Pantry Challenge Day 16

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This month we are eating down the pantry to save money and reduce food waste. Join me every day for the Pantry Challenge!

muffins breakfast

It was a pretty mellow day here and already things are getting tough. Though I stocked up on veg on Sunday, I think I may need to hit the store for some basics just so things don’t feel so crazy here. Or do a lot of work in the kitchen.

I don’t really have time for the latter with school going on, but we’ll see.

Today’s meals were:

Breakfast: Skillet Eggs (3 of my kids ate them!), Cranberry Muffins, Monkey Salad

Lunch: Sunbutter and Jelly Sandwiches, Apples

Dinner: The last of the Tamales, Pulled Pork Tacos, and Strawberries

How did YOUR day go in the Pantry Challenge?

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  1. Things are going well here. I baked some chocolate chip cookies this afternoon so 13 yo grandson can have a treat when he gets home from school. Since there is now room in the freezer I formed dough balls and froze half of the batter. Since I’m cooking more we’ve noticed two things, we go through the staples (milk, bread and eggs) quicker than before and we have to run our dishwasher more often (we normally would run it about twice a week). Small price to pay for using what we have and saving money at the grocery store.

    B – greens with fried eggs and bacon for me, fried eggs and toast for dh
    L – dh had leftover stew, I had nuts, apple and a few bites of chicken thigh
    D – Senate bean soup from the freezer

    • I agree with you that cooking at home does create many dishes!!! We run out dishwasher at least daily and often twice a day…

      We too use fresh ingredients quickly when we are cooking and eating at home. Like you said, small concessions to make for a healthful and frugal diet!!!

  2. I had a pretty productive day today, making a batch of homemade tortillas and then bean burritos.

    B – carrot waffle and cup of tea

    L – bean burrito

    S- free Wendy’s Jr. Frostie

    D – Sloppy Joes and Corn.

    Bedtime snack – Graham Crackers and hot tea

  3. Good day here, too.

    B-Cereal, toast, coffee, water.

    L-The guys had their typical packed lunch; I had a mango smoothie (used some of the frozen mango) & green tea.

    D-LO stew & toast; banana bread for dessert.

    S-Homemade hummus, pita chips, trail mix, banana bread. (Son had banana bread twice today, but since he swims an hour and a half a day I don’t think it will hurt him any.)

    I used a half empty jar of roasted red peppers and some tahini sauce in the hummus. I used up the peppers, but now I’ve got an opened container of tahini sauce. Does anyone have any ideas on how I can use it up?

    Finally got to the store for OJ, cereal, yogurt, coffee, milk, grapes, and whipped cream (you know, the essentials). I’m hoping this will take us until the end of the month (although I did see a good sale on frozen veggies at Vons, so I might pick up a few packages of broccoli).

    • I run into the same problem too – in order to use up a lingering pantry ingredient I either have to open up more or even buy more, so I’m wondering if at this point I should just toss the rice noodles instead of buying two more condiment bottles to live in my fridge!

      And whipping cream is a staple in my house as well – I make a lot of ice cream! 🙂

      • Jessica S says:

        Have you checked into a website like and tried to find a different recipe for those noodles that doesn’t require the standby condiments? If you will use them I say get them.. if they are not often used then skip!

      • Amy,

        Glad I’m not the only one. 🙂

    • I would use the tahini in lo-mein (using spaghetti noodles).

    • Tahiti lasts in the fridge for a really long time.

    • Tahini will last forever in the fridge. Just remember to let it warm up a bit before you try to use–the oil will rise to the top. Tahini is lovely in a salad dressing, it give you a really creamy mouthfeel without any dairy.

  4. We had a really good day. I made the most of it, when DD2 napped and made rolls and applesuce with strawberries and blueberries. I use the applesauce to sweeten the kids’ porridge and to eat as is.

    Breakfast: Oats and milk for DD1 and DH. Corn porridge for DD2. Toasted leftover burger bun for me with coffee. It had to go 🙂

    Lunch: Packed lunch for DD1 and DH. Rye bread with lunch meat from the freezer for me. Bread and banana for DD2

    Dinner: Tarteletter. I don’t know what these are called in English, but it’s shells made of puff pastry. Then they are filled with a white stew. Daughters and I had them with chicken/asparagues stew. DH han them with asparagues/carrot/pea stew. I had both the stews in the freezer and the shells in the pantry. My kids LOVE this, so they ate a lot at dinner 🙂

    Snacks: rolls and fruit

    Kathy in Denmark.

    • I forgot to write that I also made red cabbage. I boil it with vinegar, sugar and red currant juice. We eat it with a lot of the traditional Danish dishes. I will serve something with dinner tonight and freeze the rest.

      I have a feeling I forgot to write something else, so maybe I will be back with a new comment a little later 🙂

      • Jessica S says:

        My paternal family is Danish! Christmas Eve Gram would make a lot of Danish receipes.. I never got into the meats, but I distinctly remember the Danish cabbage one! Now I need to go find the cookbook that my aunt made after Gram passed to see what recipes are in there….

        • The red cabbage is really good and it really isn’t Christmas without it 🙂

          The meat for Christmas is goose in some families, duck in other families and duck and roast pork in other families.
          In my family we always have roast duck and roast pork. The skin is left on the pork and is scored, so you have crackling on top and meat on the bottom 🙂 With that is served boiled potatoes, gravy made from the pan drippings, red cabbage and “brown potatoes”. These are small potatoes which are roasted in a caramel made with sugar and butter. It is a really heavy meal, but also very good! It’s perfect for the cold weather we normally have in Denmark at Christmas time.

          Hope you find the recipes 🙂 The red cabbage is good with different kinds og pork, so it is very versatile and freezes well.

          • Wow, you’re making me hungry. 🙂 I looked up Tarteletter and I will attempt to make that at some point. It looks really good.

          • Small potstores roasted in a caramel sauce sounds perfect for cold weather. We’re expecting a blizzard here tomorrow and I think I’ll try it!

  5. Last night: BBQ chicken wraps using up store tortillas and some softening tomatoes etc

    Lunch: homemade chicken burrito from the freezer, way too much homemade strawberry ice cream 😉

    Tonight: finished off the orzo in the pantry as a side dish with Parmesan, panfried two salmon fillets from the freezer that my brother had caught, and pressure cooked beets that had been inhabiting my fridge drawer for nearly two months. We always have beets with balsamic vinegar and feta!

    • I have orzo just sitting in pantry ready for a new recipe. Think I will use it and make what you did. Glad you mentioned it!

  6. Stephanie M. says:

    Now that we are half way through the pantry challenge, I have worked hard to stay on track and my pantry and freezers are showing it. With equal time still left in the challenge, I have no doubt that I will be just about cleaned out in my freezer with the exception of maybe a roast or two. It takes a little longer to go through things here because it’s just hubby and I. An eye round for roast beef could potentially give us many meals which holds us back from getting on to the next thing. That’s, of course, not a bad thing to have so many meals from just one piece of meat but that’s why it’s a slow process here.

    B – Hubby had cereal; I had pancakes and a yogurt.

    L – Hubby had a roast beef and Swiss cheese sandwich, some wheat thin crackers, a pear, and some Christmas cookies. (Last week, I bought some deli roast beef and some Swiss cheese. I had enough for one more sandwich but my husband was going to be at several business lunches and I usually eat salad for lunch so I wrapped them up and put them in the freezer; I knew I could freeze the roast beef but I wondered how the cheese would freeze. I have read about people freezing cheese and decided to do it. It came out just like it went in and I was able to make the last sandwich out of it. Now I know. I have thrown out more cheese in the past because I didn’t know I could freeze it.) I had my usual salad.

    D РI had a canister of stove top stuffing in the pantry so I made a casserole using that, chopped seeded tomatoes, ricotta cheese, Swiss cheese, cooked bacon bits, and saut̩ed onion. This comes together in less than 30 minutes and is a nice filling little dinner. I also made some cucumber salad.

    • Danielle L Zecher says:

      Do you mix the other ingredients into the stuffing or put it on top of them? The combination sounds good, I just can’t quite visualize how to do it.

      • Stephanie M. says:

        Hi Danielle:

        Here is the recipe:

        1 medium onion, chopped
        2 TBS. butter
        1 cup ricotta cheese
        1 cup milk
        3 eggs, beaten with a fork
        3 cups stove top chicken stuffing from the canister
        1 cup shredded Swiss cheese, divided
        2 large tomatoes, seeded and chopped
        8 slices bacon, crisply cooked and broken into bits
        1/4 tsp. black pepper

        Place onion and butter in a 3 quart microwavable casserole dish. Cover loosely with wax paper.

        Microwave on high for 3 minutes. Stir in ricotta cheese, milk, and eggs. Stir in stuffing mix, 3/4 cup of Swiss cheese, tomatoes, bacon, and pepper until well mixed. Cover loosely with wax paper.

        Microwave 10 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking time,. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup Swiss cheese and let stand 5 minutes.

        Hope that helps and that you enjoy it. Nothing fancy; just good throw together quick food.

  7. B: Peanut butter toast, raspberries and skim milk
    L: I had hummus & pita bread with a tossed salad; my husband had LO chili with cheese and crackers
    D: Meatloaf, make-ahead mashed potatoes from the freezer and cranberry-apple relish

    With just 12 more days to go, I did a revised inventory for proteins to cover 12 lunches and 12 dinners. We typically have 4 to 6 people per meal. With the meat we have in the fridge and freezer, we have 1 to 2 oz. per person per meal to the end of the month. With beans, nuts, and cheese, to fill out meals we can easily go to the end of the month without purchasing any more protein.

    2 lbs. roast beef – 4 meals of 8 oz. each
    2 lbs. chicken breast – 4 meals of 8 oz. each
    3 lbs. ground beef – 6 meals of 8 oz. each
    24 oz. diced ham – 4 meals of 6 oz. each
    24 oz. ground breakfast sausage – 4 meals of 6 oz. each
    2 dozen eggs and 1 lb. bacon – 2 meals plus extra eggs for baking

  8. Due the holiday weekend and all the extra eating we ran out of eggs and bread by yesterday. We bought a loaf of bread, but I am trying to hold off on the eggs until Friday. If I am careful I can just shop Friday instead of Saturday with no kids so I don’t go over budget. I am trying to stay under $500 for the month with four people. We usually spend about $800. At this point I am at about $340, which is really low for us.

    Yesterday’s breakfast was toast and peanut butter. Everyone took sandwiches and snacks for lunches. I made chicken enchiladas for dinner. I prepared them over the weekend after I shopped so we would have a quick and easy dinner. We have used up/almost used up so much.

  9. Jessica S says:

    I admit I love the challenge of using what we have on hand and not wasting, I admit I love to cook and eat. But WOW- I am NOT a planner.. SO impressed at how detailed and plan focused many of you are! I am more of the *Wing IT School* of meal prep/implementation! lol

    B- Woke oldest, gave him oatmeal and toast with hot tea and honey.. then promptly sent him back to bed because he was just too sick to go to school! (He slept another 4.5 hours so he obviously needed it). Woke other 2 and gave them oatmeal , toast with tea or milk. Sent them to school.
    I had ham, egg and cheese scramble.

    L- packed a pepperoni sandwich for my whiny child, packed a hot pocket for the other( 1st time and loved it- don’t get used to this junk food.. was just a killer coupon item!) yogurt, veg, crackers, water…
    L- sicko woke and helped himself to leftover pepperoni bread and some blueberries

    D- found a bag of hot dog buns and a pack of hot dogs so made those., used up the last of a bag of tater tots and made a bag of sweet potato fries and served with fruit.

    Pulled a loaf of sweet bread from the freezer and when it defrosted learned it was pumpkin! YUM! That was snacks! ( yes, I got lazy around holidays and did not label!

    • Jessica,

      Thanks for the term, I too am of the *wing it* persuasion, though I have progressed from standing in front of the cupboard thinking what can I cook to thinking in the morning *What will we eat* and *do I need to thaw anything for tonight*.

      Like others have mentioned, we are only two people and frequently the answer is we are still eating leftovers. In fact if I am going to be home late, I always plan for leftovers when cooking the day before. Thankfully my husband likes leftovers and isn’t picky.

      I haven’t done that well lately, went down with a cold before the weekend and as it was hitting I bought some easy stuff to fix. Between the cold and therapy for a knee problem, I lacked energy for some of the cooking and baking I would have otherwise done. But we have also used up some of the pantry and freezer, so it wasn’t all bad.

      I haven’t done any special inventories, yet and will probably continue on the use it up efforts through February. I keep an ongoing pantry list of sorts, and with that and eyeballing the freezer I knew we had plenty for the month. It has been good for me to make a special effort not to add to pantry and freezer unless I could really justify it.

      I have enjoyed reading everyone’s menus, but haven’t posted that often since it is so often just leftovers again. We generally have either oatmeal or a breakfast casserole for weekend breakfasts. During the week, husband gets up early fixes his lunch and breakfast snack, then I have tea and leftovers or eggs. Lunch for me is leftovers from either the fridge or freezer. I do much of my cooking on weekends, though I have been cooking soup during the last week, chicken and noodle, cabbage and rice with chicken, and am planning green bean soup tomorrow.

      • We are a two person family as well, unless we have grandkids on the weekend. My favorite hobby is to grocery shop for good deals (I call grocery ad day “doing my business”), so I am always happy to have the January challenge come along to finally use those good deals up.

        My January goal is to curb as much unessential shopping as I can and I am amazed at how much money I’m saving that way. I’ve been doing a lot of cooking-soup every week, bread (love my bread machine), muffins and preparing new recipes made from what’s available. I know we actually eat better in January. Weird.

        I write down a week’s dinner plans to stick on the refrigerator, then add a few options like pasta night or beans and rice if I don’t feel like making that day’s dinner when I get home from work. I am probably continuing the challenge until mid February as I still have lots of food.

        My husband I and do continue our Saturday breakfasts out and we have wine and beer come out of our entertainment budget 🙂

        • Danielle L Zecher says:

          I think we’re going to continue into mid-February too. We basically missed a week when hubby’s grandmother was in the hospital/hospice. And I don’t think we’ve made much progress on the canned goods, so continuing the PC just makes sense.

          I love grocery shopping for good deals, too. 🙂 I hate most other kinds of shopping, but grocery shopping makes me happy.

        • Heather M says:

          Ill probably be there with you guys, too. I still buy fresh items and the odd necessity if it runs out (pistachios for my son’s lunch, for example). And I keep a pretty stocked house. january is when I can use up what’s been sitting around a while and needs to get rotated out. Last year I went well into Feb with my own set of rules. I found my grocery spending was easily cut in half both months. Glad to know I won’t be alone. 🙂

  10. Tastycook says:

    A so-so day here as we were both away from home at lunch time. Breakfast for both of us was toast, with PBJ for hubby and marmalade for me. I grabbed a fast food lunch, hubby ????

    Supper time was more successful. I took the LO chicken from the w/e, some odds and ends of veggies from the freezer and made chicken pot pies. This also used the puff pastry that was in the freezer AND gave me 2 more individual pot pies for the freezer.

    Something out and something else back in to the freezer seems to be the norm here. As someone else mentioned, when there’s only 2 of us, it takes a while to go thru stuff.

    I did spend $18 on fresh veggies, milk and coffee whitener. Need to make some bread this morning and will probably make some muffins for breakfast variety + it will use the sour cream in the friudge!

  11. Eating up all this chicken – bock, bock, bock!!

    B – Eggs & toast, avocado slices
    L – Leftover casserole and added a new side
    D – My mom made a huge pot of veggie soup for lunch and I added some pimento cheese sandwiches for our dinner. Thanks, Mom!

  12. Yesterday was a busy day of running errands.
    Breakfast was cornmeal waffles for the kids (2 hour delay because the windchill was -18). They also had a green smoothie and some raspberries
    Lunch-The 2 littles at home had homemade ham and cheese hot pockets (goodbye rest of Christmas ham) the 2 in school had a packed lunch of grilled chicken spinach salads. I had a salad as well.
    Dinner was a mash up of leftovers; stuffed peppers over cauliflower rice (I’m the sneaky mom, remember, thanks to 1 of 4 picky kids), chicken pesto pasta, and leftover homemade pizza with a salad for the oldest. My husband had the pesto pasta and I had a giant salad of whatever odds and ends in the veggie crisper. It was good.
    I went to the store yesterday since they’re predicting a major snowstorm here on the east coast. I stocked up on milk, produce, and diapers! I’m both excited and nervous. We had a blizzard when we first moved here in 2009. The weather predicted 5 inches and we ended up with 26. Haha. I’m not kidding when I say the kids (there were only 2 then) were snowboarding in our front yard. The bad part was half of our town was without power for 8 days. Luckily we were spared and did have power.
    I plan to bake some whole wheat coconut oil chocolate chip cookies today since the kids are whining for some dessert. I still have a little ricotta cheese left so that’ll become muffins or cookies as well.
    Dinner today will be either beef mushroom barley soup or Dijon grilled chicken from the freezer. I’ll make some hearty peasant bread and a salad to go with. Since I’m doing a sort of whole 30/paleo type thing I’ll have a salad with some grilled chicken and some fruit. Possibly some soup before I add the barley. Breaking this sugar thing is HARD but at the same time I’ve only been doing this for 2 weeks and I’m down 6 pounds- I have 3 more to go to get back to my pre- baby #4 weight. For some reason it held on this time. Lol. He’s just turned 2. . I’m not a huge meat eater so it’s tough for me sometimes. Easy for me to give up carbs and the sugar thing gets easier after a few days.i do very much miss my morning coffee. I haven’t found a non dairy creamer that doesn’t make coffee taste gross and greasy. Any ideas? Now that I’ve written a book im off to feed animals in -8 degree weather. As my Swedish friends like to say, there is no bad weather, only bad clothing. Haha. Have a good day everyone.

    • Have you tried almond milk? It is pretty good in coffee. You can get it unsweetened.

      • Thank you, I actually do use the unsweetened variety in my smoothies so I’m going to try it in my coffee and see.

    • Heather M says:

      I don’t have any good ideas for you, but I understand re the storm! I live in the immediate DC area and it’s supposed to be a doozy here. We decided to have some pre-storm action tonight (thursday) and turn the roads into impromptu skating rinks. Hubs left the office almost 2 1/2 hours ago, and is usually home in 15 minutes, 20-25 on a bad traffic day. Still not home, but getting close. Stay worm and safe wherever you are!! And, congrats on getting where you want to with your weight. You’re almost there! Yay!!

      • Thank you for the positive words.
        Stay safe with the snow. I’m excited and nervous all at the same time about the impending storm.
        My kids are super excited. Here’s hoping they keep up on the roads, my husband has call all weekend (he’s a physician) so I’m hoping it’s not impassable. Ah, lovely winter. Gotta love it.

      • Melissa F says:

        Oh Heather, I saw the pics on the news this morning of your area last night. I hate those long commutes when the weather gets bad. I will leave early tomorrow if I feel its gonna get bad. I live north of Columbia SC and it’s usually worse up my way – nothing compared to the northern states but when we have ice, it’s just awful as no one is really used to it or prepared for it.
        Stay safe and warm!

        Melissa F in SC

        • Heather M says:

          Thank you! To say last night was an epic disaster is putting it mildly. I live in Arlington, which is right across the river from DC. It’s busy on normal days. The roads/freeways through arlington last night were absolute disasters. People sat for 5 plus hours without moving at all. luckily my husband bailed out of the freeway very early on and took side roads. Which were parking lots as well. But he made it home in 3 hours 10 minutes, instead of the at least 5 hours it would have taken had he stayed on the freeway (we heard other accounts of how long it took on this particular one). Good luck down in SC. I l know they don’t deal well with snow either and you’ll be getting it too!

  13. We have about half a loaf of store bought bread left so the last few days I’ve been baking like crazy-baguettes, cinnamon rolls and cinnamon bread (great toasted!), banana muffins. It’s been a carb bonanza! I still need to make hamburger and hot dog buns but that will wait until next week.

    We are out of lettuce, but still have some cabbage and have been having roasted broccoli for dinner. Did you know you can roast the frozen florets? That’s the way I’m using up those bags of frozen broccoli. I might try it with frozen green beans too.

    I still have those eight bags of chocolate chips I found when cleaning the pantry. I think I’ll just give most of them to my daughter and not go so wild on buying good deals on chocolate chips next year.

    • Heather M says:

      How do you bake your baguettes? I’ve always wanted to try, but worry they won’t turn out.

      • I use this recipe
        and I have a baguette pan that makes two loaves that I got from Amazon, although I’m sure you wouldn’t need that.
        I’m working to get a crispier crust, but we have no problems eating the ones that come out of the oven.

        • Heather M says:

          Awesome! Thank you! I haven’t tried making baguette before, but I heard that a moist oven and a hot oven help with crispy crust. What do you do regarding that? Just trying to get a feel for when I try.

          • Two I’m working on are spritzing with water and next time I’m upping the temp a bit. The recipe is really easy so it’s fun to mess around with the different techniques that people who reviewed have tried.

  14. We’ve done quite well. On Friday, our youngest college girl had a friend from out of state that needed to return to campus sooner than the sorority house opened so she stayed with us for 2 days. That required a quick trip to the grocery store following work on Friday for fresh veggies and fruit and a few fill-in items to get us through the weekend – cost: $50. We ate well through the weekend and I made plenty on Saturday night to provide leftovers for Sunday’s lunch after church and before we moved our youngest back to college/sorority house. Since then, hubby and I have been cleaning out the fridge/freezer/pantry. Remember? We move on Saturday.

    Friday dinner: Papa Murphy’s take & bake pizza, salad; Late night snack: popcorn
    Saturday breakfast: bacon, yogurt, english muffins; lunch: fast food (we were packing/early move-in); dinner: baked spaghetti, steamed broccoli, garlic bread
    Sunday breakfast: cinnamon rolls, fruit; lunch: leftovers; dinner: white chicken chili with all the fixings
    Monday breakfast: eggs, bacon, english muffins; lunch: leftovers; dinner: french bread pizza, edamame
    Tuesday breakfast: eggs, bacon; lunch: leftover spaghetti for hubby, salad w/tuna for me; dinner: leftover white chicken chili, celery sticks w/hummus, sliced apples
    Today breakfast: eggs, bacon, english muffins; lunch: salad w/tuna for hubby, egg salad on crackers for me; dinner: planned dinner out w/friends before we go to trivia night

    Getting through the rest of the week on what we have left will be a real challenge….I’m not going to lie, I planned for some meals out late this week and into the weekend due to the move! Gotta keep my sanity.

  15. Danielle L Zecher says:

    Yesterday was a pretty good day for us.

    Breakfast: Hubby had instant oatmeal at work. I had baked oatmeal from the freezer w/ almond milk. It didn’t taste quite right, so I didn’t eat much of it. I’m not sure if it had been in the freezer too long, or if I don’t like almond milk. A co-worker brought in donuts, so I was saved from visiting the vending machine.

    Lunch: Leftover turkey soup and sweet potato bread.

    Dinner: Lentil stew. It was my first time cooking lentils, and it came out pretty good, so I was happy. Especially since we still have one more bag of lentils. It made a lot, though!

    Like some of the others are saying, we’re just two people, so it’s taking a while to get things used up. And I’m pretty sure that some lentil stew will be going in the freezer. But, I am starting to see some white space in both freezers. And I’m getting a lot of storage containers back from the freezer since we’re using some stuff up. Not only are we buying a lot less food this month, but I’ve found out we definitely do not need to buy more plastic storage containers.

    • How funny! I came to the same conclusion about containers. Can not get all mine in the drawer reserved for them and now have the top of fridge holding the rest of them. I am not buying any more either.

  16. Danielle L Zecher says:

    Forgot to say that we did do a little grocery shopping on Sunday. Mostly fresh veggies and sugar (I’m not a nice person w/o sweet tea). We also found a really good deal on roast at Sam’s, which we went ahead and bought, partly because it was sch a good deal, and partly because my parents were supposed to come to dinner on Friday night. Now it’s looking like they won’t be able to b/c of the crazy weather, but at least there’s plenty of room in the freezer for the roast.

    We’re right at $90.00 for groceries this month, and I think we’re on track to stay at or below $100.00.

  17. Day 16
    Breakfast – Oatmeal w/brown sugar, cause baby it was Cold outside
    Lunch – Sandwiches, peaches
    Dinner – Leftover Cajun Chicken and last of the dinner rolls
    Snack- Popcorn

  18. I unplugged the freezer today – whoot whoot!!

  19. Have been feeling sick the past couple of days. So Monday made pork hocks and beans. I made a big batch and we had that for Monday and Tuesday. Also made baking powder biscuits. with it, and cheddar cheese pieces. So that plus coffee was the go to for 2 days. I had yogurt for my brunch with a biscuit. Today I made use it up muffins – used the last of the oat bran and finished it off with oatmeal, soaked in sour milk ( new milk only lasted 2 days before starting to turn, normally would have returned it to the store, but decided I didn’t want to go out so used it up!), flour, baking powder, baking soda, raisins, 1/2 cup marg. , sweetener, and a good glob of molasses. turned out lovely, Dh said this was his favorite recipe yet…. right and I will never be able to make it the same again! LOL. Supper is beef stew, with carrots, onions and potatoes. ( no rutabaga left ).
    Oh, I forgot to mention above I had a large bag green salad mix, so have been serving salad as a side the past couple of days too. Tonight should finish the salad. Tomorrow I will need to go to the store and fill in with milk, and a few fresh veg.
    I still have lots of frozen and tinned, but like having potatoes, onions , carrots , cabbage and rutabaga, and garlic fresh.
    Fruit has been help yourself, oranges, apples or a banana ( out of banana’s a few days now). Freezer is looking good. About 1/2 full now. Tomorrow I will move more from the freezer to the freezer over the fridge. I find that I am using things up much better this way. Sunday we had chicken thighs, done in mushroom sauce ( undiluted mushroom soup, and soya sauce mixed), mashed potatoes, and canned corn. Was very good.
    So gradually going through the cupboards and using things up. Only 2 bags of beans left. 1 kidney beans and 1 bag pinto beans. Most of the tomatoes stewed are gone, past 8 left ( I buy by the case at the twice a year sale), and 2 tins of tomato sauce for spaghetti and things left. No hamburger, but thinking may get some and make more cabbage rolls in the next couple of days. Just love them.

  20. Oops, should read 8 tins of tomato paste. not past.

  21. B. Breakfast burritos I made and froze a few days ago.
    L. The only lunch I made was dd’s grapes, and yakimandu. She likes them cold at school.
    D. Chicken burritos using leftover chicken.

    I am making a pan of chicken enchiladas, and a pan of crab “stuffed” mushrooms using up a lot of leftovers. The mushrooms will be layers since they’re slices.

    And I’m making more yakimandu out of the freezer for dd’s lunch tomorrow, unless she wants cold spaghetti leftovers. She loves that cold too.

    • I’ve almost gotten low enough in the freezer to actually inventory. LOL.

      Tonight I may also roast a bunch of veggies, and bake a cake mix per hubby’s request (though he probably won’t eat any). And possibly make more breakfast burritos since the kids love them on school mornings. But that means dicing and frying potatoes, cooking eggs and sausage too. So, I don’t know. I’m sick, and work was tiring today.

      I know in the freezer I have a lot of whole tomatoes in need of skinning, and several gallon bags of cooked pumpkin.

  22. Another good day here
    Breakfast tea for me and hubby had cereal and coffee
    Lunch soup for us both
    Dinner beans on toast

  23. Yesterday was good. Finished off some leftovers that I am not sad to see go. Then for supper we had meatloaf, mashed potatoes, my last frozen peas, and cake.

  24. Things are moving here. Last couple of days I was able to use up 18 things out of the pantry!! Yay for me! Cleaned out one frig since it was so empty. Had my 17 yr old pick up milk while she had a 4h meeting in town. That kept me out of the grocery for the week and avoiding all the sales. In the process of cleaning out our second freezer before filling with fresh beef this weekend. Have done lots of baking and cooking using up odds and ends. The only bad thing is that the PC takes a lot more effort to get a meal on the table. Always thinking about how to use something up. The only thing keeping me going is the excitement of seeing more organized shelves!

  25. Heather M says:

    Day 16, let’s see if I can remember. I was pretty busy and also organizing to stage a house I had to do today (thursday/day 17). And my asthma has been acting up a bit and it’s freezing, etc. I didn’t eat lunch until 3 pm. Ack!

    Breakfast: son had vegetarian sausage, cereal and OJ; hubs and I had cereal.

    Lunch: son took usual snacky lunch; hubs finally went back to work after being ill/MLK day, took last of the beef and carrots from a while back, over leftover couscous, and a banana; I had garlic bread (serious craving for it… i think i got too hungry), cheese, and pineapple/berries salad.

    Dinner: spinach & mozzarella raviolis and shrimp & crab raviolis (both from freezer– always keep a bag of the former, the latter was to try out, and the bag is finally almost gone), salad. I wasn’t too hungry at dinnertime, so I only made enough food the guys. Later on I had a bowl of ice cream.

    I am loving loving loving everyone’s reports. Menus, recipes, chit-chat, successes, all of it. Thank you all!

    FYI, My report for Day 17 will be “interesting”. Crazy week here. Hint: hubs is at 2 hrs 50 mins to drive home what is usually 15 mins and still isn’t home. And this isn’t even the crazy blizzard we’re the supposed bullseye for this weekend. 🙂

    • Skipping dinner and just eating a bowl of ice cream sounds like a great plan! LOL. Hope you and hubs have a safe crazy weather weekend. Having driven in DC a couple of times, I truly shudder to think of the traffic he is enduring right now.

      • Heather M says:

        It was awful… you can read about it in Day 17-18 report. And, yes, ice cream for dinner was awesome? awful and awesome. 😉

  26. Still working our way through things here. Dinner tonight was various leftovers, which never goes over well with the family…but there wasn’t really any complaining. Definitely a success, We’ve been having smoothies almost every day (using up older yogurt and frozen bits of fruit). The kids have really enjoyed them and it’s a healthy snack. Another win.

    I also discovered that by keeping the freezer and pantry shelves a little less full we are more likely to find and use things. I know it sounds obvious, but even the 12 year old was digging through for healthy snacks since it was easier to find things. So, lesson learned. Now, I just need to remember this when shopping in the future.

    • The days keeping rolling along…

      B – two hard boiled eggs and tea; hubby YOYO.

      L – bean burrito

      S – Dark Chocolate/Nut Nature Valley Granola Bar

      D – Used pork bone broth to make a Pork Southwestern Soup served with Rye Bread.

  27. We are still chugging away.
    Breakfast was eggs and ham and toast.
    Skipped lunch. Kids ate at school and hubs had lo chili mac.
    Dinner was ham and scalloped potatoes with rolls and applesauce
    Snacks were chips ans salsa or cookies

  28. Monday’s Publix premium chicken sausages were really good. We had the Philly cheese flavor and thought they were worth purchasing again when on sale. We had a few potatoes left from Sunday so hubs asked me to make potato salad instead of the box pasta I was going to make. To round it out we had sauteed spinach. Enough leftovers for lunches the next day. Ate the rest of the strawberries for dessert – drizzled with honey and sprinkled with organic unsweetened dry coconut.
    Tuesday was our coldest day – 15 with windchill – so I made tomato soup (Barefoot Contessa recipe). So good. We had a few crackers with cheese. Enough left over for 2 lunches for me. We split the free candy bar from Kroger for dessert.
    Wednesday I got stuck in the city a little late with my daughter getting new eyeglasses. And the traffic was a bear so hubs met me at the wings place. It was nice to unwind and not have to cook.
    Tonite we are making creamy chicken enchiladas (Jessica’s recipe) with some of the leftover chicken from Sunday. I have some guacamole to use up and this will clear out a jar of salsa verde from my fridge.
    Not sure what the weather will bring our way but hubs did our Sam’s trip today – sticking with my very small list: dog food, lemons, parmesan wedge – he couldn’t find the sliced almonds I needed and he got us some water in case we lose power ( we are on a well).
    Stay warm and safe everyone!

    Melissa F in SC

  29. I have no idea which day we are on, but this is last of what I did that haven’t already posted.

    Tues 1/19
    Breakfast: coffee, finished off leftover veggie curry – yes, unusual breakfast, but I was hungry and now it’s out of the fridge
    Lunch: cheese and crackers (too much curry for breakfast so not too hungry. LOL)
    Dinner: leftover tortilla soup

    Wed 1/20
    Breakfast: grilled ham and cheese, banana
    Lunch: caprese salad, chicken
    Dinner: rice bowls ala Chipotle

  30. I have to say that this challenge is bringing me to a great level of cooking! It’s keeping me more planned and eating better. I haven’t been snacking as much knowing I wasn’t actually hungry and that I didn’t want to eat up things in case I needed them for later in the month.

    Has anyone a less needed to stop themselves from yelling random people how much they have spent on groceries for the month?:-)

    B-oatmeal with dried diced apples

    L- boys had Mac and cheese before a homeschool activity.i had a bit of M&C and an apple

    D- used a bag of pintos to make refined beans yesterday. Made burritos with leftover rice and turkey for dinner tonight and more for the freezer. I baked up oatmeal chocolate chip cookies for a treat.

    I’m having a Norwex party tomorrow and I made all the food (homemade rotini and cheese, brownies, hummus and veggies) from what I had on hand. I had several cans of evaporated milk which I didn’t know how to use and put it in the cheese sauce and it came out great! I’m on a grocery high….

    • Great job! Isn’t that a great feeling?!

    • Oh I forgot th apple crisp! I used up all of the sad shriveled apples on the crisper!

    • I totally get what you mean about yelling at people who spend so much on their groceries! I’ve looped a friend of mine into this pantry challenge, and each morning when we update each other, she’s confessing that she went to the store again! It can really be like a lifestyle change, and for her it totally is! But it’s nice to have a friend to do the challenge with!

      Wednesday: first attempt back at work after being very ill since last Thursday – and it totally kicked my butt! Came home early from work and took the rest of the week off! I’m a childcare supervisor, and I’m no good to my staff team if I’m working sick myself! And going back into that kind of a germ factory not all the way well yet is a recipe for disaster!

      Breakfast (Wednesday): Leftover pasta, tea for me. Leftover pasta for hubby
      Lunch: I skipped, Hubby wasn’t hungry, due to late morning pasta!
      Dinner: Oatmeal and bed for me, I was beat! Hubby had oatmeal too! Lazy dinner, but that’s ok!

      I also shopped for the second time on Wednesday. We were out of all of our “sick” food (hubby has a killer cold too!) so I picked up bread, milk, butter, fresh veg, oatmeal, salsa and chips. We’re averaging about $80 this month, which is so good for me! I’m a food shopper, but the challenge is so good for reminding me to use what I have, and not buy any more unnecessarily!

      Keep up the great work everyone!

  31. This was probably my most successful PC day yet! The amount of empty space is the refrigerator, cupboards, and freezer was making the kiddos nervous:) Bought a few groceries to prevent riots: cheese, milk, canned beans, produce, oj, and deli meats, a few ingredients for an upcoming birthday cake, and beef sticks (as peace offering to riotous mob) $55.63, 108.94 monthly total

    Breakfast: Leftover eggbake, fruit, eggs and toast
    Lunch: Sandwiches or leftovers
    Dinner: Chili verde and jalapeno corn bread muffins

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