Pantry Challenge 2017-31

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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.


Well, we did it! Almost. For once, I don’t have my freezer thawed yet. Usually I swing that by the third week in the challenge, but not this year. There’s actually a fair amount of ice cream in there right now, so I’ll do some rearranging in the small freezer and move some stuff over I think, at least to thaw it out and wipe it down.

Two-inch frost on the freezer walls aside, we did really well. Our 2016 grocery spending average was $1214 to feed 8 people for a month. I’m going to try to keep our grocery spending to $1200 this year, even though the USDA says it should now cost us $1310. We will see if we can prove the government wrong.

In January we spent $356 on groceries, so we’re off to a good start!

If you’d like to continue chatting about eating down the pantry, head to this page where the chatter continues.

Pantry Challenge Meals, Day 31

Breakfast: Oatmeal and Blueberries

Lunch: Sandwiches

Dinner: Spicy Turkey and Sausage BologneseChiChi’s Italian Salad

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  1. I will be trying your bolognese above, as I found a package of spicy ground sausage in the freezer! Not sure what I originally bought it for, but what perfect timing!

    • Forgot to add that my grocery total was abouthe $400CAD, which is around half our usual. Not much left in the protein department, but I’ve cleansed out/used up a lot. Going to try not to buy a lot of overstock as we will be moving back to Oregon in July. I decided to wait to defrost the chest freezer as it’s too cold and there isn’t a lot of frost. But it got eaten down and organized so I’m happy about that! Thanks for another great challenge!

  2. My freezers are no where near empty. They’re not even low enough to inventory. Uggh.

    I posted my Day 31 info on the chatter page. Needless to say, I’ll be continuing through February at least. :}

    • Roberta, I’m in the same situation! There is a dent in each freezer, but it will take another month or two or three to get it down to defrost-range. I honestly have no idea what is in the bottom half of my chest freezer.

  3. Roberta I’m with you! My chest freezer is still to full to inventory! Also it is under the stairs and there isn’t a light so it is hard to do. Oh well–someday!!
    I spent $34 versus $350-$400 so I am very happy with the results of this months challenge! I do have a fairly long list of things we are out of but I am only buying what we need to complete meals and for baking. The rest of it can wait for sales and I’ll only get a couple instead of 10!!!
    Jan 31
    Breakfast was eggs for him and PB toast for me
    Dinner was the last package of homemade meatballs with leftover mashed potatoes and corn.
    Let’s carry on into February!!

  4. Laurie in CA says:

    Thank you Jessica for being our leader and taking time to host the challenge and creating a chatter page. It has made a difference in a lot of lives. Our normal grocery budget is $350 and I came in at $225 for the challenge. I’m carrying on into February as we still have a lot in both freezers (over and under the refrigerators).

  5. Courtney L says:

    I’m so impressed by your start to 2017! It takes effort, clearly, but I hope you are really enjoying your fresh start.

  6. Heather M says:

    Great work, Jessica! So impressed with your low spending for January. We ended up spending $211 on groceries (not including our favorite fizzy drinks which deserve their own budget line item and not including take-out/eating out-entertainment?). Jan. 31 saw us use the LAST of the chicken in our house. Which has me twitchy. I’ve never gone without chicken in the house. But I just don’t want to move an entire freezer and fridge full of food to the new one I’m shopping for tomorrow. Anyhow, here is day 31:

    B: cereal, bacon, and OJ for son; cereal for hubs; I skipped it

    L: son took a leftover slice of pizza, a Clif bar, and pistachios/almonds; hubs took a turkey/salami/cheese sandwich, clementines, and some pretzels; I had cheese and crackers and a clementine.

    D: Made a delicious Sriracha-glazed chicken and onions over rice, with a caesar salad on the side (we enjoy asian flavors a lot in our house, if you haven’t noticed)

    Great work everyone! I’ll be over on the 2017 pantry chatter page since we don’t have the fridge yet. 🙂

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