Daily Log – Pantry Challenge 2012

The 2012 Pantry Challenge is on! I’ll be posting daily updates about how I feed my family during January. For details about the pantry challenge, go here.

January 28

Breakfast: Petit Dejeuner, Butternut Squash Cake

Lunch: Del Taco ($11)

Dinner: ???

January 27

Breakfast: Pancakes and Apples

Lunch: Salami, Crackers, Cheese, Hummus, Carrot Sticks

Dinner: Italian Sausage, Fried Potatoes, Green Beans, Corn, Chard, Baguette, Gruyere

January 26

Thursday Thaw Out is officially on. Just emptied the deep freeze which “made” me tackle the refrigerator/freezer. Found all kinds of treasure in the house freezer, including several little bundles of roasted chiles and chipotle peppers. YUM!

Also figured out some quicker lunches for the kids for today and tomorrow as well as a treasure trove of bread ends to make into croutons.

Only a few more days of the pantry challenge! And things are getting dicey. We are out of half and half, so I’m using gelatto in my coffee this morning! Works for me.

Breakfast – Zucchini Bread, Smoothies

LunchΒ – Salad for mom, Sunbutter Crackers and Oranges for the kids

DinnerΒ – Pasta with Roasted Vegetable Marinara, Green Beans for kids

Parents on Date Night

January 25

Breakfast – Oatmeal with Toppings, Zucchini Bread

Lunch – Snacky Lunch with poached chicken, Salad for the Mom

Dinner – Pirate Night at Chick Fil A (Kids ate free)

January 24

It’s been one of those days when I end up feeling like a failure in multiple ways.

In the kitchen? Well, I thought of this brilliant idea of using up the multitude of turnips and rutabagas at my disposal. Why not make a turnipy rendition of hashbrown casserole? It sounded great: sauteed leeks and onions, creamy cheese sauce, grated rutabagas and turnips, panko bread crumb topping? And it looks beautiful. And it tastes good.

But, only one child out of six could be enticed to try it. And since it was lunchtime and my backup Mr. Man was at work, I decided not to force it. Especially since he wouldn’t have tried it, either.

So, I ate Root Vegetable Gratin all by myself, and all by itself, at lunch. And then I had a tummy ache. So, I’m not sure I’m going to be able to eat the rest of this casserole on my own!

Breakfast – Scrambled eggs, fried leftover potatoes from Sunday, toast

Lunch – leftovers and sandwiches for kids, turnip casserole for me.

Dinner – In-N-Out Hamburgers

Yes, I did. I went for burgers. I was feeling too tired and distraught from a day of feeling like a failure. Don’t judge me. πŸ˜‰

January 23

Apparently, I’m losing steam right now. I keep forgetting to update this page. I blame the rain.

Anyway, Monday was a run-around kind of day. Quick breakfast and driving around all morning to science class, dental appointments, and miscellaneous errands. I missed breakfast, so I was sorely tempted to grab take-out. Instead we ate leftovers at home. Aren’t you proud of me?

And though I was tempted to get a Panda feast, we made sortof Chinese food at home for dinner to “celebrate” Chinese New Year.

Breakfast – crumpets and jam, butternut squash cake

Lunch – leftovers

Dinner – potstickers, chicken, rice, and yu choy

Dessert – squash pie

January 22

Breakfast – Squash Cinnamon Rolls

Lunch – Chili Dogs, Veggie Dippers, Potato Chips

Dinner – Raclette Cheese, Potatoes, Ham, Salami

Dessert – Butternut Squash Cake

January 21

Twas a very squashy day. Once breakfast was out of the way, I roasted the largest butternut in the pantry. It resulted in 14 cups of puree that I made into soup, muffins, cake, and pie.




Oven Fried Chicken, Apples, Squash Soup


Pizza night


Butternut Squash Muffins

January 20


Instant Oatmeal, Cinnamon Coffee-cookieΒ (This is when I realized that the milk was missing from the recipe. Oops!) I actually liked the cookie bar version more than the coffeecake version. πŸ˜‰


Beef Potpie with Wednesday’s leftovers, leftover soup from the freezer for me


I didn’t get my dough ready in time to eat pizza, so we switched plans midstream. Almost caved on take-out.

Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, Spinach Salad, Carrot Sticks and Turnip Slices (yes, really)

January 19


Fried Eggs and Toast


We met hubs for lunch at a local take-out place.


Hubs and oldest gone to hockey game, so we had a snacky dinner of whatever junk we could find, cheese, popcorn, olives, pickles, etc. My brother brought over chicken strips and fried potatoes.

January 18


Not Mushy Oatmeal, Oven Baked Apple Compote


Ham Sandwiches, Smoothies, Apples, Oranges


Pot Roast in the Slow Cooker, Potatoes, Carrots, Sauteed Greens, Cornbread

January 17


Bacon, Scrambled Eggs, Sourdough Toast


Turkey Sandwiches


Oranges, Apples and Sunbutter


Burrito/Quesadilla Bar

January 16

Hubs had a day off work today. And a “vacation” day usually means we eat fun food. Thus, we don’t exactly “eat from the pantry”. Case in point:




Baguette Sandwiches


take-out Chinese

January 15

Sorry no pics as of late. The light fades quickly these days before I remember to snap a photo , and nighttime kitchen photos look blah. I’m also forgetting to post until late at night when I’m too exhausted to tell a good story.

All I can say is that no one gagged on my cooking today.




Tamales, Quesadillas, Rice, Beans


Grilled Fish and Chicken, Rice, Roasted Root Vegetables, Sauteed Chard and Spinach

January 14


Chocolate Chip Pear Bread from the freezer, apples


Pork Chili from the freezer, cheese and crackers, pears


Turkey Wild Rice Soup, biscuits

January 13


Scrambled Eggs, Potato Cakes (made with leftover mashed potatoes), Pears


Sunbutter Crackers and Apples for the kids

Quick Salad thrown together to take to park (lettuce mix, apple, cheddar, almonds, turkey, green onion, cranberries, balsamic vinegar)


Costco pizza

January 12

It’s been an exhausting couple days so I’m just now getting the updates up for Wed and Thurs. Sorry! I’ll be lucky if I remember what we ate.


Oven Baked Apple Compote, Oatmeal


Cheese, Crackers, Pears, Pretzels


Turkey Pot Pie for the Kids

Date Night for the Parents

January 11


Bagels and Fried Eggs (I added scallions to mine), Pears


Bean Burritos with homemade beans from the freezer


Lasagna, Salad, Biscuits

January 10


Cinnamon Coffeecake, Fruit, Yogurt


Leftovers for kids

Soup for Mama


Roast Turkey, Mashed Potatoes, Turnips, and Sweet Potatoes (from freezer), Gravy, Cranberry Sauce (from the can!)

January 9

Where Sunday was mellow, Monday was NOT. We hit the road at 8:20 to get to Science class on time. I dropped my budding scientist off and took the rest of the troops to the library. After loading up on books, we headed back to get the other guy, a 20 minute drive. However, in approaching the freeway, the Scourge (our SUV) made some very odd sounds going up the hill, kinda like ruhruh when it should have been shifting gears.

Thankfully, hubs’ work was only 2 blocks away. His BOSS offered to come get us! LOL. Instead he came and we traded vehicles for him to drive the Scourge home, another 20 minutes in the other direction. Of course, it didn’t do anything wrong for him until we were about 2 miles from home. So, there we were with 5 kids and one working vehicle that only seats 5 and another child 40 miles in the opposite direction. We called a tow truck, did some shuttling back and forth (I made two trips while hubs waited for the tow), got a ride for 40-mile kid, and got the Scourge to the mechanic. In the meantime, while my kids were at home eating leftovers, I went back to get hubs where the Scourge broke down for the second time and we took a 15 minute break to eat Famous Stars at Carl’s Jr.

Don’t be judging.

Here’s how the Pantry Challenge shook down despite that:


Trader Joe’s crumpets and pears


leftovers for kids

Carl’s Jr for parents


Gramma John’s Chocolate Chip CookiesΒ (used dried cranberries and chopped up a chocolate bar for lack of chips)


Chicken Cacciatore Stew from the freezer, spaghetti, salad, Garlic Focaccia.

January 8

We had a fairly mellow day here at the ranch. What made our meals so successful was the fact that I made a lot of things in advance. I prepped breakfast last night. And I prepped lunch and dinner in the morning. It made mealtimes seem so easy! Definitely going to do that again. I also had one of my minions help me make lemonade with the bounty from my dad’s tree.


Oven Baked Apple Compote, Bagels (from the freezer)


Tamales (from the freezer) and Nachos

Fruit: Apples, Pears, Bananas, and Oranges


Lemonade like Chick Fil A Makes

Hamburgers on homemade buns

Potato Salad



Chocolate Chip Cookies

January 7

One week down! It hasn’t been as stellar as I’d hoped. We did eat out three times. But, there were good reasons and they suited our family in each of those moments, so I’m just going to keep moving forward.

Overall, I find that my kids are probably eating better since I’m making a concerted effort NOT to “run for the border” and since I have to make something. We’ve run out of bread (ate FOUR loaves this week) and so I can’t just assign someone to go make sandwiches for lunch. I need to make something — or give a demonstration so that next time someone else can make something.

Here’s how we fared today:


Cinnamon Coffeecake


For the kids: scrambled eggs, kielbasa, toast, oranges

For me: panini with leftover artichoke and tomato pesto from last night, leftover Queso Fundido filling from the freezer, spinach, and jack cheese


Oven-Fried Chicken Strips, Oven Roasted Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes, Sauteed Chard

January 6

It’s been a regular old day here. Nothing too crazy. Except amazing weather, so amazing that I put up our little shade cover thingamabob and shooed the kids outside as much as possible. It felt like summer. And so I made a tortellini salad for lunch to match. So good. Recipe coming next week!

On the kids cooking in the kitchen front:

  • 7yo cracked the eggs (“disgusting,” says he) and mixed up the pancake batter
  • 14 yo helped with the pasta salad
  • Each of the boys (7 thru 14) formed his own pizza, every kid topped his (or her) own pizza.

It’s taken some discipline on my part not to just do it myself. Instead I call kids to the kitchen for different tasks. No one is balking, so I think this is something they are interested in. I’m surprised I haven’t done this sooner.


Pancakes and Maple Syrup


Tortellini Pasta Salad




Oranges and Popcorn

January 5

The weather has been quite remarkable all week in San Diego. While our house stays very cool year round (in the low 60s), it’s been absolutely balmy outside. So, last night we made the plan that tonight we would have dinner and a bonfire at the beach. Hubs suggested Subway, but no, no, no, I’m doing a Pantry Challenge. I’ll make something to pack. And it’ll be good; promise.

This is a hard thing to promise when you have no bread, no sandwich meat, no more sunbutter, and nothing very packable.Β A few hours later I had a plan to make a tortellini pasta salad with shrimp. Sounds fancy, right? Well, I made the faux pas of not double checking the fishmonger’s “deveining and cleaning.” Icky stuff started to ooze out of the shrimp as it cooked and I just could bare to feed that to my family. So, it went into the…


Yes, it was so sad. We reverted to Plan Subway.

However, we had a wonderful time at the beach. We didn’t get there until after sunset, a little of a bummer. But the kids had a blast, sliding down the dunes in cardboard boxes and toasting marshmallows for smores. Yum!

In other news, here’s what we ate today:


Oven Baked Apple Compote

Cinnamon Drop Biscuits


Tuna Sandwiches, Sunbutter Sandwiches






January 4

Today was a fairly mellow day on the homefront, mostly trying to get back into the swing of our school routine. I also picked up our produce box which was plum full of good stuff, including the makings of tonight’s grilled chicken salad.


Scrambled Eggs, Toast, Cheese, Yogurt, leftover fruit from last night


Cheese and Crackers, Apples, Pears, and Oranges


Asian Grilled Chicken Salad with Noodles

Desserts and Snacks

Chocolate Cheesecake Muffins

January 3

Day 3 of the challenge was our first day back to school. Things went fairly well, and we had some good snacking, namely these Chocolate Cheesecake Muffins. The kids really liked them. But, they aren’t quite as chocolatey as I had hoped, so we, um, are going to retest tomorrow. Ahem.

Another fun experiment of the day was tonight’s chili. I had planned on soup, but the meat that I had was shredded pork. I wasn’t sure how that would go over in a vegetable soup. I have several, nay, MANY containers of sauteed vegetables (eggplant, squash, onions, etc) in the freezer that I need to use up.

Soooooooo…… I stewed the veggies with water and diced tomatoes and roasted hot chiles (also from the freezer). Then I blended it up with my stick blender and added black beans, some leftover pintos from the other night, chili powder, oregano, salt, and pepper and the aforementioned shredded pork. I served grated cheese and sour cream for toppings and baked up some cornbread.

It was a simple sounding dinner that was chock full of vegetables! Love that. And…. it met with rave reviews. Who knew?


Milk and Maple Granola – the kids ate the full batch!

Yogurt and Maple Syrup for me


Pulled Pork Sandwiches, Oranges


Pork and Vegetable Chili, Buttermilk CornbreadΒ (made with milk instead of buttermilk, reduce to 1 cup), Pineapple and Oranges

Snacks and Desserts

Chocolate Cheesecake Muffins

Β January 2

Today’s the last day of hubs’ 11 day vacation. It was a fairly mellow end of the break. But, since we enjoy dining out as a family, we made lunch our last hurrah of vacation. I know, makes me look like a Pantry Challenge fail already. But, vacation doesn’t happen all that often for us, so it was a good thing to do. We go back into the swing of things tomorrow.


Not Mushy Oatmeal with toppings


out for Mexican food


Bratwurst with PeppersΒ (the peppers were from summertime that I had frozen)Β on Homemade Buns, Corn from the freezer (also from the produce box that I had processed to enjoy later), leftover rice and couscous from previous nights’ dinners.

January 1

Happy New Year! Of course, I started the day — and the year — off with an epic fail. We now call this Uh Oh Coffeecake. This was a beautiful crumb-topped coffeecake, similar to this pumpkin-flavored one, before it went into the oven.

Apparently, my oven is malfunctioning. I trusted the oven (which read 350) more than the oven thermometer my sweet children gave me for Christmas (which read 200). The oven was obviously not hot enough, though the thermometer did read 350 later. The crumb top dropped to the bottom and made an interesting caramel sauce on the bottom of the cake. It was very much like a pudding cake.

We ate it with spoons.

It was not my finest moment. But, the kids were happy and fed, so I can’t really complain, can I? Here’s our food log for the day:


Uh Oh Coffeecake, Fruit Smoothies


Tamales, Seasoned Pintos,Β Mexican Rice, Homemade Salsa

(We were out of jalapenos for the salsa, so I used a roasted poblano I had in the freezer. Delicious!)


We were in the middle of a kitchen improvement project and hubs said to go get burgers instead of cooking amidst our projects. That would come out of Eating Out budget, so we’re good.



  1. Averiesmom says

    I am definitely IN! Great idea! My poor freezer! It’s so full (lots of homemade turkey stock from the 2 holidays doesn’t help, but it’s so good!) that I can’t see what I even have in there…

  2. Kate Parperis says

    I must must MUST do this. I’m ashamed to
    say that aside from milk, eggs, bread and veggies
    we could eat bountifully from our pantry 3
    meals a day for a month no prob! I’m in!!
    Looking forward to your updates and ideas.

  3. Gia says

    I am in! Although I do not have a huge stockpile, I want to start freezer cooking and we are promising to budget for the new year, so this will be a great way to start!

    • Jessica says

      @Gia, shaving off your grocery budget will also give you seed money for a big freezer cooking session, too.

  4. Karolyn says

    Count me in!!!!

  5. Dusty says

    I dont blog nor have a website but doing a pantry challenge and a paper purge at the same time… From the freezer brussel sprouts, chicken patties and vegetable medley of carrots, broccoli and cauliflower in cheese sauce for dinner. Oatmeal for breakfast with chai tea. I made the red lobster cheddar biscuits using some of the shredded cheddar cheese and buttermilk I had on hand. Apple crisp for dessert using apples that need to be dealt with.

  6. Dennise says

    I’m in! my freezer is still FULL from summer garden bounty and my cupboards are also full of stock pile items as well as green beans, salsa, tomatoes and pickles I canned this summer.

    • Jessica says

      @Dennise, isn’t it funny? We stock up for winter …. and then have to force ourselves to use it. Tonight we had corn off the cob from August that I had frozen for later.

  7. cyndiegirl says

    I’m in!!

  8. Dana says

    I seem to have an obession with grocery shopping. The Freezer and pantry are stocked to the point that the doors barely shut. So I am onboard. Gone is the attitude of “I don’t feel like eating that”.

    • Jessica says

      @Dana, that’s a good attitude to lose! LOL

    • Amy W.C. says

      You and me both, sister! Grocery shopping happens atleast once a day and I’m out of control. I have to stop wasting so much money!

  9. missy says

    i’m in too! bursting freezer and pantry!

  10. With three full freezers and another two dozen butternut squashes to freeze, I’d better join in! I need some accountability.

  11. Jane says

    I’m in!
    Tonight: taco salad
    Tomorrow: pig roast at a friends
    Monday: sweet potato fries/bbq chicken/pork and beans (all in the freezer or pantry)
    Tuesday: spaghetti/ziti. all pantry/freezer items
    Wednesday: cheese enchiladas: pantry/freezer items except for sour cream, green onions.
    Thursday: ham/bean soup. all pantry/freezer items, except for veggies from AHO box.
    Friday: grilled cheese. Pantry/freezer items
    Saturday: frittata. Spinach, sausage, cheese all in freezer or from AHO box.
    This week’s shopping list is: milk, eggs, sour cream, onion, bologna (sale, time to stickup!), baby carrots, and some granola bars and fruit snacks and maybe some potato chips.

  12. Judy says

    I can do this.

  13. Barbara says

    So looking forward to this and the creative posts from everyone! πŸ™‚

  14. I wish I had enough IN my pantry to do this with! However, I do have A LOT of beans that I need to use up. Like….A LOT. I’m going to work towards planning a month long menu (along with freezer meals pre-new baby!) so this will help out A TON!

    • Jessica says

      @Kimberly, cooked beans freeze really well, too.

      Somewhere there’s a blog called 365 days of beans or something. Really.

  15. I’m in πŸ™‚ Lots to use up here too – not so much from good stockpiling as from overbuying to have options for the holidays. I have several grown children (and friends, children & spouses) PLUS a couple of birthday celebrations between Thanksgiving and New Years… and I never know WHO is hosting WHAT celebration! So… I am overloaded with bread I bake for my blog, veggies for trays, ham, and other treasures I will find as I dig through my freezer & pantry.

  16. Dana says

    We had pancakes with struesel topping for breakfast, met with out of town family for lunch and had steak, steamed broccoli and sweet potatoes for dinner. I am thinking about turning the left over broccoli into soup.

  17. Amy M says

    i am in, too! my pantry and 4 freezers are full! TOO full!! i need to start emptying them! and i am LOVING the recipes… please post more as you think of them… it is VERY inspiring for my meal planning! πŸ™‚ so far, i think i have all the ingredients i need to make your lunch menu… and my hubby, who LOVES mexican foods, will be thrilled! πŸ™‚

  18. Robin says

    I’m definitely in. Since I shop on Saturdays and didn’t want to miss starting this off, I actually started on Saturday. Already saved $40. Amazing what organizing my pantry uncovered. Even a quick peek in my freezer uncovered a roast, which I made last night for dinner, the leftovers of which will be bbq beef sandwiches for dinner. My ultimate goal, like you, is to empty my freezer in our garage so that we can defrost it. I was even able to buy eight steaks at Walmart (those pre-packaged ones that I had a $3 off each package coupon – $3.98 each – so $0.98 for two steaks). After all of that, my $40 savings went into our vacation fund.

    • Jessica says

      @Robin, aren’t we so blessed that a quick clean let’s us shop at our own houses?!

  19. tonya says

    I am in. I need to clean out my freezer an pantry!!

  20. nancy says

    here’s what we’ve eaten so far plus planned menu for tomorrow night’s dinner – – no purchases made since dec. 29.
    Sunday – manicotti, salad, sugar snap peas
    Monday – white chili (used the last of the thanksgiving turkey from the freezer), crackers
    Tuesday – crunchy chicken tenders, roasted sweet potatoes, green beans

    so glad to be doing this!

    • Jessica says

      @nancy, sound like great menus — and I bet no one was the wiser, huh?

  21. Angela Shrader says

    Made my meal plan for the month. I do have to buy the occasional meat. But at least 2/3 of the month is already on hand and I have a plan to use it! So excited!

  22. Amanda says

    We had sloppy joes for dinner tonight that have been in my freezer for at least a month with some hamburger buns I bought before Christmas sometime;) Oh, and frozen tator tots. I was not at ALL in the mood for this meal, but in the spirit of the challenge I did it anyways!

    • Jessica says

      @Amanda, “in the spirit of the challenge.” I love it! Aren’t you glad it’s gone, now? πŸ˜‰

  23. Dana says

    Breakfast: Home made pumpkin bread.
    Lunch: Roast beef Sandwich with potatoes
    Dinner: Baked Chicken breasts over home made corn bread stuffing (Made from 2 left over corn muffins!)
    also made 2 lunch servings of broccoli cheddar soup from the left over broccoli

  24. This is such a timely challenge. I’ve been cooking from the pantry for a couple of weeks now (budget challenge) so it’s nice to be able to play along with others. πŸ˜‰ Here’s one of the dishes I cooked last week. It’s healthy, fast, and simple. Even my “meatatarian” likes this vegetarian pasta. http://awordfromauntb.blogspot.com/2012/01/spaghettini-alla-ceci.html

  25. cindy says

    The challenge is going great so far! We had a couple of parties over the holidays so I had small amounts of different vegetables left over- which so far have been used for quiches, taco salads, and turkey veggie grilled sandwiches Normally I would have forgotten about the vegetables and ended up throwing them away. So we are saving money and eating healthier. Just need to remember to thaw meat from the freezer, especially since hubby and I are trying to eat low carb.

    • Jessica says

      I had some sauteed veg that I had frozen to use later. I stewed it with some water and tomatoes and roasted chiles and then pureed it, added beans and pork, and voila: Chili that they raved about — and didn’t know it was full of eggplant and squash!

  26. Dana says

    Breakfast: Oatmeal with chopped apples and cranberries
    Lunch: Cod with spaghetti squash and roasted sweet potato. Husband had broccoli cheese soup and roast beef sandwich
    Dinner: red beans and rice

  27. Harriet says

    Today we all 5 ate meals at home (or packed lunches) and I am cooking Poor Man’s Hot Dish for supper. We only ate out once this weekend and that was because both college girls were home and their brother. We made an early run to Cracker Barrell and it was delish! But we are back on track. Menu planning done for the week and we are successfully on day 2. Keep on!

    • Jessica says

      @Harriet, what is Poor Man’s Hot Dish?

      • Harriet says

        @Jessica, 1 pound browned beef (or turkey), a can of tomato soup, 1 soup can water and a small head of cabbage cut into chunks. mix all, cover and simmer 30 mins until cabbage is tender. Serve over rice. My kids HATE cabbage and tomato soup, but they love this recipe. I sprinkle garlic pepper and salt and onion powder in with the water for extra flavor.

  28. The veggie-pork soup sounds so good…and healthy! Love that you serve fruit with it…we do that at almost every meal, too.

    Last night my dinner was started later than desirable and I almost gave in and said “Fend for yourselves!”…but I really wanted them to have a good meal {and not cereal}, so I pressed on. I served BBQ meatballs, freezer mashed potatoes, green beans, and red grapes. I am so glad I did b/c I ended up with 3 meals’ worth of meatballs…woohoo! My budget is still holding steady but we’re running out of some staples so I must make a bigger grocery trip soon {this is our 2nd week on the challenge}.

  29. Dana says

    Breakfast: I eat the same thing almost every morning: Oats with apple and cranberries. But I also have lots of frozen waffles, muffins and protein drinks for the rest of the family.
    Lunch: Left over chicken breast with the corn bread stuffing and green beans. Husband had beef stew, son had sandwich
    ….I am starting to sound like a short order cook. I eat at work, Kid eats at school and husband at home….
    Dinner: taco’s! (beef and fish) black beans (left overs will turn into black bean soup)

  30. Harriet says

    Tonight we are having reheated grilled chicken from Monday night (cut-up and warmed), rice-a-roni and grean beans. Everyone ate a packed lunch or at home left overs. Still on track πŸ™‚

  31. on day #4 and going strong…thanks for the inspiration!!!

  32. christy says

    I haven’t bought anything yet! My grandma did buy some milk (she lives with us so sometimes she buys stuff i wouldn’t normally buy) just for making hot chocolate for her and the kids. Since there was some leftover the kids had cereal this morning.

    We made lots of salsa this morning for some mexican dishes coming up. Tomorrow we will make some bbq sauce for shredded bbq chicken sandwiches. Thanks for the inspiration!

  33. Christine A says

    I have sat on the sidelines the past two January’s rooting you all on in The Pantry Challenge. This year, as part of my “New Year, New You (ME)” motto, I am actually participating!!!! My goal is to stop wasting food. Dinner’s are my challenge and often (okay…very often), I don’t plan so I order take-out or go out to eat when we have perfectly good food at home!!! It is Day 6 and I am happy to say that I have NOT gone to the store in January and have made dinner every night of January, simply from what we had in the freezer, fridge, or pantry!!! It has felt great to be creative and know we are not wasting food! Even my picky husband has been “a good sport” and eaten whatever it is I made! He loves the fact we are saving $$$!
    Last week’s Dinners:
    1 – Turkey Chili
    2 – Pulled Pork Sandwhiches on Hawaiian rolls with salad
    3 – Tilapia with bread crumbs and salad (lettuce, tomato)
    4 – Frozen pizza, with mixed berries
    5 – Leftovers
    6 – Mexican night – Found some corn tortillas and beef that I had froze and made nachos (canned nacho cheese I didn’t even know I had), taquitos, and tacos!

    Wish me luck for next week!

    • Jessica says

      Doing a happy dance with you. πŸ˜‰ Sometimes, it’s hardest for the hubbies to come alongside, so good job to Mr. A, too!

  34. Trish says

    I am so glad to be doing the pantry challenge! It was amazing to take inventory of what I had in both my freezer and pantry – I had no idea we had so much. We are trying to eat lighter and healthier this year as well, so I have been thoughtfully planning each meal with that goal in mind. The 1st week went pretty well, and I’m planning next week, which I hope will include only 1 trip to the store. With 5 kids, the food sure goes fast around here!

    Bring on week 2!

    • Jessica says

      Yeah! I’m so glad to hear that it’s going well for you!

  35. Dana says

    Today is GROCERY SHOPPING day. It is a significantly shorter list and mostly filled with pet food, and cleaning supplies. Although the boys may be willing to go without a bath and clean clothes, I am not! LOL.
    Sunday: Sister in laws birthday dinner so we will eat out
    Monday: Cube Steak in crock pot
    Tuesday:Spaghetti and Meatballs
    Wednesday: Asain Chicken and rice in a peanut sauce
    Thursday: Turkey burgers and sweet potato
    Friday: REd Beans and Rice
    Saturday: Going to see WICKED!

  36. Teri says

    Just wanted to thank you Jessica for this pantry challenge. Since we grew a garden this summer, we filled our freezer and canning jars with all the food we could grow and fruits/veggies from roadside stands. We filled our freezer with meat, chicken and turkey. Now I am trying to stay out of the stores and just use our food storage! πŸ™‚ Today, I bottled six small jars with apricot butter (the apricot puree was in the freezer), we are having spaghetti with sauce and meatballs from the freezer tonight and I have turkey bones roasting to make a big pot of stock (some for the freezer and some for turkey soup this week). I am learning so much from you and your readers’ posts. Thank you so much. With our savings from not buying much this month (and I plan to continue this challenge next month), we will use it for re-stocking our food storage come garden/harvest time. πŸ™‚ We also share some of our “stock-pile” with our daughter who is struggling to feed 5 little ones! πŸ™‚

    • Jessica says

      What a wonderful, wonderful story! Thanks so much for sharing it with us! #glowingwithpride

  37. Abbi says

    Eating from the pantry is something that I have been working on as well. We spent much of the summer and fall putting things up for “the winter” but now the job is to make sure that I actually do use it rather than going out and buying something easier to cook.

  38. Kerry says

    I am SO in! I was in the middle of a big pantry re-organization anyway, so this will work wonderfully. Am trying to use up all of my canned (store-bought) tomato products to make the switch to non-BPA. Yesterday I made SIX pans of stuffed shells for the freezer. This week’s menu:
    —Stuffed shells and Texas toast(all from freezer)
    —Roast whole sticky chicken, mashed taters and salad (pantry, freezer) recipe here:
    I buy whole chickens, put the rub on and throw in a gallon ziploc into freezer as is. this recipe is SO fantastic – can’t even begin to tell you. Talk about making the house smell AMAZING! FYI – don’t know what the “sticky” part in the title is…nothing sticky about the chicken.
    —“sliders” hamburgers, homemade fries, veggies and dip (pantry, freezer)
    —pizza on the bbq (pantry, freezer)
    Kerry πŸ™‚

  39. Harriet says

    Lots of eating at home here. Saturday we ate leftovers and salads for supper. Sunday we had chicken fettucini and broccoli for lunch and country style chicken for dinner. Monday night we had crockpot beef stew and tonight we had taco’s. I am marinating chicken tenders for the George Foreman for tomorrow night. Past that, I have no plan. But! I do know we are not eating out! House taxes due this week to the tune of $2450. Love that stocked pantry!

  40. dana says

    Still staying strong here. I mapped out all the meals (breakfast/Lunch and Dinner) until the end of the month. I posted the plan and stick to it. Only changes to it involve moving items around or using different pantry ingredients to create something I hadn’t thought of before!

  41. Dana says

    I am realizing that most of the items I am using from the Pantry fit in with “healthier” eating plan for the new year. Brown Rice, Oats, Lentils, Lean Protiens and far less procesed foods.

  42. LOL… “no one gagged on my cooking today”
    Some days are just like that, aren’t they?? πŸ™‚
    I feel like a huge FAIL…..eating out, and breaking down to go to the grocery store – for exactly the same reason – everything has to be ‘cooked’ to eat it and my hubby would dash for the diner if he has to look too hard! So…I did get some decent deals at the store, but wish I didn’t have to go. Oh well… we may continue into next month to try to recoup a little more change.

  43. bridget says

    i would love the potato cakes recipe…i feel like you do they are bored with the pantry too! keep it up. we can do it.

    • Jessica says

      I just formed patties from leftover mashed potatoes, dipped them in seasoned flour and fried in olive oil.

  44. Nia says

    I’m not judgin’ yo’ Famous Stars. We still eat them when I’m in the mood for burgers (it doesn’t help that we live one block away from a Carl’s Jr.). And I still have a weakness for Doritos (even though they have trans fats). Still, we cook most of our food ourselves.

  45. Nia says

    We’re allowed a little convienvence right? I think so.

  46. Dana says

    I can’t believe how well this is going. Thank you for being such an inspiration! We are approaching another grocery shopping Saturday and I am making my list. Other than cleaning supplies (hey, I am willing to give up cleaning for a while!) and pet supplies, the list only contains fresh produce and dairy products. I must admit I went over board with my purchasing during hte holidays, and it is really nice to get back to basics.

  47. rosalie perez says

    I have to share this because while I do not have time to keep up with the daily log, and everyone else I have kept faithful to the pantry challenge. A little history first. I am a couponer and a stockpiler, I have a giant pantry along with a large chest freezer, and a 27 cubic foot fridge. My laundry room also holds some non perishable items from my stockpile. My household consists of my two adult brothers, myself and 4 of my children. My goal with the challenge was to use items in my stockpile that were going to expire and to dwindle down the freezer so I could defrost it. Well with menu planning I was able to clean out a nice chunk of freezer space and use a good portion of my stockpile, my brothers god bless them thought I was having money issues because we were even using parts of our disaster kits. I worked.a long day Monday and they were off so they went shopping! Loaded up the freezer all over again as well as the fridge. I could not get angry at them but aarrgghhh I have to start all over again. They just shook yheir heads and said i was crazy.

    That’s my week so far. Have a great one!

  48. Harriet says

    @rosalie: thanks for the good laugh! sounds like something my older kids would have done!
    We are still on track. We have eaten out just twice this month and once was b/c some old friends treated us to dinner and a concert, πŸ™‚ We have large holes showing up in the freezer and the pantry. Tomorrow (Friday night) is left over night. I have cooked 5 nights in-a-row and we are going to eat all the left overs for dinner so as not to waste. Saturday I will pickup a few perishable’s and then we will start over. Have a great weekend everyone!

  49. We have some holes in our freezer stash finally showing… it will make it easier to defrost next weekend! πŸ™‚
    I am going to continue this challenge into next month because we’ve eaten out wayyyyyyyyyy too much for my liking, plus we’ll have an order of ground beef from Zaycon in the freezer so we should have more than enough to work with. (And enough is as good as a feast!)

  50. AllieZirkle says

    Absolutely hilarious commentary. Read from the top –> down, I cracked up.

    “All I can say is that no one gagged on my cooking today.” Last night, my family gagged down the Asian chicken. Bummer! I had high hopes, but everyone had a complaint. My hubby said “well, we are fed and no one is hurting for food!” Nice…

    I do appreciate the fact that you make notes that you’re eating a different lunch than the kids. That is so encouraging as I don’t always like to eat the same as the kids, and I could help make a dent in different leftovers.

    πŸ™‚ Allie

    • Jessica says

      @AllieZirkle, I hope that wasn’t my Asian chicken! lol

      Yes, I usually eat a different meal than the kids. They could do sunbutter or turkey sandwiches every day. Blah.

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