Pantry Challenge 2018: Day 3

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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.

produce in a grocery cart

So, yes, I did end up going to the store today. But, I didn’t spend that much, and I only bought fresh produce (like I said I would) and cornstarch (which I mentioned in today’s live Q&A). We go through a lot of food and, therefore, a lot of fresh produce. My fridge is just not big enough for the amount of produce to last us any length of time. So…

I headed to Sprouts to get a few things: the berries that were on sale (3 or 4 for $5), lemons and ginger (because I’m sick), grapefruit that were 50 cents each (not sure that’s great, but whatever), mushrooms and spinach because those are like staples here. They had other great things on sale, like red bell peppers for 50 cents, but I’ll wait until we use up the 6-pack we have. Also: the cornstarch. 

We’re set for milk and cheese, but eggs are down to less than a dozen. I don’t pay Sprouts prices on eggs, so we’ll see how long I can hold out before we need more.

I ended up spending about $20-something dollars at Sprouts. I need to check the receipt since I also bought some homeopathic cold remedies, too. Those don’t count towards the grocery budget.

Using things up!

From the freezer: we’ve used up cooked steel cut oats for my breakfast and two loaves of marked down breads that I served for lunch today.

From the fridge: lots of leftovers. I think that with tonight’s pot pie, we’ve eliminated most, if not all of the leftovers. I think I’ll be ready to do an inventory.

From the cupboards: various half-eaten boxes of crackers, crispy rice cereal.

Pantry Challenge 2018: Day 3

Breakfast: For mom: fried eggs, oats, sauteed apples. For kids: cereal and eggs

Lunch: For those away from home – leftover Bolognese and Spaghetti Squash from Saturday dinner or leftover pot roast from last night. For those at home: Stone Soup and bread from the freezer.

Dinner: Date night for the parents; Beef Pot Pie made with last night’s leftover pot roast for the kids; Stone Soup for the kid who doesn’t like Pot Roast.

Snacks: cheese and crackers, rice crispy treats

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. Kristy says

    Breakfast: oatmeal and granola.

    Lunch. Leftover soup and rolls

    Supper. Skinny Taste’s sloppy joe sweet potatoes and house salad (this helped me use up a lot of fresh stuff that needed to be used up ASAP and a half package of ground turkey.)

    I feel like I am making progress On the fresh stuff languishing in the fridge from the attack of the crud. I think I will still be tossing more but am grateful to be saving what I can.

  2. Karen J says

    Jessica. hope you are feeling better!
    Breakfast-after going to the gym (another goal for this year) I had an egg white feta spinach wrap at Starbucks with a gift card. Plus it was double star day.
    Lunch- ham salad and crackers
    Dinner-rotisserie chicken (I get them from Costco, cut in half, then freeze with my foodsaver. Works great for the two of us), rice and spinach salad.
    I booked out meals for the whole month with alternates. Feeling pretty proud of myself! Looks like I will only have to buy lettuce this month if all goes according to plan.

  3. Tasty says

    Wednesday January 3rd

    B – fruit a yogurt for hubby + pancakes, fried eggs and pancakes fir me + a pear (canned last fall)

    L – roast beef on French bread for me, hubby had cheese on his French bread

    S – beef vegetable soup with French bread..

    We had some leftover roast beef and the juices from said roast beef in the freezer. Used some of the beef and all of the juices, a handful of lentis, with onions, carrots,peas, green beans and chopped spinach from the freezer, celery and mushrooms from the fridge and a can a muxed beans to make a big pot of soup. I also made a batch of French bread -2 loaves and a couple of buns to round out supper. The buns quickly disappeared at lunchtime but one full loaf plus part of the second made it to the freezer.
    Lots of extra soup as well. Used lots of odds and ends and we were well fed.

  4. Sandi says

    B – too busy watching the snow and drinking hot beverages
    L – L/O cheddar soup with the last of the rosemary bread
    Snack – he had a beef in pastry thing, I had some cubes of cheese
    D – steak, grilled chicken, baked potato, steamed broccoli, salad – it sounds like a veritable feast but the first 3 items were leftovers that were only a couple of bites apiece so I added the veggies and salad
    Dessert – Christmas candies

    I really want to re-org the outside freezer but with the temps right now being almost the same outside the freezer as they are inside, I think I might wait until next week when the daytime temps are supposed to be much warmer.

  5. Sarah Gallop says

    January 3:

    Breakfast: yesterday’s leftover chicken and gravy, with a biscuit and coffee. Hubs had cereal.

    Lunch: ham sandwich for hubs, chicken and cheese pita, cukes and hummus, blackberries, nuts and pretzels for me.

    Dinner: marinated chicken tenders, steamed broccoli and skillet gnocci

  6. Kathy in Denmark says

    Day 3:

    B: Oats and milk for DH. Oatmeal and milk for DD1. Branflakes for DD2. HM roll and coffee for me.
    L: Packed lunch for DH and DD1. Rye bread with fish and leftover roast for DD2 and me. Veggies on the side.
    Afternoon snack before DD1’s gymnastics class: WW crisp bread with butter.
    D: Crêpes for kids and bruschetta for the adults.
    S: Bananas, brownies.

    I had almost a litre of milk in the fridge which had expired, but hadn’t gone off yet. I used half for the crêpes and the other half and some veggie broth to make béchamel sauce which I will use in lasagna. The bruschetta (or french bread pizza, you might call it) was made with a HM french bread from NYE, pesto from the pantry, some onion, the last four olives from a jar, a tomato on its last leg and some marinated artichoke hearts. I topped it with some grated havarti and put it in the oven while I packed lunches for the next day. It was really good and used up odds and ends, my favourite kind of meal! I will use the rest of the artichoke hearts to top pizza and the last little bit of pesto will go in the veggie bolognaise I am making for the lasagna 🙂

    • Heather M says

      Oh wow that “pizza” sounds amazing! What a great use of odds and ends!

  7. Stephanie M. says

    Wednesday, January 3

    B – Hubby had oatmeal with brown sugar; I also used the last two green apples to make him fried apple slices with cinnamon; I had a whole wheat bagel with lite cream cheese and peanuts

    L – Hubby had ham and cheese sandwich using some of the hickory honey ham from the freezer that I bought last week from Walmart and sliced and packaged in freezer bags for sandwiches, a hard-boiled egg, a banana, and some chocolate; I had a salad with tuna, a slice of whole wheat toast, an apple and V8

    D – Last of the leftover Salisbury steak, roasted potatoes, carrots, tomatoes, and onions. I also took a bag of cooked zucchini from the freezer that I made with tomato sauce, onions and garlic a few weeks ago and served that as well. One more bag left.

  8. Julie says

    I had to do a fridge run too, we haven’t bought produce since before Xmas. I went to aldi, but I’ll have to do a Kroger run today because aldi doesn’t carry a couple of things we need, and I forgot carrots-something my kids are devouring lately. I’m going with it!

    Breakfast: oatmeal
    Kids school snack and lunch: carrots and dip, banana bread, yogurt, canned pears
    Dinner: burgers, tater tots, salad

  9. Jess says

    1/3- Kids first day back to school!
    B- they were fed oatmeal packets and cinnamon raisen toast*, juice or milk and vitamin supplements
    I had some cold cereal … and coffee

    L-I took a leftover baked potato* with toppings for my lunch and an orange…
    Kids were packed sandwiches, oranges, holiday cookies I hid in the fridge, yogurt and water

    D-I had pulled 2 large chicken breasts* from the freezer and tossed them into the crock pot with a jar of salsa*, served with brown rice, seasoned black beans, canned corn and made homemade corn cake*. Had enough leftover to create 2 bowls- 1 for me to take to work and 1 for husband to eat(works from home).. Love no leftovers!

    *using up stuff I have had in the pantry or have surplus of.

  10. Darah says

    I cleaned out one of the cupboards! I discovered about 6 kinds of nuts in tiny amounts leftover from baking so I’m going to make granola today.
    Breakfast: oatmeal for some, bagels for some.
    Lunch: leftover ham and noodle casserole for me, snack plates for the kids (hard boiled eggs, veggies, cheese, summer sausage, crackers, and oranges)
    Dinner: cheeseburgers from the freezer, freezer applesauce, spinach and apple salad.
    I’m plotting out the next couple weeks which includes a visit from my dad who is allergic to nuts, legumes, wheat, soy, and a few fruits so that will likely involve some shopping!

  11. Danielle L Zecher says

    Breakfast: I had a turkey and avocado sandwich (I’m trying to use the avocados up before they go bad). Nick ate at work.

    Lunch: I had a salad with turkey and avocado. Nick had McDonald’s (apparently work was busy).

    Dinner: Potato soup and beer bread (a homemade mix my sister gave us at Christmas). It’s just too cold right now to think about making anything but soup!

  12. Stephanie says

    I typically don’t know what my husband eats for breakfast and he sleeps through lunch (overnight worker), but I’ll share the ones I know.

    Me – banana that was going bad and peanut butter, coffee
    Kid 1 – I left before he ate, but I’m fairly sure he ate one of the poptarts from his “Christmas junk box”
    Kid 2 – Not sure. The kids had a delay and my husband was actually home, so he took care of it.

    Me – Leftover soup. This soup is a kind of stuffed pepper soup, but was made using all the leftovers in the refrigerator, so it was only a small amount of old red and yellow pepper, turkey burger, and cauliflower rice from a head of cauliflower that was going bad. I also purchased a TON of black berries from Aldi’s when they were $0.85, so I will have those and some almonds for lunch.
    Kid 1 – Husband packed his lunch today, but typically turkey and cheese sandwich
    Kid 2 – She is fed at daycare

    Dinner – Taco night. Husband and 2 kids will probably also eat french fries.

  13. Terry says

    Muffins in the oven now using the last of some blueberry muffin mix, the leftover yogurt and some apple juice. I don’t know how old the bulk muffin mix was, but if it is a fail, the chickens will have it for breakfast.
    I thawed out a quart container of chicken and broth. Using the chicken for roll-up sandwiches with the last of the lettace and the last of some ranch dip. The broth will be used in stuffing I cubed up all of the leftover rolls from Christmas.
    The odds and ends of relish jars and bits of veggies are now a pasta salad, also emptying one cannisters of pasta. Everything that I’ve made the last two days has been leftovers, so if we don’t eat it quickly, I won’t feel guilty feeding it to the chickens. They are still providing us with 3 to 4 eggs a day, even though it is below freezing here

  14. Maureen says

    I’m in, finally. Glad to see familiar and new names. We just got back from vacation last night and my DD now has a stomach bug. Glad we made it home before it kicked in and hoping the other four of us stay healthy. My goals are to work on the fridge and freezers (they need a lot of work). The pantry is in okay shape, but I’ll work on that, too. I really need to get rid of old items. Taking it slow today with a freezer meal for dinner and snacky lunch. Need to get some fresh items from the store, either tonight or tomorrow. We only grabbed milk on the way home last night, but already have crackers and applesauce for anyone that’s sick. January will get VERY busy once the kids are back at school on Monday, so I really need to stay on top of the planning and prepping.

  15. Melissa in GA says

    January 3rd

    B – dad ate with the old farts group, fried eggs and toast for hubs, graham cracker w/ PB for me
    L – dad and I had zaxby’s while in town, hubs had leftover (and apparently about choked to death while we were gone! Hymlik himself using the back of an arm chair OMG)
    D – chicken pot pie
    Dessert – Watergate salad a friend shared with us

    We now have chickens that just started laying a month ago. We are getting about 11 eggs a day. It did slow with our extremely low temps until we put a lamp in there coop. We only use the lamp with freezing weather though.

    Small shopping trip – iceberg lettuce, spring salad mix, small tomatoes and a bag of orchard valley harvest chocolate covered blueberries for hubs, his fave.

    The pot pie used a pack of whole wheat pie crust I found on clearance that were languishing in the freezer, a can of chicken from a sleeve of them from Sam’s that I need to use up and was a warm meal in this frigid weather!

    Stay warm every one!
    Melissa in GA

    • Roberta says

      Yikes! How scary for your hubs. Glad to hear he’s ok though.

      • Melissa in GA says

        Thanks Roberta – it scared him really bad. He was just regaining his composure when I got home. He was hoarse for the rest of the day.
        So, when alone, always be careful eating.

        Melissa in GA

  16. Laurie in CA says

    Day 3
    B – getting ready for a road trip so I had a pear and a few walnuts. Hubs split a breakfast burrito with the housesitter
    L – fish tacos for me and clam chowder for hubs at our favorite coast restaurant
    S – veggies, cheese, crackers and wine watching the sunset over the Pacific Ocean
    D – hubs had a bbq tri-tip sandwich and I had a salad from our favorite coastal grill (I snuck a little meat out of his sandwich)

  17. Heather M says

    Wednesday, January 4, also my daughter’s last full day with us for now.

    B: I fasted for blood work being done late morning; daughter ate nothing prior to her dr appt at same time; son had cereal, bacon, OJ; hubs had cereal

    L: son took turkey/cheddar on ww, pistachios/almonds, clementines, cliff bar; hubs took turkey/provolone/pepperoni on ww, apple, pretzels w/a few almonds; not sure what daughter ate at home; I went out to a birthday lunch with friends

    D: we went to a new bbq restaurant that opened up the street- it’s been highly anticipated, as its parent restaurant is beloved, super good, and very well-respected around here. It was good and surprisingly well-prIced. We have leftovers, including some of the best Mac and cheese I’ve ever had.

    S- son had a quesadilla. We also had a few of the goodies from the holiday stash

  18. Laurie Decker says

    Day 3-
    B- Oatmeal for both of us with half and half that must be used up
    L- Soup from freezer for husband and leftover pasta for me
    D- Italian Sausage Pie- I have a few frozen pie crusts that weren’t used over the holidays so between the one of the crusts and the 3rd package of Italian sausage (4 packages from Costco) and cream, eggs cheese and a half of onion dinner was served. It was very good and the other half will be eaten tomorrow.
    Too full for any snacks!

  19. Roberta says

    Wed. 1/3/18

    B: Oatmeal, toast, OJ, coffee

    L: Hubs ate a salad at work. Son had some friends over, and they had PB/apple butter sandwiches (hm apple butter and hm ww bread), grapes, orange slices (our tree), and hm ginger snaps. (Yesterday would have been my dad’s 88th birthday, and ginger snaps were his favorite cookie so I made them in honor of him. Didn’t truly need any more sweets in the house, but who cares?) I had a slice of PB toast and a ginger snap.

    D: Homemade pepperoni and olive pizza (pantry and fridge), salad, carrot and celery sticks w/ hm ranch dip, grapes.

    S/D: Candy (for the kids), grapes, pumpkin roll (gift).

    I need to pick up a few things at Sam’s and Sprouts today. I’m hoping I can stick to my list. Will report back tomorrow.

    • Melissa in GA says

      That’s sweet about the cookies and your dad – I would’ve made them too!

  20. Felicia says

    Wednesday –

    Breakfast – oatmeal

    Lunch – made 4 chick pea burgers for lunch this week, served on a sandwich thin with shred lettuce and ketchup. I had cooked dried chick peas last week and had 12 oz leftover in the fridge!

    Dinner – cooked two turkey legs in the crock pot and then deboned them. Took the bare-naked legs and returned them to the crock pot, covered with water and vegs scraps. This morning I had a jar and half of fantastic turkey stock!

    Thursday –

    Breakfast – oatmeal

    Lunch – chick pea burger on a sandwich thin with shred lettuce and ketchup.

    Dinner – I had bought a boneless pork loin at Kroger for 0.99/lb before Christmas. Cut it in half. Used half in the crock pot for dinner tonight with apples, onions, honey and cinnamon. Tastes great! The other half is now in the freezer.

    It’s so cold today here in GA that I’m staying home all day. I cooked up my Halloween pumpkin in the microwave (finally!) which has been staying cold in the garage since OCT!!!! I have five 15 oz Ziploc bags of pumpkin puree for the freezer. Figured I just saved myself $4.96 by not tossing that pumpkin and making my own puree for baking.

    And this is why my freezer fills up, ladies!

    • Melissa in GA says

      I stayed home today too – it’s been way too cold for this southern girl! And no dang snow for our efforts either! Lol

      • Lynn from NC Outer Banks says

        Right there with you Felicia and Melissa. This NC girl stayed in all day today too. SO cold but we did get about 4-5 inches of snow . We had really strong winds. We always have wind, but had gusts of 50+ mph. Due to the wind and the weight of the snow, we lost 5-6 trees:( This tree damage is worse than past hurricanes.

        And Felicia, I feel your pain. I took some broth and other ingredients out of the freezer to make soup and now the leftovers will go back into the freezer! The continuous cycle!

        • Heather M says

          Right there with you guys re the cold! even though I’ve lived with winters since I went to college, this southern california girl will never get used to the cold. and I’m almost 49! DC area is bitter cold, but not as bad as further north (can’t even imagine). they’ve already delayed school start for tomorrow strictly due to the cold. and canceled today. but we still had to leave the house since our daughter flew off back to college. 🙂

          • Lynn from NC Outer Banks says

            Heather, our daughter lives in Arlington so I always keep an eye on the temps in the DC area. Definitely colder there. Our daughter had to trade in her flip flops for boots and puffy coats when she re-located there. I’m with you re: farther north. Brrrr. I can’t imagine either and I sure don’t want to experience it! Our schools went back Tues and we had a two hour start delay that day, a 3 hour early dismissal yesterday and out today and tomorrow. An extended Christmas break!

        • Heather M says

          Hey— we live in Arlington!! Small world! 🙂

          • Kathy in Denmark says

            Talking about a small world, my niece is leaving January 8 to spend a year as an au pair in – you guessed it – Arlington!

            We’ll miss her, but I am so happy that she has this opportunity.

          • Lynn from NC Outer Banks says

            Well, my goodness. All roads are leading to Arlington in this thread-even from Denmark! How about that! My daughter has really enjoyed being there. She’s in Clarenden and it’s so convenient. She can walk to anything she needs, including her work.

    • LeslieT says

      Sounds like time for some Pumpkin Soup and Pumpkin Bread! I’m shocked that it lasted so long.

  21. Terry calkins says

    Breakfast for hubby. Eggs and hash browns with a h m blueberry muffin
    I had a breakfast burrito
    Lunch parmesan chicken strips made with half a chicken breast with a whole bird I thawed out, homemade stuffing and cranberry apple salad.
    I boned out the rest of the chicken. Set aside the leg quarters, and the other breast. Put the carcass, all skin and wings into the pressure cooker. Boned out the results and fed the skin and scraps to the dog. Meat and broth are ready for chicken soup. I’ve thawed out a pint container of red beans to make refried beans.

  22. Joa in IA says

    Day 3
    Breakfast -chocolate protein shake and tea for me. Hubby had cinnamon oatmeal. Says trying to be healthy so wants to eat oatmeal everyday now. Boys -eat on their own.

    Lunch- a piece of lasagna for me. Hubby ate at work. Oldest son ate at Arbys after a Dr appt. #2son ate the last of the lasagna and chex mix.

    Supper- cheesy hashbrown casserole with polish sausage in it. Steamed broccoli.

    Snacks-Not sure what they had

  23. Cindy says

    Day 3
    Breakfast: coffee, multigrain Cheerios and mandarin orange for me; Basic 4 cereal, oj & coffee for hubby
    Lunch: leftover cheddar bacon potato soup & pineapple – I believe hubby added salad to his (works from home)
    Dinner: goulash and green beans
    Dessert: Christmas candy – there is a lot of it !!

  24. Laura C says

    January 4-Snow Day! Funny how it only takes 2 inches in VA for things to shut down completely.
    Bfast/brunch for kids- Leftover pancakes, bacon and egg for one kid. Me- waffles from freezer, bacon.
    Lunch-Me- vegetable beef soup from freezer, toasted rolls from freezer.
    Dinner- Leftover lasagna soup for husband and kids, Me- Leftover beef, leftover mashed potatoes, cheesy rice from a free packet from Kroger.

    Made zucchini muffins with one pack of zucchini from the freezer. Only one pack left from summer.

    • We’re in Northern VA and we got barely an inch but they closed too- announced it late for us, at 5:15am. And we are delayed tomorrow, strictly due to cold temps/wind chill. I don’t like this cold at all. 🙂

  25. Pat says

    Hello everyone! I am so happy to be back in pantry challenge mode. I still have so much in my freezers that if I buy any meat this month someone needs to slap me! I am also ready to get back to eating homemade food that is relatively good for us. We have been eating way to many sweets and with out of town company over the holidays we went out to eat alot.
    We are a two person household now, We stopped doing foster care Nov 1st and our 18yr old adopted son was sent to Boystown for not complying with a court order so it is just my husband and I. Learning to cook for two has been challenging to say the least but we are getting a handle on it.
    Jan !st
    Breakfast–husband had an omelet with chicken, mushrooms, onions and broccoli. a bagel and a cutie. I wroked so I didn’t eat.
    Lunch was the last of the cheese and crackers from Christmas with summer sausage from the freezer, sliced apples and carrot sticks.
    Dinner–I cooked 3 pieces of salmon, 2 strip steaks and 2 Zaycon chicken strips and made roasted sweet potatoes and russet potatoes and green beans and asparagus. I had steak, russet potatoes and some of the veggies and he ate salmon, sweet potatoes and veggies.
    Jan 2nd
    Breakfast–Husband had oatmeal with cinnamon and applesauce, a bagel and a yogurt and I had peanut butter toast.
    Dinner–L/o pot roast, mashed potatoes and gravy and carrots mixed with onions and mushrooms.
    It was Jessica’s slow cooker pot roast only I did it in the oven because it is soooo cold here. I suggest you try it it was delicious.
    Jan 3.
    Breakfast was the same. We tend to eat the same breakfast on weekdays and have eggs for dinner sometimes or on the weekends.
    Dinner –Husband had the last of the lettuce with chopped raw veggies of his choice, chicken and a sprinkling of cheese. I ate the last of the leftover hamburger soup and a bread stick from the freezer..

    I think what will work best for us is to cook a bunch of food at one time and eat it during the week. My husband takes his lunch to work everyday but I fill the containers and put them in the freezer and he takes one each day. I am not an eat as soon as I get up type so I eat my toast mid morning and rarely eat lunch. By having prepared food in the fridge and freezer I am making sure I eat dinner before I go to my very part time job 2 evenings a week and then I don’t eat late at night and then go to bed.

  26. Melissa B says

    B milk and cereal
    L ham and cheese sandwiches
    D pasta with marinara from the freezer

    Snacks zucchini bread from freezer

  27. Lesley from Alaska says

    Breakfast was my usual scrambled eggs and toast. Lunch was a sandwich with plenty of veggies. For dinner I finished off some leftover Mongolian “beef” over leftover barley couscous. Not sure what the BF had at all that day since we didn’t see each other until 9:15. It was our CSA pickup day, so I’ve got some extra root veggies and a new bag of spring mix. Hooray!

  28. KarenJfromVT says

    I’m in too! Doing inventory this weekend. We’ve used up some pork from the freezer for Carnitas, pizza dough & red sauce. Will have to get produce and dairy this weekend. But not tomorrow it’s going to be too cold!! Brrr…..

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