Day 16, Pantry Challenge 2020

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a dozen star biscuits baked on a tray

Sunday, Sunday. We did okay.

Everyone, it seems, was up and at ’em early. I was baking bread and making homemade hot dog buns before 9. My 13yo daughter was baking star biscuits.

I also started some Vegetable Bolognese in the slow cooker. Will make that into lasagna tomorrow.


A quick reheat of the breakfast gravy I made the other day, and the morning meal was pretty easy. Some kids had eggs, too. I had my usual. Bryan made his usual steel cut oats.

The better part of a sourdough boule was also consumed during the morning.

hot dog on homemade bun on plate with vegetables


I had some random hot dogs and brats in the freezer, so I cooked those up at lunch. Served on homemade hot dog buns alongside Doritos and veggies, it worked out well. 

I had a salad with leftover chicken from last night, a hard cooked egg, veggies, and blue cheese. It was beautiful, but then I forgot to take a picture.

As a treat, I pulled out some Cranberry Oat Bars from the freezer. FishBoy15 grinned from ear to ear over that.

array of homemade asian dishes


Two of the boys were gone which left us with only five. I know to some that’s a full house, but down from eight that’s a small dinner party.

This made dinner a hard slog. I really wanted to go get Chipotle. But, when I thought what that $50 would buy in groceries, I turned the other way.

I cooked up two packs of Yaki Soba from the freezer and half a bag of potstickers, and made a huge pan of Vegetable Fried Rice and a smaller pan of Cauliflower Fried Rice

Even though I was standing at the stove the entire time, I burned the potstickers. Didn’t realize how quickly the water had evaporated. I grabbed a partial bag of wontons from the freezer and cooked those instead.

We cut off the bottoms of the potstickers, but it wasn’t quite the same. The crispy bottom is supposed to be the best part!

So, that was our day. Things went mostly well and I’ve got three more loaves of bread to stash in the freezer.

How’s the Pantry Challenge going for you?

About Jessica Fisher

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

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  1. Carol Bullivant says

    Son in law and grandkids came to dinner. We had roast chicken, baked potatoes, carrots, cranberry sauce ( I made earlier in t
    he week) and salad. Just saw some recipes I want to try ; one will use up leftover chicken. We’ll see how it all works out.

  2. Pat says

    Day 16 was another out to eat night for my husband’s birthday. The day worked best because the 2 nurses were off this weekend. We had pizza onion rings and salad with cupcakes. For breakfast we had left over pancakes with homemade sausage patties from the freezer.
    Tomorrow will be a day of meal prep that I didn’t do today.

  3. Lynn from NC Outer Banks says

    1/19 Day 16

    B: coffee, waffle

    L: soup, cornbread muffin

    D: creamy chicken on puff pastry fish cutouts, Caesar salad with HM croutons (I’ve never had rye bread croutons before, but it’s what I had in the freezer to make them from 😉 Jessica’s dressing , LO Waldorf salad, pain au chocolat for dessert

    S: DH’s platter for football watching: nuts, dried fruit, celery sticks, pickles, ranch dip, cheese, crackers, pepperoni, corn chips, LO black bean salsa

    I spent the afternoon in the kitchen. I made chicken noodle soup, cooked Italian sausage for meals in the future, made croutons and prepared dinner.

    Dinner was great! I had puff pastry in the freezer and decided to use it on a savory dish. Years ago I bought a (never used) fish “cut out” to use with puff pastry. It has a circle in the middle that doesn’t cut through all the layers. Once it is cooked, you cut out the circle, fill the pastry shell and replace the circle. It worked great and my husband liked that they were fish and tasty. But the dessert wound up being the best part.

    I went foraging in the pantry today looking for canned veggies-that I didn’t find. I did find a jar of raspberry jelly in the back corner that I didn’t know was there. No idea how long it has been there. I think maybe a family friend gave it to me quite a while ago. I’m not a huge raspberry fan, more of a strawberry person. Anyway, I went on with my cooking and my searching for recipes..And then fate intervened…While looking for recipes for puff pastry, I found a tart that used raspberry jelly (!) and…yes, Karen J-NUTELLA! After I did my fish cutouts, I had pastry left so I made 4 little tarts. Jessica, like your Epiphany King’s Cake, my filling oozed out too, but they were so good! I had no idea chocolate hazelnut and raspberry could be so good together. I’m a convert. Delicious!

    Hope everyone has has a good weekend!

    • Amy says

      After Thanksgiving, I bought two big turkeys at Aldi for 99 cents/lb and tucked them away in the bottom of our chest freezer. Last weekend we cooked up a big bird and have been eating the meat all week. Today I used half the bones to make 5.5 quarts of rich, dark stock in my IP. I also made an Aldi run today for dairy and veg (and some other goodies… marked down organic grass-fed ground beef!). But I don’t few bad for spending a chunk because it’s the 19th of the month and I’m only half way through my normal monthly budget. My Aldi haul could very well get us through the rest of the month.

    • Karen J says

      I love how you creatively used your puff pastry! I wouldn’t have thought to put raspberry and Nutella together. I’m thinking you have convinced me to try it. I am planning to use some of my puff pastry on a kind of chicken pot pie thing using what I have later this week. Gee-kind of like your creamy chicken on puff pastry cutouts-only I don’t have a cute fish. Thanks for the motivation, Lynn!

  4. Laurie Gaither says

    B – I had a protein bar and tangerine, hubs had cereal
    L – Three out of our five grandchildren (ages 5, 5, and 1) have January birthdays. We had a family party and bbq’d burgers at our younger son’s house. We took a pre-made veggie tray and extra ranch dressing. It was a bit of a zoo but fun nonetheless.
    D – younger son and granddaughter came over late afternoon to watch the 49ers game (yay, Niners won!). Hubs bought chips and dip when he went to the store this morning for the veggie tray. We ate a very late dinner. I had half a pbj sandwich and milk, hubs had a couple of hot dogs.

    I’m taking the $25 cost of the party food and game snacks from our entertainment budget.. $15 is coming out of food budget for the milk and extra chips that we’ll be eating for the rest of the month. My husband is notorious for over purchasing snack food,

  5. Julie Smith says

    Day 16:

    Breakfast: cranberry oatmeal, pancakes, pumpkin muffins depending on the person
    Lunch: Sandwiches or nachos
    Dinner: crock pot chicken pot pie

    Got my first grumblings about eating at home all the time and leftovers yesterday from the guys in the house. They’ll live. Lol

  6. Stephanie M. says

    Sunday, January 19, 2020

    B – Yogurt Parfait

    L – Turkey and lettuce on whole grain rye, using up the last of the turkey, and an apple

    D – Last of the chicken marsala, leftover elbow macaroni and gravy, and broccolini

    I hear from Paul and our daughter everyday and they are having an awesome time in Chili. The pictures they are sending me don’t even look real. I had no idea Chili was so beautiful. It doesn’t even look real. They have been hiking, they’ve gone on a scenic drive, walked through a cave, today (Sunday) they are going on a boat excursion to see glaciers. Tomorrow, they are driving into Argentina. What a trip for them!!!

  7. Terry says

    Sunday is always a quiet day at our house. Hubby slept in. I used most of the leftover pumpkin custard to make muffins. I had a muffin and oatmeal for breakfast.
    There was a small bowl of mashed potatoes. I browned some bacon and onions then took them out so just the bacon grease was left. Made a roux and then added the potatoes, half a brick of cream cheese some milk and seasonings. We both had it for lunch. I had some bacon and onions on top of mine. Hubby likes his plain. Now there’s enough soup left for both our lunches today.
    While the instant pot was out I cooked some rice. Had rice and beans for dinner. Now there’s rice leftover to go with the onions and bacon for fried rice. And I still haven’t made that pizza so those things will be on the menu today.

  8. Karen J says

    Yesterday I made big crockpot chili using up several cans of beans and tomatoes from my pantry. Yeah! Two of the cans were chili beans in hot chili sauce so I thought great! Then I added chili powder. Then I added an ice cube of chipotle pepper in adobo I found in the freezer. Yikes, it was spicy! I like spicy, but was happy I had sour cream to cool it off. Even then… Anyone have an idea how to de-spice a dish?

    Also I made a loaf of bread in the bread machine with a new recipe that had 2,000+ positive reviews. I always use the dough cycle then bake in the oven. But, I decided to follow the directions as written and use the machine to bake it. I was disappointed in the results. It tasted kind of okay, but was a weird shape. But I didn’t have to go to the store to buy bread.

    We are off to spend the night with friends tonight. I am taking some cranberry orange bread from the freezer and a package of kielbasa. 🙂

    • Kathy in Denmark says

      You could serve it over rice or maybe add some plain cooked beans to soak up some of the heat!

      Hope it works out.

  9. Maureen says

    We ate at home all weekend, so I am happy. DH even made himself an iced mocha instead of running to Starbuck’s. I’m still keeping an eye on waste. I’ve tossed a few small things, but we’re getting in the groove. Breakfast was on your own as people rolled out of bed at different times. I made a pasta dish using leftover pasta for lunch when I got home – half of us had that. The other half did their own thing. And DH made homemade pizza for dinner – no leftovers. The kids are home from school on Monday for MLK and DH leaves on a business trip. I need to clean out the fridge and inventory the kitchen freezer. I think I’m going to focus on snacks a bit this week with hubby gone and see if we can eat up many of the bits in the freezer…that’s my mission for the next few days.

  10. Alice E says

    B – Mixed grain blender pancakes and eggs, hot tea and mandarins
    L – l/o ham & beans and l/o noodles
    D – linguine and smoked turkey, cake

    the pancake recipe calls for using wheat berries and buttermilk in the blender. Since I don’t have a Vita-mix or its equivalent I first run them through the flaker I bought years ago with the hand grinder (which I haven’t used in years). I also mixed it up using a blend of wheat, kamut, buckwheat and rye. The flaker I do use occasionally to turn some of the grain into cereal. At any rate I used up some more of those grains in the pantry, and that is a win for me.

    I’m slowly getting through some of the pantry and freezers, but still have a lot of pantry challenge left. The good part is in bad weather we can stay home and the challenge helps inspire me to try new things like multi grain pancakes which hubby loved!

  11. Jennifer says

    I really struggle with wanting to eat out when we have some kids gone as well. It is so tempting to skip cooking and have a smaller than normal eating out bill.

    B – Dd had brought home bagels and pastries from work Saturday night that they were going to throw out, so we feasted on that along with blackberries and grapefruit.
    L – leftovers, yogurt, fruit, etc. Everyone fended for themselves
    D – I made chicken parmesan over angel hair pasta. I have made this dish only once before but it got rave reviews last night. It was a lot of work though, so the family should not expect it again any time soon. I served this with cantaloupe and cucumbers.

  12. Tasty says

    Sunday January 19th
    B – our usual fruit etc
    L – corned beef sandwiches (another tin gone from the pantry)
    S – out with 6 friends for a roast beef buffet

  13. Heather M says

    Sunday, January 19:
    B: we both skipped
    L and D: so in between meetings, around noon, I made the one real meal we had- spaghetti with a meat sauce and a big salad. The meat sauce was delicious! For some strange reason I had bought these frozen chopped steak things at costco ages ago. They weren’t what I thought and I’ve only made hot steak (or steak and cheese) sandwiches with them – the steak ends up almost shaved/chopped once cooked. I found the last two in the freezer. I sauteed them up, then sauteed chopped onion and a chopped up limp bell pepper that I’d had in the fridge since mid-december(ONLY good for cooking at this point), added most of a jar of marinara sauce and a bunch of different seasonings (Penzeys frozen pizza mix, penzeys mural of flavor, crushed red pepper flakes, pepper, a few shots of red wine vinegar) and put the meat back in. Simmered a bit then tossed it with spaghetti. Wow. It was really good. L ate it twice over the afternoon/evening. I ate it for an early dinner. After cooking and before running to a meeting I had some pretzels and cashews to tide me over. We both had ice cream while watching the 49ers win. I had stocked up on some fun christmas ice creams from trader joe’s before my kids came home and have some left over.

  14. Carol says

    We had a different kind of chicken vegetable soup with butternut squash pieces, peas and coconut cream in the stock. I used up two of the chicken thighs. I will freeze the last two– we would enjoy a break from chicken. Bok choy on the side. Some Swiss chard leftovers went into the soup. All of the ingredients came from the freezer, frig or pantry.

  15. Janet says

    B: Eggs, bacon and toast
    L: Baked beef burritos, asst. fruit
    D: Chicken fried rice, cherries and grapes

  16. Pat says

    Day 16 was another day out . My husband’s birthday dinner–pizza, salads, onion rings and cupcakes!! the whole immediate family made it so it was a good time.

  17. Kathy in Denmark says

    Day 16

    Brunch: Softboiled egg, bread, milk coffee
    S: cake from the freezer. Apples and bananas
    D: Leftovers from Saturday: Quiche, baked pasta, bread and salad.

    I went shopping Sunday, so had more tomatoes for the salad 🙂
    I haven’t set a goal of not shopping, but I had simply asked DH to pick up milk and a few other things last week, so we hadn’t spent much. That changed Sunday, as the add for one store had A LOT of things I use at my target price. I stocked up – those prices only come around two or three times a year, and I had run out of some things. The good news is, that I have enough to last us until the next good sale and since we hadn’t been shopping much, I am still under budget.

  18. lisa s says

    I burned the fire out of the last potstickers I made also. I blame the box for bad instructions ! It was a chilly football day, so I made your baked brie in a bread bowl (yum! thank you) to use up the brie I never used for new years. And I made a big pot of chili with the chorizo that needed using. Perfect Sunday fare.
    B: pancakes, bacon
    L: snacky, baked brie
    D: chili w/the cut up bread bowl from the brie

  19. Kathy Coy says

    I feel intimidated to try to make hot dog buns, ha. Do you have a video posted somewhere on how to do that?!! When you let them rest for the 30 minutes, are they continuing to rise to get to their normal shape, or are they already pretty much the normal shape when you make them into little logs? I love reading your pantry challenge updates. I’m following along, and mostly trying to use up all the meat in my freezer and it is going well. Thank you for the motivation!

    • I actually took pictures this last time around. Will see if I can get the post updated sooner rather than later. Are you on IG? I could post them there more quickly.

  20. Angela says

    B- Hubs had a berry smoothie. I had hot tea.
    L- Everyone had a light lunch in anticipation of dinner. Hubs had a tuna sandwich; I had a bowl of chicken noodle soup. Ds#3 had a salad.
    D- Steaks on the grill, roasted potatoes in the oven, broccoli.

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