Day 25, Pantry Challenge 2020

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breakfast and books

“It was a tasty day!” She says, patting her belly.

Today was a pretty chill day with four of the kids home. We’ve got only three more days of the challenge, and I think we’ll be going out on a high note.

February’s Grocery Savings Challenge

Have you signed up to get your Grocery Savings Challenge Starter Kit? Do that here.

We’ll be starting the new challenge on Saturday, so watch your inbox!

Grocery Shopping

Last night Bryan and I stopped at ALDI for a few last things. We spent $48 on: soda water, tomato sauce, canned tomatoes, frozen fruit, cottage cheese, eggs, pepperoni, dried cranberries, almonds, broccoli, cilantro, milk, half and half, frozen green beans, garlic, and southwest salad.

That brings our monthly total to $361. I don’t think I’ll need to make another stop before the end of the week, so I think we’re good! I’ll let you know in my final post, but I’m thrilled to have pared down so much.

And honestly? We’ve still got a few proteins in the freezer that I didn’t get to. We could probably squeeze another week out of this thing, but I’ll be happy to reduce it to weekly freezer diving. 

ALDI grocery cart for pantry challenge


This morning we all had a variation of egg bake, Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins, oatmeal, and smoothies.

The egg bakes have been a really great meal prep because it reheats so well. Definitely adding this to my weekly routine.


FishChick11 has been requesting Chunky Potato Soup with Bacon & Tarragon for weeks. Since I knew we had a lot of bacon, I told her we would. 

And today we did.

soup and salad

She did most of the prep work which made actually making the soup in the pressure cooker super easy!

FishChick13 and I also both had salads.


I knew there were several random bags of chip crumbs in the freezer so I made two batches of Lawnmower Taco.

I left some meat on the side for those who didn’t want the casserole. We had taco salads and lettuce wrap tacos.

As I said, a very tasty day, indeed!

About Jessica Fisher

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

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  1. Roberta says

    Tues. 1/28/20

    B: Hubs had cereal w/ a banana, toast, OJ, coffee. Son and I had oatmeal w/ cinnamon and brown sugar, toast (Son only), OJ (Son only), coffee, chai. We finished off the last of the home-squeezed juice with this meal. 🙁

    L: The guys had their usual packed lunches (peach butter on the sandwiches and added chocolate/applesauce/banana muffins to mix things up a tiny bit). I also packed Hubs an extra sandwich and extra fruit since he had to work late. I had PB toast, string cheese, and an orange from our tree. (I may end up squeezing some of our own oranges, but they are super tasty to eat so I’ve been keeping them for that.)

    D: Hubs had his “extras” at work, and then when he finally got home he had a bowl of salad as well. Son and I had a Denver-ish
    scramble (eggs, black olives, diced bell pepper from the garden, the last tiny bit of Feta, shredded cheddar, and half of a package of Canadian bacon from the freezer diced up), salad, the last corn muffin (Son), and home-canned peaches. Got rid of a couple of things from the freezer/fridge. 🙂

    S: Son enjoyed a bowl of Jessica’s Cheddar Coins while doing homework.

  2. Stephanie M. says

    Tuesday, January 28, 2020

    B – Paul had cereal; I had a tomato mushroom omelet using up the leftover cooked tomatoes and mushrooms from the omelet I had a few days ago; I also had a whole wheat English muffin, 1/2 a banana, and V8

    L – Paul had leftover macaroni and meat sauce and a slice of pound cake; I had the last of the roast beef with lettuce on whole grain rye and an apple

    D – Pasta with shrimp, asparagus, and grape tomatoes with garlic and olive oil; (I had a small shrimp cocktail ring in the freezer, some uncooked asparagus in the fridge and some grape tomatoes sitting on my counter and every time I go in the freezer, I see that shrimp ring and decided it was time).

  3. We started 5 wks ago. Ate out 3 times instead of 2-3 times a week. Spent $50 on groceries. Plan to continue through Feb and March

  4. Laurie Gaither says

    B – protein bar for both and I had an orange
    L – l/o chicken noodle soup, hubs had crackers and I toasted the last of the sourdough loaf
    D – Grilled cheese sandwich, chips and baby carrots

    I was down to my last quart of frozen chicken stock so I I took the Thanksgiving turkey carcass out of the freezer and made 7 quarts of stock. I went to the store to pick up dairy, eggs, produce and bread. The only proteins I picked up were chicken nuggets and chicken tenders for the grands. I mostly shop at Trader Joe’s as it is close and I know where everything is. I’m in and out of there in 15 minutes. The “big” chain grocery is a few doors down and I only stop by there for hubs favorite bread on sale. I could save more money by going to Aldi, Sprouts and shopping big chain loss leaders but this old mare ain’t got it in her anymore. i spent $50 yesterday which makes my monthly total $160. I had hoped to come in around $150 for the month so not bad. I budget for $350 a month.

    • Heather M says

      Totally get that, especially re trader joe’s. It’s my favorite. I find that some weeks I am willing to break up my shopping based on best deals, and others it’s just a one-stop shopping kind of week. I’m lucky though, because Aldi recently opened less than a mile from my house and there’s a harris teeter in between aldi and home. so I’ll do both in one trip, when I don’t stop at trader joe’s or target or costco. It really depends on what’s on my list where I’ll end up. 🙂

      • Laurie Gaither says

        My biggest issue right now is mobility. I try to do what is easiest while not breaking the budget.

  5. Terry says

    Well yesterday I was a little depressed that I didn’t do better on my pantry challenge. Today I’m kinda over it. We never eat out so every meal is at home. I guess 129.00 for two people for a month isn’t too bad. This morning g it was banana oatmeal with bananas from the freezer and a little dandelion jelly to sweeten it. Lunch was grilled veggie sandwich with fresh hummus spread. Dinner will be chicken breast from the freezer cooked with rice in the instant pot. Served with a green salad. Its a good pantry challenge day. I’m continuing on and still planning to get my monthly total down to 100.00. What’s up for next month Jessica? I found a recipe for buffalo chicken wings made with cauliflower. Has anyone tried them?

  6. Tasty says

    Tuesday January 28th
    B – our usual routine of fruit, yogurt etc.

    L – the last of the roast beef in sandwiches

    S – chicken corn chowder, using the last of the chicken thighs from the freezer, h/m stock, also from the freezer, onion and carrot from the fridge, l/o mashed potato from Christmas and a tin ofcorn that should have been used a while ago!!! Delicious!!

  7. Alice E says

    Jessica, I’m always amazed at how well you cope but now I have another question. Does your Aldi let you buy that many eggs in one purchase? Mine limits me to 3 dozen eggs, not just 3 dozen at that price but only 3 dozen. This occasionally frustrates me, since I don’t buy that much else there and would rather make fewer trips. Eggs keep a long time compared to most perishables.

    I am behind so I’ll cover two days at once:
    B – rushed – hubby had bagels and tea, I grabbed a couple handfuls of dry cereal and a cup of tea
    L – he took pb sandwich and cookie, I had turkey sandwich
    D – grab whatever leftover you wanted from frig

    B – Oats, eggs, hot tea and mandarins
    L – leftovers and a sandwich for me
    D – cabbage rice soup with chicken, brownies

    Monday was rushed with Dr. appt. for me and hubby called in to work on a day off. Tuesday was better, only the l/o soup from supper left in the frig, and I got the slaw mix used up with some of the rice I’m overstocked on and a can of chicken. It was cold and a good day for soup. I mixed up a box of brownies, but I’d had it awhile and the baking powder in it was obviously old, they are very fudgy with no real lift, but with some heavy glaze hubby found them edible. Good thing since he ate the last of the cake with his lunch. He cleared out all but the chili so I ate it with a sandwich. We’ll have soup for tomorrow, it is supposed to be cold again with light snow overnight.

    • Sometimes they have a limit. Sometimes they don’t. But they don’t care if you do two transactions. My husband was with me the other day so he bought three of them.

  8. Sarah says

    This week has been wild and it’s only halfway through. This morning my coworker dragged me to spin class and now I’m exhausted. Thank goodness for meal prep!

    B: protein shake & peanuts
    L: southwest salad (bought lunch)
    S: Icing from a piece of cake for January birthdays
    D: leftover sausage and bean soup.

    I made shakes for tomorrow’s breakfast and lunch. I have personal training in the morning, too. I put the leftover soup in the freezer in individual containers. I did manage to clean out most of the freezer, so that’s an accomplishment!

  9. Pat says

    Day 25 was salsa verde using the leftover roast from Sunday. I served it with lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, quacamole, sour cream and homemade tortilla chips.
    My Aldi’s sometimes has a limit of 3. 3 is usually enough for us but if they are really cheap I’ll make an extra trip.

  10. Tasty says

    Earlier this month, Jessica mentioned a book called The Kitchen Counter Cooking School. I checked with our local library and borrowed it online. It was a fairly quick read and I can understand why Jessica rereads it each year. It has some really good reminders – like using up the leftovers!!! Worthy of a read!

  11. Lynn from NC Outer Banks says

    1/28 Day 25

    B: LO quiche, coffee
    L: LO minestrone soup, apple
    D: pizza crust from freezer (Jessica’s recipe) with pepperoni, sausage, peppers and onions, salad for me, raw veggies for DH, orange wedges
    S: cinnamon bun

  12. Maureen says

    Busy day, so we kept food simple and worked on various leftovers. If anyone ate much else, I missed it. I’m planning to inventory the fridge to see what leftovers are left and work them into our meals the next 2 days.

  13. Lisa Schoultz says

    B: coffee, fruit
    L: LO manicotti
    D: pasta limone w/sausage and broccoli
    S: way too many homemade chocolate chip cookies

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