Pantry Challenge Day 3 (Summer 2015)

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This is day 3 of our Summertime Pantry Challenge. We’re trying to eat up what we have and not go over budget this month, despite all the craziness we’ve had going.

pantry 3


Whew! It was a busy day. Two of my teens are volunteering at a local weeklong day camp. The drive is an hour at 7 in the morning and an hour at noon. I also met a friend for lunch and took one of the boys to physical therapy, the orthotics place, and the grocery store (I spent less than $50). I was home for an hour here and there, but it was 5:30 before I was home for good. I was beat!

My saving grace was my meal plan and easy to prep meals.

Here’s what we ate today:

Breakfast: English muffins, eggs, bacon

Lunch: Chihuahua Chili

Dinner: Spice-Rubbed Grilled Pork Tenderloin, Vegetables, Tater Tots

How’s the Pantry Challenge going for you?

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  1. Liz Vee says:

    Another day of successfully staying out of the stores. For breakfast we had Multigrain pancakes, with enough leftover for another day of breakfast. We also had turkey bacon with that. Lunches were a smorgasbord of leftovers, as well as dinner. Baked a batch of muffins from a random mix I found in the Pantry, and also discovered some organic chicken breasts in my freezer that I didn’t know I had. Will probably thaw those for lunch tomorrow. Feeling motivated, thank you Jessica!

  2. I had heavy cream at the end of its lifespan in the fridge, and tortellini and leftover diced tomatoes and meatballs in the freezer, so I made a creamy tomato sauce with pasta & meatballs. I had accidentally double-bought our greens earlier this week so I tossed in a ton of chopped spinach into the pasta dish and made sure the side salad (of just plain romaine!) was gigantic 🙂

  3. Stephanie M. says:

    Hubby was on a business trip so I didn’t have to worry about his breakfast or lunch. He was home for dinner though.

    B – I was too busy so I didn’t eat breakfast

    L – I had the last grilled chicken burger

    D – I had a 1/2 jar of cheese sauce in the fridge from something I made a couple of weeks ago and I had a full one in the pantry and 3 packages of round steak in the freezer. So I cut the steak in strips and cooked that. Then I cooked some pasta. I mixed the pasta with the steak, the cheese sauce and frozen broccoli, cauliflower, and carrot blend and done. Yum and enough leftovers for tomorrow night. So this meal was a win win in getting something out of the pantry and the freezer.

  4. I was so tempted to hit the drive-thru today.
    But I didn’t!
    Ds spent the night with a friend, so it was just me during the day (I picked him up that evening).
    B – I made a salad for myself… I know my breakfasts are unorthodox!
    L – l-a-t-e lunch after haircut. I had a baked potato topped with leftover chili. I was starving.
    D – late again, after picking up DS and after Bible Study… he had leftover pizza and I had a little more chili.
    I managed to eat at home, even though I was really hungry at lunch and dinner because I had been out running errands. I guess that’s poor planning on my part – perhaps I need to make up some snacks to toss in my purse when I know that’s going to happen…. (I haven’t done that since I had a toddler!!!)

    • I keep things like granola bars and squeezable apple sauce in my glove box for this exact reason. I never know when I’m going to be caught up in something and then be deliriously hungry.

  5. B: made French toast for the kids with a partial loaf of sprouted cinnamon raisin bread that’s been languishing in the freezer. I had yogurt (we have a surplus) with frozen strawberries and some granola that was a bit of a flop but still edible.

    L: random bits from the pantry and fridge – cashews, apples, string cheese, dried cranberries. Plus I made croutons out of a bag of bread cubes I found in the freezer so we snacked on those too. I just sautĂ©ed them in a bunch of olive oil with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Very tasty!

    Dinner found us here and there with wedding related activities so we didn’t eat at home.

    Today’s goals are to finish doing an inventory of the pantry and fridge, and to make a loaf of bread. I uncovered a bag of regular whole wheat flour (as opposed to white whole wheat which I typically use exclusively) so I will try to incorporate some of that into the bread. I started a list of meal ideas to use up what we have so hopefully I can add more to that as well.

  6. breakfast – watermelon for me, cereal for kid
    lunch – chicken, kale, couscous (the little kind, not the larger pearls)
    snack for me – hummus, tortilla chip crumbs to finish the bag, nectarine
    snack for kid – slice of pizza
    dinner – lentil chili with remaining couscous from lunch
    dessert – kid had a cookie, I managed to abstain

  7. Jessica S says:

    Yesterday was an easy free for all!
    For breakfast I pulled a bag of frozen waffle and pancakes out and told the kids to eat them. Husband had an oatmeal packet and I had eggs and toast.

    For Lunch- Husband had sandwich and cottage cheese, kids rummaged for fruit, veggies, and a a can of spaghettios ( ewww)

    Dinner – I had put a chicken in the crock pot. I had to leave for calling hours after I brought daughter home from Volleyball camp. Husband and boys were down the road at an auction. So I declared dinner Chicken wrap night! Pulled out tortillas, the last of the shredded cheese, some precooked bacon and sauces.. Rip off some meat and build a meal!

    I tossed the carcass into the freezer and will cook it down next week when husband is camping and cannot tell me how hot it is making the house! lol

    • Dennise says:

      Use your crock pot to make your chicken broth from the carcus! Put carcus, leftover veggies a little salt and pepper and fill with water. Let it cool on low 24-48 hours then strain. Tada! ?

  8. I found a lot of pearled barley. Any suggestions on how to use it?

    • I just used up our last of the barley in a very thick beef barley soup. I don’t use a recipe, but I do use either left over beef cut up fine ( like roast) or failing that left over hamburger or frozen hamburger, frozen mixed vegetables, cut up in peas size or slightly larger potato, onion, or other veg like rutabaga. A bay leaf or two, tin of tomato paste with 4 tins of water, if I have it on hand I also would use a tin of stewed tomatoes. a splash or two of HP sauce and a good deal of barley ( 3/4 cup approx..) then about 4 cups of water. I heat things up to boiling then add the barley and turn the heat to lowest level and slow cook, stirring occasionally. This makes a huge pot full about 10 good servings of soup. If you have left overs it will be very thick the next day, I reheat ( or if I’m on my own, I eat it cold like a porridge) with a little more liquid ( water, tomato juice, chicken broth or beef broth). salt( if you use it) pepper or what ever seasonings you feel it needs, but I find the bay leaf does the trick for us, just remember to remove it before you serve the soup.
      We use this for a supper meal with a baking powder biscuit.

    • Barley risotto! Make the same way you would with arborio rice but don’t worry too much about stirring constantly…that’s unnecessary:) sautĂ© garlic and onion first in butter and oil, add barley to toast and then add some wine and stock until it gets soft and creamy. I also add some squash purĂ©e now and then and some Parmesan. Serve with grilled pork tenderloin cooked with some garlic seasoning and some green beans!!

    • Sounds like you got some good ideas. I like making a pilaf with it. It’s good the next day with a fried egg.

  9. Yesterday was a fun one for me because I have a ton of homegrown tomatoes that I need to use up before they go bad (and before the next batch is ready to be picked). I got creative and threw tomatoes in everything yesterday! I also used up all the milk that was going to turn any day now, but I had a fresher half gallon in the fridge already so still no trips to the store needed!

    Breakfast-omelette with tomatoes and dubliner cheese

    After workout-protein shake with frozen banana, milk, and my leftover morning coffee

    Lunch-I was still full from the protein shake so I sliced up some tomatoes into thick slabs, topped them with parmesan and oregano, and cooked them in a 400 degree oven for about 15 minutes. They were so delicious!

    Snacks-random pickings from the pantry plus an apple and peanut butter

    Dinner-frozen spinach and ricotta stuffed shells. These were leftover from when I originally made them a few months ago. I’ll say that next time I will wrap them up even more because they did not taste as fresh as they have in the past.

  10. Crystal says:

    B- waffles from the freezer
    L-snacky lunch
    D- panko chicken, gnochi from the freezer, pasta(for the kids), broccoli, and salad

    I dont think anyone in our house realizes I am doing a pantry challenge, including the hubs! Hopefully I can keep that up for another week. We will probably continue the pantry challenge off and on through July. With a few family reunions and trips in there it will be impossible not to shop, but hopefully I can clean out the pantry and freezer a bit. And a pantry challenge will help off set the cost of these trips a bit! I call that a win-win!

  11. We are facing at least 10 days in the mid to high 30’s C. and now they are telling us to expect at least 2 days in the 40’s C. This is record breaking weather for here. So, Dh and I sat down and decided we will be at the store for opening tomorrow and do a shopping trip ( we live out of town and our car air-conditioning does not work, and we were told to get it fixed was more than the car is worth). So since it is our pay day, we have worked together to plan a menu for the next few days, and will pick up some items to help us achieve our goal. This is the first time he has been willing to help with the menu plan for more than just a meal.
    I am cooking the 1/2 turkey today. So turkey dinner for supper tonight ( I bought the turkey at )95 cents a pound, and had the butcher cut it in half. Lunch is finishing the beef barley soup…. cold and finishing the baking powder biscuits, also the last of my green salad.
    Tomorrow will be potato salad and club house sandwiches for supper. easy over eggs and home made hash browns for brunch. ( we often eat about 11am then have supper about 5 :30 pm, with coffee breaks in between and in the evening. I will have a small pudding made ahead with added fruit when I serve it for our evening snack.
    this is off topic, but I have 1 planter that fits on the deck rails. I haven’t planted this yet, but dh made me a saw horse that this fits on perfectly and I am putting it on today and planting it with seeds I have left over from when I had a big garden. I think it will be chard on the one side and what ever lettuce I have left on the other. So working on a garden for greens in August now. I am eating lettuce, spinach and green onions, chives, and lemon thyme out of my small space now. Three small tomatoes are on the vines, I can hardly wait for them!

  12. I am probably going to the store tomorrow (need milk), but will take a very small list. Breakfast was an on your own affair and lunch was leftovers (DS ate at camp). Dinner was tacos, since DD was not home tonight and she doesn’t like them. I also spent a few minutes cleaning out a large pantry cupboard. It is rearranged and a number of items have been set aside to be used up this month. I have been putting that off for quite a while, so I’m glad it’s done (and of course it didn’t take as long as I feared it would). My youngest made jello jigglers with a few boxes of jello that we found buried in the cupboard. She was very excited.

  13. Still easy as can be. I actually had fun today planning out weird lunches that we can have in July. The kids would be happy with peanut butter and jelly everyday, but that won’t get the pantry cleaned out.

    Breakfast- cereal with bananas
    Lunch- homemade macaroni and cheese with broccoli
    Dinner chicken in lemon caper sauce over spaghetti, green beans
    Dessert- A box of Trader Joes macarons from the freezer

    And today I went to the grocery store and bought nothing but milk and lettuce!

  14. Dennise says:

    So far so good!
    B- cereal ,toast and banana
    L- left over twice baked potato from day 1 supper
    D-oven roasted broccoli and chicken rolls from the freezer and salad

    I will need milk and butter but shouldn’t need much more this month

  15. Harriet says:

    Day three was good here. We always eat breakfast at home and take our lunches . Hubby had to travel on the job today, so he got to eat lunch out . Since he will be late getting home, son and I ate what’s already cooked. Too hot to heat the oven.
    Tomorrow, however, I am off work and have a big day planned on prepping meals. Yesterday we used Up the last of the fresh zucchini and squash given us last week. All we have left is green peppers. Tomorrow I will make chicken cacciatore in the crock pot with them.
    This heat is killing me. Who wants to heat the kitchen when it’s 95 everyday???

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