Pantry Challenge 2018: Day 9

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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.

cheesy pasta casserole

Today’s update is going to be short and sweet since I have a Psych episode and half a glass of wine waiting for me. Also nursing a possible sinus infection.

Also, enjoying a full 24-hours of rain which you know Southern California could always use, except where the fires were. Which of course means landslides for those poor people. Sigh.

Anyhow, if you follow me on instagram, you already know that I broke the cardinal rule of freezer cooking. I have two containers of sauce that I *think* are either cream of chicken or chicken gravy. I’m not exactly sure, but I used 4 cups up tonight anyway.

After thawing and tasting, and with my compromised olfactory organs, decided it was close enough. My original meal plan was to make a pork loin or cut it into chops, but it still hadn’t thawed since Saturday. Fridge must be cold.

So, I started digging in the freezer and found the aforementioned sauce and some sweet Italian sausage. I knew I had one package of small pasta and so I made this Sausage Noodle Casserole but with a bunch of substitutions, namely the mystery sauce, bulk sausage instead of links, and instead of mozzarella, I used a combination of cheddar and Boursin that I bought on clearance that needed to be used up. It was delicious!

Boom. Crazy dinner that could have been a train wreck, but wasn’t. That’s what I’m talking about!

Pantry Challenge 2018: Day 9

Breakfast:  Chocolate Chip Banana Bread and fresh fruit for the kids, Skillet Eggs for me

Lunch: Kids had Chicken Enchiladas from the freezer. I had a salad. Brown baggers in the family took leftovers

Dinner:  Sausage Noodle CasseroleEasy Garlic 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. Julie says

    Breakfast: waffles or oatmeal
    Lunch: eggs and toast for the 3 y/o, leftover spaghetti for the packed lunchers, leftover chicken sausage and salad for me and hubs
    Dinner: hamburgers and baked potatoes. Meant to have a salad but forgot to set it out. Ha!

  2. Brighid says

    B – leftover pancakes,yogurt & fruit for me, cereal for others
    L – my son took a packed lunch, dh forgot to eat and I had the last of some soup and a rather stale roll
    D – dinner was split early and late with a meeting in the middle so I had take-out/leftovers and dh had take-out/chips & hummus

    Oh, and I did a bunch of shopping because we’re finally out pf the super-cold weather. Mostly I bought lots and lots of vegetables both fresh and frozen, paper supplies (tp and paper towel) but did buy two packages of ground turkey and some honey.

  3. Alice E says

    Hope you are better soon! From what I have experienced and heard form others, this is a familiar path for this particular bug.

    The casserole was a great save. At least is was chicken, the mystery package I defrosted a few years ago turned out to be pineapple juice I saved to use glazing a cake. Not a help for my soup at the time. LOL I’ve tried to be better about marking everything.

    It was a quiet day for us food-wise.

    B – Baked eggs, WW Toast and Hot tea.
    L – He takes PB sandwich, I had leftover pasta salad.
    D – Hash with ground beef and shredded potatoes, mixed veg, parmesan couscous
    S- donuts for him, chips with guacamole for me

    I wasn’t planning to fix the couscous tonight, but the package was setting on the counter when I spilled some water, so it got made up and added to the menu. Tomorrow will be leftovers again. Thankfully they are accepted happily at our house.

  4. Roberta says

    Tues. 1/9/18

    B: Oatmeal, toast, OJ, coffee

    L: Last of the minestrone, string cheese, last pear, bananas, carrot and celery sticks w/ the last of the ranch dip, milk for son. (Son had an “early out” day at school, and Hubs came home early so we were all home for lunch today.)

    D: LO sausage and pepper pasta, salad, string cheese, oranges, and homemade applesauce.

    S/D: Cookies, cocoa (son), and chocolates. We were gifted 3 lbs. of chocolates from various neighbors. Yum!

    I also made up some cranberry pomegranate compote to put on yogurt. Used some cranberries I bought on sale around Thanksgiving and tossed into the freezer.

  5. Heather M says

    HI All! Jessica, isn’t it great when you make something out of what was on hand and it works beautifully?! Good work! Around here, ANOTHER weird day with a last minute delayed entry to school(they texted earlier than last week though, at 4:45am) due to icy roads/sidewalks. It warmed into the 40s today so hoping that is all behind us now. Figured out that January is history when it comes to a full/normal school week, which was supposed to be this week. Next week MLK day, the following week they have a teacher work day for end of quarter. AUGH!

    I also did run to the store for a few more fresh veggies. Realized that if I wanted to eat healthily and make decent meals, we needed a few more. For $9.76 I picked up 2lb bag of carrots, large bunch of celery, 2 green bell peppers, an english cucumber, some red tomatoes, and a thing of sunburst tomatoes(does anyone else love these like I do?- they’re only $1.99/package here, which is cheaper than red grape tomatoes!). I feel much better about things now.

    Tuesday, 1/9:

    B: son had cereal, turkey sausage, OJ; hubs and I had a slice each of the whole wheat pear bread I made last night. It’s good, not sweet, which is great. I can put a spread on it if I want, but we didn’t.
    L: son took turkey/cheddar on ww, clementines, pistachios/almonds, clif bar; hubs took ham/provolone on ww, apple, and the rest of two bags of tortilla chips that were taking up space and needed eating!; I was taken to lunch by a friend for my birthday. We got flatbread sandwiches and smoothies at Tropical Smoothie and had a great visit.
    D: Son was out at a church ice skating activity and grabbed taco bell with his friends; I made a warm Greek couscous salad for hubs and I. It used up the rest of a box of whole wheat couscous. In it were things we already had: garbanzo beans, feta, kalamata olives, cucumber(the last of one that somehow survived since christmas), red onion, greek vinaigrette. I also added both kinds of tomatoes and green bell pepper purchased today. So, the few purchases I’ve made this week are strictly to enhance and improve the healthiness of our meals.
    S: more christmas cookies/candy. ugh, we have too much still.

  6. Karen J says

    Your casserole looks delicious. I’d eat that!

    breakfast-poached eggs/toast/bacon
    We were feeling the need for an adventure, so went for a drive and visited a Goodwill in another town, then went out for a late lunch. Yep, we are exciting people.
    dinner-neither of us were hungry, so we just snacked on banana bread or chicken salad with crackers and drank a glass of wine

  7. Pat says

    That casserole looks delicious! The closest we’ve come to a casserole since my husband’s diabetes diagnosis is egg bakes and we made chicken pot pie once.
    Jan 9th
    Breakfast was the usual for us both
    Lunch for my husband was whichever prepared lunch he took out of the freezer. I had some cheese and crackers l/o from Christmas and a cutie
    Dinner was the rest of the hamburgers, sweet potato fries and steamed asparagus from the freezer.
    The winter weather is supposed to return tomorrow night with freezing rain turning to snow. Luckily we have everything we need !!

  8. Kathy in Denmark says

    Day 9:

    B: Oats and milk for DH. Rye porridge with applesauce, cream and butter for the kids. Coffee and toast for me.
    L: Packed lunch for DH and DD1. Rye bread with fish or leftover roast for DD2 and me. Veggies on the side. The roast is from NYE. I divided it into small packages and froze it.
    D: Rice, peas, hollandaise sauce (freezedried so added milk and butter), veggie cutlet for DH and chicken breast for the rest of us.
    S: Bananas, cookies, raisins.

    I prepared rye bread in the evening. It has to rise for 12 hours, so I ususally make the dough in the evening and bake it in the morning after dropping DD1 off at school.

    • Lynn from NC Outer Banks says

      Kathy, what kind of fish is it that your family eats on bread and how is it prepared?

      • Kathy in Denmark says

        I usually have two types of tinned fish on hand. One is called “torskerogn” and is basically the eggs from cod which have been boiled. You can eat it as is, but you can also slice it and fry it in a pan. I put a little remoulade and some lemon juice on it 🙂
        The other is called “makrel i tomat” and is mackerel in a tomato sauce. I serve it with mayonnaise.

        I googled it to find a picture, but I really didn’t think it looked that appetizing in the photos! So you will just have to take my word for it: it really is very good 😀

        I think both are very typical for Denmark. I think most people have these in their cupboard. Since they’re good for you and keep forever because they’re tinned, I certainly always have some around.

        Hope this answers your question 🙂

        • Heather M says

          Kathy, these must be the danish equivalent to tinned tuna, which is what fish most americans eat from a can. along with salmon, and those that do, sardines(they scare me, being an entire little fish… ha!). I’m a huge fan of tuna and would eat a tuna sandwich every day if i could. So I totally get the tinned fish as a staple thing. I’d love to try your standards someday!

          • Kathy in Denmark says

            I think you are right; most countries have their own special foods people keep on hand for emergencies and quick meals 🙂
            A lot of Danes do also have tinned tuna in their cupboards, but I have been avoiding it because of the contents of mercury and heavy metals (I’m not sure that is what you call it in English, but I hope you understand what I mean). A few years ago the authorites recommended pregnant women and small children to eat only very little fresh tuna and stick to tinned tuna because of the bad things in it. Last year they changed the recommendation to NO tuna of any kind to pregnant women and women who wanted to/ might get pregnant, and only very litlle tuna to young children. I find it easier to avoid it all together for now, but I really do like tuna fish salad, sigh.

            You can get tinned salmon here, but most people buy it smoked or fresh in stead. I love smoked salmon!

            Re the sardines, I remember a movie with Tom Hanks were his neighbors serve a snack of pretzels and sardines straight from the can. The look on his face while eating it makes me not want to try sadines at all LOL

        • Lynn from NC Outer Banks says

          Yes, Kathy it does! Like Heather says we tend to have more canned tuna and salmon here. There have been warnings re: the mercury and heavy metals (you were correct!) here as well for the tuna, but no prohibitions I don’t think. I have had fresh mackerel when my husband has caught it, but never canned/tinned. I’ll have to look and see if that is even carried in our stores. I’ve never noticed! And as much as I like fish and seafood, I skip the sardines as well.

  9. Jess says

    The casserole looks interesting! I was raised on a few yucky dishes and got away from making them myself.. When I have tried one of the kids nor husband like them much.. so with a rare few they will eat.. I don’t even attempt to be creative.
    Yesterday was a no effort to participate day! lol I planned it in my head!
    B- Kids had oatmeal packets and I think I ate some cold cereal and coffee before work.
    L- packed 2/3 kids lunches.. one had marked buying on the school calendar. So lunches were PB&B with honey sandwiches( too ripe bananas needed used), clementines, chips and granola bars.
    My lunch was a meeting at work at a local *cool restaurant* that my boss paid for since we really needed to work without getting interrupted at work.. got a lot done.. ate a Cheeseburger wedge salad that was really good.. and too many fried dill pickles!!!
    D- free night for all and I really wanted a break.. planned to surprise everyone with supper at a local wing place.. but it was packed.. like WAY packed.. and husband had a headache so we went to a place I thought I had a coupon for.. to find out it expired 4 days earlier.. Screw it.. we ordered what we wanted.. it was enjoyable.. everyone got along… I did not cook it and had no clean up.. Autostarted the van to warm and we went home.. Worth every overpaid nickle..

    Already pulled stuff from the freezer for tonight! lol

    • Heather M says

      Nice working lunch! Sounds delicious. I love friend pickles. 🙂

    • Heather M says

      Excuse me, FRIED pickles. 🙂

      • Lynn from NC Outer Banks says

        You made me chuckle!

  10. Janet says

    B: Milk and cereal with blackberries and blueberries
    L: I had a work lunch. My husband used a gift card to eat at McDonalds
    D: Meatballs with bolognese sauce from the freezer, grapefruit halves

  11. Tasty says

    Tuesday January 9th

    B – fruit and yogurt for hubby + a muffin, banana, yogurt and a toasted crumpet for me

    L – I was at a pot luck lunch, hubby had pb and banana sandwich

    S – mushroom omelets and salad

  12. Stephanie M. says

    Tuesday, January 9 – Day 9

    B – Hubby had cereal; I had a whole wheat bagel thin, lite cream cheese, pineapple/strawberries, V8 and peanuts

    L – Hubby had a business luncheon; I had a roast chicken sandwich with lettuce on whole wheat and some cut up veggies – cucumber, tomato, olives (since I don’t buy lunchmeat anymore, I buy the rotissieri chicken breasts. I forget how much this one weighed but they are always quite large. I paid $9.00 for it and it is feeding hubby, me, and our daughter all week. When I used to buy deli lunchmeat, I paid more than $9.00 per lb. This chicken breast was at least 2 lbs. so not only is it a more healthy option, it is more economical as well).

    D – Bean soup with chicken sausage and cucumber salad

    I had four bananas in the freezer so I took out two and made a banana walnut bread. With the other two, I will make one for my mom and give it to her over the weekend and then no more bananas in the freezer!

    • Roberta says

      We don’t buy lunchmeat anymore either (too expensive and too many sketchy ingredients). A couple of years ago, however, we invested in a deli-style meat slicer. Every now and then I’ll buy a boneless turkey roast, cook it up, and have Hubs run it and some cheese through the slicer (I’m a bit afraid to use the thing). Voila! Homemade “deli” meats and cheese (and I know what the ingredients are).

  13. Nevila from Albania,

    It’s been almost a week that I haven’t spent on groceries except of buying some iceberg lettuce and radicchio two days ago, so we’re hanging just fine here.
    We had :
    Breakfast: my hubby and daughter milk and cereals, me and my son yogurt and fruits ( I added oats to mine)
    Lunch : Slow-cooked pot roast (recipe from GCE cookbook)
    Dinner: We’ll have a simple yet delicious Cesar Salad

  14. Mona says

    Tuesday 1/9

    Breakfast – Nutella toast

    Lunch – Crackers & cheese

    Dinner – Baked deer steak w/mushrooms & onions, potato patties, baked beans

    Hubby finally went to the Doctor yesterday. They are saying its a sinus infection. They say the flu is turning into sinus infections so hopefully he is on the road to recovery.

    • Stephanie M. says

      Good to hear Mona. Glad he went to the doctor and the medicine will kick in right away and he will feel better very soon. 🙂

    • Melissa in GA says

      Hope he gets to feeling better soon!

    • Roberta says

      Glad to hear he went to the doctor. Sinus infections are no fun at all.

  15. Danielle L Zecher says

    Tuesday 1/9/18:

    Not a great PC day.

    Breakfast: I had Starbucks. It was cold, and I didn’t feel good, so that was my motivation to get out the door for work. I’m still using gift cards from Christmas, so I didn’t spend anything. Hubby ate at work..

    Lunch: I went to Wal-Mart for cold medicine and tissues. I also picked up some grapes, bread, milk, eggs, juice, and veggies while I was there. My food total (not counting the cold medicine or tissues in that) was $18.49. Aldi would have been cheaper, but I only had time to go one place during lunch and the cold medicine was a must. I really didn’t want to stop anywhere else on the way home, so I just got what we needed at Wal-Mart. I grabbed Chick-Fil-A for lunch. Hubby went to Bojangles. He said it was the only thing that sounded good.

    Dinner: I had leftover refried bean soup and apple crisp. Hubby had apple crisp. I put the last of the soup in the freezer.

    • Stephanie M. says

      I’m sorry to hear you’re not feeling well. The dominoes just keep dropping. Hope you feel better in the next few days. 🙂

    • Sandi says

      sometimes you just gotta do what ya gotta do to get through it, especially if you’re sick. You can make it up when you feel better. 🙂

  16. Terry calkins says

    Pretty much used up the leftovers yesterday. The taco soup for dinner was the best ever. Kinda sorry it is gone. During the night I was dreaming of beef and barley soup. I was sure there was a package of cube steaks in the bottom of the refrigerator freezer. I unloaded the two bottom drawers while down on my knees only to find no cube steaks. It felt a little like dumpster diving! Lol
    I did find sausage, spinach, corn, chicken stock and a package of waffles. The chickens will get the freezer burned spinach and waffles with their breakfast. The rest I’m thinking will be some kind of soup with double corn cornbread. 6 packages out, but the drawer looks just as full as before. At least I know now where the cube steaks….arent

    • Roberta says

      LOL. At least you’re making a dent in your freezer stash. I’ve barely touched my freezers. Sigh. Double corn bread sounds yummy; I think I need to put chili on the menu soon just so I can make cornbread to go along with it. 🙂

    • Pat says

      Terry–Only you would dream about soup!!! Haha!
      I hope you fulfill your dream and get your beef barley soup soon!!

    • Heather M says

      Love this dreaming! So funny! And hey, 6 packages out of the freezer is something, even if it doesn’t look like much. Good job!

  17. Sandy says

    Well I’ve been hit by the “crud” as Jessica says. It’s awful so I haven’t posted lately. Can’t remember what everyone ate when, but lots of leftovers gone. (Ham bone soup, spaghetti, appetizers from the freezer left from Christmas, taco meat and lots of fruit. Monday kid’s had school cancelled so 13 year old helped make chicken pot pie using up a lot veggies going south and pie crust from the freezer. I had cooked the chicken last week. Made plenty of leftovers, so repeated that meal last night. Hoping to get something made today, but not feeling much better. I’m thankful that I had carry over meals to get by when I feel so bad! Just praying not everyone gets it from me.

    • Stephanie M. says

      Hope you feel better in the next few days, Sandy. 🙂

    • Susan says

      I’ve been nursing something since Saturday morning that started to feel like sinus issues. After hearing about the length of time a lot of people are dealing with this, I called the doctor yesterday and got something to help clear it up fast (I hope). Like most of the commenters, we have plenty of food to tide everyone over while mom feels like crap. Somehow, on the 10th of January, I have only spent $12.32 on groceries for the month (mostly milk for teenage son)! Hang in there everyone and keep up the good work!!

      • Roberta says

        That’s an awesome grocery total (especially since you have a teenage boy in the house)!

        • Susan says

          Which should give you a really good idea of how much overstock is in the house. HA!

      • Heather M says

        Feel better!

    • Heather M says

      Ugh, I hope you feel better soon. When mom’s down it’s rough. But I’m glad the kids are stepping up. 🙂

  18. Melissa in GA says

    Lol dumpster diving in the freezer! It’s always a surprise what we can dig out of there sometimes!

    January 9th

    B – made some blueberry muffins using some yogurt that I need to use up. I had a muffin and an orange. Dad ate with the old farts but had a muffin for a mid morning snack

    L – dad ate in town, I had a salad and 2 Oreos ( found those hidden in my pantry, teehee, hiding them from hubs)

    D – a marinated boneless porkchop, the last of a frozen bag of hericot verts, the last of the LO potatoes fried in butter

    Dessert – we each had a piece of chocolate
    S – I had a muffin in the afternoon

    Hubs is still traveling so it’s just dad and I right now. Dad tends to bring stuff home that he finds in town, like blueberries and bananas. Bless him though, he likes to contribute .

    • Heather M says

      Hey, if dad’s bringing home fresh fruit, that is a win! 🙂

  19. Brooke says

    I realized on Monday night at 10pm that my 3 year old had to provide snack for his preschool class on…Tuesday morning at 10! So, instead of running to target that night or early morning like a crazy mom, I decided to order everything I needed for Walmart grocery pickup between 8 and 9 am Tuesday morning. So, I spent $140 on everything I needed for this week. I didn’t shop last week at all, so I feel like $70 a week for 6 people who eat mostly every meal here is ok! That doesn’t include any meat as we raise our own and purchase only from local farmers. Just dairy and produce.
    Last night I was undecided between taco salads and leftover soup. Left over soul won out. I didn’t want to waste. So we had leftover ham broccoli potato chowder. I also had a giant loaf of homemade French bread that I was wanting to save from molding, so I made a quick French bread pizza with the soup. Haha. No one starved. We had pears and carrots on the side. Now there is one small bowl of chowder left that will be gone after lunch today.
    This morning kids had egg sandwiches on bagels. I had half a bagel with cream cheese and jam. It was so, so delicious. Have I mentioned that I still have 10 lbs to lose and my baby is 8 months old?! Working on it. Just not that hard. Lol
    Today I pulled out burgers to have. I have a package of mushrooms, and some Swiss cheese I want to use. So we’ll have mushroom bacon Swiss burgers with homemade oven fries, corn on the cob from the freezer, and some Cole slaw perhaps, and steamed broccoli. I have to get busy and make the buns right now.

    • Julies says

      That’s not really bad for an 8 MO old, the 10 lbs. I’m still working with a 16 MO old , although , with my twins, when I weaned at 2 years, I lost 5 lbs in a week. Just lost my appetite .

      • Brooke says

        I am cheating too much. Lol I am so hungry all the time with nursing. I figure at least it’s winter and I can wear tunics and baggy stuff. Lol. All kidding aside though I DO have to lose it before spring. I am too cheap to buy a new wardrobe.

  20. Laurie in CA says

    B – protein shakes for both
    L – grandson and I had l/o grilled chicken, brown rice, avocado and I ate up the last of the roast cauliflower. Hubs had the stomach bug that is making the rounds.
    D – I had l/o meatloaf and garlic green beans
    We have a lot of leftovers we need to use up so I probably won’t be cooking for the next few days. Thankfully we don’t mind leftovers and I usually plan for them.

  21. Lesley from Alaska says

    We had a somewhat successful day, despite me still not feeling on top of my game. I made it in to work though, so I’m counting that as a win.

    B-Scrambled eggs for both the BF and me (he was up for once before me), didn’t have time for anything else
    L-I hit the store to pick up soup and bread, had a can of clam chowder (which I have apparently lost my taste for this year, ugh) and some toast
    S-I snacked on some smoked halibut I finally defrosted and cheese toast after work.
    D-Fajita bowls of spring mix, seasoned bell peppers & onions, Morningstar “ground beef”, black beans, olives, salsa, and vegan sour cream. It was so nice to finally actually make something with our produce. When I’m not well I tend to avoid anything fresh-which I know is terrible for me.

    I’ve not got a little bit of a stock of leftover ingredients (my favorite kind of leftovers) so am thinking about a possible soup tonight.

    • Sandi says

      glad you are starting to feel better

  22. Stephanie P says

    Sorry everyone is sick! Most people here are as well. I’m taking airborn every day hoping to avoid it.
    We somehow haven’t spent any money on groceries this month yet, but we are out of eggs and there will be a couple of other things we will need.

    We stocked up heavily on blackberries when they were .85 at Aldis, so they are part of just about every meal!

    B: Steel oats with PB for me, kix and blackberries for Kid 2, Kid 1 chose not to eat
    L: Kids ate at school/daycare. I had Turkey mushroom soup from my freezer.
    D: Chicken stir fry. The rest of my family hates rice/riced cauliflower so I used one of the mashed cauliflower packages and they loved it. I still haven’t told any of them that it wasn’t mashed potatoes.

    I know we are planning on Pizza this week some time for my DH birthday which is today.

    • Roberta says

      Wow! No outlay for groceries yet. Good for you!

  23. June says

    I’ve had some ribs in my freezer I’ve been avoiding, but today’s the day. My family will be happy! I’m on ketosis diet until mid Feb so it works for me to.

    This flu is scaring me. I have a full time college student living at home and a Jr. In high school of. 3500 students. We know most ways to prevent germs but short of surgical gloves everyday there must be a way to avoid it?

    Maybe a full strength essential oil instead of alcohol hand sanitizer? They are good about washing their hands? Once you get the flu oregano eo really works it’s natural antibiotic. 1 drop in 1 oz of water with a chaser! It’s bad.

    They refuse to wear a mask, haha.

    • Julies says

      Masks would be better with it being so airborne .
      Elderberry syrup ?

      • Melissa in GA says

        I’m about to make some elderberry syrup. Hubs asked me to make some for all 3 of us because the flu is everywhere right now.
        I did see Sambucol has black elderberry gummies now – $15 at CVS and $5 ECBs if you have an Extra Care Card.

        The expensive Oscillococcinum at $32 was sold out !!!!

        Homemade elderberry syrup is easy to make, I use freeze dried elderberries from nutsdotcom.

        • Felicia says

          FLU is rampant where we are in GA too, Melissa! DH went to see the doctor for his “physical” and they were like “why did you come in today”!!!!! They INSISTED on giving him a flu shot. They gave him a mask to wear in the office! One elementary school had 400 cases of it. Not talked about so much on the news, which surprises me.

          • Melissa in GA says

            Is the school in your area??? Just a general flu story was on the news like how it’s in 44 states now. CVS was packed today and when hubs stopped by on his way back into town, it was STILL packed. And no sanitizer in sight around that darn pharmacy counter!
            I just want to stay home, it concerns me.

            The elderberry syrup is made and tastes yummy. I put cinnamon and honey in it. You can also put cloves, ginger or lemon in it but I kept mine simple.

            Stay well everyone!

          • Felicia says

            The school with 400 flu cases took place last month in a county north of us. 🙁 The schools are so large these days!

    • Brooke says

      You can get a hand sanitizer called ZYLAST from zylast directly or from amazon. It is more effective than purell and lasts for 6 hours. Our surgical center where I work (I’m a nurse anesthetist) switched from purell to this late last year and we have seen many fewer cases of illness so far.

      Also my favorite part-/- it’s effective against NOROVIRUS. Which many of you may not know, purell is not effective at all against noro— so there’s that. Yay to not getting a GI illness.

      • Melissa in GA says

        Good to know! Thanks

      • Heather M says

        OOOO thanks for this tip! I’m going to buy some and also send some to my daughter in college.

  24. Julies says

    Breakfast – eggs for me, oatmeal for rest of family , fruit
    Lunch gf pasta, fruit, cheese for kids
    Dinner gf pasta, pasta sauce I froze from my parents’ garden , added last can of Tom paste and crushed tom.
    I made another loaf of bread in bread machine . That went quickly for snack.

    Today is leftovers and more homemade bread. Still have lots of yummy fruit . I cooked 3 chicken breaststroke in crock pot yesterday for casserole tomorrow . That’s the last of my chicken .

    • Julies says

      Chicken Breasts, thank you auto correct .

      • Sandi says

        it was in a crock pot so they could have been swimming around… LOL.

        • Julies says

          Tis true! Usually changes breast to breastfeeding . Which chickens can’t do. (I need sleep ).

          • Lynn from NC Outer Banks says

            LOL at this whole thread:)

  25. Laura in Nh says

    Yesterday’s eats:
    Greek yogurt with granola, LO lasagna with garlic bread, pulled pork (from the freezer!) served in homemade buns with coleslaw and pickles. Grapes and apples for dessert. I made a batch of Chex mix for snacking. I reorganized the fridge a bit and found the liquid vitamins I’d been non taking. I usually forget…let’s see if I can remember so they don’t go to waste!

    Despite feeling a bit bummed out by how much I’ve already spent, I’m feeling good about using things up that may have otherwise been wasted. Tonight is leftovers night so there will be more white space tomorrow.

  26. Terry calkins says

    Defrosted my freezer packages from this morning so I have a plan. The sausage was some homemade and very spicy, so I added frozen beans and tomato sauce to it to make easy chili. The chicken and broth will be mixed with homemade noodles for lunch today. The corn will go into double corn bread.. I did find the cube steak and also some frozen seasoned breading mix so that will be cube steaks with potatoes and gravy and extra corn on the side. The spinach and waffles went to the chickens…this is fun!
    More freezer dumpster diving to come

    • Pat says

      Yum cubed steak and potatoes and gravy is the best!!
      Chicken and noodles is a favorite of mine over mashed potatoes.

  27. Laurie Decker says

    Day 9
    The biggest problem I have is taking something out of the freezer or pantry to use up and having everything multiplying! I am grateful we have food but I do HAVE to defrost the freezer someday. Example- 2 ham bones from the freezer and a pound of beans exploded into a wonderful Pink Bean Soup. We had it for dinner the other night but there’s 2 containers to go into the freezer. Yesterday, I found a smoked sausage in the freezer and a handful of little smokies from Christmas so I made jambalaya. You guessed it! Now I have two gallon sized freezer bags sitting in the freezer. No wonder I never see the freezer empty! My youngest daughter is coming to visit from Seattle and I only can hope she helps us eat some of it. Cooking for 2 is difficult for me. I’m not crazy about the 2 lamb chops, a spoon full of rice and a veggie type of meats.
    B- cream of rice for me and cream of wheat for Hubs
    Mid-morning- Hubs had an apple
    L- 1/2 egg sandwich for me and soup for husband
    D- Jambalaya and a couple of leftover Hawaiian rolls with butter
    Dessert- Cookies from our neighbors

    • Felicia says

      Same here Laurie. It is very hard….let me rephrase…it is impossible for me to make a pot of soup for 2 adults! LOL! Even when I cleaned out the refrigerator tonight to make dinner, I had leftover pieces of turkey that went into the freezer!

    • Melissa in GA says

      I’ve gotten a lot better this past year at cooking for two. I usually half a soup recipe. And I do plan for leftovers sometimes but I like getting it right on the money. Saves food waste from stuff getting lost in the fridge.
      Now I’m cooking for 3 and having to readjust!

    • Sally says

      I’ve been cooking for one most of the time for about the last 12 years. With rare exceptions, I never make a recipe that serves more than four. I automatically cut down recipes that serve more. I make everything – definitely not locked into the “2 lamb chops, a spoon full of rice and a veggie ” type meals. Though I do enjoy them, they are more of the exception rather than the rule. I make soup at least twice a week and many other meals are one-pot or casserole type dishes.

      Two things I did early on that helped a lot: 1) find a good cookbook for two. I did this as much for amounts of food to use as recipes. 2) downsize cookware. I almost never need a pot larger than 4 qt., a baking dish larger than 8×8 or 2 qt, or a skillet or frying pan larger than 10″. My 8″ pans get lots of use. Everything else is stored away from the cooking area. I use a 13×9 pan once or twice a year at the holidays.

    • Alice E says

      A few suggestions that may help, I try to think of things that use mostly ingredients from my freezer. For example, ham bones, ham, green beans and onions for green bean soup with some potatoes and garlic added from the pantry. Doesn’t always work, this ham bone is going to be cooked with dried beans and will multiply itself. But I need to use the beans also. The other thing I have learned is to refreeze in smaller amounts. I would have probably froze the jambalaya in quart bags. I am more apt to get it used that way a gallon would be a lot for just us two.

      Little smokies, I have found make all kinds of wonderful additions to soups, such as vegetable or potato. I bought some extras to freeze for that purpose this holiday.

      My other suggestion is to defrost in the winter, or use ice chests for the food. I never completely empty the freezers, we have two. But can defrost pretty quickly using kettles of boiling water set on old towels in the freezer. The food stays frozen until I can reload it in the freezer.

    • Lynn from NC Outer Banks says

      Laurie, this is exactly my dilemma as well. Two of us just have a very difficult time eating down this food. Which-like someone else said-indicates just how over stuffed my pantry and freezer have been. I’ve really been working on this for a very long time. I do find myself buying smaller amounts so I feel like that is going better. But, for instance, I bought two turkeys at Thanksgiving that are in my freezer. It will take FOREVER for the two of us to eat a turkey and no company in sight. Although I love turkey, why oh why did I buy two no less?

      • Laurie says

        Thank you all for your comments and ideas. Some of them I already use like trying to cook for only the 2 of us by cutting down the recipe. Some things just don’t translate into smaller batches including the jambalaya for me. I did put the remaining in gallon sized bags so I could flatten the bags to store easier. My name is Laurie and I’m a food hoarder. That’s why I’m here!

        • Lynn from NC Outer Banks says

          LOL! And you are not alone here in our own self-help group:)

  28. Sandi says

    B – I accidentally slept later than intended so breakfast was only a handful of mixed nuts, he slept in on purpose and skipped it
    L – tuna salad on croissants from freezer, clementines (they are getting a little soft so we’d better plow through them quickly)
    D – chili-stuffed baked potatoes

    • Julies says

      My dad took a sharpie marker and drew faces on our clementines in December . The kids ate them all in a day.

  29. Felicia says

    Wednesday – JAN 10

    Breakfast – well, let’s see…yesterday I burned a tray of pumpkin seeds that I was trying to roast. Today I made a pot of oatmeal in the rice cooker and forgot to turn on the rice cooker!!!! No breakfast today.

    Lunch – meet up with a friend. Black bean burger and Caesar salad.

    Dinner – used up some refrigerator leftovers: pieces of turkey, 1/2 can peas, pre-made penne pasta and 1/2 jar of Bertolli Alfredo Sauce. Mixed it all together and it was great!

    • Stephanie M. says

      Aww Felicia. Don’t you hate when that happens? LOL Glad your dinner turned out delicious!! 🙂

  30. Joa in IA says

    B- strawberry protein shake and tea, oatmeal. Boys had bagels.

    L- chocolate protein shake, green pepper sticks and grapes. Hubby ?? Son#1 quesadilla with pepperoni & mozzarella cheese and fruit snacks. Son#2 ate school lunch

    Crack dip with tortilla chips.

    Supper- Maybelle’s goulash- that is what the cookbook calls it. I’ve made it for years the boys request it. I usually cook on the stove top but can be baked. Ground beef, minute rice, tomato soup, mushrooms, cream of mushroom soup, cheddar cheese. I always double the recipe. It fills my 12in wide x 4 inch tall skillet to the top. Also had broccoli and beer bread again. They were leftovers to have later this week.

  31. Cindy says

    Day 9, January 9th

    Breakfast: yogurt , mandarin & tea for me; hubby: cereal, oj & coffee
    Lunch: baby shower potluck for me @ work, hubby was out & about so I’m not sure what he ate
    Dinner: baked chicken breast & peas from the freezer plus rice cooked in Thanksgiving turkey broth also from the freezer
    Dessert: He had more Christmas candy, I just want it to go away !

    I hope all of you begin to feel better soon!

  32. Laura C says

    January 10-
    Bfast- Kids-poptart/muffin/cereal. Me- Bacon, leftover French toast casserole
    Lunch- Kids back to school 🙂 so they pack/buy. Me-Taco soup and garlic bread from freezer. Emptied the crumbs of a bag of tortilla chips into my soup too,
    Dinner- Tacos. Needed something quick since kid #1 had dance and kid #2 we had a school event. I didn’t get a chance to eat before taking them to their activities so I had chips/salsa and guacamole (from the freezer) and wine when I got home.

  33. Sarah Gallop says

    January 9

    Breakfast: egg salad sandwich and some leftover roasted sweet potatoes for me. Cereal and milk for hubs.

    Lunch: meatballs, tzatziki and a pita, peas, carrots and hummus and a Nutrigrain bar for me. Leftover spaghetti for hubs.

    Dinner: marinated chicken, stirfried veggies and roasted potatoes

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