Pantry Challenge 2018: Day 11

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The Pantry Challenge is on! This month we’re focusing on what we have, to use it up and save money.

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buttermilk starter

Slowly, but surely I am on the mend. I know a lot of you are fighting the winter cooties, too. Oy! Tis the season, apparently. I’m thankful that I’ve still been able to exercise and eat more or less good stuff even while I was ill. I seem to have outgrown my clothes over the holidays, so it’s time to trim the sails.

Today was a busy day for me, so I didn’t spend a ton of time in the kitchen. I did get some buttermilk starter going though. Thanks to a reader’s recommendation, I learned that you can buy buttermilk culture and make your own at home. I have been able to get 2 quarts of buttermilk out of one packet, making my cost per quart less than what I would pay at the grocery store. And since neither Costco nor ALDI (my two most frequent stores I shop at) don’t carry buttermilk, it saves me a trip to another store.

The process is really simple. I heat the milk, pour it in a quart-size canning jar, add the culture, and cap the jar. Then I wrap it in a beach towel and place it on the top of fridge to work it’s magic.

I know, it says to use a thermos, but we don’t have one, so I chatted it up with my friend Kate who knows how to ferment things. This was her recommendation; it works!

Today is the second new batch I’ve made; that is the second packet of starter that I’ve used. A new batch turns out really thick, but making a second batch from some of the previous batch results in a thinner buttermilk. It’s made delicious dressings!

meatballs and spaghetti with green beans

In other news, we’re eating up leftovers and using up small things from the freezer. I don’t have a ton of prepared items in the freezer; it’s mostly proteins. Today I pulled out several items and we’ll see what comes of them as they thaw. It’s so hard to know how quickly something will thaw.

Tonight’s dinner was super yum. Partly because hunger is the best sauce, and counting calories means I’m hungry. But, also because these spaghetti and meatballs are the bomb.

Pantry Challenge 2018: Day 11

Breakfast: Cereal, Oatmeal, Fruit

Lunch: Kids had leftover pork roast on buns from the freezer; I had veggies and hummus, cheese and crackers.

Dinner: Spaghetti and Supreme Meatballs with Marinara Sauce; green beans

As always, thanks for sharing the Pantry Challenge with your friends. The more the merrier!

What did YOU cook up?

About Jessica Fisher

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

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  1. Stephanie M. says

    Thursday, January 11, Day 11

    B – Hubby had the leftover frittata and pineapple; I had whole wheat raisin toast, peanuts, and V8

    L – Hubby had the last of the leftover hamburger/vegetable soup, chocolate chip cookies and the last of the Christmas chocolate; I had the last of the roast chicken on whole wheat

    D – Grilled pork chops, mashed potatoes, stuffed clams, and green beans with garlic and olive oil; two more pork chops in the freezer

  2. Kathy in Denmark says

    Day 11:

    B: Oats and milk for DH. Oatmeal with apple sauce and cinnamon for the kids. Toast and coffee for me.
    L: Packed lunch for DH and DD1. Rye bread with mackerel for DD2. Red bell pepper on the side (she can eat an entire red bell pepper in a sitting, if I let her!). Leftover tortilla filling over leftover rice for me. Topped with salsa and sour cream.
    D: Beef stew, vegetarian stew (used vegetarian sausages from the freezer in stead of beef) served with instant mashed potatoes. I had meant to make mashed potatoes from scratch but ran out of time and energy.
    S: HM pita chips and hummus.

    Hope everyone who is still sick will feel better soon!

  3. Kristin says

    When you’re counting calories with so many homemade things, do you plug every single recipe into a recipe nutrition calculator? And then have your measuring cups out all the time for scooping and portioning things out? Or what do you do?

    • I’m not really eating the baked goods, because then I would need to plug in the recipes into a calculator and I’m too lazy. I do measure out the proteins and carbs and guesstimate the veggies. I use the My Plate app. I end up having the same kind of breakfast because I know it fits the range of what I can have.

  4. Julie says

    Breakfast: oatmeal
    Lunch: PB&J, peanuts, applesauce, fruit bar for the packed kids, leftovers for those at home
    Dinner: Breakfast

    We do our “big” shop every other Tuesday, so day 12’s plan is to see what’s what going into the weekend when we will be in and out. I’m also a good deal ahead of the game on our grocery and eating out budget, so I’m also going to make a plan for the money I’m saving. Lol. I’d like to set a little bit aside for canning purposes this spring. I’ve never canned but I’d like to dabble some this year.

  5. Sandi says

    B – sausage, egg, cheese croissant sandwiches I made the other day from freezer supplies
    L – he finished off the baked spaghetti, I had a zucchini muffin and some smoked sausage (yes, it was a strange combo)
    D – potstickers from a bag that has been in the freezer for so long, I did not know if they would still be good. They were just fine, but it’s a Costco-sized bag so we hardly made a dent in it.

  6. Laura in NH says

    Yesterday went as planned around here. Heuvos rancheros were served…and not eaten by the little people. They had second breakfast of banana bread and melon. We usually don’t compromise on meal offerings but I had started my day at 4:30 and was in no mood to begin the day with a battle. Sigh. Lunch was ham and cheese or pulled pork on HM buns with coleslaw and tomatoes. The kids snacked on a stale gingerbread house that was at my great aunt’s when we visited. I believe apples and cheese were also snacks. Dinner was chicken noodle soup with garlic bread and fruit.

    I love the idea of making buttermilk from powder for use in all kinds of lovely things. I keep the powder in bulk in my freezer and add it to my baked goods with the dry ingredients. Then I add the necessary water to the wet and mix as usual. I’ve had good luck with making my own kefir using the little packets as well.

    • Apparently, you don’t even need a starter for buttermilk. A lot I’m reading online is that you can culture it from buttermilk you already have. Very cool.

  7. Karen says

    Yesterday went as planned, except dinner was gross. I “embellished” the recipe I’d selected (it was a new dish to us – I was just trying to find uses for ground pork) and I think I took it a little sideways. Fortunately, we all ate it anyway, but the leftovers were thrown away! Here’s what we ate:

    B: Smoothies for my daughter and I, cottage cheese and peaches for hubby.
    L: Leftover quiche
    D: Dan Dan noodles

    Tonight’s new experimental recipe – cheeseburger casserole – should be much better!

  8. Harriet says

    We have stuck to our January menu so far. Then again, it is only the 12th. I made the menu using only things we already had so hopefully soon I will be able to see a dent in the freezer and pantry. Not sure about the extra freezer as it houses venison from 5 deer. No complaints, it’s just that we have tons of venison to work through over the months ahead.Last night we had Poor Man’s Hot dish (a cabbage and beef in tomato sauce served over rice). I made it with venison. My daughter said it was now “Poor Poor Man’s Hot Dish”. 🙂 Tonight is Salmon Patties.

    • LeslieT says

      Does venison taste pretty similar to beef? (city girl here!)

  9. Tasty says

    Thursday January 11th

    B – fruit and yogurt for hubby+ a cranberry muffin, sausage on an english muffin for me with a yogurt

    L – grilled cheese

    S – a real hodge podge but we used up lots of bits from both the fridge and freezer.
    L/O soup (just a very small bowl each), i had a small meat pie with baked beans, hubby had baked beans, Brussels sprouts and salad with some l/o pate!

    The fridge is quite bare now!

  10. Sarah Gallop says

    January 11

    Breakfast: cup of tea and a few slices of banana bread for me. Wasn’t very hungry due to the crud, mostly just wanted the tea. Hubs had banana bread too, finished it up. I’ll need to make some muffins this weekend.

    Lunch: I skipped and had a nap. I think hubby skipped too.

    Dinner: eaten early due to skipping lunch. Last of the salmon fillets from the freezer, broccoli and riced cauliflower and a rice Sidekicks.

    Snacks were Nutrigrain bars

  11. Danielle L Zecher says

    Thursday 1/11/18:

    Breakfast: I had instant grits and hot tea.
    Lunch: I had a leftover burrito.
    Dinner: I had boiled shrimp and kale salad.

    Hubby stayed home sick, and only ate one real meal in the middle of the day. He had a burrito bowl. The rest of the day for him it was apple juice or hot chocolate.

  12. Mona says

    Thursday 1/11

    Breakfast – Pancakes & sausage

    Lunch – Hubby had a turkey sandwich & I had a ham sandwich and we both had yogurt

    Dinner – Shrimp & French fries

  13. Lesley in Alaska says

    Yesterday did not go as intended, I was “encouraged” (*cough* forced *cough) to go to a happy hour event hosted by one our partner companies which messed with my whole dinner/prep plans. Sigh, things still went alright though and my long weekend starts in just a few hours so plenty of time to plan and prep food.

    B-Scrambled eggs, veggie bacon and toast for the BF and I
    L-I should have had leftover soup, but got a serious sandwich craving. Had a veggie salami and veggie sandwich
    HH-Had some appetizers at the happy hour, but nothing of real substance. And a glass of wine 🙂
    D-Dinner was super late for me due to the happy hour going later than I planned and then needing to get my workout in. I had soup. The BF had pizza at his grandmas where he’s been working on some small house projects to prep the house for sale

    This weekend I plan to attempt beet chips, beet “hummus” and something with my huge pile of carrots. Also want to cook up some grains to have ready in the fridge. Haven’t made as much progress on the actual pantry as I have the fridge. Which is okay with me, since the fridge was positively overflowing with produce.

  14. Lynn from NC Outer Banks says

    Well, I’ve been out of the loop for a bit, so am posting for several days. I enjoyed going back through the posts to see what I’d missed. I am so sorry to read about all the illnesses that continue to affect this group. Hope everyone will feel better soon.


    B: toast, coffee

    L: yogurt and clementines

    D: skillet pineapple BBQ chicken, LO baked sweet potatoes, Jessica’s cabbage slaw with apples and almonds. The last time I posted I had stretched the last apple to make Waldorf salad. So when I went to make Jessica’s slaw, there was no apple:( Not so great planning on my part. So it was substitution time. Instead of an apple I used pine(apple). Close, right? 😉 I also didn’t have the golden raisins, so used cranberries. Despite all the substitutions, it was still very tasty. I really liked the flavor of the dressing Jessica. Have never used cumin before in a dressing. Very good!


    B: egg, toast, coffee

    L: LOs of some description

    D: broccoli chicken casserole (rice from freezer), orange slices


    B: toast, coffee

    L: yogurt, clementine

    D: LO ham with HM Mac and cheese using the last of the 18 bags of cheese I formerly had in the freezer! Was out of milk so used dried milk instead. LO slaw and fruit medley (oranges, pineapple, pom arils, mango and a few cherries I bought). Since eternity=ham with two people, there will continue to be some ham based recipes over the next few days. But I also put some sliced in the freezer so we don’t get totally tired of it or it doesn’t go bad.

    I did make a brief run to the grocery store. I usually include household supplies in my grocery totals, but for this PC I think I’ll stick just to groceries. I spent $14 for lettuce, bread, English muffins, yogurt, baby carrots, and sausage to make Jessica’s Spaghetti squash Jambalaya (have everything else) and cherries on sale for 2.88 #. I got <1/2 # as a mini splurge as my husband loves them. This will hold us til they go on sale in July! That makes $21.44 for the month so far. I'm pleased with that. Hope to keep it up.

    • Roberta says

      That’s an awesome total. Way to go!

      • Lynn from NC Outer Banks says

        Thanks Roberta! I’ve definitely done better than I had anticipated. As the month passes, we’ll see if I can keep it up. I may need to start defrosting one of my turkeys!

  15. Laurie Decker says

    B- I had a hard cooked egg and a Cara orange. I need to buy a few more of these oranges because they’re so sweet and juicy right now. Hubs had oatmeal with the last of the 1/2 & 1/2
    L- soup for both of us
    D- We went to a local restaurant for dinner. It’s a favorite of ours- simple little bistro with a changing menu. I had rock cod on mashed potatoes with a side of wonderfully roasted Brussels sprout and my husband had beef stroganoff on egg noodles with a side of roasted carrots. No cooking, no dishes to wash, no leftovers!

    • Laura C says

      I just got a bag of them at Aldi this week. They are so good!

  16. Julies says

    B: kids and husband had cinnamon rolls that I finally failed to resist baking. I had eggs and spinach.
    Lunch leftover pasta and chicken
    Dinner leftover pasta, sesame turkey, mashed potatoes , peas, corn, sweet potatoes .
    Today is another leftover day and my parents are bringing us turkey and mashed potatoes tomorrow . Freezer I’d definitely getting emptier. Sending husband to Aldi tomorrow for produce , milk, cheese , and eggs and might be able to make it to Feb on that.

  17. Terry calkins says

    The cube steaks yesterday were tough, we didn’t finish them so I thawed out another small package and threw in an onion leftover chicken broth, veggie broth and tomato sauce and half a cup of pearl barley. Cooking in the instapot for 20 minutes, then I will stir in some shredded potatoes and chopped carrots for a good sized pot of beef and barley soup. Breakfast today was eggs and hash browns for hubby. I had scrambled eggs with veggies. Lunch will be the soup, and dinner will be homemade yogurt with raspberry sauce
    I’m so pleased that 12 days into this we are still under 22.00 for the month. The money we save on food this month will make a big payment on my new dishwasher

    • Roberta says

      Woo hoo! That’s a terrific total.

  18. June says

    I went to the grocery store yesterday, but it was mostly fresh produce. Pantry challenge is not my strong suit. But my eating out expense so far this month is $29. We eat a lot at home which requires a lot of food. That sounds like an excuse?

    I’m making gumbo with saffron rice tonight and looking forward to it, something I only make in Jan? I have homemade Yeast rolls in my freezer. Yum.

    I’m on a diet so everything sounds good. 🙂

    • Roberta says

      That’s a great total for eating out. We pretty much exceed that if we eat out just once (which is one big reason we’re trying to curb our eating out this year).

      • June says

        Last year we became fearful of where restaurants got their food and if it was clean which it probably is but the more we thought about the food the more we started eating grass fed no antibiotic non gmo meat. We may be a little OCD about, haha but it keeps us out of restaurants….

        • Roberta says

          Sounds like a double win to me. Good for your health and good for your budget. 🙂

  19. Melissa in GA says

    January 11th
    B – guys ate w/old farts group, I had a blueberry muffin
    L – hubs and I had grilled ham and cheese sandwiches and halved a banana, dad skipped
    D – chili and olive cheese bread for hubs & I and dad had garlic bread
    Dessert – chocolate
    Snacks – bb muffins and spinach dip on bread ( different folks at different times)

    When hubs returned home Wednesday night he brought bread, cheese and chocolate covered fruit & nuts from the Dekalb farmers market where he had lunch that day.. With so much bread in the house I decided to make some spinach dip, heavy on the spinach – using up 2 open bags I had in the freezer. I have to giggle when I run across duplicate items in the freezer…..2 open bags of the same thing!

    Doing well with getting stuff out of the freezer. Our Zaycon orders have been pushed back so I’ll just keep working thru my current inventory. I have shrimp, bacon and b/s chicken thighs coming in February.

    Keep on keepin on as my dad says!

    • Stephanie M. says

      Your dad sounds like a sweet man. But I have to continuously laugh when you refer to the old farts group. You make me laugh every time. 🙂 You have a wonderful sense of humor like me. LOL

      • Melissa in GA says

        Lol. I was hoping not to offend anyone but I don’t know what else to call it! All the fellas get together at this little cafe in a very small town and talk about anything and everything over breakfast. My hubs goes once or twice a week, dad goes about. 4 times a week. Gets them out of my hair, that’s for sure. I love them both dearly but they can & do drive me nuts on occasion lol.

        I think my dad is shocked by how much I cook at home. He was to the point, before moving up here, of getting take out or eating out all the time. We live so rural that there really isn’t anywhere to have dinner so that takes care of that.

        Thx Stephanie! Without humor, I’d surely cry all the time. I’d rather laugh!

        • Alice E says

          Not offended, I too enjoy the description. It sounds like a really great thing for your dad and a nice break for everyone.

        • Heather M says

          I also love the description! Love that they have that healthy social outlet, too. Win-win all around.

        • Kathy in Denmark says

          It makes me chuckle too 😀
          I see it as a term of endearment, so not offended at all!

        • Pat says

          Not offended at all. It makes me smile! Iy’s great that he has this group to get out and interact with!!

        • Sandi says

          I’m another that chuckles when I see the description. 🙂

    • LeslieT says

      Bread and cheese…what about making fondue?

      • Melissa in GA says

        Thx Leslie, but not the right kind of cheese. We’ve made it thru the bread pretty well. May have to make some croutons!

    • Lynn from NC Outer Banks says

      My dad used to meet his buddies regularly at the local fast food joint for a breakfast biscuit. He always enjoyed it. Sadly, he’s the only one left now, so no more of those outings.

      • Melissa in GA says

        Awe, that is sad. My dad will be 81 on the 21st and is still going strong. We are thankful.

        • Lynn from NC Outer Banks says

          It is. He and my mom have lost of lot of their friends, many younger than the two of them. My dad is 90 and my mother is getting ready to turn 87 in a month. Thankfully they still have each other to enjoy at breakfast time:) We are very grateful too.

  20. Heather M says

    January 11, a “normal” day for a change, but not really as I went back to bed after only getting 3 hours of sleep after our fun Wednesday night. Poor husband had to leave for work early and ended up going to bed early.

    B: son had cereal, turkey sausage, OJ; hubs hustled out the door with nothing; I went back to bed.

    L: son took turkey/cheddar on ww, clementines, pistachios/almonds, clif bar; not sure what hubs had, if anything; I had a turkey sandwich and veggies w/dip.

    D: made fried rice with leftover rice needing to be used, ham, some of the old cabbage, carrots, celery, green bell pepper, green onions, and a sauce made of teriyaki sauce, water, soy sauce, sriracha for spice. Son doesn’t love veggies mixed in things so he had ham slices, a bean and cheese quesadilla, and raw carrots.

    S: more christmas goodies. They’re never going to be gone. so much left still.

  21. Roberta says

    Glad to hear you’re starting to feel better. I make our yogurt, and the process seems pretty much the same as buttermilk (just different temps/times). Sounds like I need to try making buttermilk. 🙂

    Thurs. 1/11/18

    B: Cereal w/ blueberries, toast, OJ, coffee.

    L: Son had PB/AB sandwich on ww, mandarin, string cheese, dried cranberries, cookies, chocolate. Hubs had the same thing minus the chocolate and plus yogurt w/ cranberry-pom compote. I had PB on a slice of ww toast and yogurt w/ compote.

    D: LO quiche, peas, celery and carrot sticks w/ ranch dip, orange slices, applesauce, and pineapple.

    S/D: Gingersnaps, Christmas chocolates, PB toast (Hubs). Beverages in addition to what we had at breakfast were water, hot green tea, hot apple cinnamon herbal tea, cocoa (son).

    We went to Sam’s today for canned tomatoes, bananas, peanut butter, carrots, 2% milk, and skim milk. Spent $20.95, which brings us up to $78.22 for the month. So far, so good.

    I’ve got soup in the crockpot and French bread going in the bread machine. Can you tell what’s for dinner tonight? 😉

  22. Laurie in CA says

    B – I had scrambled eggs and toasted some sprouted wheat bread that was in the freezer. I left early so I do t know what hubs had
    L – I pulled some mystery soup from the freezer (not labeled). I thought it was white chicken chili but it was Senate bean soup. Had some cut up veggies with it. Hubs had the last of the meatloaf
    D – I had a cheese and chicken panini on sourdough (I’m trying to rid the inside pullout freezer of all the odds and ends of bread stored in it). Hubs had a burrito.

  23. Felicia says

    Friday – JAN 12

    Breakfast – oatmeal and an egg over easy, cup of decaf coffee.

    Lunch – used black beans in salsa from black beans/rice dinner the other night. Mashed the beans, added cheese and made 2 burritos from the leftovers for lunch today. I still have one burrito leftover to eat.

    Dinner – broiled fish, leftovers: mashed potatoes, penne Alfredo pasta, green beans, peas.

    Since I still had leftover turkey in the pasta dinner and leftover mashed potatoes, I made two turkey croquettes. They can be dinner or lunch or go into the freezer. If I serve them for dinner, I’ll make some polenta and serve with cranberry sauce too!

    Cost of food this week: $23.62. That was $3.62 over budget but I did unexpectedly buy a cooked Cajun Turkey, Smoked Sausage and 2 lbs of frozen fish this week. I’ll take it from next week’s budget! 😉

  24. Alice E says

    Here we go again.

    B – Baked eggs, ww toast, hot tea
    L – He takes pb sandwich, I had l/o pasta
    D – Thawed some hamburger a 2 lb package and cooked it up. Saved half of it and used the other half with a fried rice package dinner. Served it with a package of frozen peas and cooked apple.

    B – Baked eggs, ww toast, hot tea
    L – He takes pb sandwich, I stopped at the fast food taco place
    D – Used the l/o hamburger to make a vegetable soup adding a cans of green beans, carrots and Mexican style diced tomatoes, some dried onions and a container of leftover broth/veg juice from the freezer.

    Have got some stuff out of the freezer and pantry. the package dinner thing has been around awhile and was edible but I sure won’t be getting it again ever! I did get out today ( I was were iced in yesterday) Bought some half & half, bread, eggs and apples. Lots of apples, since they were on sale and are easy to cook in the microwave. Also stocked up on some hamburger for the freezer since there was a very good sale and the sample I bought last week made very good meatloaf. It will go in the downstairs freezer to be used after the stuff I need to use up.

    Hope everyone is feeling better soon and coping well with the storms.

    • LeslieT says

      What do you mean by Baked Eggs?

      • Alice E says

        This is a recipe I adapted from the blog recipe last year for Christmas baked eggs.

        I lightly grease a 6 cup muffin pan with butter ( or chicken fat) and drop a egg in each cup. Then put a scant tablespoon of half & half on top of each egg and lightly salt them. They go into a preheated oven at 375 for 15 minutes. During this time I sit down awhile and drink my tea, then make the toast.

        I do cook them in a regular muffin pan, If you use a non-stick one they should cook at 350 for 14 minutes.

        It makes a quick easy breakfast. I usually start the morning by turning on the oven, then filling the teakettle and putting it on a burner, then start the eggs. By the time they are ready the oven is usually ready too. This makes for an easy morning for me since I am doing the same thing every day. I didn’t really think the Pam type sprays worked that well for this. The original recipe called for heavy cream, but half & half works well enough for me, I did try 2% milk, but didn’t really like the result. So this is how I wound up doing it.

        This has been a bit long winded, but hopefully it explained everything.

        • Karen J says

          Thank you for the explanation. I’ve been wondering how you made your eggs.

        • Sandi says

          Thanks. I might try that for something different. That should work in a toaster oven as well, right?

          • Alice E says

            I really don’t know since I don’t have one. But, I think it would be worth a try. You might need to adjust times a bit, but don’t just look at the top of the pan to check, use a spoon and cut into the yolk and white at the edge of the yolk. If not used to them, I think they don’t look as done as they are sometimes due to the cream on top. Do let us know how it works for you. Most folks I have told about them who tried them liked them.

  25. Cindy says

    Day 11
    Breakfast: hubby – the usual of cereal, oj and coffee + a smoothie mid- morning consisting of spinach, Greek yogurt and various fruits & juices; me – tea, cranberry walnut bread w/cream cheese & mandarin orange
    Lunch: leftover homemade chicken & noodles, roasted cauliflower & pineapple ; hubby had bacon cheese omelet
    Dinner: sausage patties & peas from freezer and the last of our garden potatoes (fried because they were getting a little soft)
    Snack: hubby had Christmas candy & avocado for me

  26. Karen J says

    Breakfast-scrambled eggs with vegetables and feta

    Lunch-leftover stir fry chicken and rice

    Dinner-chili dogs I was super tired after working as a guest teacher today so it was canned chili, defrosted then boiled hot dogs, already shredded cheese, and buns from the freezer. Saved us from spending money going out and I didn’t have to buy anything. I did toast the buns to make them more special 🙂

  27. Terry calkins says

    Yesterday went as planned although hubby had leftover tacos instead f the beef and barley soup I made. That’s ok. The soup always tastes better the second day. Now we have that and leftover chicken noodle to choose from.
    I transferred my homemade yogurt to 1 cup containers and added a tablespoon of raspberry sauce to each one. Trying for portion control. I can make two quarts of homemade for the price of 2 six ounce containers from the market. Yogurt has been dinner for me the last two nights. My belly is feeling better and the scale is showing a tiny movement. Hooray
    Interesting what you find when you start digging under the top layer in the freezer! rephrasing Forrest Gump! Digging in the freezer is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna find!

  28. Joa in IA says


    Usual breakfast for us both. Boys ate but not sure exactly what they had.

    L- leftover casserole for me. Hubby had his protein shake and grapes. #1son ate leftover alfredo casserole and #2 ate at school.

    Snack – still grazing on corn dip

    Supper- leftovers from the fridge bunch of odds and ends that needed to be used up. The troops were not thrilled.

    I was also baking a banana cake and cupcakes before supper time so I used that as an excuse I was too busy to make supper. This cake is super easy to make using a yellow cake mix and ripe bananas with a cool whip/pudding frosting. I took the cupcakes to work for a coworkers Birthday on Friday. The cake stayed home for us to have.

    • Felicia says

      Thanks for the tip on the banana cake, Joa! I’m always looking for new ways to use up over-ripe bananas!

      • Joa in IA says

        This is the actual recipe I use to make Banana Cake.

        1 yellow cake mix
        2 very ripe bananas.
        1 cup milk
        2 eggs
        1/2 cup oil
        1 tsp baking soda
        Mix cake mix and all the rest together. Put in a greased 9×13 pan. Bake at 350 for 30 min or until done.

        After its cooled.
        1 small box instant vanilla pudding
        1 cup milk
        1 8 oz container of cool whip

        Mix pudding and milk together then add cool whip and mix. Needs to be kept in the refrigerator or freezer.

        My troops like to eat it when it’s been in the freezer like a mock ice cream cake. We also like Better than Sex cake in the freezer, Little Debbie’s Swiss Rolls and chocolate chip cookies frozen to eat.

        If you have more bananas to use up this is a good way.

  29. Stephanie P says

    My day was an odd one but overall ended up ok.

    I had a dr appt at 7:30 so had to grab a quick breakfast. I had almond butter on a corn tortilla.

    For some reason I passed out at the church when I was dropping something off (I think bc the gentleman I talked to had blood bruise up his arm and I’m a blood wuss but not sure). So lunch was noodle soup and blackberries to keep it fairly easy on the stomach.

    Dinner was hot dogs for the husband and kids that have been in the refrigerator. I had more of the mussels I’m working my way through. This helps me get the mussels as well as canned tomatoes and some pasta.

    I also had a bit more of the apple dumpling my husband brought home. It was the biggest thing I had ever seen. I’ve had five pieces off of it and still have one serving left.

  30. Stephanie P says

    I forgot to add I finally got some groceries. I got frozen broccoli, milk, clementines, sparkling water, spaghetti sauce, French fries, and cookie dough and ice cream that the husband “had” to have. Spent 25.41. I also bought eggs from our local guy and spent 2.50. We did forget yogurt and bananas for the kids so I will need to get that but I’m happy with less than $30.00 for the month so far.

  31. Pat says

    Jan 11th
    Breakfast was the usual for us.
    Lunch –Husband had a lunch from the freezer with l/o salmon, roasted sweet potatoes and green beans. I had a hard boiled egg.
    Dinner was an egg bake with hashbrowns and bacon from the freezer and onions, mushrooms and cheese from t he freezer, with toast and sliced apples.
    I spent $3.29 this week on groceries. My total for the month is $64.87. I bought a loaf of whole wheat bread from a bakery outlet for $1 and a bagged of cubed hashbrowns from the grocery store for cheesy potato casserole I was going to make. I’ve tried making my own but I don’t like the way they turn out.
    I also made a crockpot of ham and potato soup. I used chicken broth, ham, sliced baked potatoes shredded zucchini, peas, corn and carrots from the freezer and onions and mushrooms from the fridge. The recipe called for sour cream I used l/o Monterey Jack cheese from the Christmas meat and cheese tray instead. I filled 2 40oz jars with a small amount left so I ate it. The soup is a little salty but good. We will use one jar for lunch this weekend and the other will go in the freezer.
    Happy weekend everyone!

  32. Felicia says

    Saturday – JAN 13

    Breakfast – black bean burrito and decaf coffee

    Lunch – garbanzo bean salad

    Light Supper – Chicken Breast on burger buns, DH had French fries with his. Vanilla pudding for dessert.

  33. Felicia says

    Saturday – JAN 13

    Spending update on food so far for two adults: $41.49.

    Trying to keep at $100 or below for the month of January.

  34. Alice E says


    B – Oats, over easy eggs and hot tea
    L – a small burger while out shopping, don’t know what he had
    D – L/o for both of us. He ate up the leftover beef w/rice and peas, I heated up the last of the l/o hash in some milk and added a bit of cream cheese and a couple spoons full of inst. potatoes for a creamy soup. my tummy wasn’t real happy.

    Cold weather is back here in Kansas and snow falling this morning. Oh, well, it is winter isn’t it. Good thing we have leftover soup in the frig. (grin)

  35. Terry calkins says

    A quick trip to town yesterday. Picked up the Friday freebies plus milk and flour tortillas. 4.51. put 4 packages of beef and barley soup in the freezer. Made a batch of yogurt using up the last of the older milk. Took a ham bone from Christmas out of the freezer. Put one quart package of ham broth in the freezer. Am making split pea soup out of the rest plus some dried onion and the last of the split peas from my drawer. The ham meat was used in our eggs this morning. The rest will be made into deviled ham. I seem to be putting as many package into the freezer as I am taking out, but at least things are getting rotated

    • Alice E says

      Hooray for rotation! Also, it sounds like what you are putting back is in a more ‘meal-ready’ or at least ingredient ready form and that is a victory, too. I have plans to do some of that myself in the next couple weeks.

  36. Felicia says

    Sunday – Jan 14

    Using up some food items from the refrig that need repurposing.

    Very ripe bananas were incorporated into oatmeal cookies. They taste more like baked oatmeal but a nicer way to eat oatmeal than out of a bowl. 😉

    A 1/3 head of cabbage was put into the oven to roast with cubes of sweet and white potatoes,sliced bell peppers, chopped red onion.

    The last two slices of apple-cinnamon swirl bread = French Toast

    Breakfast – two oatmeal cookies and decaf coffee

    Lunch – slice of French Toast with fig jam

    Dinner – Kielbasa, roasted winter veggies, sauerkraut, brown rice and rolls.

  37. Laura C says

    Lost track of a few days and I don’t feel like I’ve saved a whole lot but am using some things up.
    Bfast-Me-last of French toast casserole. Kids-muffins, cereal and bacon.
    Dinner-Jessica’s Irish beef stew (one of my 10 year olds all time favorite meals) and homemade wheat bread. Used up a bag of flour that had been in the freezer for a long time.

  38. Patricia says

    I’ve been tempted – very tempted to go off the challenge. I’ve worked up a grocery list for my “order-from-home” for my supermarket. I was all ready to push the button on Saturday when I had a knock on my door. Delivery from a meal delivery serivce, 6 meals I ordered Jan 2nd – normally a $60 charge but my first order so only $30 – it was paid for before the start of the challenge but they neglected to send it out until 12th. Six huge meals – so I didn’t push the button and order my grocery delivery. M-F with meals on wheels, my lunches are delivered for no cost. With these meals my weekends are covered for the entire month of January and part of February. That leaves a few breakfasts and lunches – so I need nothing. What I do use in cooking I can still find in my freezer and on my pantry shelves – Just juice and milk will be needed at the end of this week. Yesterday I had a 20oz tea with milk when I got up and then had cauliflower cheese carbonara for brunch and a can of soup and toast for dinner. Today because of holiday I’ll have chicken bbq sliders with coleslaw for lunch with apple. Breakfast was a container of yogurt with my tea and supper will be eggs and small ham slice with a frozen English muffin I found in the freezer (good for a cold night)… I will not be ordering from this company again so I’ll go back to eating down my freezer.

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