Day 10, Pantry Challenge 2020

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We’re almost halfway through the first of the Grocery Savings Challenges. This month’s Pantry Challenge continues to go well even if I don’t always  follow the plan.

Pantry Challenge meal plan week 2

Not too much to report today as I didn’t really do much cooking. Or photographing. Sorry! But, some days are like that. Food is fuel. So, just make something and eat.

I have my meals planned for the week, but I didn’t get around to the breakfast meal prep. Need to make sure I tackle that tomorrow!


Three of the kids slept in really late this morning, a benefit of homeschooling and having an introverted mom. 

The early bird ate leftover cake for breakfast, as far as I can tell. Can’t blame him. I would have if I weren’t at the top of my maintenance weight range. I’ve had a little too much fun the last couple weeks.

breakfast of tea water and berries and yogurt

I made my usual: Blueberries, Greek Yogurt, and Muesli. I decided that I do not love Chobani, the brand I bought on sale last week. It’s thinner than Face or the Kirkland Greek yogurts I prefer. Also, the containers it’s packed in have too many ridges in them, so it seems that there’s always some left behind in the container. I hate wasting food!

The other kids had smoothie bowls, eggs and toast.


There were lots of beans left from the 2 pounds I cooked yesterday, so I cooked Rice in the Instant Pot and the kids had Beans and Rice with cheese and other toppings.

Since I want to watch the carbs this week, I made one of my favorites for lunch, Skillet Eggs with Spinach and Kale over a piece of sourdough toast. So yummy and filling!

fried eggs on toast piled with veggies


I had planned Summer Rolls for dinner, but drifted to a variation instead. I made Poached Chicken in the instant pot, only instead of water, I used a combination of soy sauce, cooking sherry, sesame oil, and water. Then I added a corn starch slurry to the pan juices to thicken into a sauce.

I laid out an array of Asian Bowl ingredients: leftover rice from lunch, shredded cabbage, chopped broccoli, julienned peppers, chopped scallions, chopped cilantro, and sliced jalapeรฑos. I also made the dressing for Asian Chicken Noodle Salad.

With the chopped chicken, everyone was able to make whatever bowl/salad/banh mi concoction s/he wanted. It was super yummy. The only drawback is that there wasn’t much in the way of leftovers. But, I’m thinking the sauce will go well on grilled pork tenderloin tomorrow.

So, that was our day.

How was your day in the Pantry Challenge?

About Jessica Fisher

I believe anyone can prepare delicious meals—no matter their budget.

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  1. Lynn from NC Outer Banks says

    1/13 Day 10

    B: cheese toast, smoothie, coffee

    L: half turkey sandwich

    D: LO pasta bake, LO green beans, LO broccoli salad, apple wedges

    I went to the grocery store today and spent 13.67. I bought 3 red peppers, 3# onions, peanuts (for DH) , fuji apples and about 10 pounds of chicken leg quarters at .39/lb! I just couldn’t resist that price and the only chicken I have in my freezer is 2 boneless breasts so I was in need of some variety. I was glad to get some apples. We have been eating quite a few orange wedges and apples will be a nice change. I thought about some other loss leaders but reminded myself I didn’t need anything else. That brings my total to 22.46 for the month. I’m pleased with that so far and hope to keep it low. We’ll see!

    • Karen J says

      That is a great buy on chicken leg quarters! I would have snatched that up as well.

      • Lynn from NC Outer Banks says

        Yes, that’s not a price that we see very often here. Usually .49 to .59/pound are sale prices.

    • Great job shopping! And such a good price on chicken.

  2. Laurie Gaither says

    B – i had grandbaby early today. He and i had scrambled eggs and toast and he had part of a banana. Hubs had cereal and banana
    L – daughter was at our house for awhile mid day and she ate the leftover pizza. Baby had bbq chicken breast, olives and tangerine. I had a quesadilla and guacamole. Hubs had almonds.
    D – i had thawed out stew meat and french bread from the freezer. and put a stew on late morning. Both little grandsons, son -in-law hubs and I all had stew (it made tons), French bread and/or crackers.

  3. Jennifer C says

    I went to the grocery on day 8 and bought more than I should have, even with a list. Good news is Iโ€™ve spent less than half of what I would have at this time in any other month. We are planning a couple of SoCal trips this year so Iโ€™m keeping that goal in my head.
    B-sunny side up egg, 1 piece of toast, leftover sausage links
    S-banana bread slice, a few carrot sticks & 2 tbsp hummus
    L-leftover butter chicken & rice, apple
    D-gr turkey taco salads

  4. Kathy in Denmark says

    Day 10:

    B: Oats and milk, yogurt and granola, rye porridge, roll and coffee AKA the ususal ๐Ÿ™‚
    L: DH skips, packed lunch for the kids, last of the leftover pizza for me
    D: Scrambled eggs, HM baked beans, fried potaoes, bread.

    We are planning a remodel of our home and had a meeting with a contractor, which ran a little late. So I decided on Breakfast for dinner and everyone was thrilled, so win!

    • Lynn from NC Outer Banks says

      Kathy, thank you for your recent kind words. I’m sorry for the loss of your mother. Losing a parent has been even harder than I had imagined :'(

      • Kathy in Denmark says

        Thank you, Lynn.

    • Yay for a remodel! That’s great incentive to save money on food.

      • Kathy in Denmark says


        I am actually also thinking about using some of my pantry shelves to store things while the remodel is going on, We are ripping out the entire second floor, so I will have to pack up everything and find space to store the things we still need downstares.

        It won’t be fun while it’s going on, but we are counting on the result to be excellent ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Stephanie M. says

    Monday, January 13, 2020

    B – Poached eggs, turkey sausage and a banana; I had yogurt parfait

    L – Paul had a pot roast sandwich with lettuce and tomato on whole wheat with two of the 4 slices of pot roast I froze from last week for sandwiches; I had a salad and a New York garlic bread stick

    D – Leftover pork roast, the last of the mini penne with gravy, sautรฉed cabbage, and green beans

    • I wonder if my people would eat sautรฉed cabbage without it being in Asian stir-fry.

  6. Julie Smith says

    1/13 for us…

    Breakfast: pancakes
    Lunch: PB&J or pepperoni sandwich/dried apples/chips for kids packed lunches, tuna salad sandwich for me. Hubby ate out.
    Dinner: leftovers!

    So it was an easy day for us here, too. I let 9y/o loose on a pumpkin muffin recipe but the kids ate half of them for dessert ?????, forgetting the jello that was the original dessert. Iโ€™m typing this up on Tuesday, which is our budget reset day, and I need to make a grocery run.

  7. Jennifer says

    My dh and I are doing intermittent fasting 2 days a week. Yesterday was a day so no breakfast for us. Cereal for the kid. Lunch the kids packed their own. Dh and I each took a smoothie using up some fresh kale from the fresh as well as lots of frozen fruit and pumpkin puree. Dinner I made scrambled eggs with turkey sausage. The kids cleaned out the fridge of leftovers for their dinner. It is looking pretty empty in there now.

  8. Maureen says

    We had a mixed day. I had leftovers for lunch and made everyone smoothies after school (using up some soft apples…just a few left). My middle schooler is taking a World Languages class and learned all about Chinese food today. She came home asking if we could order and my high schooler was excited. They promised to try everything, so I gave in. The pantry challenge so far has freed up money for it and the kids really did try things. My youngest wasn’t interested, but she had dance and ate before and after, so she stuck to leftovers. The bad news is I now have a whole new set of leftovers to eat up. Hopefully, my son will finish some up after school. I really am seeing white space in the freezer and even more in the pantry. I keep reminding myself how nice it will be after all of this to have fully reset storage with none of the odds and ends that no one is excited about.

  9. Mary P says

    Since you eat yogurt every morning, have you considered making your own? It is really easy and your only cost is the cost of the milk and a small amount of yogurt as a starter (after your first batch, reserve some for future batches). I like mine lightly sweetened so I also add 1 can condensed sweetened milk to half a gallon of milk. I see that you have an Instant Pot – does it have a yogurt setting? I make the cold start yogurt in mine and it is super easy. Just combine milk and yogurt starter, set on yogurt and let culture for at least 8 hours. It is safe to culture for up to 24 hours and the longer the culture, the more probiotics. It comes out as thick or thicker than Greek yogurt, so no need to strain. Important to cool completely in refrigerator before stirring or it tends to separate. If it does, no big deal. Just stir well to recombine.

    • Yep. I’ve made my own many times, but I don’t like it as well as Fage or Kirkland. I’ve made it extra thick and still don’t it as well. I’m kinda picky about my yogurt. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  10. Carol says

    The frig inside looks better but now there is !eftover stone soup ( delicious by the way). Tonight I plan to use up the left over lamb in a nice lamb rice raisin dish I’ve made before. Probably salad and bok choy on the side.
    Thanks to Kathy in Denmark for the idea to juice clementines.

  11. Tasty says

    Monday January 13th

    B – fruit, yogurt,granola and a muffin for hubby, banana and an English muffin with lemon curd for me

    L – hubby had lunch out, I finished a little bit of taco meat, heated on a h/m bun

    S – l/o turkey breast with the last of the fresh veggies – roasted. They were good!

    I did stop at the store and spent $14 on veggies. The only thing we had left was a few potatoes. The fridge is fairly empty so I think this morning would be a good time to empty it out and give it a good wash.

    • I love a partially empty fridge! To me (as long as there aren’t money troubles), it means we’re eating well and not wasting stuff.

  12. lisa s says

    B: coffee
    L: leftovers
    D: the freezer inventory from the start of the month had revealed a very meaty ham bone leftover from Thanksgiving. So the crockpot made a huge batch of navy beans and ham while I was at work. When I got home I made a pan of cornbread to go with. Still at $196 for the month which is amazing for us. I’m terrible at budgeting but I’m pretty sure we were spending about $1200-1500 per month between Sams and Kroger. Gahhh! That is gonna change dramatically this year. Time to start paying attention again.

    • That is definitely going to change this year, especially if you stick around with me! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Only because I know you could do with spending less and have extra to spend on other things.

  13. Roberta says

    Mon. 1/13/20

    B: Hubs and I had cereal, toast (Hubs only), OJ, and coffee. Son ate breakfast at a friends’ house and had a feast. (To start the new school term, the host family invited their daughter’s friend group to their home for breakfast and then a time of prayer for the kids. I’m so thankful for this group of kids and their families.)

    L: Packed for the guys (PB/apple butter sandwiches, string cheese, apple slices, mandarins, carrot sticks, energy bars/bites, pretzels, chocolate/banana muffins). I had salad, a hard-boiled egg, mandarin, and a couple of energy bars (I cut them extra small this time for some reason).

    D: Pasta w/ meat sauce, salad, orange slices, home-canned peaches from our tree.

    Cleaned out the fridge in the morning. A few things went out to the chickens, and a few things went out to the compost pile. At least they weren’t totally wasted. It’s nice to have a clean fridge and to be able to see what we have and what we need. (My freezers continue to be perpetually stuffed, however. Who knows what gems they contain.) I also made up a big green salad and cut up a bunch of carrot and cucumber sticks, so we’re in good shape for a few days. We’re going through bread (and the muffins are quickly disappearing), so I’ll need to do some more baking here pretty soon. We’re also running low on yogurt, so I’ll need to make some of that as well.

    • Sounds like it may be time to take a dive into the freezer and pick some things at random. I need to do that with the fridge freezer for sure!

      • Roberta says

        LOL! You’re right! I know I have some baking and jam making items in the fridge freezer. Now I just need to carve out some time to bake and make jam! ๐Ÿ˜‰ The chest freezer is an almost total mystery. I do know I have a turkey roast, a pound of ground beef, and a tiny package of chicken legs. Not at all sure what else.

  14. Jodi says

    Breakfast was the usual. Coffee for me, bagel/cream cheese/yogurt for DH, youngest 2 had cereal and milk and oldest boy just got up at 1:30!
    Lunch was leftovers for me. mixed up some roasted spaghetti squash with leftover pork and topped with a little cheese yum!
    DH had work lunch, youngest boy at school lunch, middle one had packed lunch of nuggets and some snacks, oldest just made himself a sandwich.
    I found some chicken marked down yesterday at Target, so I bought that plus some bottled water and other little things.. spent $30, which puts us at around $140 so far. i plan to make chicken strips tonight for dinner and use some instant potatoes i found as a side. also cooking up a little chicken for my boy dog, who had to get almost all his teeth removed yesterday. poor pup! I need to find some energy to do a little baking and meal prep. If i get a second wind this afternoon, i might run by our local bakery, which supplies many local restaurants and also has a retail shop that sells great, fresh breads and other things like big pretzels and pizza crusts for cheap.

  15. Karen J says

    Yesterday on the quest to get my sale eggs I found Nutella on clearance at fifty cents for the 13 oz. size-and it wasn’t past pulled dated. I only bought one as I am working on self restraint on buying sale stuff, although that was tough to resist buying more. My total grocery spending for the challenge is $4.47 (including my Nutella) this month. I still have some lettuce, cabbage, carrots, celery, potatoes, one avocado, and onions left for fresh, then onto the frozen and canned.

    Meals for Monday
    B-avocado toast
    L-leftover bean soup
    D-I made a dozen hamburger buns, then put nine in the freezer. We had teriyaki burgers with grilled pineapple, carrots and tater tots.

    It’s still snowing north of Seattle. Puts me into the mood to bake and read books in front of the fire.

    • Lynn from NC Outer Banks says

      That Nutella would have tested my resolve as well. I wound up with 2 jars I bought cheaply awhile back that are now in the pantry. There was another one, but I slowly ate it, one tablespoon at a time ๐Ÿ™‚ Thankfully, for right now, the others are not calling my name!

      That’s an amazing monthly total. Well done! I thought I was doing well, but you have beaten me handily! I keep thinking I’ll try Jessica’s hamburger bun recipe. I have a pork roast that I’d like to fix for barbecue, but have no buns and don’t want to buy any. Same for sausage buns. I may have to stretch outside my comfort zone. Hers look so good.

      • Karen J says

        Hi Lynn,
        Isn’t Nutella the best! I just found a recipe for Nutella cinnamon rolls that is calling my name. I so know I am going to gain weight on this pantry challenge. Today I made cranberry orange bread with freezer cranberries, pecans left from Christmas and my last orange.

        Jessica has a few recipes for buns. The “homemade hot dog buns” is my favorite only I shape it into hamburger buns. I do have a bread maker that makes the dough and use that. Also I bought the vital wheat gluten at the Winco bulk section a year ago. It was cheap, I keep it in the freezer and it still seems to work. You can make the the buns without it too and they turn out fine. I’m saving a few of the leftover buns in the freezer for pulled pork later this month. You should totally try her recipe.

        I love pantry challenge month and think of it as a fun game. I think we actually eat better! One thing to know about my low grocery total is that there are only two of us at home, so I’m not feeding a family. My husband isn’t a picky eater so that’s good too. I still go out to breakfast with my girlfriends every Thursday (30+ years!) and my husband and I eat breakfast out every Saturday. That’s just my life and I don’t change it for January. I like that we make our own rules!

        • Lynn from NC Outer Banks says

          Oh it is! I keep trying to put the jars I have in my pantry out of mind! If I have company come I will use it in crepes I’m thinking.

          Your bread sounds delicious. Hmmm, I may have to look up a recipe. I have cranberries in the freezer, pecans from Christmas Oh it is! I keep trying to put the jars I have in my pantry out of mind! If I have company come I will use it in crepes I’m thinking.
          Oh it is! I keep trying to put the jars I have in my pantry out of mind! Your bread sounds delicious. Hmmm, I may have to look up a recipe. I have cranberries in the freezer, pecans from Christmas and (still!) oranges. I was glad to have the apples as a change from all of our oranges.

          I enjoy the PC month too, but have never tried to curtail my spending as much as I’m trying to this month., except for the chicken! I think of it as a game also, though my family believes I’m a little crazy! So far I think our menus have been fine too and I’m looking forward to becoming more creative as the month progresses. There are only two of us at home now also. I think I’m still struggling with how to cook for just two, which is how I wound up with a stuffed pantry, freezer and fridge!

          Thank you for the advice on Jessica’s bun recipe. I really want to do this! I have some sausage and wanted to fix it with peppers and onions (the reason I bought fresh instead of using dried onions). It needs buns too, so I figure I could use the recipe to make both the sausage buns and hamburger buns. I’ve planned to try it before but maybe this is the month.Thanks for the encouragement!


        • I just saw a Nutella Babka on instagram. Looked really yummy. I imagine the rolls would be, too. Glad to hear you like the hamburger/hot dog buns. ๐Ÿ™‚
          And yes, we tend to eat better during the PC as well, I think because I’m being more creative and using up “hard things” Love your breakfast traditions!

      • Hope you like the buns!

    • That is amazing restraint on the Nutella. I’m not sure I could have held back. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  16. Karen J says

    No worries! Earlier when I was typing it was messing up too. It kept backspacing on its own and I was yelling at it to stop. Good luck on your bread making!

  17. Pat says

    Sheesh 2 days behind already!
    I am still sitting at $70 but $36 of that was 4 family packs of chicken that I bought on sale.
    Karen and Lynn I feel you on the computer issues. Mine likes to stop typing and I will have to stop and wait for it to catch up!
    Lynn you should try her bun recipe. They turn out really yummy and it’s pretty easy to make.
    Day 10–We had leftover white chili and l/o biscuits with a relish tray and orange slices.

  18. Angela says

    Monday, Monday!
    B: hubs had a smoothie and some watermelon; I had chia ‘pudding’ (half a container of chia seeds in the pantry. A little goes a long way.)
    L: Hubs had hardboiled eggs, I had a big salad
    D: Salisbury steak and gravy, rice, broccoli. Made ahead on Sunday so dinner was super easy.

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