Pantry Challenge 2017-13

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This month we’re avoiding the grocery store and shopping the kitchen. Here’s how we’re eating. It’s like reality TV, for food.


This virus is kicking my tail, so forgive me for not elaborating too much on our Pantry Challenge efforts. I’m hoping to be back to normal by Monday.

On Thursday night, even though I was so sick, I was able to make homemade bread and to cook a roast I had thawed. This made meals fairly easy the next day — though very fend-for-yourself. I was dragging by the time pizza making rolled around and let my eldest son take it on.

Pantry Challenge Meals, Day 13

Breakfast: homemade bread with butter, eggs

Lunch: Roast Beef wraps

Dinner: Pizza

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  1. Don’t worry about us, take care of yourself! We will still be here when you feel better!

    Jan 13
    Breakfast–Husband had l/o eggs and I had l/o French toast later in the morning
    Dinner was some l/o enchiladas I found in the upright freezer when I went to get some butter!

    We are supposed to get an ice/snow storm starting tomorrow thru Monday and I feel like I should go to the store but can’t think of anything I truly NEED! There are wants but I am going to just keep my money in my wallet!!

    Have a great day everyone! If the weather is bad where you are be safe!

  2. Hope you feel better soon!

    B: Cereal, boiled eggs, oranges
    L: Husband and I had lunch out. We do not have the money for babysitters so we have a weekly lunch date during school hours rather than date nights.
    D: Kielbasa and rice, green beans, pineapple. The kielbasa was part of a gift of Omaha Steaks from my mother for Christmas.

    All week we have been drinking homemade Arnold Palmers for lunch and dinner using up a large box of tea bags. Last night I used up the last of a box of berry flavored herb tea bags to make a large pitcher, which we are going to work on this weekend. We have a box of hot chocolate mix we need to use up, but it has been too warm. It’s cold this morning, but the whether man says it is going to be in the sixties all next week with rain everyday.

    • Don’t you love Omaha Steak gifts? Ours this year from my brother had a nice variety that included, besides meat, caramel apple tarts and cheesecake. Yum!

    • The good thing about noon lunches out is that there are a ton of specials going on. We are retired so love taking advantage of them. You are just being smart and budget friendly.

  3. Feel better! I haven’t been posting, but I’ve been reading along. This has been a really good experience for us. We’ve had some creative dishes–using up some bread to make mini pizzas; cleaning out canned fruit to mix with fresh fruit to make a salad to share with friends; made baked spaghetti pasta with an assortment of pasta shapes; homemade oatmeal with apples and leftover pumpkin pie spice that I had mixed up myself; and more. We made it without a trip to the store last week and this wee we just need a very small trip to replenish milk and produce.

  4. B: kids had instant oatmeal, I had overnight oats (oats, milk, banana, pb, cinnamon), husband had granola

    L: kids took deviled egg, orange, pita chips, and yogurt tube. I had a salad (greens, apple, walnuts, blue cheese, craisins), husband had chicken noodle soup.

    D: paninis with chicken, cheese, mayo and pickled jalapenos
    potato chips
    carrots and ranch

    S: ice cream with chocolate sauce

    The university I work at has a butcher shop. They had ground pork on sale for .99/lb, I picked up 4 pounds plus a package of Italian sausage for a total of $6.

  5. Take care of yourself Jessica. Hope the family does not pass this round and round.

    B – Fruit and yogurt for hubby, cheese sandwich and yogurt for me.

    L – Eggs on toast

    S – Hungarian goulash, broccoli, homemade herbed onion buns

  6. Stephanie M. says:

    I hope you feel better real soon, Jessica. I can’t believe while you feel this bad, you managed to make bread and cook a roast. Try to rest as much as possible over the weekend. 🙂

    B – Hubby had cereal; I skipped breakfast

    L – Hubby had a business luncheon; I had a salad, multi grain wasa bread with a wedge of laughing cow cheese, and a yogurt

    D – We had meatball parmesan subs, using up one of the two freezer bags of meatballs and sauce leftover from a large pot of sauce I cooked a few weeks back.

  7. So sorry you aren’t feeling well. That is no fun.
    Your post reminded me to get the bread machine going to make hot dog buns/sliders for this week. Just got the toddler grandson down for a nap. Almost two year olds are exhausting! And he’s going to be a big brother next week.

    B-sauteed mushrooms, onion and eggs
    L-leftover ham and scalloped potatoes, green beans
    D-Happy Hour half price appetizers with friends (first dinner out since pantry challenge started)

    My freezer continues to look full. Looks like I’m staying with PC until mid February.

  8. “My freezer continues to look full. Looks like I’m staying with PC until mid February.”

    Karen, I’ll be there with you and way beyond. I did it all of last year (sometimes more seriously than others + I was out of town on vacation or England looking after Mum a lot). Hubby came shopping with me this morning when I decided I needed to get milk. We came back having spent $60 . Not all of it was on him – I find it hard to miss out on a bargain when it’s something I know we really will be using within the next few weeks.

    At the moment, I have enough meat in the freezer to last us until June, without scrimping, says she, red-faced.

    • Ha ha!! I feel your pain! I think I did last year’s until the end of March and then quit posting. I have so much stuff in my freezer (mostly meat and veggies) and I’ll be right there with you!!

      • Thanks Tastycook and Pat!-It’s good to know I’m not the only one. I am trying to pull the “big” packages out of the freezer first so at least it looks like i have a little white space. Problem is there are just the two of us. Maybe I’ll start hosting Pantry Challenge dinner parties.

        • I actually did that twice last year. I didn’t call it a PC party, but I invited over some friends that were going through tough times and I cooked a huge buffet of things that I knew they liked, then insisted they take most of the leftovers home with them. Unfortunately, it did not even make a dent in the hordes of food around here… I also did PC for the first couple of months and then fell off the wagon. I’m definitely back on it now!

    • I will be there with the rest of you and I was part of the PC from January to December 2016! Funny how we tend to forget there is only 2 of us. But I did learn my lesson and just want to continue to be held accountable and not go overboard again.

  9. I will echo the “I can’t believe you managed to cook while sick”. Omg. Feel better soon!

    Day 13
    B – grapefruit sections & an apple fritter from a bakery while shopping w/a friend ( it was so good )
    L – half an Italian sub while out shopping, hubs had snacky lunch at home
    D – baked cod w/olive tapenade, LO potato salad ( the last of it) and sautéed kale
    S – veggies & dip, peanuts & chocolate
    Dessert – brownies & ice cream

    I accompanied a friend to a neighboring town and stopped by Kroger. Spent $28.18. A lot of manager specials: smoothie drinks (produce section), prosciutto & salami paninos (wrapped around mozzarella), cod fillets, yogurt, mozzarella balls (fresh in deli area) and organic guacamole. Sale items: Frozen organic veggies, Meyer lemons, herbed cream cheese, sour cream, blackberries and cheese slices. Freebie: goodness knows granola bar. Not a bad trip. My total spending for the month is $123.28. I am a sucker for good mark downs. Lol

    Melissa in GA

    • Ok, I have a jar of olive tapenade, so I’m curious about how you used it. Did you just pile it on top of the cod after baking it? Was it breaded or just plain cod?

      • I made some with capers, green olives, kalamata olives, sundried tomatoes, fresh garlic, pepper & olive oil – just did a rough chop and mixed together. I placed the 2 fillets in a glass baking dish (after I rinsed and dried them), put a little butter on the fish, put the tapenade on top and put in the oven, It was very good and my husband really liked it.

        Melissa in GA

        • thanks! He would absolutely hate that (not an olive fan, which boggles my mind), so I’d have to make something different for him, but I might just give that a try.

  10. You are a beast! I woke up not feeling great Weds morning and it went down hill FAST from there. Husband was out of town this week which made it harder..

    Weds I had planned to make cheeseburger rolls for dinner and ordered pizza since I felt so bad.. I laid in bed in and out of *awareness* until kids were in bed for the night..
    Thursday I could not get out of bed.. Literally… daughter had set her alarm early to check on me and I had her wake everyone up to fend for themselves( 14/11/11 year old) I have NO IDEA what they did for breakfast or packed for lunch on Thursday! lol I managed to wake and call the Dr in the afternoon. I had to have my mom drive me to the Dr b/c I could not walk a straight line! She bought KFC for her and the kids when she went to get my medications..
    Friday- kids had off school so they all woke and were on fend for yourself breakfast. My mom picked husband up at the airport and he was home at noon.. Random leftovers eaten for lunch.. Husband and daughter made dinner with defrosted ground beef..
    I managed to drag myself out to coach volleyball this morning but am back home and have not a single ounce to energy to go shopping.. maybe tomorrow.. I know we are almost out of milk and bread…and I have no energy for making bread right

  11. Kudos to you for cooking while sick. Hope you get over it quickly and hope the whole family doesn’t get it. Busy day here. Started butchering beef with hubby’s family.
    B- French Toast casserole
    L-Leftover stuffed peppers, spinach salad for hubs and a huge salad for me. Fruit for both.
    D-Leftover beef stroganoff, purposely made extra the other night because I knew we’d be busy. Apples and cookies from the freezer.

  12. Hope you’re feeling better soon!

    Friday 1/13/17

    B: The usual.

    L: Son–packed (PB/apple butter sand; apple slices; yogurt w/ honey and granola; string cheese; trail mix; water). Hubs and I ate from the salad bar at his work.

    D: LO taco soup, last of the crackers, orange and apple slices, carrot sticks.

    S/D: banana bread

    Went to the store to pick up a few things. They had the salsa we like for .94 so I bought two jars even though we had two in the pantry. (That really is a stock-up price; I had to stop myself from buying more.) Also picked up whipped cream, frozen OJ, and butter (only picked up one pound of butter ’cause it was $4.50–uggh!). I did get one package of BLSL chicken breasts to take to a potluck BBQ at the home of friends, otherwise I would have passed on them this time. Produce included radishes, Bosc pears, clementines, and cilantro. Non-food items included aluminum foil and dishwasher pacs. Total spent: $44.02. That brings the month-to-date to $49.99. I will have to buy a few more things (dairy, a bit more produce, etc.), but I think we’re doing pretty well so far. The fridge looks pretty good, but the freezers and pantry and still pretty full.

    Have a great weekend everyone!

  13. We are heading into a two day ice storm so won’t have to worry about spending money at a store. Since we are in I decided to do some extra cooking. Made granola with l/o Christmas nuts and some dried fruit from last granola making day. Made rice pudding with l/o fridge rice and used the rest for stir fry along with one lonely small steak (for tomorrow). Made stir fry sauce for 6 times and froze 5 of them. That used up the soy sauce except for a bunch of take out packets. They are next on my list. Made fridge pickles with last 2 cucumbers. Made cupcakes and froze most of them. I was trying to use up the 1/2 can of frosting as it was 2 weeks old. I am happy with the progress.
    B. egg & 1/2 jalapeno bagel with cream cheese
    L. l/o shrimp, french fries, rice pudding
    D. l/o tacos, l/o mexican rice. home made refried beans.
    S. granola

  14. Feeling sick stinks 🙁

    Friday was busy for us but in a fun kid-centered way. Gymnastics for the little guy while sister was at morning Kindergarten then office meeting with book keeper, followed by Spanish group which we host.

    B- yogurt smoothies
    L- ham and cheese sandwiches, fruit and carrots
    D- homemade pizza and Caesar salad
    Snacks all day long included goldfish crackers, cherry tomatoes, string cheese, and dried fruit

    I can’t say my freezer looks much different but it wasn’t out of control to start with…now at least I know what I have though. As long as it is organized I don’t mind having surplus of things I know we’ll use. My pantry is ok too…a few random odds and ends I want to use up. Coconut manna, quinoa, cocoa nibs, rice cakes. Maybe coconut cocoa quinoa pilaf on rice cakes?!? Or not:)

  15. Fri 1/13
    B – bagel and cream cheese for me, he slept in
    L – hot dogs
    S – assorted bits and bobs
    D – frozen yogurt – a nearby froyo store sent a text offer for as-much-as-you-can-fit-in-a-bowl for $4. We don’t go there very often but that seemed quite a deal, so we splurged, including putting on toppings we would normally have skipped. Got nearly $30 worth of dessert for $8, which was quite a deal. He ate all of his, I only had half mine and put the rest in the freezer. We had intended to eat dinner as well but neither of us were hungry at the time and I had been dragging all day anyway and went to bed really early, so apparently dinner was just dessert. Ah well. At least we enjoyed it!

  16. B cereal juice coffee
    Left over take out Chinese
    Pizza party (lots of leftovers )

  17. January 13

    Breakfast: BLT bagel from home this time, instead of Tim Horton’s! Hubs had his lunch for breakfast, of a ham bunwich with the last of the buns I bought for the Cheeseburger Sloppy Joes.

    Lunch: left over enchilada, coffee, dried apple rings and the last of these flower seeds for me, cereal and milk and some random snacks for hubs.

    Dinner: Chicken with bbq sauce, broccoli and a Sidekicks pasta that was pretty awful, but had been in the cupboard for a long time and needed to be eaten!! Only one more to go, and it’s a different flavour so hopefully it tastes better!

    This week we lost half a cucumber that liquefied in the crisper drawer and a bit of broccoli, but overall a very minimal amount of food waste, which I’m really trying to focus on. We’ve been pretty good with it, but it’s always good to be mindful.

    We stopped at the grocery store for some cheese, sour cream, cucumber, mini tomatoes, peppers, mushrooms, hubby’s beloved Pepsi and some cat litter, which doesn’t really count. Total cost was just under $25 without the cat litter. That brings the total since January 1 up to just shy of $60, which is pretty good! We’ve got frozen veggies in the freezer that we’ll focus on using up next week.

    Loving reading all of your cmoments and being inspired by your creativity

  18. Oh Jessica- I’m sorry you’re sick. sounds a lot like my virus. I’m beyond impressed you baked and made a roast. Yesterday (13) I couldn’t do anything but stare at a tv and sit with my head up, but leaning against the easy chair, since it’s so dang full of fluid. My guys surprised me though. They really don’t do much in the kitchen, and my son decided he wanted his favorite hamburger helper for dinner, so he figured it out and made it. I did sit in the kitchen to make sure he cleaned properly while handling the raw meat. Luckily he was fine. So instead of their usual take-out when mom is sick, they ate in. I’ll take it! (and also because he does need to learn how to do more than microwave/sandwiches/cereal for food before college which means now is the time- well, probably already should have happened, but at least he’s asking to learn? also, yes, i’m posting at 1am, but this full head of fluid is making sleep very hard for me, so until I’m literally falling asleep, I’m not going to bed- otherwise I’ll be worse off)

    Day 13:
    B: cereal, bacon, OJ for son; cereal for hubs; I stayed in bed

    L: son took a turkey/cheese sandwich, clif bar, and pistachios. Hubs had a thing at work where he ate; I had an egg salad sandwich.

    I hope all of you fellow sickies feel better soon!! And I sincerely hope all of you who aren’t, don’t get it.

    D: hamburger helper and salad

  19. Laurie in CA says:

    Ran errands and picked up a few things at Target using a gift card. Their Starbuck’s (even decaf) was on sale $5.99 if you purchased 3. We only drink decaf Pike’s blend in the evening so I couldn’t pass up the chance to stock up (we had about a scoop left). No money out of pocket for coffee, large pack of flour tortillas, kielbasa and 3 cans Bush’s cannellini beans (.75 a can). I stopped by Trader Joe’s to pick up milk, eggs, bread and cashews. I thought I only $18 left for the month and squealed when I realized I had $28 in the envelope so I still have $10 left for the month. The cashier was very interested in the pantry challenge and wanted to know how much was a “good” amount to budget for food. Really? You work in a grocery store and you ask that? I told her to check out the USDA website.

    B – I had toast topped with avocado, a slice of bacon and a fried egg, hubs had fried eggs, sausage and English muffin
    L – cashews, chips and guacamole for me, hubs had a nut pack and piece of poppy seed cake
    D – dinner out at our favorite Italian place

    • I usually let my kids use the target cards I earn at the target starbuck, but maybe I need to redirect it this month towards our PC! (The first time it posted below and not to your entry…oops)

  20. Oh boy- yes you need to rest! The 13th was my oldest daughters 16th birthday. So kids got some “free reign” over meals…

    B- kids chose pizza rolls, i had eggs/smoked salmon & coffee.
    L- lox and bagel & birthday cake for 16 year old, younger two kids= Turkey-cheese bagel sandwich with strawberries, me= apples/cheese & green juice
    D- dinner celebration at Bucca Di Beppo with her friends.
    Snack- protein bars

    PC is always hard for me in January with hubby and daugher’s birthdays. So I was able to have a nice home dinner for hubby, but agreed to do a dinner at a restaurant for my daughter’s 16th birthday. To try to make it as cost effective as possible- hubby went to purchase $100 gift cards at Costco for $75, I had two coupons- one for a free cake and the other for $15 off our bill. We also got three complementary appetizers because they made a mistake on our reservations. So for 15 people, we spent $225 after coupons/gift cards and still had tons of food left.

    I don’t have a separate budget for dining out. I work with $1400/month-this includes groceries, dining out and household items. I shop at our local mom-pop store, target, costco and chef-zone(costco for restaurants). I’ll need to tally my total but I think im close to $400 so far for the month.

  21. I usually let my kids use the target cards I earn at the target starbuck, but maybe I need to redirect it this month towards our PC!

  22. Di in Aus says:

    So sorry to hear your so unwell praying that you start feeling better soon.glad you found the energy to do some food prep.glad your kids are old enough to help out with meals.

    Today it was
    B: creal and milk
    L: boiled spuds with butter and dressing, last of red beans with mine.
    D: boiled spuds mix veg and tuna and mayo using up last of mayo for kids.Chicken noodel soup asian style using up a few odds and ends in the freezer. Hubby will have it sans broth if child ever goes to sleep
    .Has been a very hot day here with temps to get into the low 40dg C by friday. Not quite soup weather but its my go to for odd things

  23. You continue to rest Jessica. Any one that has had it knows what you are going through.

    Friday 1/13

    Breakfast – more cookies
    Lunch – Salads w/Ranch dressing
    Dinner – Leftover roast beef, potatoes & carrots

    Saturday 1/14

    Breakfast – French toast
    Lunch – High school band sub, chicken noodle soup
    Dinner – Mixed leftover pork in with sauce over noodles w/peas & carrots

  24. Sat. : lunch out with friends; leftovers for dinner.
    Sun. : leftovers for lunch;, chicken, rice, peas, salad for dinner.
    Grocery shopping today for dairy and salad foods.

  25. I was down for a week , Hubby who NEVER misses work was off almost 2 wks..HOPE you don’t get it that bad.
    Hubby spent yesterday at a HAM radio contest out in the cold and wet and decided he was getting pizza from our favorite place on the way home, we always get a chef salad with it. It’s the first take out. We know we will be eating out Wed morning…but only paying for his meal as a local restaurant is giving me my bfast for free for my bday. Then the next planned eat out is Jan 28th Chinese New Year’s as we meet with our one son and a couple friends to celebrate. My doctor added a new med for my Crohn’s and of course it can’t be taken close to my other meds and of course I have to eat with it ….so I sat down and wrote out the med schedule and tied it to a menu …we’ll see how this goes.

  26. Jessica, Hope you are feeling better soon. Take care of yourself !!!!

    We had cheddar ham baked omelet yesterday for breakfast, except instead of cheddar I used up some open 4 cheese Mexican and Swiss cheese. Then I fixed a pork, potato and kale soup for supper.

    Today I took a pkg of bacon out of freezer and diced up half of it, fried it up and made gravy to go with biscuits. I think supper will be leftover soup with extras added from the freezer.

    I’m not doing a good job of posting right now, but the allergies/sinuses are acting up and so is the computer. I’m afraid a new computer is in the offing, and this one is only about 6 years old. 🙁 I didn’t realize quite how old it was, since it has been doing okay until recently. Oh, well, I knew it was coming eventually. So far we are coping okay with the ice storm, but the worst of it is supposed to hit us this afternoon. Hope everybody gets well and all are okay that are affected by the storm.

  27. Snowing again. Hubby was not ready for breakfast when I was this morning so I just used up some leftovers for myself. A little yogurt, some leftover fruit and a little pomegranate juice made a fine smoothie. A leftover dinner roll split and toasted covered with leftover egg salad. For lunch I heated some turkey stock , some ham stock, some leftover cooked carrots and onions and some leftover white beans with some leftover bacon to make soup. I poured the leftovers into 2 meal sized portions and poured the leftovers into the very happy dog’s bowl

  28. Our family had this virus the 2 weeks before Christmas. It was terrible! I hope all of you feel better quickly.

    This has been one of those weeks. Middle Daughter was laid off Monday due to cut-backs. (She is 23 and graduated last year from college and was saving to move out.) Tuesday, hubs was informed that his company is shutting their 2 southeastern branches and combining them into one. His boss was fired this week! We don’t know if he will be offered his job at the new plant, or if they will give it to someone from the other plant. Add to it, TWO deaths this week from men in my husband’s hunt club. All this to say, I have no idea what we ate this week. Suffice it to say that we ate at home, but it was one of those weeks of “Just living for today”.

    Church was great today and we all seem more peaceful and ready to take on life again. It was 70 here today and we sat outside and enjoyed the sunshine. Tomorrow I hope to at least know what we cooked and ate 🙂
    Ya’ll are a great group. It’s so nice that everyone is uplifting and on the same page. I hope you all have a well and enjoyable week.

    • My goodness, that’s quite a week. I sure hope you find a little peace this week.

    • I’m thinking tracking your meals was not even remotely on your radar this week. Gracious! I certainly hope this is a better week for you. At least it sounds like DH is keeping his job, even if he does not get a promotion, which is better than a bunch of other people (like the old boss and DD).

      • tastycook says:

        Sounds like some hugs are in order for you and the family Harriet. What a horrible way to start the New Year.. Surely, this next week has to be better for you.

    • Kathy in Denmark says:

      I’m sorry you had such a bad week – when it rains it pours, I guess!

      Sending you hugs and well wishes – it has to get better from now on!

    • Hopefully this week will be better for you! Hugs!!

  29. So sorry to here that so many of you are sick. We’ve been dodging stomach bugs and many other things that have been going around here for about 6 weeks. All 5 of us have had serious head colds during that time, but that’s it. It could have been much worse.

    I have been participating, but not posting much. I ended up out of town last weekend (piggy backed a little vacation with hubby’s business trip while the kids went to Grandma’s). I have a lot of food to get rid of and have not gotten very organized, yet. But, I’m making progress. We’ve finished off a number of open pantry items and I finally threw out a few that were too old. Hate to waste, but I feel much better not having it sitting there. My fridge is in decent shape, but I will wipe it all out sometime this week when we finish off a few large containers of leftovers. And I did a quick inventory of part of my freezer and made the weekly meal plan from that. Also, added snack ideas from the freezer to the meal plan. I’ll do a full inventory in about a week, when it’s not so full. Then, I’ll be moving on to the other fridge and chest freezer. That should be much easier when there is room in the kitchen fridge/freezer to move items into. The good news is that my chest freezer is in the best shape that’s it’s been in for a couple of years (not great, but better).

    I’m ready to focus a bit more and hope that I’ll keep up with posting. Thank you for all of the motivation!

  30. Hope you feel better soon! I would have left everyone to fend for themselves so my hat is off to you. I did a combined pantry challenge post with three days. We made good use of some leftovers. The pantry challenge has made me more aware of using up what is in the refrigerator. Here is my pantry challenge post:

  31. Any good ideas for using up an entire loaf of bread before it goes stale?

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