Pantry Challenge 2018: Days 16 & 17

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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.

Sorry for not posting last night. Things haven’t been all that terribly exciting! I’ve been busy with school, Bible study, and physical therapy, so I haven’t spent a ton of time in the kitchen. We’ve still got some leftovers from Monday that we’ve been working through.

I hate being boring, but that’s all I got. However, if you’re looking for some favorite Pantry Challenge staples, check out these recipes:

Pantry Challenge 2018: Day 16

Breakfast: Jam-Filled Chocolate Chip Muffins (minus the chocolate chips), fruit, yogurt

Lunch: Burrito Bar

Dinner: Deconstructed Meatball Subs (basically Bolognese on rolls with mozzarella cheese)

Pantry Challenge 2018: Day 17

Breakfast: Eggs and Sausage for the boys; Bread and jam for the ladies

Lunch: fend for yourself

Dinner: Pasta for the kids; date night for the parents

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. Laurie in CA says

    B – I had an egg/cheese burrito, hubs skipped breakfast
    L – l/o lentil soup, hubs had French bread with his
    D – I/o lasagne w/French bread
    S – tangerine and apples

    B – hubs made himself an egg and sausage burrito, I had a bagel (freezer) w/ cream cheese and olallieberry jam, walnuts
    L – I had the ingredients in the pantry and freezer to make fiesta chicken soup in the crockpot early in the morning. Topped it with crushed tortilla chips and guacamole from the freezer
    D – since lunch was a little later than normal, we just kind of winged it for dinner. Hubs had a couple bowl full of cereal, I had hummus, crudités and pita chips.

  2. Karen J says

    Plugging along……
    Breakfast-Starbucks with gift card for my reward for going to the gym
    Lunch-Out at Children’s Museum with grandson. Didn’t have time to eat so had a fig bar from the car stash.
    Dinner-Million Dollar Spaghetti, garlic bread and garlic green beans (made from the last of the frozen beans from the freezer)
    I’d seen the recipe for Million Dollar Spaghetti floating around on Pinterest and just happened to have all the ingredients. Only switch I made was to use a mix of rigatoni and ziti for the spaghetti. It was quite good and we have leftovers for tomorrow.

  3. Sarah Gallop says

    January 16

    Breakfast: egg, ham and cheese tortillas for hubs, coffee and toast for me.

    Lunch: hubs slept through, I had chicken, potatoes and salad

    Dinner: a surprise pizza dinner from my parents. They also gifted us with a huge box of frozen chicken breasts! So appreciative, but there goes my white space!!!

    January 17

    Breakfast: pizza leftovers for both of us

    Lunch: hubby had leftover Alfredo pasta, I had some chicken and veggies that were near death.

    Dinner: I had a terrible evening that involved calling roadside assistance, having that be unsuccessful and having to tow my car to a shop and leave it there in the parking lot overnight, and a terrifying ride home in a taxi with a VERY aggressive driver. So, I went straight to bed and hubs had a pb&j.

    • Sandi says

      “Terrible evening” sounds a little optimistic. So sorry!

    • Heather M says

      Ugh so sorry about your evening. Crazy drivers are the worst. Car trouble is the worst. Hope the fix isn’t too awful.

    • Jess says

      Sorry to hear about your dramatic evening! Fingers crossed it is an easy and frugal priced fix!

    • Sandy says

      Hope the repairs aren’t too bad. That sounds like an awful night!!

    • Joa in IA says

      I understand what you are going through. I’m a service advisor at an auto repair facility. This cold weather causes lots of issues and we have been swamped for over a month. Hopefully you don’t have to big of an issue with your car.

    • Roberta says

      Glad you (finally) made it home safely.

    • Sarah Gallop says

      Thanks so much, everyone, for your well-wishes. The car stress continued all day today and involved a second, equally terrifying cab ride. Not too keen to ride in a taxi again any time soon! The original problem became a much larger issue than I anticipated, but all is resolved now. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a frugal fix, but I’m thankful that the “cheaper” of the possible solutions was the successful one!

    • That sounds like a rough couple days. Here’s to a longterm fix!

  4. Sandi says

    B – I was working from home in the morning and too cold to eat so we just had some hot beverages
    L – turkey sandwich on torta rolls I found in the freezer plus some clementines
    D – burrito bowls – I didn’t use up really old stuff, but I still think it was a PC win. Corn and guacamole from freezer, canned beans from pantry, rice/sour cream/lime from fridge, crumbled up sliced cheddar since I didn’t have any shredded, chopped up some of yesterday’s rotisserie chicken, cilantro leaves from the plant that apparently doesn’t like the cold any more than it likes the heat (what a persnickety plant cilantro is!)

  5. Laura in NH says

    Pretty mellow around here as well.

    Tuesday was smoothies and eggs on pancakes, pb&j or LO variety, rice bowls with tofu, pork and leeks. and broccoli. Brownies for dessert

    Yesterday kids had pancakes for first breakfast and cereal for scones, lunch at a friend’s house was a mix match for the kids and LO chili for me, dinner was hodgepodge LO again. No one minds eating random odds and ends around here so I’m doing that a couple times a week to keep little bits from going in the trash or the freezer.

    I did shop Tuesday as planned and spent $85. More than the $50 I’d hoped for but I splurged and bought local bacon and hot dogs and some assorted chips which made everyone very happy 🙂

  6. Stephanie M. says

    January 16 – Day 16

    B – Hubby had the leftover pancakes, the rest of the tator tots, and the rest of the turkey sausage; all leftovers from Sunday morning are gone except for two pancakes which are now in the freezer; I had a whole wheat bagel thin with light cream cheese, strawberries/blueberries/blackberries, V8 and peanuts

    L – Hubby had two sloppy joes using up the remaining sloppy joe meat from the freezer; I had a roast beef sandwich while I was at the court house on jury duty waiting to see if I had been selected to serve on a jury

    D – Chicken noodle soup

    January 17 – Day 17

    B – Hubby had cereal but he stayed home because of his cold; I had to go back to the court house today because I was selected for Jury Duty yesterday and we will be on a case till next Tuesday. I had a whole wheat bagel thin with light cream cheese, strawberries/blueberries/blackberries, V8, and peanuts

    L – Hubby skipped lunch because he didn’t feel good; I had a chicken salad sandwich using up some of the chicken I had left from the chicken soup which I am happy to say that I ate at home because just as we were about the begin listening to the first witness in the court case, we were sent out of the room for 30 minutes and when we came back we were told that the case settled so before lunch, I was already home. So happy I escaped that. Now I won’t be called again for three years. 🙂

    D – Hubby skipped dinner; I had more of the chicken soup

    • Heather M says

      Yay for cases being settled! I hope your husband isn’t too sick, and hope you can avoid whatever it is!

      • Stephanie M. says

        We were lucky to escape the court case for sure. Paul went back to work today after being home for two days with a terrible cold. He has to feel really awful to stay home and believe me he did. He’s not 100% yet but he went back anyway. I’m trying to avoid it. So far so good. We changed the bed sheets and last night I made him sleep in the guest room. LOL But it’s in the air so I’m a sitting duck. LOL

        • Heather M says

          You did the best you could! Fingers crossed!

    • Laurie in CA says

      I’m so glad the case settled and you’re off the hook. In CA you can get called every year.

      • Stephanie M. says

        We escaped that by the skin of our teeth. The first witness was about to start testifying when we were sent out of the room. And worst of all, it was an auto accident case and I’ve had the pleasure of sitting on a week long auto accident case several years ago and I can’t tell you how completely boring that is. To listen to those doctors talk over and over again; I was fighting to stay awake. I even remember wearing my glasses hoping the glare would hide my closed eyes from the judge. LOL Well, now I’m off the hook for three years. I’m glad we are not eligible every year. Thank stinks.

  7. Jess says

    After a few large grocery stock ups due to low supply and ridiculous weather.. we are back on use it up mode! The urge to order take out has been great but I am holding strong.. Cooking every night and taking the leftovers for my work lunch…
    Breakfasts before school are oatmeal packets, scrambled eggs and toast, the last of the homemade pancake/french toast supply . I did snag a killer priced deal on frozen waffles so I did buy what I had coupons for.. It adds a flavor variety and makes kids happy.. lol
    School lunches are fruit/yogurt, sandwiches, crunchy snacks and whatever bakery snack I find in the freezer- Thanks to my mom for her random deliveries of sweet treats

    Dinners have been simple… chicken tenders, sweet potatos, couscous, last of the salad…
    Pot roast and gravy, mashed potatoes ( boxed) and frozen peas
    homemade stir fry of chicken, peas, carrots, broccoli and zucchini served with brown rice

    I woke up this morning thinking about a quick out to eat or take out before son has musical try outs… then husband got the new- just added all kids to the cell photo bill… with activation fees and partial month fees… and I pulled stuff out of the freezer!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Heather M says

      Ugh those bills when they happen. I totally get it.

  8. Heather M says

    The fun continues at our house–despite people working/going to school, we still feel like holiday mode- no january blues here. Yet. Tuesday 1/16 I went to Costco after dropping husband at Pentagon-it’s practically nextdoor. I knew I’d need to this month and we were out of milk and nut supply getting too low. So I spent $123 on lots of fresh produce, bacon, pistachios, almonds, baguette, naan, a few snacky things, and the indulgence, a thing of prepared chicken tikka masala, as I knew the rest of Tuesday was too busy to really cook. I only needed to steam some rice and green beans and call it good. I participate in a local radio “book club” where 5 of us discuss a book on air for an hour and I had only read 45 pages! I needed to spend some serious time reading Tuesday afternoon, along with a few other prescheduled things. Happy to report that it was super fun, great discussion.

    B: cereal, turkey sausage, OJ for son; cereal for husband; nothing for me
    L: son took turkey/cheddar on ww, clementines, pistachios/almonds, clif bar; hubs had ham/provolone on ww, tortilla chips, apple; I had a slice of costco pizza remind me to eat breakfast on days I go to costco first thing. Ahem.)
    D: chicken tikka masala, rice, green beans, naan

    Wednesday was normal for me, but not for the guys. (Well except for the part where it snowed overnight and school was delayed, and I also finally got my hair done after 8 months -I’ve never gone that long, ever!). They went to a DC premiere/screening with Q&A panel of a new Jerry Bruckheimer movie(thanks to work) and my son was THRILLED he got to meet and talk with him. He was super nice to my son. They got home after midnight! I also picked up a few things at the store that Costco couldn’t do for me- sandwich bread(i don’t have space to freeze extra loaves of bread), pepperoni, bananas, and a variety of onions/garlic- I was down to 1 onion, I can’t survive cooking without them and Costco’s bags are too big/prefer various kinds. $12 total.

    B: cereal, bacon, OJ for son; hubs had a granola bar; I had cereal and bacon
    L: son took turkey/cheddar on baguette, grapes, pistachios/almonds, clif bar; hubs took turkey/boursin on baguette, grapes, almonds; I had egg salad on crackers at 3, since my hair took hours!)
    D: son ate baguette and cheese, some snacky things before we left the house at 6 to drop him w/dad; I made a quick asian chopped salad(costco) with grilled chicken from the freezer(I bought a huge bag in December since I knew the month would be busy, and only now am breaking into it, Lol), and naan. Hubs ate it at 12:30am!

    • Roberta says

      Your book club sounds fun. What book did you read this time?

      • Heather M says

        This is a fun very random book club thing. We do it 2-3 times a year. The book this time was a mystery originally published in 1963, and wow, how relevant it felt to today. The Expendable Man by Dorothy B. Hughes,

        • Roberta says

          Sounds interesting. Sadly it’s not available through our local libraries.

  9. Mona says

    Tuesday 1/16

    Breakfast – Pulled some cookies out of the freezer and ate on my way to volunteer in my little guys class
    Lunch – Finished off the odds and ends in the fridge
    Dinner – Pizza and salad, the littles get off the bus at our house on Tuesdays since Mom works later

    Wednesday 1/17

    Breakfast – Nutella toast at above’s daughter since littles had a 2 hour delay
    Lunch – Skipped – Hubby volunteers at the Food Bank at our church every month so he dropped me off at daughters then came back and picked me up to help at FB since a few of the older volunteers couldn’t make it in due to the weather
    Dinner – Chipped beef sandwiches w/mushrooms & onions, finished off mac & cheese

    And then he dropped me off and left for the attorneys office for the sale of his mom’s house 🙁
    Thinking we may try to stay in and not do too much today since he is still not “all Better” so a quiet day sounds real good to us.

  10. Alice E says

    So cold on Tuesday that I stayed home, but getting warmer again.

    B- Oats, fried eggs l/o pancakes for hubby
    L- He took PB sandwich, I had l/o fish and l/o slaw
    D – Chili


    B – Oats, fried eggs, l/o pancakes for hubby
    L – He took pb sandwich, I had a $2 bacon burger while out doing volunteer work.
    D – l/o chili and I finished off the l/o beef veg soup.

    Now I’m off to exercise class and volunteer work, but feel more like a quiet day at home. We still have some l/o chili, so may not do much cooking today.

  11. Julie says

    Snowstorm hit here in GA Tuesday night so we had an extra excuse to eat from the pantry. Lol. Here’s my roundup:

    Breakfast: eggs and toast
    Lunch: sandwiches
    Dinner: local pizza place to get out of the house before the snow

    Breakfast: pumpkin bread or pancakes, depending on what time you woke up ?
    Lunch: some had PBJ, I had a tuna sandwich, all with canned peaches
    Dinner was truly terrible. Lol. Turkey meatballs, some frozen veggies. None of it was that great. Oh well, I used up some odds and ends. My MIL sent us an Omaha steak package for Christmas and I made the dessert from it to boost morale. Made homemade whipped cream and learned it can be frozen because I made too much. Hopefully that experiment pans out.

    It’s supposed to warm up today but I’m not sure I’ll make it to the store. Plans tonight include lion king on broadway, hoping the roads will be in good shape to actually go! I need to check my menu plan…I think I’ll be doing future me a favor if I get some baking done today for the weekend.

    • Heather M says

      Lion King, how awesome!! Hope it was a blast!

  12. Karen says

    I feel like this pantry challenge is going really well for us, but I think we could go another month and still not clean out all three freezers! Hopefully it’ll break my habit of overbuying groceries…

    B: daughter and I ate leftover donut holes and fruit, hubby had his usual peaches and cottage cheese.
    L: all three of us took leftover enchiladas (I don’t think we’ve ever all taken the same leftovers for lunch!)
    D: roasted pork tenderloin, potatoes, and brussels sprouts.

    B: smoothies for the girl and I, peaches and cottage cheese for hubby.
    L: my daughter took a rice cup, some cheese, and jicama and baby bananas. Hubby and I both had lunch provided by our offices.
    D: pork and veggie stir fry (I’m desperately trying to find good things to make with ground pork – we have a ton of it left from last year’s pig!).

    I spent about twice as much as I intended to on groceries this week. But, when I got home I realized that other than milk and a little fresh produce, what I bought would actually last us two weeks (and hubby’s frozen lunches even longer, since between leftovers and work-provided lunches it worked out that he only needs one of those this week), so I’m still hovering around my $50 weekly average goal. Phew!

    • Stephanie M. says

      You can make pork breakfast sausage. You can also split some 50/50 with ground beef for a juicy, delicious meat loaf or make a tomato meat sauce for pasta.

      • Karen says

        Thanks for the ideas! We had half of it made into breakfast sausage so I have plenty of that, too…but I like the idea of putting it in my meatloaf!

    • Alice E says

      I have used it with potatoes and onions for hash. Also fried it up, of course with onions, and added rice and liquid and cooked the rice (20 minutes for my basmati) then either served it like that or added canned tomatoes or some milk to make a sauce with it. You could also fry it up and use it on pasta with a creamy sauce similar to cream of mushroom or celery or onion, whatever creamy sauce is in favor at your house. You don’t really need the red can, just white sauce made with milk, broth or a combination and your flavor item of choice; mushroom, onion, celery or whatever. Season to taste with the appropriate herbs and spices for your family.

      My husband also liked it in the recipe I found online for something called soup bowl cabbage roll in the ‘Taste of Home’ website. It is basically a deconstructed cabbage roll casserole. Hubby likes it best with diced canned tomatoes instead of crushed like the recipe uses. I also use it like hamburger in vegetable soups which tend to be whatever I’m in the mood to add today.

      I tend to use it like hamburger, and just add more seasoning, which is what I also do with ground turkey come to think of it.

      Obviously, I like experimenting with and using ground meat. What I have to nag myself to use are the bigger cuts like roast and chops.

    • Ground pork is so expensive here that I consider it a luxury to buy it. I love combining it with beef in meatballs and meatloaf. It tastes so much better than straight beef.

      • Sarah Gallop says

        That’s so interesting! Where we are in BC ground pork is often nearly half the price of ground beef. We only buy ground pork, haven’t bought beef in years and years.

        • Cuts of pork are super cheap, but not ground. I don’t understand why that would be, but that’s how it is.

      • Karen says

        My sister-in-law raises pigs and we buy a half each year. We don’t really eat roasts so I got most of it ground last year. It was a LOT of ground pork!

  13. Lynn from NC Outer Banks says

    Hello from Nanook of the North (Carolina). We awoke to TEN inches of snow-AGAIN-here on the coast of NC. It’s even more than the amount we had last week! It’s the craziest thing to see all this snow and these drifts here. Starting to feel like I’m somewhere in the Northeast instead of the South. But we aren’t supposed to have the prolonged bitter cold like last week so we should be back in school Monday-fingers crossed. It is beautiful but we may be going to school until the 4th of July!

    While others were storming the grocery stores, we just came home to our still partially(but sufficiently) stocked pantry and freezer:)

    Here’s what we ate:

    B: toast, boiled egg, coffee
    L: LO burrito, salad
    D: LOs- burritos, jambalaya, ham, salad, fruit

    B: English muffin, tea
    L: yogurt, fruit
    D: broccoli and ham quiche, (AKA 101 ways to continue to eat ham), mixed fruit-cherries, mango, orange, pineapple, pom arils

    Everyone stay warm. I may have to go outside and make some snow cream and snow angels!! 🙂

    • LeslieT says

      Lynn it sounds like you (with your bottomless ham) and Karen (with her massive amounts of ground pork) should get together and write an Endless Pig cookbook!

      • Laura C says


        • Laura C says

          Not supposed to be a question mark!

      • Karen says


      • Lynn from NC Outer Banks says

        Leslie, LOL for sure!! It’s the truth. I think we’ve finished-finally-our ham for now. (I put a small bag in the freezer for later). I had two more options (Hawaiian pizza and stuffed ham/cheese potatoes for lunch) if it had lasted much longer. Now we’re going from the ham marathon to a pending turkey marathon! But hey-I’ve got white space in my freezer 🙂

    • Stephanie M. says

      I had to think of you Lynn when I saw this on the weather channel. We only got about one inch. LOL Everything is backwards this winter. I hope you’ve gotten your fill of the white stuff by now. This is how we live up here all winter EVERY year. LOL

      • Lynn from NC Outer Banks says

        Oh.MY.Goodness Stephanie, it is crazy! I can’t believe my eyes when I look out our windows. Obviously those of you who are used to this are far more productive (and prepared) than we are. We just stay at home and everything is completely shut down. It is beautiful snow-so powdery. Ours is usually more of a wet snow. My husband used a broom to brush the snow off the cars. It was over the running boards of his Tahoe. Definitely a strange winter.

    • Roberta says

      Wish you could send some of that snow our way. We’re having a horribly dry winter here in So. Cal. (Of course we could get all of our rain in February; it’s been known to happen.)

      • Lynn from NC Outer Banks says

        Oh Roberta, we definitely have snow to spare! We’ve had our share (and others’) of precipitation over the last 2 weeks. But if you get all that rain in February, wouldn’t that mean more of those awful mudslides? That has been absolutely heartbreaking. First fire and then mudslides.

        • Roberta says

          Yes, it could spell disaster for the areas hit by the recent fires. In fact, certain neighborhoods in our city still have K-rails up to channel possible mudslides, and the fire that hit our local mountains occurred 4 years ago. Many people don’t realize that mud danger lasts for years after the fire has been put out. Fortunately, our city government learned from a devastating mudslide that hit our city back in the 60s and took precautionary steps this time around.

    • Laura C says

      So crazy you all got that much snow again! We got about 3 inches in Richmond. So kids were out yesterday and today. That makes 6 days this month!!

      • Lynn from NC Outer Banks says

        We’re at 6 days too and another 3 days that were either half days or two hour delays. We’ve had only 3 full days of school since Christmas! I’m not sure how we will make up all this time.

    • Heather M says

      Geez you’re getting so much more snow than we have in the DC area. So surprising for the NC coast. Each time it’s snowed, it’s been a dusting to maybe 1.5 inches. We’ve had the miserable cold and wind, but a severe lack of snow. If it’s going to be bitter cold, at least maybe one good snowstorm? Maybe in February-the rest of January is going to be warmer, thankfully. 40s-50s.

      • Lynn from NC Outer Banks says

        Definitely surprising! I agree-if you get the bone chilling cold, you should at least get some snow! They were initially calling for a dusting for us and then updated it for 1-3″. LOL. Where I live wound up getting the most-10 inches. It’s funny. We have a friend that always says if you have thunder snow (which we had last time), it will snow again in 2 weeks. Guess what? He was right!!

        • Heather M says

          It’s been a really strange winter, that is for sure. Glad you have an upbeat attitude about it. And re the thunder snow thing? that is funny. I love a good thunder snow, it’s so crazy. 🙂

  14. Kathy in Denmark says

    Day 16
    B: Oats and milk for DH. Yoghurt and HM granola for kids. HM rolls and coffee for me. DD2 also had a roll for secons breakfast 🙂
    L: Packed lunch for DH and DD1. Rye bread with cold cuts and veggies on the side for DD2 and me.
    D: HM pizza
    S: Bananas, last two Christmas cookies for kids, DH and I shared a piece of chocolate from Christmas.

    DD1 had play group in the afternoon and the kids stayed for dinner. I had decided to make pizza and used the opportunity to use some pepperoni I had in the freezer. I had bought it to try out, but since DH is vegetarian and we tend to make our favourite veggie pizzas, I hadn’t used it. The kids seemed to like the pizza, but wanted to get back to playing, so ate very little. I offered them some to take home and they all said yes 🙂

    Day 17
    B: Oats and milk for DH. Yoghurt and granola for kids. Last of the bakery bread from Sunday for me after dropping DD1 off at school. Coffee (of course!)
    L: Packed lunch for DH and DD1. Rye bread with cold cuts for DD2 and veggies on the side. Salad with ww pasta, avocado, a boiled egg and different salad fixings for me.
    D: Leftover pizza and crêpes for dessert. DD1 actually only ate crêpes, but I’m ok with that once in a while 🙂
    S: DD1 ate the rest of her packed lunch after school and then had a few rolls with butter, dried fruit and some crackers. I guess she was hungry! Bananas before bedtime.

    I had 3 eggs with hairline cracks in them in the fridge. I wanted to use them before they went off and remembered that my recipe for crêpes uses 3 eggs 🙂 It really was perfect, since there wasn’t enough pizza to fill us all up, but with crêpes for dessert, everyone was full.

    I’m not commenting as much as I would like these days, life is a little crazy it seems. But I try to read all the comments and follow everyone’s progress in the PC 🙂

    • Heather M says

      Love when you do comment, Kathy. Glad you’re here when you can be. 🙂

    • Been thinking of you as we contemplate a trip to Scandinavia/Baltic regions….

      • Kathy in Denmark says

        That’s exciting! Scandinavia and the Baltic region is quite large and there are A LOT of places to see, so I am looking forward to hear which parts you will visit, if you come here 🙂

  15. Pat says

    We are still plugging along as well. With just the two of us it takes longer to use things up. I believe I could pantry challenge a LONG time!! Last year I participated thru June and I made great progress.
    Jan 16th
    Breakfast–My husband had his oatmeal, bagel and a banana. I had my pb toast.
    Lunch–My husband took a lunch from the freezer and a cutie. I had the last of the cheese from Christmas with crackers and a cutie.
    Dinner–We had sesame chicken and stir fry veggies and rice from the freezer with l/o bread sticks.
    Jan 17th
    We had our usual breakfasts.
    He took a lunch from the freezer and I skipped.
    Dinner–I had Mexican out with my daughter before we went to The King and I. My husband had broccoli beef over rice and a salad.

  16. Lesley from Alaska says

    This weekend I may or may not have hit two stores (our local natural foods store and my normal grocery store) to pick up on some things we were seriously lacking, like vegan meats and cheeses. We were also low on bread and produce besides carrots and beets (so MANY of those from our CSA box)
    January 16th
    Breakfast-I was running behind so I had pumpkin flax granola with almond mild. This was definitely a bad choice, was starving way before lunch and forgot my morning snack!
    Lunch-Made kale salad with maple roasted tempeh, bell peppers and sugar snap peas for the BF and I. We also split a piece of cheese bread.
    Dinner-I was running around doing errands before the BF and I worked out, by the time dinner hit it was nearly 9PM. I threw an Amy’s Mexican Casserole in the oven and called it good.
    January 17th
    Breakfast-My normal egg white+1 egg scramble, with veggie sausage and toast
    Lunch-A wholesaler bought lunch for whoever attended a lunch meeting, so I splurged on my diet and had termpura udon soup(#noregrets)
    Dinner-Mexican tofu tacos with “refried” beans and veggies

    Got our second to last CSA box, which of course included carrots. I need to start dealing with this carrot and beet situation, they are taking over my entire produce drawer! Any ideas are welcome!

    • Stephanie M. says

      For carrots: carrot cake (I have a great recipe)
      Carrot salad – shred carrots, add, chopped chives, salt, pepper, oil and red wine vinegar

    • Alice E says

      Do you have enough freezer space to freeze them? If so that would be an option. I’m jealous about the beets, I have fond memories of home grown beets from my youth. To freeze the carrots you can just use the regular blanch and freeze method. My Mom used to cook beets, peel them and dice them in half to three quarter inch pieces and freeze them. They made a nice change later when we weren’t getting them fresh from the garden. I have also cooked up carrots in a seasoned broth and froze them in the broth to reheat later, although any vegetable will be softer after freezing as I’m sure you know.

      You could also use them in soups and freeze the soups.

      You could also fix a recipe for pickled beets (or carrots come to think of it) and just keep them in the frig to eat as an extra condiment with meals.

      • Lesley in Alaska says

        Alice, I completely forgot about pickling them! I love pickled onions and carrots, but have never tried pickled beets. I will for sure give that a try. I actually have tons of freezer space, so I will probably freeze a good portion of them. Thanks for the ideas!

  17. Sandy says

    Can’t believe we are this far into the month already! We had to go car and washer/dryer shopping on Tuesday. Talk about an expensive day!!! We have been fighting the flu here this whole month so we hadn’t replaced our son’s car that had the fire on New Year’s Eve, so it was high time to get one. We’ve been playing vehicle musical chairs it seems like to make sure everyone had a vehicle when they needed one. Our 19 year old lives at home and commutes to college, so she isn’t here much between college and her job and the 16 year old is practicing with the local theater company for an upcoming play most nights. I guess it’s good I was sick for so long because I didn’t go many places and he could take my van. My washer has been having trouble the last few months and over the weekend it totally got a mind of it’s own. The computer board had a problem I guess, because it wouldn’t leave the rinse cycle. Would just keep filling with water unless I manually turned off the water and turned it to drain/spin. They weren’t worth a large repair bill, so we purchased a new set. Good thing I have been saving for that for awhile. The car not so much:( I guess it’s a good thing we’re thrifty on everything! Got a few groceries while out. Just dairy and produce. My total for the month is $57.68. I believe I should be able to finish the month around $100, but bear in mind we butcher most of our meat and I always have a good supply of that. We also have a huge garden, so plenty of fruits and veggies in the fruit room and freezer.
    Jan. 16
    B-toast, yogurt, eggs (everyone does their own thing)
    L-Out for hubs and I while car shopping, kids all at school
    D-Leftover Mac and Cheese casserole from Sunday night, carrots with dip and apple slices
    S-Made a batch of peanut butter granola after milking, everyone snacked on it.
    Jan. 17
    B-Granola, blueberries and yogurt or oatmeal with blueberries
    L-Leftover cheeseburger rice for hubs and spinach salads for both of us, I was baking cookies, so we each had some of those too.
    D-Roast chicken (3 of them from freezer, lots of leftovers to use now) and potatoes, corn from the freezer and oranges sliced (Trying to keep enough Vitamin C in everyone so they don’t get as sick as I did) Cookies for dessert.
    S-Various snacks out of the cupboard
    I did empty quite a few odds and ends while making both the granola and cookies. Yay!!!

    • Roberta says

      That’s a great total on groceries (especially with teenagers to feed!), and it sounds like every extra penny saved will be put to good use. 🙂

    • Julies says

      Yes, being frugal really helps during emergencies , or makes what could be an emergency an inconvenience .

  18. Laurie says

    I skipped breakfast and lunch. Way to busy spending time with my daughter visiting from Seattle. We had a fun time getting manicures and walking around Whole Foods picking out some non gluten snacks for her. She has an autoimmune disease and a non gluten diet seems to help certain things. We had some sushi to share and had fun talking about different things.
    D- chicken breasts, butternut squash and rice for dinner.
    B- Oatmeal for me and cream of rice for hubs and daughter
    L- chicken salad from leftover chicken last night. Daughter and I had it in lettuce wraps and hubs had one in bread.
    Daughter left. A friend picked her up and they were going to drive down to Big Sur stopping along enjoying a few days. They’ll go back up the coast to San Francisco where she’ll see more friends and fly back home.
    D- Hubs and I ate bangers from the freezer along with a potato casserole cooked in the crock pot. Salad tonight was garbanzo beans, shallots, tomato and and an avocado almost past it’s prime.
    D- Bangers and potato casserole cooked in the crockpot.

  19. Roberta says

    Thanks, everyone, for your prayers. My mammo came back normal. PTL! (After being diagnosed with breast cancer 3 1/2 years ago, these tests always make me a bit nervous. I’m always SO relieved to get good reports. 🙂 )

    Tues. 1/16/18

    B: Cereal w/ blueberries, toast, cranberry juice, coffee.

    L: Son had PBJ, string cheese, pineapple, carrot sticks, mandarin, apple slices, and dried cranberries. Hubs had PBJ, string cheese, yogurt w/ compote, mandarin, apple, carrot and celery sticks. I had yogurt w/ compote and granola.

    D: On Sunday we went to an Eagle Court of Honor for one of the boys in son’s troop, and they sent us home with LO Olive Garden marinara sauce and bread sticks. So for dinner I browned some Italian sausage I had in the freezer and added it to the LO sauce, cooked up some pasta from the pantry, and warmed up the bread sticks. We also added mixed veg (freezer), pineapple, and applesauce. Son also added a cheese stick.

    S/D: After school son had LO rice and beans. Hubs had PB toast.

    Wed. 1/17/18

    B: Same as Tuesday.

    L: Son had PBJ, string cheese, pineapple, dried cranberries, apple slices. Hubs had PBJ, banana, string cheese, applesauce, yogurt w/ compote, and carrot sticks. I had yogurt w/ compote and granola and the last of the cashews.

    D: LO pasta and bread sticks, peas (the last from the freezer), apple and orange slices, pineapple.

    S/D: Son had a cheese danish and mocha from Starbucks (we were celebrating his report card and my mammo results). Hubs had a coffee and I had a latte. Later on I had a few almonds and Hubs had PB toast.

    I’ve also had to do a bit of grocery shopping lately. On Tuesday I went to Vons and picked up salsa, sour cream, whipped cream, and two containers of frozen OJ. Spent $10.53. Wednesday I went to Sprouts and bought d’Anjou pears, Gala apples, green bell pepper, Romaine, organic celery, red leaf lettuce, radishes, pistachios, dried Turkish apricots, and two packages of flour tortillas. The pistachios and apricots were splurges, but they’re good for snacks and lunches. Spent $20.39. This brings my total for the month to $109.14. I still have about $15 left to stay within my goal for the month, so I think I’m in pretty good shape. I’ll probably need to get some more milk and maybe more produce before the month ends.

    • Julies says

      Glad it came back normal ! !

      • Tasty says

        I’m so pleased for you, Roberta. My aunt used to be fine until it came time to go see her cancer specialist and then she’d be tied up in knots until she got the all clear from him again. Yoohoo!!!

        • Roberta says

          Yep. I think it’s a pretty typical reaction. I’ve even heard it termed “scanxiety.” :} I have heard from others who are further along in the process that it does get better as time goes on.

      • Roberta says

        Me too! 🙂

        • Lynn from NC Outer Banks says

          So glad it was good news Roberta 🙂

    • So glad you got a good report!

  20. Jen in Colorado says

    We started late, because we didn’t get home from holiday traveling until the first week of January. And then this week has been odd, because DS (age 7) has been home sick all week. So lots of juice and soup and fruit. And it’s just the two of us, so if he’s not eating, I’m usually not cooking much.

    I have had some successes along the way though:
    -homemade meat sauce for spaghetti (used up ground beef and 2 homemade tomato sauce containers from the freezer, plus some leftover chopped onion)
    -homemade Asian soup (used up homemade chicken stock from freezer, some of the brown rice noodles that have been in the pantry for ages, and some green onions that were getting too wilty to eat fresh) doctored up with soy sauce, rice vinegar and sesame oil
    -garden green beans (freezer) cooked with a ham bone and homemade stock (freezer)

    And despite some setbacks (like takeout Chinese – egg drop soup for the sick boy that turned into a full order, lol), we’re doing pretty well on my 2 goals:

    1- spend less on groceries this month (which for us, will run from Jan 8th thru Feb 7th or so) – hoping to get by on around $150, since I’m working on weight loss and doing a lot of salads, and DS eats a lot of fresh fruit (both non-negotiables for me right now)
    -we’ve spent about $68 so far, and should be set through this weekend

    2- clear out our large upright freezer so that I can defrost it
    -I think I can transfer everything that’s left into the fridge freezer, so am hoping to defrost it tomorrow morning (it’s supposed to be warm here)

    Thanks so much for hosting this, and for everyone else who has been posting! I love hearing the ideas and getting motivation! 🙂

    • Susan says

      My husband would be thrilled if we could get to the point we could empty the large freezer! Working on it slowly but surely. I’m very happy that we’ve only spent $70 for the month as of last night when I had to pick up fresh produce. And so far the teenage boy hasn’t complained about any meals. Win!

    • Roberta says

      Sounds like you’re doing great! Hope your little guy feels better soon.

  21. Julies says

    I think I have the flu; so tired, chilled and very sore throat . Regardless , have felt awful the last couple of days .
    Yesterday : baked oatmeal and smoothies. Used up frozen overripe water melon from last summer and other random fruit .
    Lunch husband made grilled cheese sandwiches , I ate some leftover but I can’t remember what .
    Dinner leftover enchilada casserole , rice, chili.

    I looked at freezer, put all the butter in one place . Brought in the last 3 containers of freezer jam sad to see that dwindle. I make strawberry freezer jam end of April . I don’t like the over sweet store jam even if it’s supposed to be natural , plus store bought is expensive . I have a lot of pasta sauce I froze still , and lots of frozen veggies , but really nothing random or Nothing we don’t eat regularly . We eat pretty similar things throughout the year so our staples stay the same . I’m glad for the challenge , but I’m not getting rid of anything we don’t normally eat anyway .

    • Alice E says

      Take care of yourself, drink lots of fluids, maybe try salt water gargle for the throat and if it doesn’t get better you should probably check in with the Dr. to be sure it isn’t strep or something dangerous. This year the flu is bad and can be dangerous.

      April will be coming again soon to make more jam, have you ever tried any other flavor? I make regular blueberry jam from the frozen blueberries I get at Costco, but I don’t think frozen strawberries are as flavorful as fresh to use them in jam.
      Sounds like you are a pantry champion. I’m still finding a few things I need to get rid of and not replace.

      • Julies says

        Thank you , Alice, yes the flu is awful this year . If I feel worse , I will see my doctor . I know strep is nothing to joke about !
        I’ve never tried frozen fruit for jam. I have made peach and apricot jam before , but have mostly made strawberry jam. We have Aldi here, and there frozen berries are not terribly high priced.

    • Hope you’re feeling better today!

      • Julies says

        Thank you , definitely improving although still tired.

  22. Kristy says

    I love that you are doing this Challenge and posting about it. While I am not doing the hard core version so many are (yay!), it is encouraging me to really see what i have and work through it. I have cleaned out my kitchen fridge freezer and am now working my way through my upright freezer in the garage and the freezer of my garage fridge. And it has sparked some much needed creativity in the kitchen too!!! Yay me.

    Tonight we are having Pioneer Woman’s black bean soup that I found in the freezer. And it will be over brown rice that I bought at Costco and is taking up lots of space in the garage fridge. And any leftover bean soup is going into Taco Chili for Friday night.

  23. Tasty says

    Even tho I’m not doing the challenge this week, I’m enjoying reading what everyone else is doing. There is no cooking for me as I am in England, visiting my Mum. It’s really nice to be away from the snow and ice. Temperatures, while not exactly springlike are in the 40s, so not bad!

    When I get back home, I will be jumping back in, ready to use what is in the freezer.

    Til then, have fun, ladies!

    • Roberta says

      Hope you have a lovely visit. Safe journeys!

    • Karen J says

      Oh, how fun! I’d give up the challenge in a minute to be in England!

    • Stephanie M. says

      Enjoy your visit with your mother, Tasty!!! 🙂

    • Lynn from NC Outer Banks says

      Enjoy your time with your mother Tasty! Safe travels.

    • I miss England so much. Have a lovely visit!

  24. Maureen says

    I’ve pretty much finished off all of the leftovers in the fridge. Spent a little time cleaning out part of the pantry, so I segregated a few things that I want to use up and made a batch of rice crispy treats for the kids with older marshmallows. The fridge is looking great, but I’d like to deal with some condiment containers, etc. And still working on a bunch of snacks/leftovers/etc in the freezer. The kids all have three 1/2 days next week for exams, so I’m planning to capitalize on them being home for lunches and getting rid of some odds and ends from the freezer (maybe some smoothies with all of the little bits of frozen fruit). And I delayed going to the store again. We still have milk and enough fruit, but I’ll probably go on Friday, so that I don’t have to shop on the weekend. Not planning to purchase much, though.

  25. Melissa in GA says

    Hey everyone!

    January 16th
    B – guys ate at the old farts club, I had a graham cracker w/PB
    L – hubs had LO beans, dad and I had lunch out on our trip to the commissary
    D – guys ate at brotherhood meeting at church, I had a sandwich

    Dad and I decided Tuesday would be a good day to travel to the nearby military installation and visit the commissary. I spent $53 – dairy was $24.20 with $14.49 of that being cheese (let me hear your hands clap, all my cheese people out there! Lol), along with yogurt, sour cream & half and half. $7.96 on produce and the rest on a roast for dad’s birthday Sunday, some lunch meat, diet mt. Dew for hubs and some French rolls. So my total so far is $77 for the month.

    January 17th
    B – cheese grits, bacon and fried eggs for hubs, I had grits, bacon and fresh juice
    L – LO beans for dad, hubs and I had a sandwich
    D – cabbage and beef soup with HM red lobster style biscuits

    Our snow started around 730 am but was totally gone by 11 am or so. It was beautiful coming down but very little stuck and when the sun came out it melted away. The wind came in and it stayed very cold. I had an aging cabbage in the fridge and hubs came home from brotherhood meeting with 2 more! The freezing temps are hurting some gardens but most is still edible. I had never made this soup before but hubs and I really liked it, dad, not so much.
    I also juiced a few mandarins from Costco that weren’t so good. I’ll do that til they’re gone.

    • Alice E says

      If you still have cabbage, I fix a cabbage rice soup cooked in chicken broth that we really like. I just saute onions and added chopped cabbage until it wilts, add a batch of chicken broth and let it cook awhile then season to taste, I usually add garlic powder and summer savory, and cook some rice in the broth. I usually add canned or chopped chicken, although I sometimes use ham or just leave out the meat. It is adaptable, I guess, but good and I sometimes just use coleslaw mix, and then it also has grated carrot.

      • Melissa in GA says

        Thank you for the soup recipe. I still have 2 and a half cabbages. Hubs wants fried cabbage which is really sautéed cabbage, lol. And I will make beef and cabbage stir fry which I think I’ve mentioned before.
        Other than coleslaw I don’t think my dad cares for it much but he will live thru it! Lol

  26. Terry calkins says

    Up early this morning to finish up the gift basket I have been building for my grandsons wife. It was so pretty done up. A gold basket filled with home smoked cheese and Canadian bacon, peasant bread, a dozen farm fresh eggs and some tubs of cream cheese. I lined the basket with a hand made and appliqued bread cloth and a wooden heart magnet I made. Wrapped with cellophane, silk ribbons and shooting stars. I dropped it off this morning, then took my mom some fruit, fresh eggs and a dinner plate of yesterday’s meatloaf meal. Took Mom to do her banking and clothes shopping.
    Breakfast was toast as I rushed out the door. Lunch was a frittata..dinner is leftover ribs and veggies. Leftovers are about gone again so now I need to make a visit to the freezer. I stopped at the thrift store and found the doughnut pan I have been wanting. Brought it home and washed it up. Used part of a cake mix to make 12 mini doughnuts. I’m going to try making a small batch of cornbread and baking cornbread rings. Everything for the gift basket and the food I took to my mom was from my pantry and supplies. I’m going to try to do all homemade gifts this year.

  27. Janet says

    My daughter has been to the children’s hospital for the past three days. This has meant everyone eating at different times. Makes for a lot of cooking, but it does make it easier to use up the small bits in the pantry and freezer.

    Day 16
    B: milk and cereal, bagels and cream cheese
    L: I had a work lunch, my husband used a gift card for McDonalds, the kids ate at school
    D: Spaghetti with marinara sauce for some; others had LO fried rice

    Day 17
    B: Bagel and cream cheese; milk and cereal
    L: I had LO pasta, my husband had canned soup and half a sandwich, the kids had cheese, nuts and assorted berries
    D: Chili and assorted berries

    My daughter fell down the stairs at school today. Another trip to the doctor tomorrow since her foot and ankle are swelling and she is having pain when she walks.

  28. Laura C says

    January 17-Snow Day
    Bfast-Donuts for all
    Lunch-Me- leftover tacos and queso dip. Kid-dino nuggets from freezer
    Dinner-Turkey rice broccoli casserole (used up last pack of turkey from the freezer, broccoli from fridge), biscuits.
    Made zucchini muffins- used last pack of zucchini from freezer.

    January 18-Snow Day #2
    Bfast- Last donuts for Kids. Me- random pre-packed oatmeal cup from pantry that had been there for awhile.
    Lunch-Kid-leftover beef stew and biscuits. Me-mac and cheese cup from pantry, also the only one and was close to date. Not my favorite but okay.
    Dinner- Leftovers-choice of soft tacos, baked ziti, turkey broccoli casserole.
    Made PB cookies from mix from pantry.

  29. Joa in IA says


    B- chocolate protein shake for me, oatmeal for hubby. Boys both had protein shakes also.

    L- personal frozen pizza for me, hubby had a work lunch, #1 had Mac & cheese, #2 school lunch.

    Supper- we ate out with our camper club group. Once a month in the winter we meet for supper out since it’s not camping season and don’t see each other like we do in the summer. Usually have 20-30 people at each supper. So much fun to go to and chit chat with everyone and wish for Spring. Even my 2 boys like going to see everyone even though they don’t always camp with us anymore…too busy.


    B- protein shake for me, oatmeal for hubby. Boys not sure.

    L- soup for me,. Hubby had a protein shake and grapes. #1son had frozen pizza, #2 son school lunch.

    Supper-. Leftover pulled beef taco and BBQ beef, sour cream, tortilla chips, cheddar cheese, Salsa. For 3 of us. Hubby had a work supper at a restaurant.

    Did go and get somethings. Another ice cream cake for hubby birthday on Thursday (1-18). We just had ice cream cake for #2 son January 5th. Stocked up on somethings for the weekend since hubby and I are going to an RV show over in Schaumburg, IL and the boys don’t want to go. Bought them 2 take and bake pizzas, breaded chicken tenders, pizza rolls, ingredients for corn crack dip, tortilla chips, mac and cheese bites like a pizza roll. Basically easy things for them to make and not a lot of dishes. Total for the month $156.79.

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