Day 23, Pantry Challenge 2020

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muffins cooling on rack

Alrighty, we’re humming along here. I went to the freezer today and saw lots of white space. There are a few proteins left to go and, of course, some grains that take longer to use, but we’ve cleared out a lot of things, including all the extra baking that happened over the holidays.

One good thing about your kids running weekly Dungeons and Dragons campaigns is that your home is full of teens who are happy to eat junk food. All the mini cakes have been disposed of!

Here’s how the day went for us:


Rather a random affair. I really want to change that this week.

Bryan made oatmeal. I had my usual but was really disappointed in both the yogurt and the blueberries. I couldn’t even finish it! Kids had their versions of smoothies, eggs, and toast.

bowl of salsa and burrito bowl


The kids’ breakfasts were really late, so they didn’t have huge appetites come lunchtime.

I dug out a carton of Texas Chili from the freezer and reheated that alongside with the rice and beans from yesterday. I also made some Easy Pico de Gallo.

I made an omelet and salad for myself. Filled the omelet with the Irish cheddar no one else wants along with some tomatoes. Super yummy!


Bryan and I are going to grab burgers while the kids eat frozen pizzas with their friends. It’s my appeasement to myself for having cooked 68 meals in a row. 😉

Meal Prep

I cooked up a huge pot of steel cut oats this afternoon for the college boys to have for easy breakfasts. I portioned that out and added brown sugar.

I also baked a couple batches of Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins. We are out of oil, so I used part butter and part applesauce. I used dark chocolate chunks which made them really yummy.

Grocery Shopping

I’ve made a couple random stops over the weekend, trying to get good pricing on the things that I buy.

At Sprouts: celery, carrots, onions, romaine, and zucchini – total of $12

At Ralphs: bell peppers, oats, grape tomatoes, clearance bananas, and clearance lettuce – total of $12.

This brings my monthly total to $313. I will probably stop at ALDI on the way home later and grab dairy and a few other things to round out the week. Bryan’s birthday is Wednesday so I want to make sure we’ve got stuff for a yummy cake, etc.

How is 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. Alice E says

    The challenge is continuing for me. It has been slower due to health issues, but I’ll keep at it. Glad you gave yourself a break, I think they are essential to success and avoiding burn-out. I imagine with a batch of kids around that you can go through a LOT of food. With just two older adults it takes a lot longer for us, although hubby has been going through the baked goods at fast speed. I’ll need to keep doing that, I think. It helps that I’ve found some very low-fat and a few fat free recipes so I can eat some too.

    B – cheddar ham oven omelet, hot tea and a bagel for him
    L – Turkey sandwiches
    D – Meatloaf, herbed potatoes, broccoli, green beans and cake for dessert

    That’s another meatloaf and 2 sacks of veg gone from the freezer, and a good use of some potatoes and an onion that needed to be used. I’ll have to bake him another cake or some bar cookies soon.

  2. Lynn from NC Outer Banks says

    1/26 Day 23

    B: LO biscuits, sausage from freezer (DH), French toast for me

    L: LO barbecue sandwich (DH), LO chicken and veggies-me

    D: scratch pie crust for bacon, mushroom Swiss quiche, salad, pineapple

    We’re home from our 2 day stint (Got to see my Carolina Tar Heels FINALLY win a basketball game 🙂 We carry a cooler with us when we travel so were able to safely bring home leftovers from dinner last night along with some purchased perishables. Took our son soup I’d frozen for him, sausage and pulled pork from the freezer and items from the pantry that he likes (Gatorade, snacks). That got a few things out of the freezer and pantry and he was glad to get them!

    Made our stop at Aldi spending only $8.26 which was about half of what I was expecting to spend. They were out of some of the sale items I’d hoped to buy (ie strawberries) so I saved a bit plus I decided I didn’t need much more now. I did purchase oranges, broccoli, avocado, carrots, tomatoes and “skinny” bread (next month I’m going to add a weight loss challenge to the continuing pantry challenge!) That brings my monthly total to $34.30 which is certainly surprising to me that I have kept it that low. Purchases loom on the horizon (February though!) as we are low on coffee, creamer and mayo-all of which are must haves!

    Made minestrone soup today to have for the week. I have certainly been doing a ton of baking and cooking as well this month. I usually cook most all meals at home but with the PC and making things from scratch (like Jessica’s bun recipe) and needing to make items for work, I’ve really been busy. I’ve gone through much of a bag of flour with all the baking. Using things up-win.

  3. Laurie Gaither says

    We’re on the mend but by no means 100%. I know what you mean Alice about things slowing down as you get older. At least I’m seeing all three freezers going down. I really want to get the 10 c.f. chest freezer cleaned out by May. We still have quite a bit of beef in there.Me
    B – neither of us were hungry so just had toast around 11:00
    L – I fixed a lot of chicken noodle soup. I love making it in my instant pot. I had sourdough bread with mine
    D – around 7:00 I had some applesauce and hubs had some chips (he said he was craving salt). I’ve got to get this man eating healthier so he stays well!

  4. Stephanie M. says

    Sunday, January 26, 2020

    B – Paul had cereal; I had yogurt parfait

    L – we both had roast beef sandwiches

    D – Leftover macaroni and meat sauce

  5. Angela says

    B- everyone’s usual: fruit for hubs, hot tea for me, and ds#3 decides to polish off the pasta I made for him on Saturday.
    L- tomato soup & grilled cheese (baked potato for me). Cold and rainy weather=soup.
    D- everyone basically snacked through dinner.

    I made some chili for tomorrow’s dinner. I also experimented with making ‘popped’ quinoa…no one really likes it, so I thought if I could pop it and melt with some marshmallows that also need to be used, it would be like Rice Krispie treats. Sort of. We’ll see how they are on Monday.

  6. Maureen says

    Sunday was more focused. Everyone did their own thing for breakfast at different times. I pulled out cheese and crackers, etc for lunch…some were Christmas leftovers. DD had leftover pizza, instead. I had thawed some pot roast before, so for dinner DH and I had sandwiches, son ate it plain and the girls had sausage and hotdogs (they don’t care for beef). We had green beans, potatoes, french fries, and fruit. There were so many things on the table for just 5 of us, but all smaller amounts, so only some sausage leftover. I also made a batch of lemon ricotta almond muffins with the leftover ricotta from hubby’s lasagne the other night. I couldn’t find my slivered almonds in the freezer (hence the need for the challenge), so I just skipped those for the top. We have a slightly busier week than usual, so I’m hoping to stay a couple of days ahead with my planning so that we stay on track and don’t burn out. We are in good shape with some variety and already prepped for some snacks, which should help.

  7. Tasty says

    Sunday January 26th

    Not much happened around here in the kitchen. We had to be in town so hubby suggested brekkie out and I never turn that down. We went to a place that makes crepes and I had one that was stuffed with sausage, scrambled eggs and cheese with a dijon sauce over it. Hubby’s was similar but he had maple syrup with his. Really really good and filling. Even by supper time we weren’t really hungry so I pulled a container of soup from the freezer that I had been avoiding and doctored it up a bit and it turned out pretty good. Definitely a win!

  8. *Alice* says

    I continue to be totally amazed by what I am capable of making with just what’s in my kitchen at this moment, plus a few fresh veggies. I have not bought a single cut of meat since the end of December and have been creating meal after meal with what I have. With only a few days left, I am well below my grocery budget, and will probably break right at the half mark. I am so smitten with myself…my daughter thinks it’s so funny when I get all bubbly over saving money and using up food in our kitchen.
    I just wish I hadn’t forgotten to put away the rest of the Teriyaki Chicken Rice that I made last night. It was supposed to cover my next 3 lunches, but I got completely distracted and only realized my mistake this morning. Needless to say, I wanted to cry. But, I pulled myself together, made myself a lunch to bring to work from whatever leftovers I had, and will just keep going. Thank you so much for this, I am ecstatic by the results!!!

    • You are doing fantastic. Don’t let last night’s mishap get you down. You are on fire!

  9. Lisa Schoultz says

    Brunch: pancakes, bacon, rice w/fried eggs, fruit, and juice or coffee
    Dinner: pork tenderloin with apple-onion compote, mashers, roasted cauliflower, baguette

  10. Pat says

    Glad to hear you gave yourself a little break on Sunday. We all need them once in a while.

    Day 22
    Saturday we made a pepperoni and salami pizza and a bbq chicken one. Used up l/o pizza sauce, the meats and a very old bag of Italian cheese from the freezer. In the kitchen I made up some pancake mix and the basic spice mix.

    Day 23
    I made an egg bake for breakfast with hash browns and bacon from the freezer. Dinner was roast potatoes and carrots.

  11. Terry says

    Sundays as usual is a nearly no cooking day. I generally make breakfast. Hashbrowns and eggs for him, a bean and cheese burrito from the freezer for me. Lunch was leftover split pea soup. Dinner was yogurt for him. Cheese and crackers for me.
    Monday morning is my errand time. Always starting at Goodwill for their dollar tag sale where I scored a 300.00 espresso, coffee, latte maker for 1.00. Several other items i needed and still got out of there for 11.00. Fred Meyer was next for milk, veggies and a one dollar pack of brats. Home to make breakfast. Hashbrowns brats and eggs at noon. Won’t need much the rest of the day

    • Karen J says

      Goodwill Monday is part of my routine too-although our special tag color is $1.79. About thirty or so people are always lined up for the 9 am opening. Awesome deal on the coffee maker!

  12. Jodi says

    B: homemade yogurt for me, usual bagel and yogurt for hubs. Kids ate cereal.
    L: leftover burgers and other random bits from fridge.
    D: got rid of last bag of chicken strips from freezer. And a box of taquitos that was stuck in there.
    Forgot to get stuff hubs needs for work week so plan a small trip for Monday for that stuff. I have a ton of baking stuff to use but am balancing that with the fact that we don’t need to eat all that! Your D&D comment reminded me that my boys play twice a month so I might bake and freeze to take and share just to get rid of all that sweet stuff.

  13. Sarah says

    Yesterday was meal prep day. we went to a wedding the night before so we slept late and dragged a bit. I ordered groceries for delivery (big city life necessity) and I only spent $32 (impressive because it’s mostly organic and big city expensive). I found myself editing my cart to resist the stockpile. I don’t need two dozen eggs in one week. I don’t need to stockpile frozen veggies. I bought a little fresh ground beef so hubby could have burgers and just bought perishables like gluten free bread, eggs, cream, and carrots, celery, onion which I needed for soup.

    B: cheese crisp with an egg
    D: 16 bean soup with Italian sausage.

    B: protein shake and coffee
    L: free work lunch (Caesar salad)
    D: scrambled eggs with cheese and chicken sausage and 2 slices of gluten free bread with butter and sugar free jam.

    Hubby will eat leftover soup for dinner and I put a few portions in the freezer.

  14. Karen J says

    I stayed home all day Sunday. I didn’t cook a lot but did use up a few things in the refrigerator.

    B-poached eggs and toast
    L-the rest of the ham salad wrapped in romaine
    D-my husband was working on a friend’s house and they sent him home with bbq-plenty for the both of us

    I have knocked off only a little over half of the dinner meals I’d planned for this month. It seems like every three days we need to have a leftover night, which I hadn’t accounted for. Plus then there is a few times of being out of town or friends feeding us dinner. I’m totally not complaining! It’s just that the challenge is going to go well into February for us.

  15. Jennifer says

    Yesterday was better, though I did make a Costco run for fresh produce. This is always a priority for us, as we all prefer fresh over frozen or canned. Weird day as my dh took my dd back to college and my other dd had an early gymnastics meet an hour away.

    B – leftover muffins, frozen blueberries
    L – dh and dd ate in the dining hall for free. I had a Larabar and yogurt. Other’s had random stuff? I really don’t know, as that was when I went to Costco.
    D – I used some of the leftover roast in a made up tortellini soup. I used a carton of beef broth, carrots, celery, roast and tortellini. it was good, not great. I wouldn’t choose to make it again, but we ate it all and were satisfied.

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