Day 8, Pantry Challenge 2020

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Ready to tackle another week of the Pantry Challenge? This month we’re working on using what we have to save money and avoid waste.

crepe cooking in pan and crepes on plate

Feeling pretty good going into Week 2. Our spending for the month so far is at a fairly low $131 and I’ve yet to make much of a dent in our freezer supply.

When I made our meal plan for a month, I made sure to pepper “fun food” throughout the weeks. We’ve got good things yet to come, so things should be pretty tasty.

Having a good meal plan coupled with some easy meal prep has made the days go by pretty smoothly. To be honest, I feel like we’ve got some pretty good weekly routines down that make life in general pretty simple.

  • Sunday: meal prep for the coming four days, including easy breakfast ideas, lunch components, and snacks.
  • Thursday: use up any leftover ingredients in Soup from Leftovers
  • Friday: Pizza Night
  • Saturday: grill or make something easy

Then repeat it all again the next week.

As for today, here’s how things went down:

bowl of blueberry breakfast


I had my usual, Yogurt and Muesli and Blueberries. My youngest prepped the batter for Crepes last night. This morning she cooked those up for everyone. FishBoy19 tried his hand at poached eggs.

taco bowl


Yesterday I pulled a Chicken Enchilada Casserole from the freezer so it was ready to bake by lunchtime today. I also made Mexican Rice in the instant pot. FishBoy15 made Homemade Salsa and one of the girls opened a can of black beans to heat up. To veg it up, I added some coleslaw mix from the fridge.

‘Twas super yummy!

bowl of IP pasta with fork and red cloth


For dinner I had to switch from my previously planned meal due to my pork tenderloin not thawing. Will deal with that tomorrow.

Instead I went with one of my go-to meals, an instant pot pasta dish with sausage, spinach, and cheese. It’s super yummy and easy. Recipe coming later this month!

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. Alice E says

    B – he had bagels with peanut butter and honey, I had Malto-meal, both had mandarins and hot tea
    L – l/o beans and biscuits, hot tea
    D – baked chicken thighs, rice pilaf, brussels sprouts and hot tea with caramel cake for dessert

    I slept in so he was already started on breakfast when I got up, he was being quiet since I had a restless night, bless him. It snowed this morning on top of ice from last night and stopped midafternoon. Glad we don’t have to get out before Monday when I volunteer. I’ll see then if I get out.

  2. Kathleen L says

    Yeah! Last minute changes in our Pantry Challenge….like restocking the pantry fast! We have an arctic blast headed our way, so I am baking bread and prepping food for a long week ahead! Hopeful that we keep our power on and the water on, too! We will be eating well, though, thanks to all your helpful ideas and recipes!!!

  3. Jodi says

    Busy day but found time to cook! I generally do not enjoy cooking but am learning to embrace it to save money and feed family healthier foods.
    B: me, coffee. DH and boys, leftover pizza.
    L: Mac and cheese for 2 boys. pepperoni sandwiches for oldest. I had chicken salad with last of roast chicken, plus plain yogurt and grapes that needed to be eaten. Not sure what DH had.
    D: boys and I had instant pot penne chicken Alfredo which was great! First time making it. DH had another work thing.
    I also made Dr Pepper pulled pork in instant pot for Sunday lunch and I have a batch of yogurt going now in my 3 quart pot.
    I have spent $107 so far this month. I generally spend about $900-$1000 a month for the 5 of us – me and 4 very hungry males! Happy with how this is working out.

  4. Julie Smith says

    A lot of my prepping yesterday paid off today, but hubby made a Kroger run to get lunch meat and wound up spending $40.
    He did, however, get the marked down chocolate chips I’d been eyeing all week, so I can’t complain. He also got some protein bars marked down, which he often eats for breakfast, and another box for my kiddo who will need a quick snack at after school practices next week. We are still on target to save this budget period and I’m feeling good about eating what we have.

    Breakfast: pancakes for kids, oatmeal for me, protein bar for hubs
    Lunch: fish sticks and tater tots for kids and hubby, (I gently call this, “Dad took the girls to Kroger right before lunchtime and let them decide on lunch.”) tuna sandwich and pasta salad for me
    Dinner: chicken noodle soup (GCE recipe! Makes the
    House smell good, too!) and honey cornbread muffins

    We also all had a treat from the youth ministry bake sale at kids basketball games today. You won’t find me saying no to a bake sale. Lol.

  5. Tasty says

    Saturday January 11th

    B – fruit, yogurt and granola followed by a muffin

    L – a croissanty- eggy- blueberry french toast type of breakfast bake with the last of the back bacon

    S – we were tending bar at our curling club and had bbq steak, baked potato, salad and veggies. Hubby also had a piece of blueberry pie. I had some ice cream when we came home.

    We have some space in the fridge but not too much in the way of fresh veggies so will replenish those in the next day or 2. Otherwise, things are going well.

  6. Jennifer says

    B – homemade muffins

    L – everyone was on there own. I had crackers with cheese and leftover diced sweet potatoes.

    D – I had several random leftover containers of pasta sausage and 1/2 pound of ground sausage leftover from pizza night last week. I combine all with a pound of pasta and the 6 oz of mozzarella cheese also leftover from pizza night and baked up a yummy dinner. Served with fresh veggies and steamed broccoli. I bought the broccoli a week ago and forgot about it, oops! But we used 1/2 last night so all is not lost.

  7. Lynn from NC Outer Banks says

    1/11 Day 8

    B: waffles (freezer), coffee, smoothie (freezer) I slept in. Forgot hubby wanted to go out to lunch, else I would have skipped breakfast

    L: out to eat. I was still full from breakfast so brought home most of lunch to eat either tonight or later in the weekend.

    D: DH: LO soup and sandwiches (pimento cheese) I ate the rest of my lunch.

    S: ice cream (I need to get it out of the freezer, right?!)

    Jessica, those boules of sourdough bread on Instagram are beautiful!

    Challenge continues to go well. Haven’t spent any more except for the ~$8 I spent the beginning of the challenge, but forsee doing a bit of shopping before mid week. Just a bit of white space is now visible in the refrigerator and a bit in the freezer. Hoping to make more progress this week as items from the refrigerator are finished.

  8. Laurie Gaither says

    B – i had fried egg on avocado toast, hubs had cereal and a banana
    L – hubs had s grilled cheese sandwich, chips and a slice of berry pie (we bought a couple of frozen pies before Christmas), I had a protein bar, apple and a brownie from a mix i made Friday night.
    D – I thawed a couple of really big chicken breasts, seasoned them with Pappy’s and bbq’d them. We split one and had baked potatoes, asparagus and toasted sourdough.

    • Carol says

      Sat. night: we finished beef rolls from the freezer. Also had the rest of the Burning Love mashed potatoes, and cooked up the end of the bag of carrots in the upstairs frig.

      Lunch: we finished some year old (!) turkey rice soup from the freezer, and the last of the salad greens.
      Tonight we will have lamb from the freezer, bok choy and salad from the farmers market and maybe rice or the last of some baked sweet potatoes.

  9. Stephanie M. says

    Saturday, January 11, 2020

    B – Paul had cereal and a banana; I had a yogurt parfait

    L – I had just enough wild rice leftover from the other night so we heated that up and put two fried eggs each on top

    D – Chicken parmesan, mini penne, and salad, using up the last two slices of chicken parmesan from the freezer that I made a couple of months ago. That eliminated a container from the freezer and it’s getting very bright in there, LOL

  10. Karen J says

    I made your crepes for the first time this morning for Sunday breakfast. My December advent calendar was filled with 24 adorably cute little jars of Bonne Maman jams, spreads, and honey. All different. We used four for our crepes-lemon, strawberry red currant, raspberry lychee, and cherry blackberry. I made the batter the night before, used my non-stick skillet and they turned out great, especially after my first few tries. I kept them warm in my tortilla warmer. It was a nice departure from our usual Sunday breakfast. And I would recommend that advent calendar!

    I may need to buy eggs today at the store, but texted my daughter first to see if their chickens were still laying. Still going strong on the challenge. My meal plan said tater tot casserole last night, but it was so stormy and rainy that I pulled some navy bean soup from the freezer and made some cornbread instead.

    • I have tried to get that advent calendar for the last two years, but it’s always been sold out. Where did you get yours? Those jams sound great with the crepes!

      • Karen J says

        I bought mine at Tuesday Morning in early November. It was so fun to open a new little jar of jam every morning. Some very interesting flavors too-purple fig and cinnamon, quince, pineapple passion fruit…. and all were different. Hope you can find one next year!

        • Sandi says

          that sounds fantastic! I’m going to have to look for one of those calendars next year.

  11. Pat says

    Still staying out of the store!
    Saturday was my monthly date with a friend and I got a large potato casserole–they are soooo good! I brought half of it home so for dinner I chopped it all up. It had sliced potatoes, onions, broccoli, chicken, Hollandaise (sp) sauce and slivered almonds. I mxied the chopped casserole with eggs, milk and garlic. We also had toast and sauteed apples

  12. Maureen says

    DH ran errands and picked up McDonalds for lunch for the kids, but I had leftovers. We had pork chops, cheese fondue with bread, and salad for dinner. Before kids we used to eat cheese fondue occasionally, so I wanted them to try it. They are not fans, but all gave it a go. It was a store bought mix/blend and a little heavy on wine – so maybe I’ll try again in a few months with homemade. We popped popcorn for snack. And a few open snack containers and bags have left the pantry in the last day or two. Seeing some space slowly opening up and I haven’t thrown out anything of note that I can think of.

    • I made fondue for my family last Valentine’s Day. They weren’t huge fans, either. Some loved it; some hated it. I made mini casseroles with the leftovers that became the base for fried eggs. Those were super yummy!

  13. Jenn in Seattle says

    Things are going well so far with my ambitious challenge (to spend for the month what we usually spend in a week!).

    My fridge has never had this much “white space” for this long.

    I have come to realize how much I impulse shop at the grocery store. I always meal plan and have a list, but I also like to try new things, see easy snacks for the kids, buy things that I’ll “do something with later”. It has been eye-opening to realize how many extra things I’m not putting in the shopping cart. Several times I’ve worried we won’t have enough – but with planning, it’s always worked out.

    I hosted a tea party (for kids) this morning with a lot of finger foods and didn’t need any extra items from the grocery store. I used up odds and ends and no-one was the wiser!

    Yesterday I made croutons with leftover homemade bread that wasn’t getting eaten. We’ll have those with tomato soup this coming week.

    Looks like Jessica’s salsa will be making another appearance on this coming weeks menu, along with Potato Corn Chowder and Lemony Linguini.

    Keep up the good work everyone! Thank you for inspiring me!

  14. Kathy in Denmark says

    Day 8:

    B: yogurt with granola for DH, rolls for the rest of us.
    L: Leftover pizza. Æbleskiver for dessert.
    D: Yogurt/milk with granola and banana for the kids. Leftover chili sin carne and rice for DH and I.

    We went swimming after breakfast and were home around 1 pm. I heated up pizza and a bag of æbleskiver from the freezer. Since we had a late and large lunch, the kids weren’t really hungry at dinner time, which is why they had what they had for dinner. DH and I ate after the kids had gone to sleep.

    • Love aebleskiver. Wish they were easier to come by. Making my own is so time consuming.

      • Kathy in Denmark says

        I have actually been making my own, and they freeze really well!
        I usually make a large batch and divide into the serving size we need. Then I can just pull a bag out and heat in the oven when we need it.
        The ones we had on this particular day were storebought, though. I had found them on clearence after Christmas 2018 and they needed to go!

  15. Sarah Gallop says

    Saturday, January 11

    B: sausage and hashbrowns for me, hubs slept late so didn’t eat breakfast
    L: I skipped as I was still full, hubs had soft tacos, using some of our frozen taco meat
    D: ginger beef and veggies – that used up the bag of ginger beef from the freezer and the last of a bag of mixed veggies

    We did do a little grocery shop this day: hubs joined me so two unplanned items found their way into the basket!! Other than that we stuck to the list of basics that I had made. I don’t expect we’ll need to shop again before the end of the month, and I’d really prefer not to.

  16. lisa s says

    Brunch: blueberry protein muffins; fresh squeezed orange juice
    Dinner: had some chili in the freezer that needed to get used up, but the 3 cups wasn’t quite enough for all of us. So I spread it in the bottom of a 9×13″ pyrex, topped it with a cup of mexican cheese shreads, then a bag of frozen tater tots pressed in and cooked the whole thing according to the tot directions (450F 20mins). Then I topped the tots with another cup of the cheese and melted in oven for 3 mins. Served the slaps of mexi tot casserole with sour cream, avocado, and green onion. Will make again with shreaded lettuce and black olives added on the side next time.
    Dessert: dutch apple pie (had to use up some slightly wizened apples)

  17. Laurie Decker says

    Spent the last few days wrapped up in a quilt. My ears were bothering me so pain meds and warmth will be the order the day.
    B- oatmeal for him and warm tea and toast for me
    L- homemade chicken soup and rice for both of us
    D- simple green salad, pasta with Spicy Korean ground beef and probably a few slices of garlic bread
    Dessert will be brownies from the freezer for him and hot chocolate for me

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