Pantry Challenge 2017-29 & 30

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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.

We’re almost at the final day! Sorry for the lack of post last night. We were celebrating big boy’s birthday. 😉

Bryan ended up choosing Pizza Port for his birthday dinner, so we bumped the steaks to tonight. We have more meals that needed in order to end the challenge now, particularly since there were enough leftovers to handle today’s lunch.

Thanks so much for playing along, everyone! I’ve loved reading all your comments. I love your camaraderie and how you love each other so well. I wish everywhere on the internet was so sweet!

I’ll be back tomorrow with the final day’s meals!

Pantry Challenge Meals, Day 29

Breakfast: Petit Dejeuner

Lunch: Poblano Enchiladas, Mexican Rice, Beans

Dinner: Pizza Port

Pantry Challenge Meals, Day 30

Breakfast: Blueberry Nutmeg Muffins, smoothies

Lunch: Leftovers

Dinner: Steaks, Mashed Potatoes, Sautéed Mushrooms

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  1. Happy birthday to your husband!
    I went back to work today after a week of helping my daughter. I was so tired after last week and exhausted again today going back to my teaching job corralling 26 eight through ten year olds. Should sleep good tonight.
    My husband commented that the refrigerator is looking empty. Yeah!
    Today’s meals
    Breakfast-last bowl of raisin bran and an apple
    Lunch-spinach salad with artichoke hearts, roast beef, tomatoes, carrots, and cottage cheese. Looked healthy and impressed my work friends.
    Dinner-crab stuffed sole from Omaha Steaks, rice with peas, sautéed mushrooms and onions-yum
    Dessert-I just took out a bread pudding made with leftover croissants
    Good food today!

    • Thank you, Jessica, for hosting Pantry Challenge. I look forward to it every year and love the friendship and support of fellow challengers.

  2. I am glad that everyone felt well enough to go out to celebrate!
    Jan 29
    Breakfast I made pancakes and sausage patties. I used the last pancake mix in the pantry and sausages from the freezer.
    Dinner. We had steak, mashed potatoes and gravy and corn. Steak and corn from the freezer
    Jan 30
    Breakfast. Husband had his eggs and I had leftover pancakes
    Dinner was white chicken chili.and homemade bread! The broth, chicken and beans were from the freezer.
    All in all the last couple of days were good for the freezers. The fridge freezer is half empty and there is alot of white space in the upright. The chest freezer needs work and to be inventoried. That will be my plan for tomorrow so I can move something’s upstairs.

  3. Sun. 1/29/17

    B: The usual.

    L: Out.

    D: Son had French toast. Hubs had cereal and PB toast. I had leftovers from lunch.

    Mon. 1/30/17

    B: The usual.

    L: Packed for the guys (PBJs, yogurt w/ honey and granola, pineapple, apple sauce, trail mix, string cheese). I had leftover potato soup and yogurt w/ the last of the compote and granola.

    D: Pulled pork sandwiches (pork from the freezer), roasted butternut squash (the last one from the garden), salad, pineapple, pear slices.

    I’m looking forward to hearing how everyone did this month in terms of getting through freezers/pantries and saving money. Have a great week!

  4. Happy Girthday and Anniversary to you both!!! Best to you all! Thanks for the PC challege!

  5. Birthday, sorry

    • Girthday is actually pretty funny even if it was accidental. I think I want to plan one of those! Although I don’t think I’ve lost enough of my girth to be celebrating it just yet. 🙂

      • HI Sandi,
        It was a total typo :)) and one of those “Did I really typed that!”??? moments…but, birthday/girthday is kinda funny, I do have agree with you!!

  6. My Facebook feed popped up a funny photo today: pantry clean out from two years ago! And I just did it again yesterday. I’ve gotten smarter, since things are more organized; I empty a section at a time instead of the whole thing at once. Much easier to handle!

    The deep freeze is nearing empty; hoping to move things into the kitchen freezer and defrost it. Yep. In the middle of Canadian winter! Lol.

    PC win was found sausage links we had with Breakfast-for-Dinner that inspired DD15 to ask to have sausage again; this is my Bacon Queen! Box mix of Blondies are eaten; time to make the Sticky Toffee Pudding cupcakes and Nanimo bars. Got to stop buying baking mixes, as they sit too long.

    I’ll be continuing the challenge into February like many of you, but there will need to be some protein shopping happening!

    Thanks, Jessica! Glad the hubby felt well enough to go out for his birthday!

  7. Laurie in CA says:

    So glad your hubby was well enough to enjoy his birthday dinner.

    I’m happy to still be plugging along on the food front. Things are starting to look less chaotic and a little more organized in the panty. The freezers aren’t so stuffed full but we probably have enough beef to get us through till May or June. That will be perfect timing since that’s when they take orders for more beef (grass fed in our local Sierra foothills).

    Day 29
    B – fried eggs, sausage and toast for hubs, cashew butter and celery for me
    L – hummus, raw carrots and cauliflower, apple for me, l/o pizza and protein shake for hubs
    D – chicken tenders from the freezer, green salad

    Day 30
    B – fried eggs, bacon and toast for hubs, cashew butter, celery and an orange for me
    L – tacos
    D – assorted l/o cooked veg from the fridge and l/o chicken tenders for me, hubs made a big burrito using leftover taco fixings.

  8. I can appreciate your balance of the PC and special occasions…. i had 2 birthdays this month too.

    B- eggs
    L- pizza cupcakes (croissants, pepperoni, cheese and sauce)
    D- BBQ- steak and bacon wrapped chicken breasts, feta-cranberry salad,
    Cleared out the pantry and freezer again of old food- painfuly threw away some food i forgot we had 🙁 made some cookies and extra dough to put in the freezer to use up the big container of oatmeal.
    B- cereal, I skipped breakfast, not feeling so good
    L- ate out
    D- Teri chicken, avocado and rice.
    Des- pudding (use up close to expiring milk)
    I spent $84 today on cream, milk, cheese, greek yogurt, fruits, bacon, chicken (stock up price), etc. We are truly dairy lovers as you can tell from my list. A day without any of these for my family may cause a PC strike, so it was worth the spend…haha… but feeling really good with my total for this challenge overall.

    I haven’t been feeling good over the past couple of day, but tried to set our meal plan for the next two weeks to get by, and i expect long days and heavy inter island travel for work, so need to get better fast. We also got 6 more avocados about to be ready to eat, yum!

    • Hope you get to feeling better!

      Melissa in GA

      • thank you! The weather here isnt helping. Its been wierdly “cold” in our terms of cold…. low 60s at night and mid 60s during the day. I know we cant compare to the snow days, but for us this is wierd.

    • Heather M says:

      Hope you get better asap, especially with the work travel ahead! I so get the pain of throwing old things, since I just did the same. But, I look now and am so happy with how the cupboards are looking. Satisfying. Maybe you will, too?

  9. Day 29
    B: LO rolls toasted and slathered with peanut butter, bananas or orange slices
    L: Lunch out. Once every 4 to 6 weeks, we go to Sunday school and then skip church and have lunch at our favorite Mexican restaurant with another family from our church. We call it our fellowship hour that week.
    D: Sausage stuffed shells (used up a boxed of jumbo shells we’ve had for more than 2 years), garlic bread made from LO rolls and iced brownies. I didn’t have quite a full 1/3 cup of cocoa, but the brownies tasted good enough for the kids and their friends to eat the entire batch ?

    Day 30
    B: Cereal, bananas,
    L: Cube steak with brown gravy, green beans
    D: Chicken cutlets, roasted potato medallions, steamed broccoli

    Only 1 more day!

  10. tastycook says:

    Glad your hubby was well enough for you to be able to go out for birthday celebrations..

    B – fruit and yogurt

    L – bubble and squeak with bacon and egg

    S- chicken salad

    B – fruit and yogurt

    L – turkey soup with a bun (freezer)

    S – haddock and fries (oven baked) and peas – all from the freezer.

    The last couple of days have been good for the fridge and freezer. I have been feeling under the weather, not really sick but not my best, so it was a case of using what was quick, ready, little work and still fairly healthy..

    This month I have enjoyed seeing how others use what’s in their kitchen, while the friendships and support have been great. I saw that you will put a page up again this gear for those who want to continue the PC and am looking forward to another year of savings!! Thanks Jessica.

  11. Happy Birthday to your Hubby! Glad you were able to celebrate!

    Sunday 1/29

    Breakfast – Bacon, fried eggs & toast

    Lunch – Hard salami, chicken salad & cheese on crackers

    Dinner – Ranch pork chops, baked beans & loaded potatoes pierogis

    Monday 1/30

    Breakfast – Granola bar

    Lunch – Finished off the crackers w/ chicken salad

    Dinner – Crabmeat over penne pasta, salad

    Sunday was really a rough day, my sister was in an automobile accident Saturday evening. She is okay with not much major injuries but a lot of pain with a broken rib and body aches from the accident. (mostly from the seatbelt and of course the jarring) She will be okay but because the accident was 2 days after the anniversary of our younger sister death’s in a vehicle accident 16 years ago on the 26th it really showed us how fast things can happen. Everyone else was okay in both accidents so that was a relief. I spent most of the day with her yesterday and of course took a few meals so all she has to do is warm them up if there is no one there to help her but I know her daughter and son are going to be there with her quite a bit so they will take good care of her and her grandson is a paramedic so she will be in good hands and will probably get tired of all of us before too long. Just thanking God that she is okay and realizing again how fast things can happen.

    • The only bone I’ve ever broken was my collarbone, also from the seatbelt in a car accident, so I can empathize. The paramedics said they did not know how we survived at all, never mind my sister could walk away and my only injury was from the seatbelt. They did not take into account the mental anguish it caused my sister (who was driving after she had just gotten her license) as she refused to drive at all for the next 6 years. I still get a little nervous sometimes doing left turns especially at night trying to judge speed of headlights, and this happened 30 years ago now. For your sister’s accident to be so similar to your other sister’s fatal accident will probably cause more psychological issues than physical ones. I feel for her and hope she has a full recovery quickly.

      • Thank you so much Sandi. It is a frightening thing from what I understand. She is a strong person and trying to be strong now but we will all be watching over her for a while. It would have been ugly at any time but the timing was just really bad, but this one had a lot better ending.

    • I’m so glad your sister is okay!

    • Hugs Mona to you and your family! That had to be so scary!

    • Glad your sister will be ok. That has to be scary for all of you.

    • So sorry to hear about your sister’s accident. I’m sure that it was a really emotional experience. I pray she has a quick recovery, both mentally and physically.

      • Thank you Sandy. It truly was an experience I never want to go through again but so grateful that she is going to be okay.

    • Stephanie M. says:

      Hi Mona. I’m so very sorry to hear about your sister’s accident and all of the terrible memories it brings back to all of you. She is very lucky both because she is alive and also because she has her family to help her during her recovery. Thank God for that. She and your family will be in my prayers tonight. Please extend her my get well wishes and I hope to hear that she is fully recovered in the very near future and back on her feet again.

      • Thank you Stephanie! Greatly appreciate all the prayers. I will definitely let her know that there are lots of prayers going out to her. She is such a sweet lady and I am so grateful that if it had to happen it turned out the way it did. She always says I am her rock but I really reminded her that she is also my rock and I’m not ready to throw my rock away yet. Thank you again for every thing!

    • What an emotional event, glad she’s ok physically but I’m sure those memories are hard on all of you right now. Prayers for healing.

      Melissa in GA

      • Thank you Melissa. Its so true that it would have been bad at any time but since we just passed the date of our younger sister, really made it hard. But she is doing okay and we are all here for her (maybe too much) but we all know how much she appreciates it since she is hurting but trying to pretend she is okay. Yea, I guess some times she can be stubborn but we all know that right now she needs the help and there really isn’t much she can do to make us “go home”. So we will all be there until we see she is able to be on her own and hopefully make her understand its for her own good. lol

    • Heather M says:

      Wow, what a rough thing for you and your sister, especially your sister. I hope that her physical and emotional pain eases soon. You never know what’s around the corner, and I’m so glad that this time all is well for you all. Hugs!

      • Thank you Heather M. Greatly appreciate the hugs and will pass them on. It is hard right now because she does bring up what has happened in the past and how grateful she is that it ended with a different result. Which brings back all those memories. But she is a strong lady and it will take time but I think she will see get through it knowing we are all here and so very grateful that she is too.

    • Praying for quick healing for your sister, Mona. Sorry to hear the loss of a younger sister 16 years ago too.

      • Thank you so much Felicia! So glad things ended differently this time. Will let her know the prayers are coming her way!

  12. Stephanie M. says:

    Happy birthday to Hubby!!!!


    B – Hubby had cereal; I skipped breakfast

    L – We had spinach quiche and the last of the pigs in a blanket from the freezer, also using up the last package of spinach and the last two bars of cheddar cheese

    D – Filet mignon, home made stuffed potatoes, onion rings, and Birdseye Bavarian green beans using up the last box of green beans and only one stuffed potato left; started off the challenge with several


    B – Hubby two home made egg mcmuffins and hash browns then left for Texas; I had a piece of the leftover spinach quiche

    L – Bologna sandwich using up the last of the bolgna from the freezer

    D – macaroni and marinara using up some leftover marinara from the freezer

    I had to go do a little shopping over the weekend but nothing crazy. All I bought was a package of boneless chicken breasts and a package of split chicken breasts. The boneless ones will be used on Friday night when hubby is back and the split ones Hubby likes to BBQ so that will be next week. I also bought a few snacks. In between, we will eat the rest of the half a bag of shrimp, start on the 2 lb. bag of salmon fillets and cook the turkey breast. Other than that, all I have is one meatloaf mix (beef/pork), 3 thin chicken cutlets, and 6 slices of cooked roast beef and all will be used for sandwiches for lunches. And that’s all I have in the way of meat/fish.

    I used up most of the contents of my meat/fish drawer, every snack in the house, and all of the odds and ends and cooked leftovers in the freezer. It’s so nice to see my neatly organized freezer with all of the bins in there. Thanks so much for the annual January challenge; it’s always so much fun and keeps me honest and on track. 🙂

    • I am impressed Stephanie M. with your PC progress. That’s the way to end one.

    • Heather M says:

      Nice work, all of it!! (also responding to your other comment on my older post)

      Hopefully this week with your hubby out of town you can get those random single serve odds and ends taken care of. Also, sounds like you’re feeling a tiny bit better? Appetite seems a little better. 🙂

    • Great job Stephanie!!! But I know you won’t let us down and will continue with the Pantry Challenge. Promise? Just think in another year maybe I will be in the same boat you are now. lol Told the hubby that he has to start eating more since we almost always have leftovers and he told me not to make so much but I tried to explain to him that we want to use it up and he just laughed at me. Hope your hubby has a safe trip and you enjoy your quiet time before you get to start cooking all the yummy meals for his homecoming.

      • Stephanie M. says:

        Yes Mona, I am continuing on. Really looking forward to it. I’m so happy to hear you are. I always tell Paul the same thing; eat more so we can get rid of this and he keeps telling me “I can’t eat the way I used to when I was in my 20’s.” I really wish I could say the same thing but being in my 50’s hasn’t changed the way I can eat. LOL

        • Glad to hear you will still be our cheerleader and keep us in line. This has been such a great learning experience that I am not ready to give it up and think I can do it by myself. But I do love knowing what we have in the freezer and pantry and only pick up what we might need in the next couple weeks as far as meat, when I see it go on sale. Thank you again for always being there and being the sweet person you are.

          • Stephanie M. says:

            Aww Mona, you give me way too much credit. We cheer each other on and I am so happy to do another year together. And thank you for everything as well. I love this whole thing, I really do. 🙂

  13. tastycook says:

    A tough day indeed Mona. Good that you could spend time with your sister. So glad she is not badly injured.

    • Thank you tastycook! She just checked in and said my niece is there with her for today. Thinks she knows if she doesn’t t check in first I will be heading her way. lol

  14. Sat 1/28
    B – I had breakfast cookies, he finished the coffeecake
    L – pizza
    D – diced up pork chop cooked with stir fry veggies, served with yellow rice

    Sun 1/29
    B – chicken tortilla soup
    L – cheeseburgers
    D – chicken and black bean stew

    Mon 1/30
    B – breakfast cookies
    L – chicken burger
    D – l/o pork stir fry and yellow rice

  15. Wow. You have all been so busy and frugal. Good job!. Only ten degrees here yesterday and today is predicted for below zero. Can I complain about being tired of winter?
    Mostly eating up leftovers here. I’m thinking of cleaning the fridge today and pouring the last of the soup and rice into the dogs dish. I am taking a quart bag of homemade tomato sauce out of the freezer to make tomato soup. There’s fresh bread for French toast for breakfast and cheese for grilled cheese sandwiches. Will use the last of the fried chicken to make a chicken enchilada casserole…using up some homemade salsa and some dollar store tortillas….leftover cake and caramel sauce for dessert. Yesterday I put a spoon full of the caramel sauce in my coffee….oh my!

  16. January 29

    Breakfast: Me, fried egg on toast with feta and hot sauce, couple sprinkles of chopped bacon. Hubs had egg, ham and cheese tortillas.

    Lunch: we skipped because we were out of town visiting family.

    Dinner: the last of the freezer appetizers except for one serving of mozza sticks that I’ll probably serve with our pizza this week

    January 30

    Breakfast: BLT bagel and a hash brown from McDonald’s for me (it was going to be a loooong day at work and I wanted a few minutes to myself in the morning before I jumped into it!) Hubs skipped breakfast as he slept late.

    Lunch: leftover chicken fettuccine Alfredo for both of us. I also had a cookie and hot chocolate from Timmies later in the long day! Needed a pick-me-up!

    Dinner: I nearly caved and went to subway for both of us, but I didn’t and cooked what I’d planned for dinner, which was marinated chicken, veggies and rice. Used some of the bag of frozen beans and carrots from the freezer.

    We did have a total grocery win on this day though! Hubs and I stopped by the store to pick up a few things – cheese, bread (that was stunningly priced at $1.99/loaf!! We’re bread snobs, so it was amazing to find the “good” bread that we like on such a sale!) Frozen peas, pickles, etc. I was able to get the whole load for $1.17 because I used the points on my store card!! So that was great! On to day last of the challenge! Until we all carry over into February at least!!

    • I also ended up putting more back onto my pantry shelves, which were looking more bare than they ever have since we moved into this house! So I pouted a bit this morning as I stacked the shelves. But, they were replacement items for jars that are nearly empty in the fridge (mayo, whole and sliced pickles, salad dressing) so hopefully I can just pop them into the fridge soon and go back to admiring my bare pantry!

      We also thought about getting some meat, but after looking at the prices right now ($10/pound for ground turkey. NO. THANK. YOU!!!) We decided to just stick with what we have!!! We have no pork left, but lots of fish, chicken, ground beef/pork mix and steaks, so we are fine!

      • $10/lb?! Where was this?

        • Real Canadian Superstore, in BC. We were stunned. I’ve seen it as high as $7/$8 out here, but never as high as that.

          • tastycook says:

            Ouch! It’s usually about $6 here in Ontario, Sarah.

          • Wow. I stock up when the all-natural kind is on sale, usually for $2.99. It’s usually the cheapest meat I can find.

          • Tastycook, that’s usually an average price out here too. Especially if I can get the store brand, and not a pricier name brand. This was Prime brand, which is usually the higher priced poultry brand.

      • Ouch!! That price per pound is unreal!!

        • It really is! Ground turkey and chicken here in BC seems to be very, very expensive. The cheapest I have ever found it is at Costco, at $19.98 for 4 pounds in a pack. We rarely buy it because of the price, but yesterday’s price was just totally outrageous! We usually stick to ground pork for our meatloaf/meat sauces/burgers, etc, as it tends to be quite a lot less than beef out here.

      • I pay $ 1.89 a lb. here in the midwesr U.S. I would have to pass at that price also.

        • Oh man! That’s amazing. We never see meat (any kind) for that price up here unless it’s on an incredible sale or the quality is so dubious that it’s a risk to try it!! I tend to stick to the frozen chicken tenders from Costco for most of our white meat chicken, and they tend to run between $20 and $25 for a 6lb bag.

      • Heather M says:

        Amazing win with those store points! I know the $$ is worth slightly less than here in the US, so $10/lb would about $7.65/lb (today at least) in the US. That is still REALLY high for ground turkey. Yikes! Also, nice work in passing on the Subway urge. We didn’t manage that yesterday, I caved to my son’s desires. Oh well. My mom is originally from Vancouver, we have family in Saskatchewan, and we have dearly loved our vacations in both Vancouver and Ontario/Quebec over the years. Canada is fabulous, and I’ve so enjoyed these Challenge friendships from all over this continent, and beyond (australia, denmark, UK, anyone else?). 🙂

        • Thanks for the encouragement, Heather! I was so tired last night the temptation to just pass on dinner was bad!! But, the better choice for us is always to just eat at home!! I’m in a bit of a cooking “funk” right now and nothing sounds appetizing or appealing to make! Guess it’s time to pull out all the cookbooks and ebooks that I’ve got stashed up and start looking for some inspiration.

          Vancouver is a beautiful city, and Canada is definitely fabulous!! I’m a little biased, but it’s a great place to live!! We live about 30 minutes outside of downtown Vancouver, so we get the nice smaller city atmosphere and can still go into the city for some excitement if we want to.

          I, too, love the fact that people from all over the globe join in to the pantry challenge, and love reading all of the different types of foods and food culture!

      • WOW! Here in HI its about $4.99/lb. anything less is a good deal for me and I’ll stock up. The price of meat is going up really fast, we’ve been buying grassfed beef from our Chef Zone- which is a local bulkstore made for restaurants, Even there, we will pay $4-$8/lb depending on the cut. Chicken we can get for $1/lb, pork for about $4/lb.

    • Great use of those points! Free food – WIN!
      Melissa in GA

      • Always a win!! It always slips my mind to use the points, and every 10,000 points equals $10 that you can use toward your groceries or gas. The points add up pretty quickly too, and the system adapts to the foods you regularly buy so you consistently collect the points. It’s pretty good overall.

  17. 1/29
    B: I had a smoothie, kids had toast & OJ
    L: boxed mac and cheese, cutie oranges
    S: homemade cinnamon rolls
    D: homemade pizza with lots of random freezer toppings (chorizo, red peppers, onions, the last of 3 different bags of cheese

    B: I had a pumpkin oatmeal cup, kids had pancakes (with the last of the mix) and milk
    L: leftover pizza, apples with caramel dip
    S: the rest of the peanut butter pie from Saturday
    D: modified turkey wraps from GCE Dinners in 30 min or less…homemade ranch dressing was delicious!, didn’t have avocado or tomato, but used turkey breast from Thanksgiving, the last of the baby spinach, and shredded cheddar. I also made a bulgar and cranberry side dish that was great. I’ll definitely make it again, so a pantry challenge success!

    I straightened up the pantry, fridge, and freezer yesterday, and it took hardly any time at all. Such a nice feeling to be organized!

    • Doesn’t it feel great!!?? I love how much easier it is right now for me to get things from my freezers! Hopefully it serves as motivation to keep it up until the July challenge!

  18. Sunday 1/29
    I was ambitious before church and put a blueberry cobbler in the oven using a bag of blueberries that were getting ice crystals on them, a can of crushed pineapple and a yellow cake mix that I really don’t know why I had. While that baked I had my 15 year old run potatoes through the salad shooter to slice thin and I made a sauce using some homemade cream of mushroom soup that needed used up. Layered the potatoes with cheese and the sauce and put in the oven with a pan of fresh jalapeno/cheese brats in beer that we made during butchering on Saturday. Mixed up a homemade ranch dip and cut up some relishes, also got out some hot dog buns that I had scored on clearance at Kroger a few weeks ago. Left for church and came home to a ready to eat meal. I love that feeling! Ended up that oldest daughter and son-in-law stopped by to use my food sealer for something while we were still at church and we came home to our grandson wanting some grandma/grandpa time. That was a really good feeling!! They all stayed for lunch since I had made plenty. So glad I was ambitious that morning! We ate leftovers/snacks the rest of the day. I told them in the morning I was taking the rest of the day off of cooking!
    Monday 1/30
    I was busy, busy in the kitchen today. I had kept a bowl with 16 lb. of fresh sausage out from butchering Saturday. I seasoned it with a recipe called Tall Pines sausage that we got out of a farm magazine years ago. We like to use it in place of breakfast sausage in recipes and I always add it with ground beef for my Italian recipes. I used up several of my spices while making it, so I did a clean up of my spice cabinet and shelf in my freezer where I keep spices. Mixed up a pint sized jar of homemade taco seasing while I had everything out. Made a homemade honey mustard vinagrette for salads for the week and boiled eggs for salads. In the afternoon I made homemade biscuits to serve with sausage gravy for supper.
    B-Everyone ate differently, a combo of bananas, yogurt with granola, eggs or meat grits with homemade bread
    L-Leftover pizza and spinach salad for hubs, spinach salad and hummus with pita chips for me, carrots and dip for both
    D-Made sausage gravy with the sausage I had mixed earlier in the day, served over homemade biscuits, fried potatoes with cabbage and green beans from the freezer. Hubby always tells the kids when we have meals like this where almost everything comes from things we raise, that we’re eating the crop:)
    I’m definitely seeing space on the pantry shelves at this point. Still have plenty of baking supplies and peanut butter, so I don’t think anyone will revolt anytime soon!

  19. I cleaned out my upright freezer this weekend, so I achieved my goal for this pantry challenge, yay! Even with trying to eat down the freezer I went over my grocery budget. So, I’m thinking it might be time to increase it. Currently we have budgeted $600 a month for our family of 8, 6 kids ages 4 to almost 13 and 2 adults. This month I spent almost $700, so I’m thinking $700 might be more realistic. I guess time will tell.

    B – bananas, yogurt, granola, milk, and tea

    L – beef potpies made with leftover potato soup, meatloaf, mixed veg, and mashed potatoes. It was really yummy!

    D – pasta salad bar

    B – cold cereal, milk, and tea

    L – various leftovers

    D – a friend from church heard we had all been sick again and brought us dinner!

    • Heather M says:

      $600/mo for a family of 8?? I’m impressed. We easily spend that most months and we’re only 3 or 4 (college student). Sorry you all have been sick. Hope everyone is on the mend. 🙂

    • Thats a really amazing budget for a family of 8. I have a budget of $1400 (USDA thrifty for Hawaii) for a family of 5. I’d like to go lower since I feel like we do waste a lot of food. Definitely need to know what you are doing for a budget of $600 or $700 for that matter.

      • Thanks for the kind comments ladies! I was feeling a bit sad that I didn’t save a lot like the other pantry challengers.

        Marci, I’ve heard that it is a lot more expensive in Hawaii, so I’m sure you’re doing a great job! We eat just regular type food, I think. Breakfasts are homemade instant oatmeal, fruit and yogurt, eggs, cold cereal, and every once in awhile something special like pancakes. Lunches are almost always leftovers. Sometimes I make them into something else and sometimes we just reheat them. Dinners vary widely but are based on what we have in the pantry and freezer. This month some of our dinners were lentil soup, chilli, haystacks, baked pork chops, pulled pork sammies, ranch chicken, easy baked chicken, and lawnmower taco, to name a few. I serve almost every dinner with lots of fruit and veg and usually a starch or carb to help stretch the main dish farther. Even so I usually have to make huge amounts of food (I make 2 9×13 pans of the lawnmower taco, for instance).

        We do try to keep our food waste to a minimum, I thought money might be leaking out of our budget that way so last month I kept track of the cost of every food that ended up in the trash. We ended up throwing away just over $10 in food that had gone bad or that my youngest didn’t eat. 🙁 So, that’s something we will be working on in February.

  20. I started the PC wanting to change my behavior in shopping and that was what I concentrated on instead of reporting what we ate. My pantry, produce bins, and freezers were loaded and we are a family of two retirees. A poster mentioned one day that she overbought because of good sales, and that described me perfectly. It is hard to resist a good sale and I didn’t try, just kept buying. For several years I have seen the challenge but couldn’t suck it up and do it. I must admit, it stressed me out at first. I live close to 8 major grocery stores and can easily stop for a few items whenever I need something or go to several for the deals. Into the third week, I started feeling better at subbing, doing without and in general, making it work. I am very happy to say that things are looking so much better, and I feel very good about the direction that I am going. I spent less than half of what I normally do, but it is way more than the money that I feel success. I am going to continue the PC so that this will become my new norm. I am so thankful to you, Jessica, and to all the posters because even though, I didn’t post daily, I read the progress of all of you each day and was encouraged to continue the challenge. Hopefully I will be in better shape when we meet again for the challenge of 2018!

    • Welcome Donna!
      Just remember we all get to make our own rules and make the Pantry Challenge work for us! So glad you were successful in your challenge!

    • Heather M says:

      Yay!! So glad you have such a success!! Learning about our habits and how to improve on them is one of the really good things that comes out of a Pantry Challenge. Great job!

    • Great job Donna! It is amazing once you decide you really want to follow through with the PC the difference it makes. I had done the PC January and July for a few years but once the month was over I went back to my old ways of thinking I had to buy things cause they were “on sale” or because there was a empty spot in the freezer. Last year I decided to continue on into February and as of tomorrow this will end my 13th month of doing the Pantry Challenge. The funny part is I still have some meat in my freezer going back to before I started last January. But I have learned that I only need to pick up what I need for a week or two and because there are only 2 of us, I don’t have to buy every thing I see or think we want or need. I also am impressed with the money we saved by using what we had instead of running out cause I forgot to get some thing out of the freezer. I now do a weekly menu and we usually follow it but if there are any changes it gets added on to the next week. I was really excited when after a couple years I was finally able to defrost our big deep freezer and organize every thing so I knew what I had and where it was. That was such a big help that I could just open the door and know where every thing was that I needed for meals. I will be eternally grateful to Jessica and the ladies that continued on the PC journey with me.

      • What an encouraging letter! I hope I can say I’ve been on it that long this time next year. I agree that one of the best things that has come about is seeing everything at a glance, without digging around, when I open the door. See you back next year!

  21. After a freezer inventory I counted up and I have 30 pkgs. of various kinds of meat left. Looks like a Feb. PC for me ( at least a partial one). We also have a fair amt. of frozen veggies. We learn so much about ourselves during a PC. Hopefully that will translate into some personal changes for me. Donna, I can relate so well to your post. We are 2 retirees also who over buy on sales. It is not so much a money issue for me either. So glad you posted and hope to see you back next year.
    29 th
    B. egg and freezer donut
    L. l/o roast , potatoes and carrots. also had cherry fritters
    D. turkey burger soup with freezer tomatoes and veggies and pantry barley, freezer roast stock. So good!
    S. l/o pudding
    30 th
    B. Egg and 1/2 bagel with cream cheese
    L. ate out
    D. l/o soup, cantalope

  22. Glad y’all had a great family birthday celebration for your husband and that everyone is feeling better,
    As the PC comes to an end, I love seeing everyone’s thoughts on how it went for them. Still plugging along here…
    Day 29
    B – made banana nut muffins, added dark chocolate chips in mine
    L – LO pulled pork open faced sandwiches, sliced sharp cheddar cheese
    D – Toscana soup w/ homemade rolls
    S – strawberries, chocolate
    Dessert – chocolate pie (we had defrosted the other day)
    Day 30
    B – muffins, hubs had a yogurt and I had some cut strawberries & orange
    L – buffalo chicken dip w/tortilla chips ( have cream cheese & canned chicken that needs to be used)
    D – LO Toscana soup
    S – Apple wedges, cheese, popcorn
    Dessert – chocolate and the rest of the pie (we shared the last small slice)
    On Sunday made up the dough for Jessica’s Italian sub rolls – made 2 buns for the pulled pork and 6 rolls for soup (we had a guest for dinner). I am learning to bake breads so my stuff doesn’t look as pretty as Jessica’s. Lol still had dough left to use up today.
    We are still unpacking and organizing so I am finding a few things that need to be used. I organized and consolidated all my spices and baking supplies. I had a supply at my home in SC and here at the farm in the camper.
    Went through my recipe box, wrote down things I would like to make with stuff I have and made a small list of the few items I need to get at the store later this week.
    As I said….still plugging along!
    Melissa in GA

  23. Heather M says:

    Jessica, so glad your husband was feeling well enough to really celebrate his day! Yay!! Day 29 was a good Challenge day. The 30th, not so much, But overall, we are achieving what I need us to- cleaning out the freezer and not loading up the fridge since we are going to replace it shortly. I really need to get it arranged soon, since we are running so low on proteins, I’m getting crazy about it. But, I keep reminding myself, it’s for a good cause. I can restock once we get the new one!

    Day 29:

    B: we all skipped it.

    L: tuna sandwiches and apples slices or clementines

    D: I put the lone package of pork tenderloins from the freezer into the slow cooker (had defrosted them in the fridge!) along with beef broth, the last bit of red wine from the fridge (we don’t drink, but I do cook with it), an envelope of onion soup mix, garlic, etc. We ate it over couscous and peas (more out of the freezer), with the jus. YUM! I saved half the pork for a different meal later this week.

    Day 30:

    B: son had cereal, turkey sausage, and OJ; hubs had cereal; I skipped it.

    L: son took turkey/cheese sandwich, clif bar, and pistachios; hubs ate at work; I had samples at costco and then some baguette and cheese when I got home mid-afternoon.

    D: Costco pizza. Son’s request. I caved.

    Will keep going for real until we get the new fridge, and am hoping for the continued support from those others continuing, too. Not sure after that how serious I’ll be, but I do want to be better about my pantry items. There’s still a lot in there that is getting old and needs to be used so I don’t waste. So I’ll continue modified for a bit longer than just the fridge, I think. I certainly won’t be spending as little as I did in January. 🙂

  24. Tuesday, JAN 31

    Would like to echo the sentiments of many here today, so glad that your hubby felt up to celebrating his birthday, Jessica!

    I’ll be continuing on into FEB with the PC.

    Breakfast – oatmeal and hot tea

    Lunch – granola bar and hot tea

    Snack – mini banana muffin

    Dinner – pulled pork sandwiches, homemade pickled cucumbers, mac-n-cheese.

    Shout out to all those who participated in this month’s pantry challenge! I enjoyed reading your posts while I was away from my kitchen and couldn’t participate until near the end.

    Today, I found a 4 qt oval Rival crock pot at the local thrift store for $3.16. Yesterday, I had 3 crock pots going at the same time. I love to cook once and eat all week. I also found a cookbook on pasta sauces! This way, I can serve pasta with some variety other than tomato sauces.

    Well, hope to read many more posts tomorrow too!

  25. Monday cereal toast coffee
    Chichen thighs sgaush with maple syrup,garlic and thyme.cranberry relish
    Flatbread pizzas

    Tues cereal toast coffee
    Leftover spinach pie ,beef pita pockets ,hummus and veggies
    Homemade Mac cheese apple slices trivia/date night took a homemade carrot walnut cake to friend for his birthday

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