Pantry Challenge 2018: Days 12 & 13 & 14

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. We participate in other affiliate programs as well. For more details, please see our disclosure policy.

The Pantry Challenge is on! This month we’re focusing on what we have, to use it up and save money.

Saturdays are my work days. While I spent most of yesterday tapping away at my keyboard, I did not get you the Pantry Challenge update for Friday or Saturday. So now here we are on Sunday, and I’m delivering a trifecta. Sorry for the delay.

We are plugging along with the Pantry Challenge. Per my goals, I have kept my grocery shopping to dairy and fresh produce and….

the occasional item that isn’t to be missed. In today’s case, the Black Cherry Raspberry Blood Orange preserves from Costco. They are a seasonal item that I’ve been waiting months for. We bought two ginormous jars, but are tempted to get more before it’s gone again. Like the parchment paper.

I’ve done a few little puttery things in the kitchen, though I haven’t gone into full-on-cooking-all-the-things mode. As you know, I made a batch of buttermilk on Thursday. We ended up using most of it in pancakes on Friday morning, so I immediately made a second batch with some of what was left. I did a little research and saw that many online recipes for home cultured buttermilk don’t require you to heat the milk first. Will have to experiment on that one. Anytime you can eliminate a step and get the same results is a win in my book.

While FishChick9 and I were making pancakes, we also made three pancake mixes. That way, pancakes will be so much easier next week.

Since I’ve been counting calories (and seeing some success), I’ve put off Friday night pizza nights. I am looking toward making sustainable changes. Part of that is to get a grip on cravings and portion control. Homemade pizza might be more than I can handle at this point. We’ll see.

Instead we’ve been enjoying homemade (grilled) Fish and Chips and Coleslaw. So yummy!

Last night was an experiment. If you can make sense of my cat scratches, go for it. It still needs some tweaks before I deem it ready, though.

Our family is in various stages of illness. A couple of the boys came down with the grunge this weekend. I’m still nursing a little bit of the sinus issues. I think at least two of us have been sick and are better. If I’ve done my math right, that leaves three who are still in the woods. We’ll see how they fare.

On the plus side, the weather has been gorgeous here. The girls and I went hiking this afternoon. Beautiful!

It was a pretty low key weekend. So glad for a holiday tomorrow! I’ve got bagel dough proofing overnight in the fridge for tomorrow’s experimentation/breakfast.

Pantry Challenge 2018: Day 12

Breakfast: Pancakes and fruit for the kids, Oatmeal and berries for me.

Lunch: Leftover pork loin for salads, wraps, or on leftover pasta

Dinner: Grilled Fish, Creamy ColeslawEasy Roast Potatoes

Pantry Challenge 2018: Day 13

Breakfast: Cereal and fruit

Lunch: Leftovers

Dinner: Chicken and Rice Bake (an experiment)

Movie snack: Buttered Air-popped Popcorn

Pantry Challenge 2018: Day 14

Breakfast: Cereal and grapefruits

Lunch: Easy Slow Cooker Chili, chips

Dinner: Spice-Rubbed Grilled Pork TenderloinEasy Roast Potatoes, Spinach Salad

As always, thanks for sharing the Pantry Challenge with your friends. The more the merrier!

What did YOU cook up?

About Jessica Fisher

I believe great meals don't have to be complicated or expensive. There's a better way, and it won't take all afternoon.

Subscribe to Good Cheap Eats
Read Newer Post
Read Older Post

Comments

  1. Plugging away here too, my shoot for the moon goal was to save $100 on this pay periods grocery bill and we saved $86. Yay! This weekend has been busy and in and out and people have been eating as they go ? No school tomorrow, I’ll be making my next weeks plan then

  2. My husband spent 65 at Aldi including trash bags and freezer bags and a chocolate bar each for the older 3 kids as a special treat but otherwise just milk , cheese, produce and pb. I used an extra 100 dollars in Dec stocking up with butter sales and other holiday sales so I’m paying that back this month . I will see if we can make it to Feb on what we have I made pizza with your pizza dough recipe saturday . We had leftovers , veggies and dip, and bacon my parents gave us today.

    I pulled in some containers of frozen chili and taco soup for the week . Also have BBQ meatballs for crock pot (made in July with zaycon order), made my husband a few pans of burritos which are great for using frozen beans .
    I’m not going to end the month with much grocery cash, but I have the chicken and cod I paid for coming in future months, and I’ve paid back Dec . February should be easier.

  3. Melissa in GA says:

    Glad to see that you’re doing alright, I had feared you had gotten sicker. The flu seems to be stomping across the entire country right now. Hoping no one else gets sick in your household!

    January 12
    B – sausage and cheese scramble for hubs, muffin & banana for me, dad ate with the old farts club
    L – grilled ham and cheese sandwich for the guys, spinach dip & bread for me
    D – grilled steak, mushrooms & onions and salad
    Dessert – ice cream
    LO sausage gone, spring mix gone, one bread loaf gone, muffins gone, bananas gone and ham gone. Hmm, seems like a lot.

    January 13
    B – cheese grits, bacon and fried eggs
    L – bits of this and that. Spinach dip gone, 2 LO hotdogs from pack gone, LO chili gone, a small wedge of cheese gone, last of a box of crackers gone
    D – homemade pizza
    The cheese I thought was mozzarella was actually Swiss (ugh). The “dude pie” had sausage, pepperoni, mushroom and a combo of Monterrey jack, sharp cheddar, Parmesan & parmesano reggiono. My small pizza had pepperoni mushroom and the 2 Italian cheeses. The guys said it was delicious and mine tasted like the Chef boyardee box pizza I used to make as a kid when I had a friend over! Yum!
    S – popcorn for the football game
    Dessert – chocolate

    January 14
    B – bacon, fried eggs and WW toast for the guys, I had bacon and some fruit
    L – cheese, summer sausage, crackers & olives and some wafer cookies
    D – navy beans with kielbasa & bacon, cornbread muffins
    Dessert – home canned pears w/whipped cream

    Did a review of fridge, freezer and pantry contents. Gave some stale crackers to the chickens. The fridge is pretty organized and not crowded. I am going to reorganize the stand up freezer in the utility room tomorrow.

    I hear ya on the homemade pizza and dieting. We aren’t doing it every week either.

  4. Friday January 12th

    B – fruit and yogurt fir hubby with a cranberry muffin, sausage on a bun for me,

    L – egg salad sandwich for me, hubby ???

    S – chicken curry

    Saturday January 13th

    B – fruit and yigurt for hubby, yogurt, cranberry muffin and a piece of cheese for me

    L – coffee and bread pudding at a local coffee shop

    S – salad with a sausage roll (purchased at said coffee shop)

    Sunday January 14th

    B – fruit and yogurt and cranberry muffin for hubby, raspberries, yogurt and granola for me

    L – out for lunch

    S – egg salad sandwich and ice cream for hubby, toasted cheese for me and the last mince pie

    • I love sausage rolls! We lived in Northern England for awhile years ago and discovered them there. I make them now with sausage and those puff pastry sheets. Brings back lots of wonderful memories… Also fish and chips from the corner store, Cadbury flake bars, scotch eggs, hot pot….

  5. Fri. 1/12/18

    B: Cereal w/ blueberries, toast, OJ, coffee.

    L: Son had a cheddar on ww sandwich, string cheese (yes, he’s part mouse, or maybe it’s the Swiss part of his DNA), pineapple, mandarin, dried cranberries, cookies. Hubs and I were running errands all morning and had In-N-Out.

    D: Fall vegetable quinoa soup and ww cheddar toasts. (We all like cheese around here.)

    S/D: More Christmas chocolates, veg sticks w/ ranch (Hubs), hot cocoa (son).

    Sat. 1/13/18

    B: Oatmeal, toast, OJ, coffee.

    L: Ham and cheese (!) quesadillas, pineapple, hm applesauce, bananas, veg sticks w/ ranch.

    D: LO veg/quinoa soup, toast (hm French bread), and–you guessed it–string cheese.

    S/D: The last of the Christmas chocolates (at least until we use the Sees gift card Hubs received at Christmas), PB toast (Hubs), hot cocoa (son).

    Sun. 1/14/18

    B: The guys had cereal, toast, cranberry juice (we’re out of OJ), coffee for Hubs. I had a banana and coffee.

    L: Egg salad sandwiches on French, yogurt w/ cranberry-pomegranate compote, pineapple, applesauce, carrot and celery sticks w/ ranch.

    D: Olive Garden (We were at an Eagle Court of Honor.)

    I’m going to have to put the rest of the soup in the freezer. sigh

    Have a great week, everyone!

  6. Stephanie M. says:

    January 12 – Day 12

    B – Hubby had toast, yogurt, strawberries/pineapple; I had whole wheat raisin toast, V8, and peanuts

    L – Hubby had the last of the bean soup, apple, and chocolate chip cookies; I had a chicken burger and chick pea salad. I have several cans of low sodium chick peas in the pantry and up until last year have never been a fan of them. I have them because our youngest daughter likes them. But in my never ending quest to stay on the healthy eating track, I opened up a can last week and put some in my lunch salad; as the days went by, I kept looking at the Tupperware container in the fridge holding the rest of them and decided I needed to do something with them so I made a chick pea salad using my last red pepper, a red onion, the last of a halved cucumber, some chopped celery, ground black pepper, and olive oil and red wine vinegar. It was delicious and now since I have more cans, I will make that again.

    D – Grilled chicken legs, mashed potatoes, and peas

    January 13 – Day 13

    B – Hubby had cereal; I had a yogurt

    L – Hubby had the last of the homemade been and beef burritos from the freezer; I skipped lunch today, not normal for me but we were busy preparing for our family night

    D – Family Night – a once a month thing; There were 8 of us and what a great time we had. Normally, when I have family night, I cook a big dinner with appetizers and dessert but since we are getting ready to have our annual Valentine’s dinner party next month, I decided to take it easy tonight. So I just had one appetizer rather than a few and it was mozzarella sticks. Then we had 5 large pizzas and a dozen garlic knots delivered. We pre ordered it on Friday night. For dessert, I set up an ice cream bar; We had vanilla ice cream, chocolate ice cream, and raspberry chocolate chip ice cream. For toppings I had several bowls set up with regular chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, chocolate sprinkles, cherries, broken oreos, coconut, a large bowl with strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries, a two tiered round tray with home made pound cake on the bottom and chocolate chip cookies on the top, chocolate syrup, caramel topping, whipped cream, and strawberry topping. I had to stay away from the nuts because our grandson is allergic. It turned out really nice and everyone had a wonderful time. Since I’m always watching everything I eat, I had two slices of pizza but no mozzarella sticks and no dessert. So it was a cheat meal but not too awful. My mom slept over and our daughter’s boyfriend slept over as well so I made breakfast the next morning.

    January 14 – Day 14

    B – Since I had some unexpected house guests, I was up very early making breakfast and setting the table. I made Jessica’s home made pancakes, scrambled eggs with cheddar, turkey bacon, turkey sausage, and fried cinnamon apples. This breakfast helped me use up a lot. I now have no eggs or turkey sausage. I used up the turkey bacon from the freezer but I still have an unopened one in the fridge which I need for tomorrow’s dinner. I also used up all of my green apples and my flour for the pancakes.

    L – Since I only had a small amount of the eggs and two sausages, I had the rest of the eggs and some more sausage at lunchtime. Hubby skipped lunch

    D – Hubby had some of the leftover pizza; I had the leftover chick pea salad from the other day

  7. 1/13
    B: Egg mcmuffins or banana chocolate chip muffins
    L and D: We traveled to an out of town figure skating competition for DD2. She did great and we all enjoyed a planned lunch and dinner out.

    1/14:
    B: Oatmeal or egg and sausage mcmuffin
    L: LO chicken and broccoli stir-fry
    D: Chili and cornbread

  8. Joa in IA says:

    1/12

    B-. Protein shakes and cinnamon oatmeal

    L- Chicken quesadilla, chips & Salsa and banana cupcake for me. On Fridays work buys us lunch and it was coworkers Birthday so I brought cupcakes. Hubby forgot his lunch so grabbed something. Boys made frozen pizza.

    Supper- Hubby had his Christmas party we ate there. Boys were going to go out to eat but ended up staying home and making Mac and cheese.

    1/13
    B- Toast and tea

    L-. Smoked brisket

    Snack ?

    Supper- Calico beans with smoked brisket.

    The brisket could of been a budget buster. Luckily I had one frozen and I reminded him back on Tuesday to take it out of the freezer. He kept saying I’ll just go to Sam’s club and buy one. Average brisket there is $40 to $45. But we usually get 3 meals out of it.

    After the Christmas party Friday night he put it in the smoker and it was ready Saturday morning around 11am. Hubby loves using his Green Mountain Smoker but there are a lot of times he is smoking something every weekend even in the winter. Adds up on the grocery bill but I freeze a lot of the leftovers. He doesn’t just make 1 pork butt he will make 3 or 4 at a time. Great for using in quesadillas, tacos and BBQ pork sandwiches.

    1/14

    B- hubby and I had toast peanut butter and raspberry jam. Boys slept late.

    L-. We all ate different things leftover casserole, chicken breasts and brisket.

    Snack-last of the corn dip, fruit snacks, rice pudding cup. Things I noticed being eaten.

    Supper- homemade chicken noodle soup. Using up somethings from the refrigerator and freezer for it. I made a very large pot and still have half left.

    The smaller cube deep freeze has a lot more white space now but the larger deep freeze does not. The plastic baskets are froze in and I can’t get them out to dig on the one side of that freezer. My goal is to use up lots out of that freezer so I can get those baskets defrosted.

    • Sarah Gallop says:

      I share your pain with the baskets being frozen into the freezer! I have a large fabric grocery “box” that holds all my meat in our chest freezer. That baby is stuck solid in there. My goal for this challenge is also to defrost my deep freeze. It’s my goal every year and I’ve not made it there yet! Go 2018!!

  9. Laurie in CA says:

    1-12
    B – hubs stopped and picked up a breakfast burrito on his way to golf. I had a toasted English muffin, 1/2 ounce of almonds and an orange
    L – Aunt Sandy’s soup from the freezer with s slice of toasted sourdough bread. Hubs made a ham sandwich after his golf game
    D – I made lentil soup in the instant pot. It was a cold (for us) overcast day and soup just sounds so good!

    I went to Costco in the late morning for household supplies. The only food items I bought were milk and cheddar cheese. Hubs thinks I should count the coffee too since it is a consumable. I was really hungry when I got out of there. I didn’t eat any samples and was really proud of myself that I was able to wait till I got home to pull lunch from the freezer. It was a win/win!

    1/14
    B – toasted banana bread (from the freezer), coffee
    L – I had pecan praline French toast from freezer (l/o from Christmas), hubs had a ham sandwich
    D – out to favorite bbq restaurant with our besties

    1/15
    B – toasted banana bread for hubs, toasted sprouted wheat bread w/ almond butter for me
    L – hubs used up the rest of the shredded beef and made tacos, I had lentil soup and the last piece of sourdough bread from the freezer
    D – birthday party pizza (My two youngest grands turned 3. Not twins, cousins born 2 days apart)

  10. I know we all set our own personal goals for Pantry Challenge. Mine is to spend no money on groceries as long as possible. I have a tendency to overbuy “good deals” and I love to grocery shop. So far, I have spent $0 dollars on food this month. It helps that I get fresh eggs from my daughter’s chickens, we are not big milk drinkers so a half gallon of ultra-pasturized lasts the whole month, I had a ton of food left from Christmas, and there are only two of us. We do go out for planned meals (always Saturday breakfast) and have two mini vacations coming up later this month-ocean with girlfriends and snow shoeing with husband. We’re still eating well-no big disasters using up things yet. I am out of leafy greens, but have frozen and canned veg left, along with cabbage, carrots, potatoes, onions, jalapeños, two avocados, and a little bit of celery. And we’re almost at the half way point!
    1/14
    B-fried potatoes and onions, bacon and eggs
    L-chocolate chip cookies (Jessika’s recipe off this site-love them!)
    D- pork pot pie using freezer leftover pork roast, lots of veg, gravy and topped with a pie crust. Cooked it in my cast iron skillet. Yum.
    I was going to try to watch calories this month to try to lose a few Christmas pounds, but I have a hard time with dieting and pantry challenge (as you can see by my above meals). I am back to going to the gym three times a week, so that’ll work for me this month.

    • Melissa in GA says:

      Good job on the no spend! I love grocery shopping too! My hubs likes those cookies as well.

    • Great job ! I can definitely see this working differently with no kids in house. I got by with so little grocery money and so little variety when I was single.

      • It also helps having a husband who’s pretty good about being a good sport during pantry challenge as he’s lived through many of them. 🙂

    • I understand the temptation of good deals. Ground beef was $2.88 at Sprouts, but I avoided it.

    • Lynn from NC Outer Banks says:

      Right there with you, Karen on the “overbuying’ (why I need the PC) and loving to grocery shop. I even went into grocery shops in Europe just because I wanted to see what they sold and how much it was. My husband and traveling friends thought I was crazy-especially when I took pictures!

  11. Fri
    B – I had a granola bar and l/o potstickers, not sure about him
    L – baked salmon
    D – l/o tuna salad on crackers with cheese and fruit

    Sat
    B – zucchini muffins
    L – baked salmon with half a bagel and cream cheese
    D – red beans and rice – used beans that have been in the pantry for 3 years (!), celery that was going soft, plus a bunch of stuff from the freezer: ham hock, smoked sausage, and peppers
    Dessert – finished off some cheesecake that was in the fridge that I was afraid would spoil if we waited any longer

    That one pound of dried beans turned into So. Much. Food. when cooked up. I knew it would, but still. Geesh. We had big bowls of it last night and still have 3 containers of it. One already went into the freezer, and I’ll probably end up putting another one in there because while I don’t mind leftovers, I don’t want to eat the same meal every day this week.

    Sun
    B – bagel & cream cheese
    L – I had l/o beans and rice, he had pizza
    D – shrimp, roasted broccoli, baked potato

    I was rummaging in the inside freezer, looking for something I would have sworn I had in there but never did find, and came across the shrimp I had forgotten we had. I also found a package of teriyaki chicken that I pulled out to thaw, and some torta rolls (similar to ciabatta) I had no idea were in there. I have some deli turkey meat in the fridge that I’ve been wondering how to use up since I was loathe to buy any bread, so I was delighted to find those rolls.

  12. Black Cherry Raspberry Blood Orange preserves? That sounds absolutely amazing. It’s not a flavor I’ve ever seen around here. What brand makes it?

  13. Sarah Gallop says:

    January 12 – I ended up staying home from work today, I felt too crummy and it just wasn’t worth dragging myself in. Food was very simple and lazy.

    Breakfast: cereal and milk for hubs, pulled pork and an egg on toast for me.

    Lunch: hubs and I skipped and had an early dinner

    Dinner: tacos with ground pork – a definite fave.

    January 13 – had some unavoidable errands to run today, and picked up a few essentials as we had run out of cheddar, coffee creamer and cat food. I’m a brand snob when it comes to cheddar cheese, and they had large blocks of my favourite brand on sale for $10.99, which is a rock bottom price for cheese where we live in BC. So, 3 blocks at $11 each adds up, but it will last us for a while.

    If we take out the cat food our total so far is $80 and change. Not great, but not too bad. We typically spend $50-$75/week on food, so $80 for 2 weeks is a small win.

    Breakfast: hubs had French toast, I had the last of the spaghetti leftovers.

    Lunch: neither of us were hungry

    Dinner: pork fried rice, all from the freezer.

    Snack: popcorn. I also made gingerbread syrup to have as a treat in my morning coffee

    January 14

    Breakfast: cereal for hubs, pulled pork and an egg on toast for me. I have loads of pulled pork in the freezer from a large roast I did a few months ago, so I’m determined to use it up!

    Lunch: both of us skipped again. I had a few pretzels as a snack

    Dinner: chicken tortellini alfredo and a “clean out the fridge” salad. I think the tortellini had been in the freezer a bit too long, but oh well. Still tasted mostly alright. I used 2 packages of dry Alfredo sauce mix from the pantry and the last of a getting-old carton of milk. Was able to freeze some near-death peppers for use on future pizzas or in fried rice. Sadly, the cucumbers and tomatoes went in the bin.

    My plan for this week is to make a dent in the enormous container of baby carrots in my fridge. The last grocery pick-up order I placed in December subbed a huge bag for the small one I’d originally ordered, so now I’m stuck with them!

    My fridge freezer is starting to get some white space, which will be swiftly filled by the 6 containers of leftovers from tonight’s dinner. Such is the cycle of the pantry challenge!

    • Hey Sarah

      Great outcomes from the pantry challenge! Thank you for sharing. I am in northern BC (Dawson Creek). Just wondering where you are located? Its nice to find other bc’ers here.
      Cheers 🙂

  14. Glad you are feeling better, I continue to gain energy. This takes longer now than it did a few decades ago. (grin) Hopefully some of the rest of your family will be like my husband who never caught it, in spite of my being sick and quite a few of the people he works with having it as well. I’m glad he isn’t as susceptible as I am, but wish I wasn’t either.

    1/14

    B – Whole grain blender pancakes and green tea for him, Malt-o-Meal cooked in milk and earl grey tea for me
    S – hummus and chips
    D – l/o beef and veg soup, turkey and cheese sandwiches for both of us and he had donuts for dessert. (he bought himself a treat)

    My main goal has been to identify and use up the older supplies in the freezer and pantry/cupboards. They aren’t disappearing as fast as I like, but I keep using them and have done little re-stocking, so I’m happy so far. The pancakes are made with whole grain in the blender and the recipe calls for wheat, but todays pancakes included barley for a third of the grain successfully, so that is a win from my standpoint. We had snow again today. I’ve been using stuff up in soups a lot with the cold weather but have fish thawing in the frig to bake tomorrow, since I have the day off from volunteering due to the holiday.

    • Lynn from NC Outer Banks says:

      Alice, Earl Grey tea is my favorite and I am out. I was tempted to buy some-on sale-at the store this week. However, I have oodles of tins/boxes of other teas. So although they are not my favorites and I would much rather be drinking my Earl Grey, for the sake of the PC and using up, I’m drinking the others. Sacrifices, sacrifices;)

      • I can identify with that. My absolute favorite is Prince of Wales, but I usually drink a variety or regular, herbal and decaffeinated teas based on the time of day and my mood. I always start with a cup of regular in the morning, but during the day if varies and evenings I cut out the caffeine. I usually have over a dozen varieties going at once, but the regular black teas go fastest. (grin) I’m currently drinking up the last batch of a container of caramel iced tea I inherited from my sister. So that was a pantry win.

        • Lynn from NC Outer Banks says:

          Oh Alice, that’s too funny. Last night I was drinking salted caramel hot tea from bags I inherited from my mother over Christmas! Again, not my favorite, but working through it.

  15. Heather M says:

    Hi All! It still feels a bit like holiday/vacation mode here, and our eating even with the Challenge, feels that way, too. No Challenge on Friday, with family in town. But lots of fun! And we are binging movies all weekend long. Just because why not and the bitter cold is back.

    Friday, 1/12:
    B: son had cereal, bacon, OJ; hubs not sure since I left before he did today- he dropped me at the Metro to head into DC to meet “cousins” who were in town to see a Vermeer exhibit at the National Gallery of Art. I grabbed a granola bar to eat on the way, but it’s still in my bag, days later. Exhibit was amazing.
    L: son took turkey/cheddar on ww, clementines, pistachios/almonds, clif bar; no idea what hubs had, if anything; we walked from the museum up to an awesome Top Chef restaurant that’s hard to get into at night, but easy for lunch, and had a 2 hour leisurely lunch where we shared fancy italian pizza (with black pepper honey-SO GOOD) and an elevated meatball sub(oh the cheese and the meatball flavor).
    D: we all met together for a leisurely dinner on our side of the Potomac, at a chain they really love but don’t have where they live- their request and we were happy to oblige. Then we drove them back to their hotel with a quick stop at the Einstein monument on the grounds of the National Academy of Sciences. If you’re ever in DC, it is a gem and is very close to the Lincoln and Vietnam Memorials- just across Constitution Ave from them.

    Saturday, 1/13:
    B: christmas cookies for me(we still have way too many treats laying around); the guys slept in.
    L: son had taquitos; hubs finished off the couscous salad and some slaw from my birthday dinner out; I had popcorn and the last slice of pizza from Friday’s outing.
    D: we went to the movies and shared a loaded nachos there.

    Sunday, 1/14:
    B: nothing as we raced off to church early
    L: tuna sandwiches with lettuce and tomato, I had a pear, hubs and I split the last venezuelan hallaca(it’s not big), and son also had a quesadilla. We were hungry.
    D: pulled from the freezer the leftover pork tenderloin and carrot souffle from Christmas dinner, and made a quick box of pasta roni from the pantry and a salad, which also used up the rest of the old carrots. Now the new bag can be touched! We finished off some more christmas goodies for dessert.

    • Lynn from NC Outer Banks says:

      Heather, thanks for the tips re: the additional museums in DC. There is so much to see there! The next time we head that way, I’ll have to check out the Einstein monument and the National Academy of Sciences. I’m sure the Vermeer exhibit was lovely. Those old masters are amazing and it’s hard to believe how long they’ve been around.

      • Heather M says:

        It’s just a monument on the front grounds of the building– on the corner of 22nd street and Constitution. But it is super cool and has a really cool trick, too. You need to stand smack in the middle of the “circles” on the ground, facing Albert. I’ll leave it there for you do discover the rest some day. 🙂

  16. You have mentioned counting calories several times and I just wanted to mention what helped me see results – FINALLY, after 4 kids and in my 40s. Lifting weights (just free weights we bought for my husband and I to use in our basement at home). And reducing the processed carbs and sugars. So I can eat as much as I want, as long as it’s fruits, veggies, or protein. With the holidays and the midwestern winter I have been slipping lately – but I know I can be successful with that formula.

    • Yes, I’m still working on the sustainable formulas. Usually I lose weight when we travel. Six pounds for a month in France and Nine for a month in England. Of course, I gain it all back once home. I think it is finding the right combination of activity (we averaged 5 miles a day in England) and portion control. When we travel, I have a very limited (like two grocery bags) of food storage and I’m a cheapskate, so I won’t buy much when out and about. At home, of course, I have pantry, fridge, and freezer. Working on finding the sweet spot.

  17. Friday 1/12

    Breakfast – Toast w/peanut butter
    Lunch – Turkey sandwich for him, ham sandwich for me & veggies and dip
    Dinner – Strip steak w/mushrooms and onions, cabbage & noodles

    Saturday 1/13

    Breakfast – Nutella toast
    Lunch – HS band sub
    Dinner – Tuna and tomato pasta, salads

    Sunday 1/14

    BAD day for the Steelers!!

    Breakfast – Cookies from the freezer
    Lunch – HS band sub and hubby had a bowl of soup with his
    Dinner – Chicken Lazone, mac & cheese, corn

  18. I just ran out of parchment paper this weekend!!! I bought this last roll at Aldi and it was the PERFECT size! Must check today to see if they have it. I know the dollar tree also has it but it is not the perfect width…

    So many great posts! Lots of great ideas and hints! I have done some bug grocery shops… because we were very low on stuff and we have had rough winter weathers.. Husband prefers to be stocked in case power does go out.. and we live on a persnickety grid…lol

    Kids had a scheduled Friday off so this morning is day 4 of kids home.. again… lol
    I have pretty much been off duty.. which means they have been eating up frozen pancakes, the frozen danish a friend gave me.. the last of the quick breads and muffins, we are out of almost all fruit and veg…
    I made a crock of salsa chicken and a pan of taco beef and that supplied dinner and good amount of leftovers…

    Saturday night I made oldest help me with homemade pizza- the dough made 2 pans and the one finished the ham in the fridge( with pineapple) and the other used up the pepperoni, cheese and a log of bulk sausage my mom left here…

    I need to take stock and make changes.. Husbands blood sugar is rising again, we can see it in the side effects of cold sores and illness…. must get the snacky things out.. leaving him nothing but healthy options to snack on… I must be his self control! lol Poor guy! Poor me!

    Need to figure out tonights supper.. choices in the freezer.. just need to plan!

  19. You might not have to give up your pizza night if you think outside the box.
    Have you ever used meat as the crust? There are several Keto recipes that use ground chicken/turkey/sausage as a crust then add a sugar free sauce and veggie toppings and cheese. There’s also a ‘Fat head’ crust that’s almond flour/cream cheese and cheese but if I remember right you have one member with a nut allergy?

    • I have tried that. I know that unless an allergy forced me to switch, it’s not something I want to give up entirely. Working on finding a new normal in terms of portion control. 🙂

  20. Kathy in Denmark says:

    Day 12:
    B: Oats and milk for DH. Oatmeal for the kids. HM rolls from the freezer and coffee for me. DD2 ate half of my bread as a second breakfast (I eat after dropping DD1 off at school) 🙂
    L: DH skips on Fridays. Packed lunch for DD1. Rye bread with mackerel for DD2. Leftover mashed potatoes and beef stew for me.
    S: Hummus and carrots.
    D: Oatmeal and apple sauce for the kids. I wanted to make them rye porridge, but they asked fot oatmeal. Nachos for the adults after the kids were in bed. It had been a long day and I felt the beginning of a headache which lasted all weekend 🙁 So I pushed the easy button. At least I used up the tortilla filling from earlier in the week in the nachos!

    Day 13:
    Brunch: Last of the HM rolls from the freezer. Coffee, milk, softboiled eggs.
    L: DD1 and I met with my mothers’ group from when I had her. She played with the hostess’ daughter and I caught up with my friends 🙂 DH skipped but fed DD2 rye bread and the last of the mackerel.
    S: cookies, carrots
    D: Rye porridge for tired children (DD2 slept for about 40 minutes during the day. She has a hard time sleeping if I’m not the one tucking her in). Leftover rice and stew for DH and me. I came THIS close to ordering pizza, but resisted and felt really glad that we had eaten leftovers in sted. I froze the last of the stew.

    Day 14:
    Brunch: Bakery bread, softboiled eggs, coffee, milk
    L/S: I can’t remember….
    D: Sandwiches with egg salad and a few other things. Loads of veggies on the side. For some reason my entire family LOVES egg salad sandwiches, so whenever I make it, they are over the moon 🙂 I probably should start making it more often 😉

    • Heather M says:

      Egg salad sandwiches are delicious! I totally understand your family. 🙂

    • I love egg salad sandwiches, too! My kids not so much. :/

      • Lynn from NC Outer Banks says:

        I like them as well, but my daughter LOVED them. She took her lunch just about the entire way through school. Her all time favorite was egg salad sandwiches-always on her grandmother’s homemade sour dough bread. Yes, you might say she was was just a wee bit spoiled;)

        • Kathy in Denmark says:

          HM sourdough bread is really good, so I understand your daughter 😉 Also, packing a lunch for your loved ones is a labour of love, so I understand you too 🙂

          If she took a packed lunch all the way through school, I’m guessing you were saving money anyway. It’s expensive to buy food at school!

          I made an egg salad sandwich for both DH and DD1 to put in their lunch. That used up the last bit of egg salad and the sandwich bread.

          • Lynn from NC Outer Banks says:

            Kathy, school lunches are expensive. Of course with a packed lunch I knew what she was getting and they were all balanced and nutritious, so it worked well for her. My son? Now that was a totally different scenario. It didn’t matter WHAT I made he.would.not.eat. it. I finally threw in the towel and he ate yucky pizza and Lord knows what else at school. He didn’t like sandwiches, but even when I made all kinds of creative options, it didn’t get eaten. I got tired of wasting time, money and food. He didn’t starve so I guess it all turned out okay!

      • Kathy in Denmark says:

        Jessica, my kids are like that with stew. They like all the components in the stew, but they won’t eat them when everything is mixed up. They also aren’t that big on mashed potatoes. Honestly, I don’t know what’s wrong with them LOL

        • Even Burning Love Mashed Potatoes?! What is wrong with them?

          • Kathy in Denmark says:

            Honestly, I haven’t made Brændende kærlighed/Burning love for a long time, so maybe they will like it now.
            My mum made mashed potatoes in her stock pot, we all loved it so much 😀 Not liking mashed potatoes just seems weird to me LOL

    • I too love egg salad sandwiches and my husband likes them. I may try to work them in on a weekend when we haven’t had eggs for breakfast. Wish eggs were cheaper, last time I went to Walmart for them they had gone up to 1.08 a dozen from 48 cents, still the cheapest price around so I bought another 6 dozen.

      • Kathy in Denmark says:

        I always buy organic eggs, so I don’t really know how much the regular eggs are. I actually just scanned the ads for a price point, but noone has eggs on sale this week 😀 I would guess they are about $ 2 for 10.

        The organic eggs I buy are DKK 28,- ($ 4,61) for 10. A great price is DKK 20,- ($3,30). If I see them that low, I stock up!

        I am just a little jealous of your egg prices 😉

        • I think your prices are higher, but organic eggs tend to be 3.00 or more here I think. Regular eggs at my usual store are running about 2.49, which is why I am willing to make a special run to Walmart to buy theirs. Eagerly awaiting spring, when the price usually goes down. I’m sure organic eggs would be better for us, but since it is just the two of us retirement age adults and we have been eating regular eggs for years, I don’t spend the extra. If we had young children, I would probably rethink that decision.

  21. We too are still plugging along in the pantry challenge. I will have to go to the grocery store this week. We need stuff for salad and fruit.
    I also need to decide if I am going to try my hand at making yogurt or buy it. He eats 2 black cherry yogurts a day. He will eat vanilla with granola as well. What would you yogurt makers use to flavor the yogurt? Thanks
    Jan 12th
    Breakfast– was the usual for us both.
    Lunch– He had zucchini sweet potato hash from the freezer, some almonds and an apple.
    Dinner–the last of the rice pilaf with meat and veggies in it, toast and cuties.
    Jan 13th
    Breakfast–He had a piece of l/o egg bake and a bagel. I had my monthly breakfast(actually brunch) with a friend and got a potato casserole with chicken, onions, and broccoli.
    Lunch–He finished the l/o I brought home.
    Dinner–He was catering so he had roasted pork loin, scalloped potatoes and peas with pearl onions. I had a bowl of ham and potato soup and ww toast.
    Jan 14th
    Breakfast–he had oatmeal, a bagel and yogurt. I ate the last piece of egg bake with ww toast.
    Lunch–he had the ham and potato soup and an apple. I skipped.
    Dinner–We had company for dinner so we had l/o roasted prime rib from the freezer, handmade chicken fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, easy garlic green beans and bread sticks with chocolate chocolate chip banana from the freezer for dessert. The whole dinner came from the pantry and freezer. Win!!
    Today is MLK day so I am watching my grandsons who are out of school.
    Happy Monday everyone!!

    • Lynn from NC Outer Banks says:

      Pat, that’s a yummy sounding freezer/pantry meal!

    • Melissa in GA says:

      We cannot buy raw milk here in GA, so I don’t make yogurt. What I do is buy the large tub of Cabot brand plain Greek yogurt from Walmart. This is has less additives and sugar than other brands and hubs likes it pretty well.
      I add fresh fruit, coconut, nuts, sometimes a dollop of my homemade mixed berry jam or whatever flavor I have open. He also likes honey. But you could add a low sugar pie filling or even maple syrup. Canned fruits would work too like pears or peaches.

    • Terry calkins says:

      Pat. I make and eat yogurt often. You can sweeten it with any fruit sauce or jelly, or honey. I frequently use my not perfect leftover fruit simmered with a little sugar or even cheap pancake syrup for an easy jelly or jam. You could also use canned pie filling. Another way to use up bits and dabs of frozen fruits and berries….I also use unflavored plain yogurt instead of milk after I have cooked oatmeal. Add a little canned, frozen or fresh fruit and you have. A fine filling meal

    • Definitely jam for the yogurt! My husband eats a lot of plain yogurt with jam. I made peach and strawberry last summer and there’s still some in the freezer.

      Lots of great suggestions throughout these pantry challenge comments!

  22. Terry calkins says:

    Last year I started the pantry challenge with a 200$ monthly budget and a plan to use any savings for a trip to the coast. Life happens, hubby never did get any work last year and I got rear ended causing major damage to our car. No vacation even though I was successful at saving nearly a thousand dollars of the grocery budget the money as used for more pressing items. Fortunately we had plenty of garden veggies, super shopping buys and fresh eggs so our freezers are full.
    In November we had our old dishwasher replaced. I vowed to save enough from my 200$ monthly budget to pay for it.
    November and December I saved 103.00 and paid it towards the purchase. January’s challenge gave me renewed interest. So far this month I have only spent 26.03. I should be able to pay another 150.00 this month. I guess I just need a more hands on goal! Thrilled with the pantry challenge thanks to all of you!
    This weekend was continued cold so we ate lots of soup. Chicken noodle ,beef and barley, and split pea. We’ve used up the mashed potatoes by having them as fried potato patties. Hubby finished up all the tacos. Yesterday I made homemade onion rings. Poured the leftover batter into a bowl and added yeast and flour to make pizza dough. The meat, cheese, and sauce are all in the freezer.
    Although I face the same problem as some others re. I take something out of the freezer then the leftovers so back in, my drawer of dry stock is really going down…..it’s all pantry win

  23. Glad you’re feeling better Jessica! I feel like I’m finally on the upside of my flu bug. I started to come out of the worst on Thursday, but we had our annual beef butchering with Hub’s family scheduled for Friday and Saturday. I think I over did it because on Saturday night I got worse and Sunday was a pretty crappy day too. I rested as much as I could on Sunday and am feeling much better today. This flu is awful this year! On the bright side while Mom felt bad, a lot of food was used up from the freezer and pantry. I did clean our big deep freezer on Saturday evening before refilling it with all of our new beef! I was pleasantly surprised that I did use almost of all of last years beef up. There was plenty of other things to sort though, so it feels good to have that behind me and know what is all in that freezer now. I can’t remember when I last posted so I will start on the 12th like Jessica and go on.
    Jan. 12
    B-Either meat grits, cereal or eggs
    L-Kids were home on a snow/ice day and had a nephew over helping get things ready for butchering. We pretty much used up all leftovers from frig, so that was a nice surprise.
    D-Veggie soup from freezer
    Jan. 13
    B-Cinnamon rolls from freezer and eggs
    L-Butchering day feast-I supplied Pioneer Woman’s Sloppy Joes and buns and everyone contributed a dish. Lots of yummy food!
    D-I wanted to just have leftover hamburgers, but 16 year old was disappointed because it’s always been tradition that after our big butchering days we order pizza. (A treat we rarely get) I told him I didn’t have the energy to get ready to pick it up after milking. He offered to go get it, so I caved and we ordered. I felt so bad I really didn’t care!
    Jan. 14
    B-I made homemade creamy hot cocoa with marshmallow creme. It felt so good on my sore throat that I indulged in 2 cups! There were some leftover cinnamon rolls that they all split, I stuck with my cocoa.
    L-While cleaning the freezer out Saturday I took out French bread and ham. I sliced Swiss and pepper jack cheese and had a make your own sub bar and had apple slices with it. Super easy on Mom!
    D-Had a true pantry challenge dinner. Made a homemade mac and cheese using up different shaped pastas, random bits of cheeses and a small block of jalapeno velveeta that was purchased for a snack I never made for Christmas. I sliced our leftover steak from Thursday night into bite sized pieces and added it to the pasta. It was amazing and the kids went crazy for it. Sometimes a pantry challenge recipe works!! Served green beans from the freezer with it.

    • Heather M says:

      That cheesy steak pasta sounds delicious! Sometimes being creative really works well!

    • I think having your son go get the pizza should be part of the new tradition! Hope you feel better soon!

    • That PC dinner sounds fantastic. If take-out pizza is a rare but meaningful tradition, I think it should definitely continue as a fun family thing. It’s little things like that that create such wonderful memories. Traditions do morph over time, though, so having a kid go pick it up seems perfectly reasonable. 🙂

  24. My husband broke a veneer off his front tooth—an old football injury from high school. Due to the holiday, the dentist cannot see him until Tuesday. Until then he needs soft, easy to eat food. So we have been eating soup, beans and rice, and baked or steamed fruits and vegetables. Of course, that makes it easy to use up odds and ends from the freezer and pantry.

    Day 12
    B: Waffles from the freezer, blackberries for the kids; my husband had yogurt and berries
    L: Chili, oyster crackers
    D: Potato soup, raspberries

    Day 13
    B: Milk and cereal; my husband had yogurt and berries
    L: Black beans and rice
    D: BBQ pork chops in the crock pot, apple crisp, steamed broccoli

    DAY 14
    B: Boiled eggs and grapefruit halves
    L: Penny Lunch (laid out all the leftover dibs and dabs from the week)
    D: Ham and pinto beans, cornbread

  25. I’ve spent the weekend pulling various bits of freezer and pantry ingredients out and cooking up stuff, and getting ready for the coming months when work is going to get very busy. (I work for the Girl Scouts, managing the upcoming cookie sale, and will have some long days and weekends I’ll need to work over the next 2 months.) So this time of year I’m more concerned with prepping some make-ahead lunches and dinners for myself (empty nest). So in the past two days I’ve made (and frozen parts of) Lemon Blueberry Cake, Chicken Enchilada Soup, Mushroom Risotto, Applesauce, Blueberry Pancakes, Butternut Squash Puree, and Cooked Pinto Beans. My Instant Pot and dishwasher are both getting quite a workout! I have today off so on the To Do list I still have Pumpkin Soup, Mexican Beef Rice, Apple Oatmeal, Italian Chicken Sausage, and Pesto Salad Dressing. It’s been great reading all the creative things others are making!

  26. Since Hubby gets his retirement check on the 15th we reboot the grocery fund on the 15th. I have $118 left from the last 30 days.
    Not sure when I posted last but Wed we had beef roast, then we ate leftovers and soups then last night I made beef and homemade noodles over mashed potatoes. Have enough beef broth(with some of the beef) leftover that I can make some soup. T

  27. Lynn from NC Outer Banks says:

    1/12

    B: toast, coffee

    L: yogurt, clementine

    D: used LO ham and LO chicken to make Chicken Cordon Bleu casserole, roasted butternut squash, Asian salad and LO fruit medley

    1/13

    B:sausage (local, from freezer-so good but not good for my diet!), egg, toast, coffee

    L: can’t remember-maybe yogurt

    D: Tossed salad and Spaghetti squash Jambalaya-Jessica’s recipe. This was SO GOOD Jessica. We both loved it. Definitely putting it in the rotation! Thank you.

    1/14

    B: toast, coffee

    L: LOs

    D: corn chowder and tuna melt sandwiches.

    Had not really planned on doing much more grocery shopping for a while, but did want to go to pick up free chicken sausage available to me. (Can’t beat free). My husband had some requests-which he RARELY does. He was out of his favorite snack crackers and grits, AND, he had seen a friend’s post of corn chowder. It’s cold here again, so soup sounded really good, but I only had about half of the ingredients. I did, however, have the ham-the ever present ham… But I didn’t have enough corn and no potatoes. I decided a happy husband was worth it (!) so back to the store I went. I did also have a rain check that was about to expire, so I picked up Craisins while there. I did, however, resist the urge to buy as many as I could at the B3G3 price (10) and got only the 5. I also DIDN’T buy the .99/lb pork butt which was hard as we southerners love our pulled pork. I also picked up sale bread and yogurt though again I only bought 5 of them instead of the limit of 20, which I might have done before. I also found a good deal on turkey sausage which I’d been wanting to try, so got one package of that. So another 19.55. (Without my husband’s requests, it would have only been 10.49, but he’s worth it 🙂 Monthly total at 40.99. My husband will be out of town for a few days, so I can probably go without and stay on track!

    • Pulled pork is great for midwesterners, too! 🙂

    • Melissa in GA says:

      I would have a hard time passing up .99/lb pork butt as well! I found a half pork butt in the very back corner of my freezer and its in the crockpot today.
      What store do you shop at? If you say Harris Teeter I’m gonna scream – I miss them since they pulled out of the midlands years ago when I lived in SC. Lol

      • Lynn from NC Outer Banks says:

        Yep, Harris Teeter. It was a limit of 2 and-showing the great self control- I kept walking. They’ve definitely had some changes, but still my favorite.

      • Melissa,

        Harris Teeter pulled out of GA several years ago and I still miss them! The store was about 2 miles from my house. If I want to shop at HT now, I do it when visiting my sons in NC.

      • funny, I have some pork I almost tossed into the crockpot this morning to pull. I didn’t, but it’s still a niggling thought and this thread is making it even more tempting.

    • A happy husband is worth it!

  28. Laurie Decker says:

    It’s been a busy few days for us My youngest flew in from Seattle Saturday and it’s been go, go, go. Of course, the first thing she said was I’m hungry. Let’s go to In and Out Burger. They don’t have them in Seattle.”. Lunch was taken care of! She went to see some friends later in the day so Hubs and I had leftover mini meatloaves from the freezer with dribs and drabs from the refrigerator.
    Sunday- Breakfast for daughter and hubs was oatmeal. I had a half of a sandwich with ham and Swiss cheese that was leftover from Chicken Cordon Blue I made a couple of days ago. We all went to a friend’s birthday party at a bowling alley. It was so much fun even if I did bowl more gutter balls than pins! My daughter ate lunch there- Loco Moco. I wasn’t hungry and neither was my husband. Drove her to a friend’s house where she was spending the night after going to a 50th Wedding Anniversary for her friend’s parents.
    At this point, it was late afternoon and the hubs and I stopped at a Dickie’s for a late lunch/dinner. Delicious.
    Not a successful weekend attacked the freezer and pantry. Not our usual weekend but so much fun.

  29. Terry calkins says:

    I’ve been wanting to clean the shelves and drawers in the fridge…something sticky was in there. So that was my big project for today. Been trying hard to take care of leftovers by either eating them or adding them to something else for a new meal. Yesterday’s onion ring batter went into dough for pizza. I made that for lunch using up lots of bits for toppings. After taking stock of the fridge I know that the last of the onion rings, half an onion and the last bit of BBQ sauce are going to finish their life in a meat loaf tomorrow. Leftover oatmeal and pumpkin butter are now two loaves of bread…doing the happy dance

  30. Monday – JAN 15

    Breakfast – apple pie oatmeal with cup of hot tea; mango cubes

    Lunch – avocado and tuna

    Dinner – mushroom ravioli with garlic bread and 5-bean salad.

  31. My big pantry challenge accomplishment for today was to let my kids make a gingerbread house that had been in the cabinet for 2 years. And they decorated it with a ton of junk candy left from Halloween. So they had fun and I got rid of a bunch of junk 🙂

  32. I am happy to know I’m not the only one behind this weekend !

    Day 12
    Breakfast: coffee, the last of the cranberry bread and yogurt; hubby had his usual
    Lunch: we ate at our favorite Japanese restaurant w/gift card for most of it = total out of pocket. $8.00
    Dinner: Reuben sandwich only, not very hungry but better than snacking all night

    Our first shopping trip of the month, the biggest mistake – letting hubby come with me – the man should not be allowed within 5 miles of a Costco! Replenished our fresh fruit & veges: lettuce, spinach, peppers, carrots, cabbage, celery, lemons, apples, mandarins, pineapple, orange & Pom juice,cheese, Greek yogurt x 2, organic tomato soup, bnls chicken breasts, cereal + his impulse buys of ice cream (2 pk) pepperoni pizza (4 pk) – a must for lunch during football season and our team is still in the hunt + salted caramels. Total spent in January 91.34 ugh ……..

    Day 13
    Breakfast: English muffin w/scrambled egg, yogurt & coffee for both of us
    Lunch was skipped
    Dinner: chicken fajitas and fresh pinepple

    Day 14
    Breakfast: hubby had the usual and I had yogurt and a mandarin + coffee
    Lunch: pizza – game day!!
    Dinner: chili using hamburger (freezer) garden canned tomatoes, fresh onions & green and jalapeño peppers + cheese & sour cream from the fridge and I made an apple pie with the some of the apples we purchased

    I made a batch of Steele cut oatmeal for my breakfast this week, there will also be some random leftovers from last week and even hummus from NYE!

  33. The weekend was busy with two birthdays on friday then saturday. We ended up eating out as I had no time to plan a dinner party. Today with the extra day, I did some grocery shopping for milk & fresh produce, then started cooking with my instant pots. I made stew, chili and pasta sauce with a bunch of smoked beef & pork we had in our freezer. Some will go into the freezer for meals later this month, the rest we will eat this week. Im up to $160 on food so far.

    B- coffee & oranges
    L- sushi
    D- chili

Share Your Thoughts

*