Pantry Challenge 2018: Day 6

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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.

bowl of oatmeal with blueberries

Eventually, I will remember to take pictures past breakfast, but so far this week, I’m not sure it’s happened. Sorry! My cold is now very much in my head, as in stuffy head, sneezing, etc. I wish I had fought it harder a few days ago, but here we are, drinking tea 24/7 and hoping for the best.

In other news, we’re doing okay with the PC. I need to do a big pantry inventory and start thawing some proteins. No one is complaining, so we’re good.

We’re definitely in need of more baking though. I’m trying to watch my calorie intake, so it will be an act of love to go bake for my people, but I shall do it. Hard to keep myself to just one slice of homemade bread!

Pantry Challenge 2018: Day 6

Breakfast: Fend-for-Yourself with oats from the freezer/cereal/granola, berries, milk, granola, orange juice

Lunch: Chihuahua Chili with chips and cheese, leftover Cabbage Slaw with Apples and Almonds; leftover Asian Bowl for me

Dinner: Saute of Sausage, Onions, Peppers, and Mushrooms; Rice/Cauliflower RiceLemon Broccoli, homemade bread

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. Julies says

    I resisted baking cinnamon rolls the other day . They are too hard for me to not eat but gluten gives me headaches .

    today we ate most of the citrus fruit, sesame turkey I made yesterday , peanut butter and honey oatmeal bars. I ate creamy chicken enchiladas from your NYM cookbook . I had them in the freezer from late August . Finished the salsa verde. Supper was mostly popcorn we pop in olive oil. We have lots of popcorn and lots of olive oil from an Aldi clearance (the oil, not popcorn ).

    Tomorrow we get produce at Aldi. Looking forward to it.

    As someone who had food poisoning a couple of years ago and couldn’t even stand up for 12 hrs , I wouldn’t touch anything that might have e coli.

    • Alice E says

      I also have had a bout of food poisoning and agree it is not something I would risk again. Since I don’t eat salad often and have to be careful about eating lettuce due to tummy troubles, that won’t be as hard for me as for some.

      I will note that if people have lettuce on hand, cooking it is an option as I mentioned with boring detail in yesterday’s post.

    • Lynn from NC Outer Banks says

      Julies, with all this cold weather we’ve had and extra time on my hands since work has been canceled, I’d thought about baking cookies. I’d wanted to make some for neighbors before Christmas, but ran out of time. However, I have NO will power so figured we’d be better off without them so like you-resisted baking them!

    • I have been so sick, thus, I didn’t even open my computer yesterday, but I saw your comment about the NYM cookbook and that just made my day! I’m a very small fish in a big big pond when it comes to cookbooks and food blogging. Thanks for that encouragement! Your day sounds delicious!

  2. Melissa in GA says

    I had the head cold the week before Christmas and I can attest to how it makes you feel like a bobble head! I couldn’t stand up too fast or I was swimmy! Bless your heart, I sure hope you get thru this soon!

    January 6th

    B – dad ate out at the old farts meeting, hubs & daughter had overnight oats, I skipped
    L – LO pizza, dad had a ham & cheese sandwich
    D – tacos (daughters fave)
    Dessert – ice cream for all

    Since daughter loves tacos, I try to make them when she visits. Dad picked up taco shells and tomatoes yesterday while in town. Today dad & daughter went to visit a military base nearby and came back with a few things: bread, ham, cheese, oranges, rice, chicken bouillon and lime juice. The bread, ham and oranges weren’t on my list – stuff dad wanted. I’ve only spent about $10 so far this month.
    Our lives will get back to normal next week as hubs will be back into his usual work travel routine. I’m hoping that gets our eating routine back to a healthier level as well.
    A couple more days of cold weather and we should be back to average temps too – omg, can’t wait!
    Also finally got all the Christmas stuff back in the attic – in such a small house it looks like an explosion with it all over the place while repacking.

    Melissa in GA

    • Laura in NH says

      I was thinking the same thing about the explosion-look whilst cleaning up! I’m taking the ‘it gets worse before it gets better’ attitude and hoping to get the last of the wrapping and decorations sorted and stored today! It’s -10 right now so it’s a good day for inside stuff around here:)

      • Melissa in GA says

        I can’t even imagine how cold it is up in NH. We awoke to 15 & heavy frost this morning. May not seem like much to some but for us here, it’s miserable. We have a possibility for sleet and ice overnight tonight. Ugh.
        We warm up later this week, thank goodness.

        And yes, the Christmas repacking always gets worse before it gets better and I have to force myself to push thru it. I find it overwhelming.

        Melissa in GA

    • Thanks for your well wishes. Sunday was my worst day yet. Hoping that was rock bottom.

  3. Tasty says

    Saturday January 6th

    B – fruit and yogurt for hubby + the last piece of French bread. Sausage and egg on an English muffin for me.

    L – beef and veggie soup fromthe freezer

    S – an assortment of appetizers – from the freezer.

  4. Brighid says

    B- pancakes for me, homemade granola for everybody
    L- We were out today at a robotics club meeting so random stuff – a slice of pizza for me, fruit, muffins, cheese sticks and beef jerky sticks for all.
    D- cranberry pork for your freezer cookbook but made with a portion of a pork loin, mixed vegetables and rolls I made the other day
    S- whatever you found

    • Yay to cranberry pork. Lately, it just makes my day to hear people using one of my recipes. Thank you for trusting me with your meal times!

  5. Alice E says

    Jan 6

    B – It’s the weekend, so we had ‘Lazy’ Oats, over easy eggs and hot tea; and hubby had toast as well.

    D. Meatloaf, roasted potatoes, broccoli.

    We usually tend to eat breakfast later on weekends and then just have one more big meal.

    Lazy oats is my name for a different cooking method I like. For the 2 of us, I boil one and a half cups of water with a pinch of salt. Then I add a cup of old fashioned oats, give it a quick stir, put the lid on and turn off the burner. It sits for 10 minutes while I sit and enjoy my tea. Then I fix eggs, toast or whatever else is on the menu, dish up the oats and we eat. The texture is completely different from regular oatmeal and you will note that the proportion of water and oats is different also but we really like it this way and I like not standing and stirring. LOL. I have also fixed other flaked grains using this method successfully.

    • Lynn from NC Outer Banks says

      Alice, that’s how I cook pasta but never thought about this method for oatmeal! I’m going to try it with those proportions. Thanks.

    • My Not Mushy Oatmeal is very similar: A little more active cooking, maybe, but a similar “less-water-to-oats ratio.”

      • Lynn from NC Outer Banks says

        Jessica, they look delicious prepared this way. I”m okay with the more traditional method but like to experiment. I think my husband might like this option better. Thanks for including the link. Feel better soon.

        • Thanks!

          I’m sure my kids will never be able to eat their spouses’ oatmeal because I make it so differently than the norm.

  6. Lynn from NC Outer Banks says


    B: egg, grits, sausage (freezer), coffee

    L: African peanut soup

    D: pork fried rice with last of the pork from freezer along with rice and peppers from freezer and other fresh veggies, Waldorf salad

    Forgot to note the $7.44 I spent on 1/2 for fresh veggies. So far that’s it for the month.

    Feel better soon Jessica. I saw a headline that said that the flu was rampant in CA:(

    Still frigid here in NC and our 4-5 inches of snow have gone nowhere. Those of you in the grip of these sub freezing temps, be warm and safe!

    • Not sure if this is the flu, but hoping yesterday’s worst day yet was the bottom. Thanks for your well wishes.

  7. Alice E says

    Forgot to mention I made run to the store Friday and picked up dairy and bread. the bill was high due to paper goods and vitamins. I made another run today to restock some tea bags and buy some ground beef on sale to make the meatloaf. Ground meat is the one thing we are low on in the freezer, but this was a different store and didn’t want to stock up without trying it first. We live and learn, at least sometimes. It was fine and I will probably go back and stock up some for later, but now we are back to using up the meat that has been in there longest. Some of it is big roasts that will go back in reworked for meals later using cooked meat. It is hard to find really good prices on ground beef with the fat content I want.

    • Julies says

      Do you have a zaycon fresh delivery drop near you ? They have great 93% beef with no pink slime, and at a good price.

      • Melissa in GA says

        Second the Zaycon. We just got the 80/20 in the 1lb packages, before that they came in 10lb chubs that had to be repackaged with my food saver. I used the 93/7 when I pressure canned seasoned and meat sauce. Good stuff!

  8. Sandi says

    B – I finished off the ginger curry, he slept in
    L – he ate leftovers from yesterday’s dinner; I had an odd mishmash of mixed nuts, an almond butter bar, some fruit, and quinoa salad
    D – baked spaghetti and meatballs, Caesar salad – yes, I threw caution to the wind and ate the romaine lettuce bought just a couple of days ago

    • I wonder if any other group has contemplated romaine lettuce as much as we have lately. 😉

  9. Heather M says

    Hi All! 1/5 I ended up too busy to post and today (1/6) has been, too, but I’m determined to get a post in before i head to bed. !/5 was good Challenge-wise, which is nice, since this first week I haven’t been able to be fully committed since we had lots of other plans. Also, son went in 2 hours late to school, soit messed up our usual routine and hubs ran out the door without eating any breakfast or taking anything for lunch. Oops! Food for 1/5:
    B- son had cereal, turkey sausage, OJ; I had leftover stollen from the neighbors; hubs had zilch
    L- son took a turkey/cheddar on ww sandwich, grapes, pistachios/almonds, and clif bar; hubs apparently only ate some chocolate left in the office from the holidays; I had a tuna sandwich and a found half-single serve bag of salt & vinegar chips my daughter never finished.
    D- We had a crazy melange of Venezuelan, Southern, and Italian. A dear friend from venezuela gave us her famous christmas Hallacas, which are venezuela’s version of tamales. 3rd year now(they’re military and won’t be here forever) and it’s a great treat for me, since i lived there as a kid. We had those along with the leftovers from the bbq place- mac & cheese for all, and the son finished off his sister’s fries and his own ribs. And then I roasted up the pathetic soft 5 mixed color bell peppers, cremini mushrooms that were somehow still alive, the overripe grape tomatoes, and red onion, all tossed in rosemary and basil olive oil with dried italian herbs, salt, and a little garlic powder. We ate about a 3rd of the veggies and will use the rest in a pasta dish this week sometime. Cleared out and didn’t waste all those veggies, so very happy about that.

    Today, 1/6, is my birthday, so no cooking for me!! I started the day at Starbucks with a friend in from out of town, the guys slept, I think. I had a passion tea and a little breakfast sandwich. The company was the best part!

    Then ran to buy a baby gift. went home and opened gifts and I received what I was hoping for: an Instant Pot!! anyone have any pointers, I’d love it! Super excited to start using it!

    Then we headed to an afternoon couples baby shower where we ate some goodies. I consider the cupcake i had there my birthday cake. We raced home to pick up our son and went to see a movie at 6pm; The Post. It opens everywhere this coming weekend, but we have it early since we live by DC. It was EXACTLY what I wanted to watch and we thoroughly enjoyed it. Then we went to a favorite restaurant right by it for a late dinner where I wanted all their appetizers- they have the best deviled eggs ad crab and shrimp fritters with an amazing sauce & corn salsa. So we had those and I also had a small salad. So happy, so satisfied. I also found a recipe for pear bread, which is great because I have some mushy pears and now I won’t waste them. I’ll bake them tomorrow or monday. Tomorrow we have lunch plans with friends after a baby church blessing. Looking forward to it.

    Hope everyone is doing well! We are still bitter cold, but I did NOT let that stop me today. And it was great, even if I almost had to use my inhaler it was so cold (negative wind chills are insane. This San Diego girl does not like cold at all- why do I live here again?).

    • Tasty says

      Belated birthday wishes, Heather.

    • Stephanie M. says

      Happy Birthday Heather! Glad you had such a nice day!!

      • Jess says

        Happy Birthday! Sounds like a great YOU day!

        • Mona says

          Happy Birthday Heather!

          • Heather M says

            Thanks, Mona! 🙂

        • Heather M says

          Thanks, Jess! 🙂

      • Heather M says

        Thanks, Stephanie! 🙂

    • Terry calkins says

      Heather. My daughter bought me an instapot before Christmas last year. I use it every day. Hubby won’t eat meat unless it is fall apart tender. Everything I have cooked in it has been. Start with boiled eggs. Use the rack, add one cup of water with the eggs on the rack. Close the lid and set the valve to close. Cook 5 min on Manuel let them rest 5 minutes and then open the steam valve and put the eggs in ice water. Season a whole chicken, put it on the rack. Cook on Manuel 25 min and let the pressure come down by itself. Take the chicken out. Add a cup of rice. Press the rice bitten for 12 minutes. Later I use it to make stock from the carcass. It’s very safe to use. Just jump in and play with it. Lots of recipes on the instapot website. Enjoy! Happy birthday

      • Heather M says

        Thanks for the cheering on and ideas! I’m so excited. I have old eggs that need boiling so I think I’ll try those first! I was just going to hard-boil on the stove, as usual tomorrow, but I think I’ll unpack the pot first!

        • Yes to the boiled eggs. Only I don’t let them rest 5 minutes. I release immediately. Depends on how you like them.

          • Heather M says

            Thanks for the tip, Jessica! I like perfect hard boiled eggs for salads, etc. I love one chopped on a lunch salad, or to make egg salad sandwiches. I’ll have to try a few different timings. 🙂

    • Lynn from NC Outer Banks says

      Happy birthday Heather! Sounds like you had a fun filled day. Stay warm!

      • Heather M says

        Thanks, Lynn! I tried my best to stay warm– it was the coldest birthday I’ve ever had in all my years! 🙂

    • Alice E says

      Happy Birthday, Heather! Glad you could do all those great things!

      You probably already know, but don’t forget to breathe through your nose in cold weather, preferably also through a scarf. I have the same problem since I’m asthmatic. But, if I’m careful, take my meds and do some breathing exercises it stays under control and I don’t need that inhaler that is always with me anyway.

      • Heather M says

        That is a good tip, to breathe through a scarf. I need to remember to do this! Thank you! 🙂

    • Melissa in GA says

      Happy birthday! Sounds like you had a great day!
      And we are the same age by the way, I’ve just got 5 months on ya!

      Due to the unrest in Venezuela, many families couldn’t enjoy Hallacas this year, sad the state of that country right now.

      Melissa in GA

      • Heather M says

        Oh I know how horrible it is in Venezuela, the unrest, the food, meds, so little access to necessities of all kinds. My friend’s mother has been in town for a few months and heads back in 10 days. She’s happy to be going home but not for the lack of needs. She has asthma and is having a very hard time getting inhalers. We’ve all been doing what we can to help her have what she can take back with her. This year has been so sad for me– I lived in Venezuela, St. Thomas, and Puerto Rico growing up (as well as southern california). Watching the places I love so deeply fall into such a sad sad mess, well, it’s been depressing. I am more grateful than ever for all the bounty that we have here. 🙂

    • Roberta says

      Happy Birthday!

      • Heather M says

        Thank, Roberta! 🙂

    • Julies says

      Happy birthday

    • Sandi says

      Happy belated birthday!

    • Danielle L Zecher says

      Happy Birthday!

    • Kathy in Denmark says

      Happy Birthday, Heather!

      It sounds like you had a wonderful day 🙂

      • Heather M says

        Thanks, Kathy! I sure did. 🙂

    • Happy Birthday, Heather!

      • Heather M says

        Thank you, Jessica! Hope you’re starting to feel a bit better after a not fun weekend! 🙂

  10. Laurie in CA says

    I sure wasn’t in the mood to cook today after being totally spoiled during our mini vacay.
    B – hubs had a protein shake and I had a muffin I brought back from the inn, almonds and a banana
    L – hubs had a nut pack (Trader Joe’s almonds, cashews and dried cranberries), I used the last boiled egg and had a half of a deviled egg sandwich and tortilla chips.
    D – In the morning I put a rump roast from the freezer in the crockpot with some salsa from the fridge, shredded it up and we made tacos.

    Both flu strains A and B seem to be rampant in CA. It’s been all over the news here how impacted the urgent cares and emergency rooms have been. I’m afraid to go to crowded places cause I don’t want to get sick. I watch my 3 yo grandson two days a week so I need all of the energy I can muster.

  11. Sarah Gallop says

    January 6

    Breakfast: lo roast chicken, a few nuts and pretzels, English muffin for me. That’s probably the strangest breakfast yet! Hubs had egg, ham and cheese tortillas.

    Lunch: we both skipped

    Dinner: spaghetti with meat sauce

    Snacks: Xmas candy

    We ran to the store today. They had bread for $2/loaf, which where I live in BC, Canada, is about as cheap as “good” bread gets. We also got lettuce, plain saltine crackers (hubs CANNOT eat soup without his crackers…) and some Pepsi, also for the Hubs as the man bleeds the stuff and we were totally out. Spent $30 so far this month.

  12. Karen J says

    breakfast-cheese omelette
    lunch-chicken noodle soup with frozen broth, frozen chicken, a freezer soup pack of chopped celery/carrots. Easy to make and tasted good. Added Siracha for a kick.
    dinner-more soup. Husband is ill so wasn’t hungry. Easy for me to have soup twice.
    snack-Nutella on Ritz crackers

  13. Janet says

    B: boiled eggs, bananas
    L: Chicken tenders, spinach salad, blackberries
    D: Steak salad, pineapple spears

    I have almost quit baking since our daughter was diagnosed with a gluten allergy. I have found only a couple of recipes that are worth making. Most of the gluten free recipe sites/books/blogs seem to assume if you do not eat gluten you are also vegan. Consequently, the recipes call for all kinds of ingredients we do not normally eat, making experimentation VERY expensive. The best recipe we have found to date was for chocolate chip cookies on the back of the Bob’s Red Mill gluten free one-to-one flour.

    • Laura in NH says

      Allergies are challenging and can be very frustrating! Have you tried any completely flourless cookie recipes? I saw one in a Farmers almanac cookbook that only had almond butter, a bit of sugar, an egg, some vanilla and cinnamon, chopped dark chocolate, oats, dried cherries and coconut flakes. Perhaps worth trying?!? They’re called (not surprisingly) gluten free chocolate coconut cranberry cookies – probably could search it for the exact recipe.

      • Felicia says

        Laurie – these make for some soft oatmeal cookies but I thought I’d share with you….

        3 mashed bananas
        1/3 cup applesauce
        2 cup oats
        1/4 cup almond milk
        1/2 cup raisins
        1 tsp vanilla
        1 tsp cinnamon

        Mix together, bake 350 for 15 – 20 minutes.

      • Janet says

        Thank you for the suggestion. I made a batch today and everyone enjoyed them. My husband told me the recipe was a “keeper” which is his highest praise for food. The recipe said it makes 12 to 18 cookies. I must have made my smaller, because I got 2 dozen nice size cookies from the recipe. Here is the link

    • Laura Cross says

      Try She has simple gluten free recipes and bakes a lot.

    • Alice E says

      Oh the fun of the diet kitchen! Mine is currently not bad, but I have been there with several variations through the years. Try cooking a fat free, very low salt, and low sugar Thanksgiving dinner. I was cooking at my folks for multiple people with health problems. I think I’m the only person who ever went to their parents for T day weekend and lost 5 pounds but I did it. Of course I was also caring for my Dad in a wheelchair which added to the exercise factor.

      I would suggest you check out the ‘Mennonite girls can cook’ website. It is run by a group of women, one of whom needs to be gluten free. I’ve never tried her recipes, since I don’t need them. But they are not vegan, and she seems to have practical advice and frequently discusses how to fix regular or gluten free. She also has instructions for mixing your own gluten free flour. Their site has a recipe index with a gluten free section. The address is:

      Good luck with your diet kitchen journey.

      • Julies says

        I always lose weight at my parents for Christmas because they serve a lot of foods I can’t eat (cheese and gluten and nuts give me headaches ). They always have something I can eat, but it’s about 1/3 of the food. Not complaining but it’s just how it is .

    • My friend Lynn is an amazing gf baker, not vegan.

  14. Laura in NH says

    Yesterday, 1/6 went quite well for us as well!

    My daughter and I headed out early for karate classes so she brought some ham and cheese, a banana and some juice and I had coffee. Little Guy had the last frozen homemade pancake and hubs had coffee. I made blueberry muffins when I got home and they each had one.

    Lunch was leftover pizza for some and cheesy cauliflower with hot dogs for others.

    Apples, pears, and cheese for snacks. And more coffee and tea for me!

    Dinner was a mix of soups. I pulled two jars of minestrone, two jars of broth, and two containers of broccoli that I had steamed too long back in September and had marked ‘for soup’ from the freezer. So I added the last of the LO tomato soup to the minestrone with some pearl couscous and broth and hubs and Little Guy were very pleased, while daughter and I had broccoli cheese soup with the last of the Boursin herb cheese. I baked a few squash corn muffins to go with it. Cleared up some space in the chest freezer!

    Then I snacked on tortilla chips near bed time…ugh.

  15. Stephanie M. says

    Saturday, January 6

    B – Hubby had cereal and a banana; I had a whole wheat English muffin, plain, 1/2 banana, and peanuts

    L – Hubby had a leftover sloppy joe, and the leftover Chinese take out from last night; I had a chicken burger on a whole wheat roll and V8

    D – chicken parmesan, mini penne, and roasted green beans with garlic and olive oil;

    With this meal, I used the last two sliced of chicken parmesan that I made a few weeks back and froze; so today, I took the last package of chicken cutlets from the freezer and cooked a small pot of marinara and make six more slices for the freezer. It was a good way to use up the mozzarella from the fridge that would have gone bad soon anyway. I also took a package of chicken sausage and the last two packages of ground beef from the freezer and made a big pot of sauce with meatballs and sausage that I will divide up and freeze for future meals and we will also have some on Sunday with the leftover pasta. I don’t feel like cooking on Sunday so this works well.

  16. Jess says

    Breakfast was fend for yourself… I know I had a bowl of cold cereal and coffee…

    Lunch at home before we ran a few errands… -Kids had leftover Homemade pizza or sandwiches and fruit.. Hubby and I had turkey sandwiches and pretzels.

    Dinner- we picked up some ready made soups at Sams- they had instant coupon and fed my desire to NOT think for supper… So choice of Tomato Bisque or Broccoli Cheddar. I did make a pile of grilled cheese to use up bread and a roll of pillsbury bisquets served with honey for dessert.
    Kids found random ice cream bars in the deep freeze later when they wanted ice cream.

    Picked up some meats at Sams, more produce and some random stuff… I should be pretty good with NOT shopping any more for at least a week… lol

  17. Mona says

    Saturday 1/6

    Breakfast – Oatmeal

    Lunch – Crackers & cheese

    Dinner – More of the spinach orzo soup

    Hubby feeling a bit better this am. Hoping he continues to feel better all day.

    • Stephanie M. says

      Great news Mona!!!!

      • Mona says

        Only 1 short nap so far today…lol…hopefully he will be feeling better in the next couple days!

        • Stephanie M. says

          That’s really good. I’m happy to hear it. Now keep yourself healthy. I know it’s hard at this time of year. We are all just sitting ducks. LOL

          • Mona says

            Well it was Stephanie. Didn’t last long! He has been pretty miserable all afternoon. Will be calling the Dr tomorrow. Seems like everyone we have talked to say that they had to take the full prescription before they started to feel could be another week… 🙁

        • Stephanie M. says

          Oh, I’m sorry Mona. I guess it just has to go it’s course. Unfortunately, the flu or even a cold has a way of hanging on until it just lets go. The only thing he can really do is rest as much as possible and drink a lot of hot liquid and if the doctor gives him something to move it along, all the better. Something we do if we are congested is, I heat a large pot of water. Then I put it on a towel on my kitchen table and put my face over it with a towel over my head. It’s as good as steam from the shower but more comfortable because you can sit down. And if he has a fever, he doesn’t have to get out of the shower into the cold air; because as you know when you have a fever, it always feels cold. It will open up his sinuses and he will be able to breathe better. Then a nice cup of hot tea afterward, a blanket and the TV. I hope he feels better real soon.

          • Mona says

            Still not doing well Stephanie. Planning on going to the Dr tomorrow. Guess he doesn’t want to cough all over the Attorney at the closing on his Mom’s house on Wednesday.
            Question….was the Pantry Challenge for today posted? I didn’t receive it.

  18. Terry calkins says

    Baked pumpkin muffins in the microwave. Made hubby his eggs, ham and hash browns. I had leftover?!Meyer rice and a piece of salmon
    Needed to get out of the house so I returned a non food item to the grocery store for 21.19. bought lettace, eggs and a few Staples plus bleach for 14.03. thought I would just call it a wash but decided to keep it real, so my grocery purchase yesterday left my monthly total at just over 15.00
    Lunch was a green salad using the last of the old iceberg lettace, half an avocado, a leftover piece of chicken. Hubby had by salad sandwich and pumpkin pie with coolwhip
    Dinner was ham and cheese wrapped in a tortilla.
    I bought taco shells and seasoning yesterday. I see that hubby has thawed out some hamburger so we will have tacos today.
    The chickens got the stale bread and leftover stuffing. I don’t see that as food waste.

    • Roberta says

      We feel the same way about the scraps we give to our chickens, especially since they give us eggs in return.

  19. Julie P says


    Lots of coming and going today, no true meal prep (not complaining!)

    B: FFY-oatmeal/egg mcmuffin/muffins
    L: Meal at baby shower, HH lunch out while visiting his aunt
    D: LO bean fajita bowls/LO brat/DD2 birthday party

  20. Felicia says

    Sunday –

    Kinda a quiet day compared to this past week of meal prep. Woke up too early and then returned to sleep and missed breakfast. Oatmeal can resume tomorrow! 😉

    Lunch – last of my chick pea burgers on sandwich thin

    Dinner – will be deli turkey meat and cheese panini because I have shredded lettuce that is wilting and needs to be used. It’s 50 cents worth of lettuce shreds but just can’t bear to toss it out. Rearranged my weekly meal plan on wilting lettuce. I’ll make some soup to go with the sandwich too!

  21. Felicia says

    Sunday –

    Happy to report that I only spent $17.87 this past week. Not exactly a “no-spend” week but some essentials that we needed. I budgetted no more than $20 and came in under budget. YAY!!!!!

  22. Patricia says

    Been trying to stick to the challenge – but Friday night my daughter called as they were picking up Chinese takeout and wanted to know if I wanted any – so Friday night and Saturday lunch I ate Chinese. Saturday (6th) I had: B – English muffin with peanut butter and tea / L: Chinese takeout / D: Baked two large pork chops covered with Stovetop Pork stuffing mix with beets. Then Sunday had tea with my last cinn-raisin English muffin with tea / L: Can of light split pea soup D: will eat remainder pork chop with remainder beets… Tomorrow I’ll set my slow cooker going with chicken breast slices, carrots, chicken broth, celery and tomorrow will add home made matzo balls and a 1/4 bag of fine egg noodles – nice way to make the house smell well while waiting for supper. Liking this challenge. Promise not to buy anything I don’t absolutely need. ALTHOUGH – I want some cashews, almonds, vanilla granola, fresh spinach, eggplant and broccoli – I don’t NEED these items but I crave them – the only thing I need is milk and eggs.

  23. Laurie Decker says

    Day 6 1/6/18
    B- cream of wheat for both of us
    L- I had crackers and cheese for lunch and Hubs had another bowl of homemade chicken soup. It’s good soup but as I’ve said before, I would be so bored to eat the same thing day after day.
    D- leftover chicken enchiladas, Mexican rice and corn
    For dessert, he had a couple of handfuls of peanut M&M’s

  24. Julie says

    Catching up…

    Saturday breakfast: Banana bread (officially tired of banana bread for a minute! But officially used up all the brown bananas. LOL.
    Lunch- I honestly can’t remember what we had for lunch yesterday
    Dinner-french toast and oranges

    NYM Lemon and flax waffles. ALMOST got in over my head with ingredient subs but the final product tasted good. Made enough to use up all the greek yogurt, so that will be our breakfast over the next few days. We are out of syrup but I’m considering doing the book’s suggestion of berries and whipped cream. Hubby uses whipping cream for his bulletproof coffee, and we have a couple of opened bottles that I feel like need to be used up if they expire soon. Otherwise I’ll need to get creative with a topping if I don’t want to go to the store.

    Lunch: Chicken sausages with cucumbers and apples

    Dinner: veggie soup at my mom’s house. Yum!

    This upcoming week is planned for but may get tricky as we have two different sets of families coming in at two different times. I think we have enough to feed everyone, though. I’ve been spending about 45 minutes each day doing SOMETHING to keep me ahead, and I’d like to keep that trend going. We set our grocery budget biweekly, and we have a good amount left for the upcoming second week, and I have a full fridge. My goal is to save/roll $100 into next week’s budget. We shall see..

    • Melissa in GA says

      If you have berries, make a berry syrup. Pioneer woman has a recipe – just saw it on one her shows. I think she’s done 2 , blueberry and blackberry.

      • Tasty says

        You coukd also take some strawberry jam and thin it a little with orange juice!

    • Again, the reference to NYM made me smile. Thanks!

      • Julie says

        One of my sillier 2018 goals is to use only recipes from cookbooks I own, vs Pinterest or blogs. NYM and GCE will be getting a lot of turns at my house!

        • Very cool! There are so many recipes in there (the majority!) that have never been blogged. I think you’ll have some fun.

  25. Laura C says

    January 7- Finally made it out of the neighborhood today to go get some items at the store. But still don’t think kids will go to school tomorrow. Was -3 this morning. Where I am in VA hasn’t been that cold in 18 years.

    Breakfast- French toast casserole made with eggnog from the holidays
    Lunch- Leftover pizza for husband, Picked up Panda Express for kid and me
    Dinner- Clean out fridge of leftovers

  26. Terry calkins says

    Tried my hand at homemade apple fritters. Yummy! Ham and eggs and fritters for breakfast. Fed the animals, cleaned the kitchen, loaded the dishwasher and started a load of laundry. Now I’m ready for a nap

  27. Joa in IA says

    B-. Cinnamon oatmeal for hubby and I. Boys slept late didn’t eat breakfast.

    L-. Leftover chicken thighs for some, left over Chinese take out for others. Bagel sandwich for #2 son and chips

    Snacks- Salsa and chips for 3 of us.

    S-. Went out for dinner for #2son birthday. Everyone too full for Dairy Queen ice cream cake.

    Did have to go to Menard’s today for some paint. They had Jacks frozen pizza on sale $1.99 each. Oldest son was along and he picked out 6 of them. Total $11.94 that was the first I spent on food in the new year. He will probably eat one everyday at lunch this week. Finals week, so schedules will be different for both boys.

    Put a turkey carcass, celery and carrots in the crockpot at 10pm Saturday night to make broth. Going to have turkey noodle soup on Sunday for supper.

  28. Christine says

    Love reading what everyone is reading. I love the pantry challenge. I did not have enough to not shop, so I did shop yesterday. However I got a lot of stuff at Big Y with their buy 1 get 2 sales. My goals for the months is to cook and eat at home with minimal/no eating out. Good luck to all.

  29. Roberta says

    1/6/18 Sat.

    B: Waffles, eggs sunny side up, OJ, coffee

    L: Grilled cheese sandwiches on hm whole wheat, bananas, pears, celery and carrot sticks w/ ranch dip, salad

    D: LO minestrone and focaccia, salad, oranges and pears

    S/D: PB toast (Hubs), trail mix (me), Christmas chocolates (all)

    So now that I read this, I see that we had bread of some sort at every single meal. Not so great for my waistline. At least it was all homemade. Next week the guys are back to school/work, so I can get back to salads for lunch. The guys will stick pack sandwiches though, so I also made another loaf of whole wheat. Fruit and veg consumption is good. Chocolates, well we just won’t talk about them. Ahem. At least my Fitbit says I walked 7.16 miles over the course of the day.

    • Over 7 miles. That’s amazing! I did that during our England trip, but it’s so hard to pull off at home!

      • Roberta says

        I felt it by the end of the day. :} My average is 4 miles per day. Saturday we got two dog walks in plus I was on my feet a lot doing laundry and housecleaning. I guess all the back and forth around the house really added up.

        I’m going to try to increase my average to 5 miles per day in 2018. Of course between having a cold and the expected two days of rain this week I’m not off to a very good start. Maybe I need to do more laundry and clean the house more. That could be a win-win for me.

  30. Jcrieff says

    I was able to clear out quite a few things today. I focused on the Christmas ham we get every year from work.

    Breakfast: Omelet with ham, green peppers (frozen from this year’s garden), and Havarti.

    Lunch: Split pea soup, using ham bone. Used up the rest of the split peas.

    Dinner: Ham, broccoli and cheese turnover. Used up 1/2 box of puff pastry which has been in my freezer for who knows how long! Will freeze extras.

    • Sandi says

      great job! yippee for using things up, but also for using the ham in every meal but so differently that I’m sure it didn’t seem like the same thing three times.

  31. Danielle L Zecher says

    Saturday 1/6/18:

    Breakfast: Baked Blackberry Oatmeal.

    Lunch: I had leftover Eggplant Parmesan.

    Dinner: I had an egg and cheese bagel (bagel from the freezer).

    Hubby was sick and tends to graze on weird things when he’s sick so ate an odd mix of tortillas, potato salad, and chips throughout the day.

    • Melissa in GA says

      I kinda get that weird eating when sick thing, you eat what tastes good to you, lol

  32. Cindy says

    Day 6, January 6th
    Breakfast: tea and cranberry walnut bread from the freezer; hubs had his usual cereal, oj, coffee and cranberry walnut bread
    Lunch: we mostly skipped lunch, I had a V8 and he had a 7 up at MIL
    Dinner: before we left I put a pork chop, 2 potatoes w/mushroom soup in the crockpot to be ready when we got back + frozen corn from our garden as a side
    Dessert: Christmas candy AGAIN !

    The plan for tomorrow is to continue to eat from our freezer, fridge and pantry. At this time our goal is to stay out of the grocery stores and restaurants at least thru this coming work week, after that all bets are off! This is my first pantry challenge (at least as a participant) so I’m very determined but I also know that there is absolutely no way I can make it for an entire month. We will definitely need fresh produce, dairy, eggs and hubby’s cereal. Total spent for 2018 so far is $0.00

    • Kathy in Denmark says

      It sounds like you are doing great!

      I really don’t think anybody here spends absolutely nothing during the month. Most people will need to get milk or produce at some point.

      Your total so far is a lot better than mine, let me tell you 🙂

      • Cindy says

        Thank you Kathy!
        I’m sure if we still had small children as you do, we would not be at this point after one week! What you do to keep every fed and happy with a vegetarian spouse is nothing short of amazing!

    • Julies says

      I definitely don’t plan to spend nothing. I have little kids and I want them to keep eating produce and cheese and have milk. I also will buy eggs. This is a make your own rules challenge .

      • Cindy says

        I agree and with small kids at home it is a totally different ball game. I’m not sure I would have tackled something like this when our two were young. So kudos to you Julie!

    • Tasty says

      Well done Cindy at 0.00 spending!

      • Cindy says

        Thank you!

        I’m confident the no spend ends this coming weekend, but I’m excited for our progress so far.

  33. Pat says

    We were finally above freezing today in Omaha,Ne.!!! Tomorrow it is supposed to be over forty–car wash here I come.
    Jan 6th
    Breakfast–husband had the last of the egg thing we made the other night. I skipped.
    Lunch–I had a bowl of the beef barley soup and a cheese stick, My husband grabbed a deli sandwich while he was out.
    Dinner was hamburgers, baked sweet potato fries and a cup of soup was the veggie course.
    I hope the people with unusually frigid weather get warmer temps soon.

    • Heather M says

      I hear you re the car wash! We haven’t been above freezing in ages in the DC area, until right now, though it’s hovering at freezing and raining, so hoping it warms a bit so no ice! (it’s supposed to) My car is practically white from the roadspray/treatment and most i see out there are the same. So looking foward to a car wash this week too!! 🙂

      • Pat says

        I made it thru a touchless car wash. My car looks great from a distance but up close is still dirty. Note to self– go to a regular car wash!!

  34. Melissa B says

    The weekend was a flurry of activity.

    L sandwiches with chips
    D Mexican restaurant with my whole family


    L I am not sure what everyone ate I had a upset stomach
    D had dinner at my daughter and son-in-laws house

    I hope to get back to some normal meals and schedules.

  35. Kathy in Denmark says

    Day 6.

    B: HM bread, smoothies, softboiled eggs, coffee for the adults.
    L: Kids had rye bread with fish and carrots on the side. DH and I skipped because af the late breakfast.
    Afternoon snack: Bread/crackers with carlic cream cheese. Carrots, almonds.
    D: Lasagna with mixed salad and HM rolls.
    S/dessert: Last of the brownie from NYE with the last of a carton of vanilla ice cream.

    I used up the last of the rasberry coulis from NYE in the smoothies and the crackers we had as a snack were expiring, so good to get those eaten up as well!
    We had some clementines which were starting to look a little sad (this always happens after Christmas, it seems), so I juiced them and froze the juice in an ice cube tray. Whenever we have orange juice, I put in a cube of frozen juice. It’s really good!
    I checked my long term storage of apples (picked in October). Some were going a bit soft, so I made another batch of apple sauce, which I will preserve and add to my storage. We can go trough a lot of apple sauce if we have it on hand, so this should disappear rather quickly.

    • Alice E says

      Do you ever just poach the apples in a very light syrup. That is the way my hubby likes them best. When I have a lot that won’t keep like when his Dad brought me bushels of them, I just peel and quarter or slice them and can them in a very light syrup using recommended times. My Grandson thinks they are special and I sometimes take a couple pints I have just cooked up over to him as a special treat.

      • Cindy says

        I’ve done pears that way too Alice, they are just so tasty and fresh tasting!

      • Kathy in Denmark says

        I haven’t tried that, but it sounds good. We go trough a lot of apples, just eating fresh and to flavour porridge, so usually my only issue is running out too soon lol.

        I am thinking we should pick even more next season and then I can experiment some more 🙂

  36. It has been a while now that every January I make a food inventory, but it is much more fun since I’ve discovered the pantry challenge a few years ago. I thought I was a weirdo until then hahaha.
    I have done my inventory last week and luckily I am fully covered for a whole month. My husband yesterday was complaining to me that I have a lot of cookbooks in my shelf, but did not use them as a reference. So he got up and grabbed two cookbooks. Guess what he picked:
    Good Cheap eats dinner in less than 30 minutes and GCE Everyday dinners &fantastic feasts 🙂
    So, he picked the meals while I had to write down the pages numbers and prepare a meal planning.
    Starting from today I’ll be joining your pantry challenge.

    B: My son and me had plain yogurt topped with frozen peaches and honey (I had forgotten the fruits in my freezer). My husband and daughter had milk and whole wheat cereals
    L: Ginger carrot soup made from scratch, well almost ( I had some leftover canned baby carrots)
    D: We’ll have veggie black bean burger and arugula salad (the Patties already done last night)

    PS:Your books made a long journey until reaching Albania by the way 🙂
    Love and hugs from Tirana

    • Alice E says

      How wonderful that they made the journey and that you can join us in the pantry challenge.

      My excuse for all the shelves of cookbooks is that I read them at different times and they inspire me even when I’m not following the recipes. I do keep and refer to lots of them, but some I must admit are just for fun. I am slowly weeding out some of them, as I do have lots that don’t get much use.

      • Cindy says

        Every cookbook I own has been read at least once and probably more just like any other book – from cover to cover!

    • Yay! Thank you for these encouraging words! Brought a smile to my face!

    • Lynn from NC Outer Banks says

      Albania, Denmark and Canada (and probably others I’ve missed) plus people all across the US. What an interesting group of Pantry Challengers! Gotta love the internet:)

    • Sandi says

      I love hearing what people from other countries use, so I’m happy you are joining in.

      • ??????.
        That’s what food does, it unites food lovers around the world.

        • It was supposed to show smile faces not this ” ??? ” 🙂 🙂

  37. Terry calkins says

    Apple fritters, ham, eggs and hash browns for breakfast.
    As long as the deep fryer was out I decided to make homemade onion rings and used the last of the batter to throw in a few chicken strips.
    Dinner time I wasn’t hungry. Hubby fried up some hamburger from the freezer to make tacos. Lots of leftovers.

  38. Patricia says

    Any suggestions for using up Strawberry Jam? I made too much last summer. It’s a brightly colored loose pack, made with just strawberries, sugar and lemon juice using the old timer recipe with no added pectin. It’s great on ice cream, but everyone here has been on diets for months and no end in sight.

    ps – I love the new meal plan I just purchased. Your recipes are so interesting and well thought-out, nothing like what all the other bloggers offer on weekly meal plans.

    • Melissa in GA says

      Mixed into yogurt, oatmeal, strawberry bread, mix in muffins. There’s a recipe out there to make your own nutrigrain type bars filled with jam.
      Good luck!

    • Alice E says

      You might try using it as a glaze or mixed into a dressing for a fruit salad. There are cookies recipes that call for jam but I’m betting they aren’t eating cookies either. It might even work added to a vinaigrette type salad dressing. I figure they are eating salads. (grin)

      I’ve never done it but I know a friend used to add just a spoonful of jelly or jam to things like stir fries for added flavor. I suspect that any recipe such as barbecue sauce or sloppy joes that has you add a bit of sugar could have the jam substituted in. To test it you could put some of the sauce in a small bowl and try it there instead of the whole recipe.

      Good Luck

      • Patricia says

        These are great ideas! I have some leftover blueberry jam too. I love vinaigrettes and breakfast bars would be a good way to use up our oats too. We are senior citizens and don’t like to throw out anything. My spouse is 73 with ongoing heart failure, so yogurt, breakfast bars, and salad are all good things for the diet. We can probably find a good spinach salad recipe to incorporate the jam.

    • I absolutely love the dressing this salad: and it’s best made with homemade jam. So good!

    • Also, so glad you’re enjoying the meal plan. Tell all your friends! 😉

  39. June says

    I have read many online reputable people, wellness mama recommend elderberry capsules (make sure nothing is added) to shorten colds

    • I’ve been taking those the last week, since before I got sick. Unfortunately, doesn’t seem to be doing anything remarkable.

  40. Tasty says

    Sunday January 7th

    B – fruit and yogurt followed by freshly made muffins. Rather than adding a spoonful of jam (fruit explosion muffins) I used the last of the cranberry mandarin sauce – really nice and it used it up too! Win/win!

    L – a slice of toast and cream cheese, hubby skipped.

    S – Chinese ginger chicken with sticky rice and some mini egg rolls from the freezer. The Chinese we bought at the grocery store – we were running late and it was not expensive. We enjoy Chinese food but don’t have anything handy in town. The sticky rice was from the pantry.

    • Cindy says

      Cranberry mandarin sauce sounds amazing, both tart and sweet – do you have a recipe to share?

      • Tasty says

        Cindy, I adapted a recipe to suit what to I had on hand.

        I used a 12 oz bag of fresh cranberries, 1/2 cup of sugar and 2 mandarins that I peeled and ran thru my mini blender.
        Added 6 oz water and brought the mix to a boil, making sure the sugar was fully dissolved. (The cranberries burst as they cook). Simmer until the sauce thickens – about 15 minutes. Very simple !!!

  41. Mona says

    Sunday 1/7

    Breakfast – Oatmeal

    Lunch – Turkey sandwiches

    Dinner – Baked cod, baked potatoes w/butter and sour cream, carrots & peas

    • Stephanie M. says

      Hi Mona. No the pantry challenge, Day 7 was not posted yet. Jessica has a very bad cold too and I guess she didn’t feel up to it. Because she lives in California, though, she usually posts late at night our time so I don’t usually post my daily menu until the next morning. I’m sure when we wake up tomorrow, she will have posted Day 7.

      I’m sorry your hubby is still feeling so crummy. It’s so cold out; I can’t warm up; it’s one cup of tea after another all day. So I can imagine how cold and miserable he must feel. Hopefully in the next day or two, he will start feeling better again.

      • Yes, and yes. Plus we started back to school this week, so the days are busy. Thanks for your patience with me!

        • Stephanie M. says

          Hi Jessica: I’m sorry you’re feeling so awful right now. Hoping you’re getting back on the mend soon. I know this is a fruitless thing to say, but TRY to take it easy and don’t overdo. You need some rest now and no thanks needed. Your health comes first. Hugs coming to you from frozen New Jersey!!! 🙂

  42. Felicia says

    Monday – JAN 8

    Found a cooked, Cajun Fried Turkey weighing a tad over 10 lbs for $10.00 at Kroger!!! I just had to buy it, break it down for the freezer and make stock with the carcass. That is like $0.99/lb and I can’t buy deli meat for that price!

    Today I used some chicken broth from the freezer to make Italian Wedding Soup for dinner with my Stromboli. It was awesome. Have not had it in years. Since I didn’t have escarole, I used some leftover cooked spinach from the freezer. I used two hamburgers from the freezer, defrosted them and made 41 mini-meatballs. About 20 mini-meatballs went back into the freezer. LOL! DH was so impressed, he had two bowls of soup!

    Breakfast – oatmeal and hot tea

    Lunch – Larabar on the run

    Dinner – Stromboli filled with ricotta, mozzarella and spinach; Italian Wedding Soup.

  43. Sandi says

    Sun 1/7
    B – grapefruit and mixed nuts for me, he slept through it
    L – I had chili, he had chicken noodle soup
    D – grilled chicken, steamed broccoli, yellow rice – the rice was a different brand than I usually buy and I’ll not be buying it again. Back to Vigo! Of course I bought the larger bag of it since the Kid loves yellow rice so now I’ve got a bunch of rice leftover. Thankfully he’ll still eat it and maybe I’ll be lucky and the parts that didn’t get fully softened even with extra liquid and extra cooking time will somehow soften up overnight. Otherwise, maybe it’ll get thrown into a soup of some sort.
    Dessert – Christmas cookie

    • Melissa in GA says

      Vigo is my favorite as well. I like to squeeze a little lemon juice on it, and I prepare it with olive oil too. You’re making me want some!

  44. Jess says
  45. Joa in IA says


    B- Cinnamon oatmeal for hubby and I. Boys slept late again.

    L-. Frozen pizza, beer bread with raspberry jam

    Snack – Corn dip (aka Crack). #2son makes this often to have for the week to eat with lunch and to have as a snack. Used up 3 cans of Mexican corn, 1 can green chiles, Greek yogurt cup, also has mayo, cumin, chili powder, cheddar cheese and onion. Use tortilla chips with it.

    S-. Crockpot turkey noodle soup with oyster crackers and beer bread. No soup left, I really wanted some for the next day.

    Made 2 loaves of beer bread with some older October Fest beer. There are still 6 bottles left so I’ll be making more. Also made on Saturday 4 dozen chocolate chip cookies from some cookie mixes I had. Cookies already all gone. I don’t bake much and on Sunday there were questions on why I was baking 2 days in a row.

  46. Donna says

    I made the first week spending about $12 , but I already have a sizeable list for this week. My pantry is under control, and my freezer is stocked for several months, but I have to watch my spending with produce. I always overbuy!

  47. Christine says

    Kids had chocolate chip banana bread and smoothies for breakfast. I had a smoothie. Packed lunches for school/work. Tonight included two different basketball practices and a meeting for me. Dinner was left over pizza purchased Saturday night-mostly with a gift card. We got 2 dinners for about $12-bonus. I don’t have a fully stocked freezer to do a full blown pantry challenge, but I hope to use what I have and save a few bucks this month.

  48. Marci says

    It was back to school today from the holidays, lets say it was an interesting transition….

    Day7: B- eggs, salmon, creamcheese, sausage,pita bread, greens. Late Lunch: Poke bowl or Acai Bowl – I bought it as a special treat for my kids. They helped me clear out our kitchen which took about 5 hours, we donated 3 large boxes of sutff and had enough space to take everything off the counter and empty out two kitchen rolling carts we had…. feeling quite accomplished since this was one of my PC goals. D- roasted pork, coleslaw and rice (I had it in the oven all day while we cleaned)
    Day8: B- homemade yogurt/granola, L: Pork & Coleslaw D: Mushroom chicken in the intstant pot, with rice and green beans and roasted brussel sprouts.

    I spent about $150 this weekend but it was a combination of household items and a small amount of grocery neccesities like milk, bread, veggies, fruit. I dont have a separate budget- I track all our family purchases under one budget, I use coupons when its on items my family needs, so this weekend we used $40 of coupons for laundry soap and toiletries.

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