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Pantry Challenge

Last post Thu, Aug 19 2010 5:06 PM by MarthaMFI. 121 replies.
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  • Fri, Jul 2 2010 3:04 PM

    Pantry Challenge

    I see that many are having very tight budgets currently.  I'm in the same boat.  I would like to challenge everyone to make a week's (or however long it is until your next scheduled shopping day) worth of meals.  Don't forget three meals, snacks, dessert /day.  We normally don't eat dessert daily, but I do make a dessert maybe once or twice a week.  I still have a full pantry and freezer.  I may not like all of the choices, but I definitely do have choices.

    I haven't shopped in over two weeks.  (Last night I did shop for some things, but I'll be reimbursed from my parents.)  We have lots of food, however I will be out of milk, eggs, bread, fresh fruits and vegetables.  So I will have to stock up on those, when I return from the holiday.

    A "normal" week for us is a Big dinner on Sunday.  I use leftovers throughout the week.  Maybe on Wednesday, as a pick-me up, I try and make something home made.  On Friday we do something fun for dinner.  Then Saturday lunch we eat leftovers and Saturday night I make something that requires a little time to prepare.  In the winter, I make soup and homemade bread on Wednesday, then something sweet while I bake the bread.

    Monday breakfast we'll be at my parents.  Monday lunch we'll have pancakes with turkey sausages.  Dinner will be BLT's with fresh melon, dilled cucumbers, corn on the cob.

    Tuesday we'll have hardboiled eggs with toast and fruit smoothies.  Lunch will be macaroni and cheese with green beans and watermelon.  Dinner will be steak salad, garlic bread and melon.

    Wednesday homemade granola/yogurt parfaits.  Lunch will be bologna and cheese sandwiches with vegetables and dip.   Strata with rhubarb muffins and fresh fruit.  Ice cream for dessert.

    Thursday will be strata, muffins and fresh fruit.  Tuna pasta salad and fruit salad for lunch.  Dinner will be chili and cornbread, jello with fruit.

    Friday will be cereal and fresh fruit.  Lunch will be leftovers of salads.  Steak fettucini alfredo and lettuce salad.

    Saturday is toast and smoothies.  Lunch will be chili over baked potatos with jello.  Dinner will be homemade turkey pepperoni pizza and cheese pizza with melons.

    Sunday is cereal.  Lunch will be leftovers.  Dinner will be kabobs, brown rice and dilled cucumbers with green beans.

    Snacks will be either carmel corn or popcorn, fresh fruit, toast with peanut butter.  I have some cookies and ice cream to be used up, as well.

    The following week, is my DS's birthday.  We'll be inviting people over for dinner on Saturday.  I'll be able to continue to use up what we have, and I can update as I unearth new treasurers in the deep freezer.  I'll most likely only need perishables, again.

    My son has been bugging me for Shelliajean's no bake cookies, as well.


  • Fri, Jul 2 2010 4:04 PM In reply to

    Re: Pantry Challenge

    I could probably last 2-3 weeks just on the pantry surplus alone. My only draw back would be not having fresh, in season produce. Of course, my lettuce, onions, & radishes are now ready in the garden, so I wouldn't have to buy those. I almost always plant leaf lettuces so I just snip it, and it grows back!! I pick a few young onions, as Brian likes them this way. As the season progresses, I'll knock the tops over, and then dig up onions in September/October for storage. Anyway, I have plenty in my pantry & cupboards. I think I'll make a list and work on a menu from there, since I haven't made one up for July yet.

    I'll try to keep up with this as best I can. It gets tough to do sometimes though. I think I'm going to make some homemade chocolate chip cookies this afternoon. And maybe some brownies tomorrow or Sunday, to take to MIL's if we go.


  • Fri, Jul 2 2010 4:36 PM In reply to

    • brenl
    • Top 50 Contributor
    • Joined on Wed, Jun 4 2008
    • Wayne county
    • Posts 2,426

    Re: Pantry Challenge

    I am in. I need to work on a few things. I mostly need to work on the freezer. I mean I will still need to get a few things as the month, but most of what I am needing to buy is bought. I will need milk, bacon, bread, Lettuce, sodas (kids mostly), and tea bags. I know I have been working on this for a while but I didn't make much leave way last month. So I am hoping July I will be able to make more room in the freezer and some room in the pantry. As I am hoping to be able to can some tomato juice. I am hoping that my family doesn't get tired of what we have in the house before the end f the month.
  • Fri, Jul 2 2010 5:39 PM In reply to

    Re: Pantry Challenge

    I am also in. I am off work until the end of Aug, as usual, and this is my tight $ period of the year. We are blessed to have cellar shelves,a pantry closet and a 25 cubic foot chest freezer loaded to the gills. I have decided not to get Angel Food this month, as I want to eat this down. I'd like room for garden produce (hopefully! after a lousy year last year, we are counting on a much better yield) and sale priced meats. Grocery costs continue to escalate and I've tried every trick I know, along with some new ones, to keep it in line. We're a family of 2 adults, 2 teens, and 2 tweens. The kids can EAT. This past weekend was my AF pick up,which I coordinate with my monthly stock up at Aldis,which is located some distance from here. Knowing that I was skipping AF, I tried to stock up for 2 months instead of one. I cashed out some insurance refund checks for my shopping trip, thus not impacting my bank cash flow.

    Officially, we've been in Summer mode for one week:

    Fri: fzn AF shrimp turned into a stir fry with rice

    Sat: AF BSCB marinated in bottled teriyaki sauce and broiled, coleslaw using AF cabbage,onions, carrots; canned baked beans bought with a cpn, AF corn on the cob

    Sun: Fzn chicken thighs turned into chicken caccitore, AF rice, AF fajitas peppers and onions, canned tomatoes, canned tomato sauce, wine, spices; salad

    Mon: AF fish bites, oven fries using AF potatoes, steamed AF summer squash with dill, salad

    Tues: AF chicken fajitas using the AF meat and AF fajita veggies, served in $ store tortillas, with reduced can of refried beans

    Wed: AF spaghetti sauce, the leftover caccitore sauce from Mon over AF pasta, salad

    Thurs: HM marinade for AF sirloin steaks (broiled), German potatoe salad using AF red potatoes and AF onions, AF seasoned green beans, salad

    Fri: homemade salmon cakes, HM tarter sauce, AF buttered rice, fzn AF peas and carrots, salad

    Bfsts this week:

    -Bisquick coffee cake (made a double recipe to fill a 13 x 9 x 2 pan and topped only 1/2 with fresh blueberries to appeal to the non fruit lovers)-had this 2 mornings

    -reduced pork sausages, scrambled eggs

    -fried eggs, choice of leftover bacon/hash/SPAM-doing a fridge clean out

    -cream of wheat

    -cold cereal-2 times


    OJ, coffee, yogurt and seasonal fruit have all been available.

    I bake usually once a week. HM chocolate zucchini bread, hm fresh peach crisp, brownies from a mix were available as well.

    Lunches tend to be leftovers. We did have one lunch of canned soup that I want to use up (been cool here), another day was AF chicken nuggets with choice of leftover Ramen noodles or egg noodles, leftover corn, leftover salad. I don't recall the rest.

    Bottom line is my purse strings are pretty much shut until I get paid in Sept. I will need fresh milk (I use instant in cooking as it saves me $), and have already poured the gallon's worth of AF milk into the jug for today. We can use up to a gallon/day. I stopped at the store to return bottles and bought: reduced zukes for choc zuke bread (made a batch of 2 again today, have 3 more baggies of 2 cups measured, shredded in the freezer for future baking), 2 pkgs marked down meatloaf mix that I'll turn into meatballs and freeze, 2 12 paks of seltzer marked down to $2 ea, 2 pkgs each of hamburger and hotdog buns for the 4th, 2 cartons of Breyers icecream ($1.99 loss leader, limit 2) for the 4th-buried in the chest freezer or the kids will eat it, a 6 packof Dove sopa on sale + $1.50 off with a double cpn (I only bought one pack last week, it wasn't a great price. THis is a deal, and I knew I needed it for next month). I spent $20.70, again with funds from the cashed ins checks. I only have tomatoes, tapioca, milk on the list at the moment. Not crutial but will need these things within a few days.

  • Fri, Jul 2 2010 11:41 PM In reply to

    • MarthaMFI
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on Wed, Apr 16 2008
    • New Westminster, BC, Canada
    • Posts 10,850

    Re: Pantry Challenge

    well I am in....got laid off today.    I have lots for meals.  our student is living with his auntie and going home for vacation so one else mouth to feed.   I have fruit so it is just fresh stuff like milk,bread etc. 

    I don't really make a plan per say because of plans and weather.  but I have some cooked chicken breast, pasta and sauce to be used up. plus farmers sausage to be cooked.  enough cookies,puddings, jello etc for desserts.   still have cake and brownies mixes.

    depends on weather one day cold enough to turn the oven on and then too hot the next.


    Officially recognized Stretchpert in Hobbies and Crafts
  • Sat, Jul 3 2010 12:18 AM In reply to

    • jcrmom
    • Top 100 Contributor
    • Joined on Tue, Jun 24 2008
    • Posts 904

    Re: Pantry Challenge

    I am definately in on this one. I have been trying to clean out my fridge and not buy much as far as groceries go. I did have to get some lettuce, milk and bottled water today. I have been going through water like crazy. We went to my brother's house today and he gave me 2 dozen eggs. I think I am going to make an angel food cake and take half of it to my brother and his family. I will also make some banana nut bread and maybe a batch of cookies with the leftover yolks so they do not go to waste. While I was there I looked at his blackberry patch and it looks like there will be some there. I told them that I will help make jam and freeze berries since they are going to let me have some of the berries that they grew.


  • Sat, Jul 3 2010 8:00 AM In reply to

    Re: Pantry Challenge

    This is a good challenge for me... one we really need right now, too, as my cooking lately has been minimal.  Here's my plan.  Most of this food is in the house.  I * the items I need to check on.


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    • Cereal with milk
    • Pancakes with bacon & toast
    • Eggs with bacon & toast
    • Cold pizza





    • Leftovers (from dinner or the pizza that needs using up this weekend)
    • PBJs with pretzels, sliced/chopped veg
    • Bologna & cheese, tortilla chips with salsa
    • Cheese (cheese ball, pimiento cheese, block cheddar) with crackers or pretzels, sliced chopped veg





    • Whole chicken (rotisserie in the crock-pot) with roasted baby potatoes & carrots
    • Asian – sticky white rice, sautéed flank steak with snap peas and edamame, maybe some carrots, too
    • Pork chops (maybe a bunch in the crock-pot with bbq sauce) with cheesey faux-tatoes (mashed, cooked cauliflower), mixed veg and applesauce
    • Pasta with sauce, will maybe add some shredded zuke to the sauce for extra oomph!  We usually have salad or fruit with this meal, too.





    • Watermelon
    • Cherries
    • Muffins (hmm… pumpkin choc chip maybe?)*
    • Zuke bread



    DD & I will probably get some kind of “fair” food at an old-fashioned carnival in the town up the street where our church is; don’t know if it’ll be a snack food or a lunch food though.  Sunday evening we’ll be eating at my brother-in-law’s house; I want to contribute, too, so I’ll probably bring potato salad, peach* cobbler, and fresh whipped cream.


    Officially Recognized Stretchpert in the General forum
  • Sat, Jul 3 2010 8:42 AM In reply to

    • Momof2
    • Top 100 Contributor
    • Joined on Tue, Mar 4 2008
    • Florida
    • Posts 990

    Re: Pantry Challenge

    MarthaMFI,  I am so sorry about your layoff, hope it is not for long.

    I am in on this challenge. I have not been shopping since Monday, and only spent $33.00 then, and have no plans of shopping before Friday at least, and then mostly fresh fruits and veggies, milk, yogurt, bread, and eggs. I am out of potatoes (Dd's favorite food), but we have some canned potatoes (Dd is not fond of these at all) and several different types of boxed potatoes (she does like these),so will be good until Friday. I have my menu plans for this week already, so no problems there.


    Breakfasts (in no real order, I make a list of 7 different choices and then pick depending on time, people eating, and what I feel like making.):

    Homemade doughnuts; Muffins; Pancakes; Eggs, bacon, toast or biscuits, hashbrowns (frozen), grits; homemade cinnamon rolls; scrambled eggs, toast; Leftover pancakes, cold cereal, or pop-tarts (pkg. needs using)


    Lunches: (also not in order):

    Packed lunches (sandwiches and either chips, pretzels, or crackers, along with drinks. Usually includes a snack item too.) ; Left-overs from dinners; Quick pantry mix, fresh fruit, and Texas toast.


    Dinners (This does get changed ocassionally depending on time constraints and amount of left-overs from other meals. Also I do not eat meat, so some days I cook two separate meals, or I pull an entree I have made and frozen for days I do not want, or have time, to cook two meals):

    Sat.: Vegetable Fried Rice; Braised Ginger Cabbage; Garlic Sauteed Summer Squash; fresh fruit

    Sun.: Hamburgers; Homemade baked beans; Left-over Corn-on-the-cob; boxed julienned potatoes; Jell-o fruit salad  (I will have a veggie burger instead of a hamburger)

    Mon.: Chicken Kiev, Mashed Potatoes (instant); gravy, green beans, homemade rolls (I will have either left-over veg. fried rice, or I will pull a pre-made vegetarian item from the freezer)

    Tues: Catfish; coleslaw; hushpuppies; left-over fruit salad; cheese potatoes (made from canned potatoes). I will have homemade soup made from items in the fridge; freezers, and/or pantries- I just need to decide what kind I will make. I will also have fresh fruit with mine.

    Wed.: Baked Chicken; frozen veggie; seasoned rice; rolls. (I will have either left-overs or something from the freezer.)

    Thurs.: Clean out fridge night

    Fri.: Homemade pizza. Left-overs again for me, or frozen veggie pizza from the freezer.

    We have plenty of snacks, or ingredients to make snacks.

  • Sun, Jul 4 2010 6:22 PM In reply to

    • brenl
    • Top 50 Contributor
    • Joined on Wed, Jun 4 2008
    • Wayne county
    • Posts 2,426

    Re: Pantry Challenge

    I see some of you have posted a weeks worth of menu. I am not that brave because some thing comes up to change things. Today was breakfast was blt. Lunch was chicken tenders, corn cucumbers. Supper is fish, green beans, and tomatoes. Tomorrow is breakfast I am not sure. Lunch I am thinking pork chops and some kind of veg. Supper I am thinking of baked chicken with onion, and some kind of veg. I might need to pick up a few different kinds of veg that the kids and me will eat to go with our meal. I am not for sure how much longer my cucumber plants will last and my zucchini plants has passed away this weekend. I don't think the kids will want tomatoes each meal and besides that I want to make juice. Trying to make it threw another challenge without spending a lot.
  • Sun, Jul 4 2010 10:12 PM In reply to

    • Momof2
    • Top 100 Contributor
    • Joined on Tue, Mar 4 2008
    • Florida
    • Posts 990

    Re: Pantry Challenge

    brenl, my menu plans have been known to change, but it helps me to have some kind of plan in place. I know that not everyone likes to plan out their meals as things change, and sometimes one no longer feels in the mood to have what was planned. My dinner changed tonight. Dh was originally scheduled to work today, so I decided to have hamburgers/ vegi burgers, baked beans, jell-o fruit salad,  boxed julienned potatoes, and corn-on-the-cob (all things that could be made inside). I was also not planning on grocery shopping until Friday, but since everyone was home (Dh's schedule changed and he was off today after all), we decided to all go today. We needed a few items to have on hand in case of an emergency (we live in Florida, so hurricanes are a possibility), I start my classes next month, so I wanted to replenish the household and personal items for the next 6 months (makes it much easier to grab groceries from one, maybe two different places instead of four or five, and with me taking 6 classes on top of home schooling I will be very, very busy this semester), and then just a few items for this week- I always seem to need salad items as I eat a lot of salads, yogurt, and cottage cheese. Dh decided he wanted to grill out, so we picked up boneless pork chops. We got them at Sam's club, so it was a large pkg., which means sometime this week, the extras will be put onto the menu instead of something else. I also skipped the jell-o fruit salad and the potatoes and instead had leftover applesauce, cantaloupe that needed using, and plums which no one ate tonight. I had a Portabello mushroom instead of a veggi burger, but the burgers and potaotes will be used next week, so no loss there. The down side is that while everything is budgeted for, I did spend a little more on groceries this week than I really needed to since I would like to spend as little as possible (not awful, just more than I wanted).

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