Pantry Challenge 2017-6

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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.


Today was a good day. We kept the kitchen clean. I got some work done. The girls and I walked to the grocery store for fresh produce.

And we ate well.

Pantry Challenge Meals, Day 6

Breakfast: Eggs with Veggies for the parents; bagels and fruit for the kids

Lunch: Stone Soup – I styled it like an enchilada soup with pork, rice, beans, veggies, and a chile-based broth. I used the drippings from last night’s pulled pork and everyone agreed that the broth was amazing.

Dinner: Pizza Night – Whole Wheat Pizza Dough Recipe, Easy Cheese Pizza with Homemade Pizza Sauce, Tartiflette Pizza, Buttermilk Dressing with Dill

How is the Pantry Challenge going for you?

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  1. Jan 6
    Breakfast–Husband had his eggs and I had my toast
    Lunch–hubs ? I went out with my daughter.
    Dinner–I made your taco soup and we had grilled ham and cheese sandwiches and applesauce.

    I did go to Aldi’s today and bought milk, eggs bread and bananas and spent $15.00

  2. Today I finally got my act together for the challenge. My son helped me clean out the freezer of old/expired food, take inventory and organize last night. Today I finished making our meal plan for the month this evening :). Oh I also got my “before” pictures ready :).

    B- Mix and match muffins- chocolate chip, breakfast sausages
    L- Nachos (again)
    D- Kalua pork and bok choy
    Snacks- green juice, almond milk , christmas candy

    The two little ones are having a sleep over at their cousins house, so we lucked out on a free evening. The hubby and I took a walk around the neighborhood for exercise, sat in front of the TV to catch up on The Walking Dead.

  3. Friday-my favorite day of the week.

    B-eggs and spinach
    L-taco soup
    D-more taco soup-this time over rice with avocado, cheese, sour cream, and chips
    snack-two glasses of wine

  4. Our 2nd day:

    B- bacon (finished off an open pack from the holidays), fruit

    L – DS chose to buy lunch at school; I had leftovers

    D – marinated chicken from the freezer, baked with diced onions, mushrooms and zucchini; cubed and roasted sweet potatoes; garlic toast ; raw veggie tray

    snacks – Christmas stocking snacks – chocolate dipped pretzels, chile pistachios; ice cream for dessert (I realized we have 6 open cartons in the freezer! crazy!)

  5. Woke up to -0* feels like temps! BRRRRR!!

    B- made the kids hot cocoa and oat meal with toast before school. I had a bowl of cereal.
    L- kids had assorted sandwiches, halo oranges chips or pretzles and granola bars. ( Their lunches are so repetitive and they don’t mind! They just want to be fed!) Husband no doubt had his routine turkey and veggies.. I had a lunch meeting at a local mexican restuarant! YUMMO!
    D- Chicken and stuffing casserole, apple sauce and frozen peas…

    I will have to hit the grocery for us soon.. I might be able to squeak by this weekend.. but definitely Monday for a reload of basics and staples…

  6. B: Homemade chocolate bread, bananas, milk
    L: Grilled cheese sandwiches, baked beans, bananas
    D: We had unexpected guests for dinner so I had to change up my plans. Instead of hamburgers I made spaghetti
    bolognese and served it with green beans and assorted fruit. There was enough leftover bolognese sauce for a second meal. I think I will make meatballs and use the sauce to make meatball subs later this week. I will have to fire up the bread machine to make dough for the sub rolls.
    Snacks: my daughters had friends spend the night and they had chocolate bread, popcorn and lemonade

  7. Friday was a good day for us too! I spent a lot of time driving kids around in the morning but they were both happy so it’s worth it.

    We ate:
    B- kids had pancakes, pb, and juice
    S- kids snacks were taboulleh and pita chips, cheese, freeze dried fruit, applesauce and water
    L- kids had Annie’s mac and cheese, hubs made tuna salad and I ate leftover chicken bacon ranch salad with some pita chips. I think there was fruit involved as well
    S- more snacking but I don’t remember what…
    D- homemade thin crust pizza, Caesar salad, mandarin oranges and oatmeal chocolate chip cookies for dessert. Movie night at house – we watched the Charlie Brown Movie 🙂

    My mom and I are going to the local farm to split a share of their winter CSA that offers apples, carrots and other storage root veggies, some dairy, and salad greens from their tunnels. I plan to buy a pound of their ground beef as well and expect I’ll spend about $25 all together.

  8. Stephanie M. says:


    B – Hubby had toast with cream cheese using up the last rye bread in the bag and a yogurt; I had pancakes from the freezer and strawberries

    L – Hubby had a business luncheon; I had a roast beef and swiss sandwich; I also had a multi grain wasa bread with the last wedge of spreadable cheese from a Christmas gift basket

    D – We had Jessica’s ham and swiss siders; I saw her recipe a while ago and it said they can be made ahead and frozen so about a month and a half ago, I bought a bag of 12 potato dinner rolls and made them and froze them in two packages of 6. I wrapped each sandwich in two layers of saran wrap and put in a freezer bag. The recipe called for them to be defrosted which I did and they crisped up in the oven beautifully; they were really delicious! Glad I have another package in the freezer; I served these with French fries

    Dessert/snack – Hubby had cheese balls and I had a yogurt and some Lindt chocolate left over from Christmas

  9. Day 6 we ate Bfast from MC D’s as we were on the road after I was to have blood work (order wasn’t in so I Starved for no reason GRR) Lunch was snacks at home, dinner was leftover noodles and mashed potatoes. Did go to store….had several coupons for non food that matched sales, along with some freebie food (3 lbs of meat for free) that was going to expire so I sucked it up and went…came in UNDER budgeted amt saving 31% . Got fresh produce and dairy so won’t have to go back for a couple weeks if not longer. BUT …got our favorite sub meal package ,granted it was on sale for 30 % off and we are having it tonight instead of take out pizza…Hubby did admit that we couldn’t have gotten out of Sam’s club that cheap with that variety of food.

  10. Friday 1/6

    Breakfast – Granola bar

    Lunch – Pepperoni pizza & salad

    Dinner – Swedish meatballs over pasta w/cauliflower & broccoli mix

    It is below zero here today with snow on the ground so thinking I am going to hibernate with a good book and do some menu planning for next week. brrrrr

    • Stephanie M. says:

      Enjoy your book, Mona. It’s freezing here too; the snow just started and it’s supposed to snow all day. But instead of being able to curl up inside we are going to a final family holiday party this afternoon. But we will be home early and tomorrow we can stay inside looking outside all day while I decorate the house for Valentine’s Day. Have a great day!!!! 🙂

      • Love it that you decorate for Valentine’s Day. I can hardly keep my house tidy with the existing decor, I don’t even attempt season decor. 😉

      • It was a nice easy day here today Stephanie! No more snow but only got to 14 degrees so it was a great day to stay in. Of course, they are calling for more snow tomorrow but that’s okay since we will be sitting on the couch watching the Steeler game!
        Can’t wait to hear all about how beautiful your house looks tomorrow. I’m with Jessica….I hang a wreath on the outside door and that’s as far as my Valentine’s decorating goes!

  11. tastycook says:


    B – bagel and cream cheese for hubby, cereal and a banana for me

    L – turkey soup which used turkey stock, leeks, green beans, corn – all ends of bags in the freezer, carrots, onions from the fridge. Lots of odds and ends GONE!!! Also buns from the freezer.

    S – chef’s salads, using roast beef (again, from the freezer), eggs and all sorts of yummy fresh greens and veggies.
    Hubby finished the tapioca and I had some ice cream

    A really good day, cleaning out lots of odds and ends which could so easily have been wasted.

  12. Fri 1/6
    B – I had a half slice of cranberry walnut bread, he slept in
    L – L/O Stir fry
    S – mozzarella cheese
    D – Italian sausages with peppers and onions, herb stuffing – the combination was not quite as symbiotic as I’d hoped but the stuffing had definitely stayed beyond its welcome so it had to go

  13. Fri

    B – Malt-o-meal for me, PB toast, halo and ? for him, Tea for both of us.
    L – I had sandwich and leftover couscous, he ate at work
    D – Leftover green bean soup and sandwiches.

    He brought home needed dairy and produce, it is cold and I haven’t been out since the snow.

  14. Found some more frozen pumpkin in my freezer, and made pumpkin bread. Used the loaves of frozen bread for French toast in the am and turkey sandwiches (or grilled cheese @ lunch) and a frozen lasagna for dinner. It was a good pantry challenge day!

  15. Still eating out of frig. Will make Turkey rice soup from leftover drumstick for lunch. Have grandkids coming for supper– planning sloppy Joe’s to use up rolls. Meat from freezer. Broccoli from frig.

  16. Tiffany R says:

    Dinner: Philly cheesesteak sandwiches using Steakums from the freezer and mushrooms from fridge. Buns I got at a local hamburger place a few days ago (needed to use before they went bad). Remaining frozen French fries, leftover Mac & cheese and apple slices. I had a salad with leftover grilled chicken.

    It snowed in Georgia so we will be staying in all weekend and eating from home! One of the perks of snow!


  17. Here in middle GA we missed the snow but got plenty of rain, as the temps continue to drop today and this evening we will have ice. Hopefully we won’t lose power. We have our generator ready to run our freezer and fridge. We have propane for heat and cooking. Bad weather does keep you hunkered down at home!

    Day 6
    B – strawberries & an orange for me, biscuits & fried eggs for hubs
    L – a can of chili w/a velveeta mini block melted in & the last of a bag of blue tortilla chips
    D – chicken w/artichokes & tomatoes (budget bytes recipe) served over pasta
    S – last of the pimiento cheese, crackers, summer sausage & cheese, olives & hubs had one of his little pies in the afternoon
    Dessert- hubs had another little pie w/ice cream ( he only has 1 left now!!), I had a piece of chocolate

    Hope everyone stays warm and safe in these winter storms! Cold weather always makes me want to bake…I see bread and cookies in my future!!

    Melissa in GA

  18. Laurie in CA says:

    I made my first grocery trip of the year to Trader Joe’s. I spent $33.78 on dairy, eggs, bread, a few pantry items, cauliflower and bananas. Oh, and a tub of shortbread Christmas cookies for my grandson (marked down half price)
    B – I had almond butter toast and coffee, hubs had baked banana nut oatmeal and the last two sausage patties from the freezer
    L – I had l/o Senate Bean Soup, hubs had a burger and fries out after his golf game
    D – Since hubs had such a late lunch he wasn’t hungry for dinner. He made a piece of toast about 9:00. I heated up the last bit of the chicken enchilada casserole, steamed some broccoli and had a piece of sourdough bread

    • I have never seen markdowns at my TJ’s. That’s cool!

      • Tiffany R says:

        I was thinking the same thing! We even asked one of the clerks if she was marking down the bread and she said they don’t do that, they donate it. I will have to look for Christmas clearance next time I go.

      • Laurie in CA says:

        The only thing I’ve seen marked down are seasonal items that they have a lot of stock. In my store it is usually by the register. The out of date items are donated to several local food charity give aways. At least it doesn’t go in a dumpster. We have a great many living in poverty in my area and the need is great.

  19. Jen in IN says:

    B: egg and avocado toast
    L: boys packed a seedy bagel, orange, and yogurt tube
    I took leftover sausage potato soup, and husband had leftover chili.
    D: spaghetti carbonara, baby greens with pear, craisins, walnuts, blue cheese, and maple balsamic vinaigrette
    S: yogurt after crossfit
    after school cheese and crackers
    cookies for dessert

  20. I guess better late than never. I so enjoy this blog I have tried pantry challenges on my own but they never last? I am a very lucky bargin shopper but sometimes thing pile up hope it’s not to late to join I have 3 freezers and a huge pantry area in my basement I need to use up today’s menu biscuits and eggs, lunch assorted leftover and dinner flatbread pizzas. Ps sure is cold here in Michigan.

  21. We are having chicken enchiladas for dinner tonight. I’ve been staying out of the store and it’s been great. It’s amazing how much food we have that needs to be used up!

  22. I see everyone seems to be using up their bits and pieces very well. Yesterday I read where the average American household wastes 27 % of the food that they buy. I am sure that I don’t and it seems to me like our PC group doesn’t either. Good job!
    B cereal and milk
    L – Dirty Rice w/ mixed veggie casserole.
    D – biscuits (last can) and sausage gravy. Grocery store gives out a free item every month for customer appreciation and I got 2 lbs. of sausage a few months ago. Guess if we have need of biscuits again this month I will use my H/M bisquick mix. It really needs to be used up fairly soon.
    S – fruit cake and chocolate covered peanuts. I got the peanuts for free with grocery store promotion at Christmas. Love the freebies!

    • I have read those waste stats as well. A friend and I were talking about food waste just the other day, we both try to have very little waste. Some folks just don’t eat leftovers.
      My husband says he wants to come to your house for biscuits and gravy for dinner, lol.
      I always try to get any and all freebies, I figure if I can’t use it, somebody I know surely can!, hurray for free stuff!

      Melissa in GA

      • I grew up in a house that didn’t use leftovers. I shudder to think of the waste… My waste (a fair bit of it because of picky kids) all goes to the chickens, thankfully.

    • Yep. If that stat is true for you, you can hypothetically cut the grocery bill dramatically just by not wasting.

  23. Kathy in Denmark says:

    Day 6

    B: Oats and milk for DH. Breakfast at kindergarten for DD1. Homemade bread for DD2 and me.
    L: DH skips luch on friday because breakfast is provided. He then gets to go home half an hour early, which is always nice 🙂 Packed lunch for DD1. Rye bread with toppings for DD2 and me.
    Dinner: The last of the potato soup and homemade bread.
    Snacks: Fruit, crackers, Christmas cookies.

    Kathy in Denmark

  24. Danielle L Zecher says:

    It was a pretty good day for us, too. the only setback was that I had some pork in the fridge that I thought had a few more days. I pulled it out and discovered that it was two days past it’s use by date, so I ended up throwing it away. Considering how packed the fridge was going into the year, and that I basically had the flu, I know it’s not that much to throw away, but it was still annoying. Other than that the day went well.

    Breakfast: Leftover tomato quiche.

    Lunch: Leftover Chicken Parmesan for hubby, leftover potato soup and beer bread for me.

    Dinner: Breakfast for dinner! 🙂 Eggs, bacon, and grits with cheese. 🙂

    We did buy eggs, onions, and baking powder (we were almost out) in anticipation of the snow that started yesterday. Hubby went to the store for it, so I’m not sure how much he spent. We switched to a brand of baking powder without aluminum, so I’m not sure how much that was.

  25. Today I had to go grocery shopping to bring lunch to my debaters. The only thing I bought that wasn’t on the list for them was kleenex – I used a whole box in a sneeze fest this morning.

    Pantry challenge update: Canned beans getting rotated, oatmeal getting rotated, pierogies from the freezer eaten, etc. Slow, steady progress to organization in my pantry! My goal is to get everything in to my one kitchen pantry instead of also in the hall closet/attic stair.

  26. Middle daughter and I traveled back from her contest today. I was more than ready to get things back to normal.
    B- hard boiled eggs or cereal for those at home, late breakfast at Bob Evans for daughter and I
    L- leftover steak sandwiches for hubby, school lunches for youngest 2, daughter and I ate the last of a little taco meat with some chips late in the afternoon when we got home
    D- made a pot of spaghetti with meat sauce, salad w/homemade Bleu cheese dressing and oranges sliced for dessert
    S- popcorn

  27. I’ve been grocery shopping, but my plan of attack has been to spend money on after Christmas clearances now in an effort to save money over the next few months. I have also been stockpiling whole/real/not junk food to take advantage of some sales cycles.

    Anyway~ We’ve been eating freezer meals this week :Soy Ginger Pork, chicken parmesan casserole (this was a “DIY” recipe that didn’t turn out well, we ate it anyway) veggie pot pie, something else at the beginning of the week that I can’t recall right now. We had a previously planned night out last night so dinner was on the go. We’ve eaten all the regular oatmeal so I’ll need to bake something for breakfast next week: I’m thinking about a loaf of pumpkin bread or 3. Tonight will be the leftovers of the aforementioned meals, although it’s so cold and icy here in Georgia I just might start a pot of chili!

  28. Today has been a clean out the leftovers day. And I am fine with that! Breakfast was leftover steel cut oats (who knew they last 5 days in the fridge!) warmed and served with diced fresh pears, maple syrup and cream.
    Lunch was leftover acini de pepi soup with beef and breadsticks. Kids had leftover homemade nacho cheese sauce with either veggies, tortilla chips, or both. A few grabbed some cooked chicken and threw that on too. I made 2 patches of squash cinnamon rolls from some leftover puréed squash in the fridge. I also made a homemade yellow cake since I had2 cracked eggs from my hens and half a block of cream cheese in the fridge for frosting. The kids are thrilled. Cinnamon rolls will end for tomorrow’s brunch and the cake will be tonight’s dessert. I was planning to make some meatballs and a salad but since I have Bunches of soup left we’re going to finish that up.

  29. Friday, January 6

    Breakfast: Biscuits with jam for me cereal and milk for hubs

    Lunch: leftover pasta for both of us, various snacky bit’s still hanging around

    Dinner: Unexpected dinner out with friends, so that was a bit of an expense we hadn’t anticipated, but it was nice to visit with them.

  30. Sunday 1/8

    Breakfast was egg sandwiches with Canadian bacon on English muffins. Made a blueberry smoothie to go with that

    Lunch was uneventful. Lol. Leftovers

    Dinner was a chuck roast (we recently purchased 1/2 of a grass fed steer! ) had that with mashed potatoes, roasted beets and carrots, homemade honey buttermilk rolls, leftover cake for dessert. Everyone liked it.

  31. Breakfast-Bagel thin with cream cheese
    Morning snack-KIND bar-Dark chocolate and almond
    Lunch-LO Butternut squash posole and veggie sandwich
    DInner-Girls night out at Benihana, had avocado rolls and veggie tempura. And wine 🙂

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