baking the whole cut up chicken tonite for dinner with homemade rice a roni and steamed broccoli. I will take all the extra meat and freeze it in recipe ready size bags for creamy enchiladas and chicken pot pie at a later date. Having that meat ready to go will make prep a lot easier.

    Both my son and daughter will be here for dinner tonite, I am so excited. My daughter had her wisdom teeth taken out Monday so this will be her first “real” meal! She asked me to make something good….and soft. lol

    Stay warm everyone!

  9. Stephanie P says:

    Last night went well! It was another crazy night at the house, and I wasn’t home in the evening but it all worked out, and without spending extra money.

    B: Overnight oats
    L: Spaghetti Squash Primavera, Grapefruit, leftover turkey breast
    D: This was abnormal because I was running out. I had oatmeal before I went to paint night (which was fun), and then a Luna bar on the way to the gym. Not my best day overall but still managed to eat without spending extra money. I even decided against the latte!
    The boys were at home and had meatball subs from the leftover meatballs from our spaghetti dinner. Tonight will be a little more normal for me, but my husband will be out. Always something!

  10. HI,

    This is my first pantry challenge ever. I am happy to say that we have not needed anything more than milk so far this week. Though having a couple of us sick probably helped that a bit. We get our meat directly from the farm and in big quantities so that is an advantage.

    With items found in the pantry I was able to refill my bread crumbs with somewhat stale bread. Put in the dehydrator and then in the mortar and pestle. Filled up almost a liter mason jar. From rice, made rice pudding in pressure cooker. My new favorite tool in the kitchen.

    Breakfast is the usual PB&J for one son, sausage and other meat sticks (found in the freezer with a bit of freezer burn, but ketchup fixes everything) for the other. Hubby and I have a smoothie with frozen fruits and protein powder.

    Lunch is whatever leftover we can find or a frozen lunch. Sandwiches for boys lunches or hot meal at school. Nothing to buy to make lunches. We stocked up on snacks during the holidays.

    Dinner this week was leftover crockpot chicken stew that was too dry, but made great soup. I use my homemade chicken stock and tomato sauce and added alphabet noodles. Next was pancakes (what hubby makes when I am down with a migraine). Wednesday was filet mignon (from the freezer) with fresh veggies, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower. Yesterday was beef (from the freezer) that I ground and made into patties with cumin for flavoring and same fresh veggies. And for tonight it will be the whole chicken (from a friend’s farm) defrosting and into the pressure cooker (still playing 🙂 ) and what is left of fresh veggies. We had yogurt and rice pudding for dessert.

    We are coming close to the end of the freezer meat. I have maybe 3 meals left of pork and beef and no more chicken. We will have to place our next order with the farms for the year. All that will be left in the freezer after the meat is butter, chicken stock and frozen bananas (for smoothies). the fridge is now out of fruits and veggies. It has eggs, milk, fats (from pork, need to figure out what to do with this) and condiments.

    I will go through the pantry this weekend. I still have beans, lentils, canned fish, and pasta. The rest are mostly staples, flours, sugars, salt, grains, rice. Time to get the mixer out and make pie dough, pasta, bread, tortillas to stretch into meals. Maybe a few vegetarian ones thrown in there with barley and lentils. I think the pressure cooker will be useful for this too.

    I must admit to being quite surprised at all the I managed to get out of my stock. I am quite happy and have the full support of hubby. As you might be able to tell, I am trying very hard to follow a whole food diet and making as much as I can myself, even though both of us parents work and the two boys are at school.

    Thank you for your website that I found just last fall. I quite enjoying it.

    Julie (from Montreal, Canada)

  11. This week flew by. I sorta started this challenge the day after Christmas. I had decided to not buy one other thing for the freezer, no matter how good of a deal it was. Now, if I rearranged the freezer today, I would probably have one empty shelf. This is a major improvement. (I need to confess that we have two full size freezers and I have not begun to empty the other one. It is full of deer meat from this season. I will not begin to use that meat until we eat the meat in the other freezer because it is older.)
    I will run out of frozen vegetables long before I run out of meat. And we only have 4 potatoes in the house 🙁
    Tonight we are having left overs-every man for himself. Tomorrow is a freezer cooking day. I have informed the two children (21 and 14) that they will be helping hubs and me with this venture. School for them starts on Monday. We need to be prepared.
    I so am enjoying this pc. It’s fun to read what everyone else posts and I always learn something new to do with leftovers.
    Happy Friday!

  12. That’s funny – we inhale fresh lettuce when I bring it home from the store, too! I think that’s a good thing.

    I found some leftover bread in my freezer, too. Thanks for the reminder that I can use it for croutons!

    We’re grilling burgers tonight, so I”m off to make homemade buns. YUM! Enjoy your weekend.

  13. Tiffany R says:

    Everything is going okay here but with hubs out of the house this week we didn’t make much of a dent in the stocked up freezer. I cook more when he is home.

    Breakfast: Bagel from the freezer and coffee (me) and Bagel and smoothie (kids). I used up some of the frozen fruit and frozen gogurt that I have been trying to move. I even added in some protein powder that a friend gave me.
    Lunch: Turkey flat-out wrap w/provolone & lettuce, grapes & tortilla chips (me)
    Dinner: Hubs will be home so out for Chinese – yeah!!

  14. Heather M says:

    Day 6 was great for us, which is good because today (day 7/Friday) is a total bust. Which I kind of figured would happen since it’s my daughter’a last day home. On to day 6 details:

    B: variations of cereal, vegetarian and the last of the pork sausage, and toast w/jam
    L: tuna sandwiches and apples for those of us at home (13yo has been home all week w/the flu, which started Monday after school); hubs took a can of veg-beef soup(trying to clean out those languishing cans I don’t want around anymore!), pretzels and a banana
    D: a huge Challenge success! I made a spicy wonton soup with the chicken stock I made wed. when I cooked chicken for enchiladas. I spiced it up w/sriracha, sautéed thinly sliced carrot and mushrooms, sliced green onions, and added a nice amount of costco’s mini chicken cilantro wontons I found in the back of the freezer. It was such a huge hit I’ll be making this one again for sure. It was perfect for a cold winter’s night.

    I also got my freezer and half of my food cupboards inventoried! And discovered just how well we will eat for a while with the proteins in the freezer. And I have tons of bananas in there, which isn’t typical. It’s so full, I really need to focus on all the items in there. We have more “prepared” food in the here than usual and it needs to go so I can start refilling it with homemade items. Glad I accomplished something cuz Day 7’s report is going to be hilarious. Just sayin’.

  15. Yesterday was day 8 for us and all went well. I took my mom and the two kids to the local shopping Market which always makes me nervous because its usually much more expensive but it was a surprisingly thrifty trip for me! I spent $62 and $9 of that was on cat litter as its so cold out and they need the box right now:( the rest was dairy, fresh produce and a two packs if breakfast sausages for the kiddos. I received a free gallon of milk, a free dozen organic eggs, a free bunch of passed-their-prime bananas and two free tubs of gourmet seafood cheese spread that hubs loves! This brings out total up to $122 which is almost all fresh produce and dairy which we don’t go without.

    Had a pc success this evening… Cubed up stale bread and frozen ends to make Apple french toast bake for tomorrow’s breakfast. Beat 8 of those free eggs with some if that free milk for the custard and tomorrow will top with sautéed apples before baking. Hubs was excited about this:)

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