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Pantry Challenge- New Year!

post #1 of 74
Thread Starter 

Its time for a good pantry challenge! In the past, particpants have done it to save on groceries, others to use up things, whatever but I need to use up some things in our freezer to make way for the beef coming within the month.

 

I also just want to use up some odds and ends and I will shop for produce, dairy, and things for the lunch boxes since school starts up again.

 

Who is in?

post #2 of 74

I am in. We had some unexpected expenses last month (in addition to Christmas) and now I'm trying to shave a couple hundred off the grocery budget for January and February. Luckily I have lots of turkey in the freezer, as well as about five quarts of stock, and a large ham. I plan on making a lot of soup this month. Tonight we're having salmon loaf made with canned salmon. I have to do a big grocery shop tomorrow, but I intend to do a detailed meal plan this evening based on what I have on hand so I hope to just have pick up milk and eggs and produce. 

post #3 of 74

I'm always in because well.. foodstamps only go so far and I need to save them.

I did a meal plan last month and that worked pretty well..

 

This month is a fail so far but thank goodness its only day 3 lol.  My 11 yr old just started back in competitive swim (after a 3 mos break) so food consumption is sure to increase around here.

 

1/3- dinner  Eggs, sausage and toast, hot cocoa and cookies.  yummy

 

post #4 of 74
Thread Starter 

We had some oxtails in the freezer. I made that into an African stew with canned tomato and 1/2 organic peanut butter in the fridge. I will serve with brown rice at a staff meeting at work on Thursday and leftovers here. I usually work at home, but I go in on Thursdays for the staff meeting.

 

Tonight, 1/2 bag of rissotto to use up, plus some stock and a bit of wine turned into a wonderful rissotto. DH found some safron threads to make it yellow. Low and behold- about a dozen or so shrimp in the freezer complimented this meal!

 

We made a huge taco feast last week for the extended family and DH has been eating that for lunches incl today. We also have a bunch of tortillas left, so we have been making casdillas over the long break for snacks etc. Did that this past weekend.

 

I have a huge ham hock that is taking up space in the fridge, so I am thinking bean soup. I can post the recipe if anyone needs it.

 

I normally make a few bannana breads during these challenges, but since I got a vitamix, we add the bannanas to all the smoothies. Which is another way to use up all kinds of odds n ends!

 

 

post #5 of 74

I'm in! I've never done this before but I'm assuming that its basically using what I have in the house already. Forgive me, I have more reading to do but I'm in before I change my mind and wimp out! I'm not the best at cooking and my family can be picky so this might be tough.

 

Zebra, I hear you on the food stamps thing. I need to learn how to feed five people so maybe this will help me.

 

post #6 of 74
Thread Starter 

Welcome!

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by esg View Post

I'm in! I've never done this before but I'm assuming that its basically using what I have in the house already. Forgive me, I have more reading to do but I'm in before I change my mind and wimp out! I'm not the best at cooking and my family can be picky so this might be tough.

 

Zebra, I hear you on the food stamps thing. I need to learn how to feed five people so maybe this will help me.

 


Basically, there is your rules. Some are trying to use whats in the house right now because of low funds. Some are just trying to declutter whats in the pantry and freezer and supplementing with what they need such as produce, dairy etc. Do what you need to do. Usually at least once, someone asks what to do with a particular ingredient and someone posts a recipe you might have never used before. That has happened to me several times.
 

 

post #7 of 74


I need to both declutter and we're low on funds.

It sounds great that someone will post a recipe if needed. I can see me needing that a time or two.

 

Thanks for the welcome!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Amys1st View Post

Welcome!

 


Basically, there is your rules. Some are trying to use whats in the house right now because of low funds. Some are just trying to declutter whats in the pantry and freezer and supplementing with what they need such as produce, dairy etc. Do what you need to do. Usually at least once, someone asks what to do with a particular ingredient and someone posts a recipe you might have never used before. That has happened to me several times.
 

 


I'm about to go search through my pantries. My mother has already pretty much said I wont be able to last all month :(

 

 

post #8 of 74

Yes, I am definitely in!  I was thinking of starting a thread myself, so I am glad others are having the same ideas  :) 

 

My freezer and pantry are pretty full at the moment (we bought a whole hog last month and I did quite a bit of preserving over the summer) so now I need to focus on using everything up.  I also really want to declutter / reorganize the pantry so clearing it out a little will help.

 

I have a standing weekly farm order for milk, cream and eggs.  I'll also buy some produce, though I do have some in storage.  Mostly I'll need greens and perhaps a few lunch box friendly fruits (I have lots frozen but DD doesn't like that in her lunch...).  Also, coffee.  I'm thinking of cutting it out for a while since I have tea in the pantry, but with the way my 20 month old is (not) sleeping lately, it isn't going to be this week.

 

My meal plan (I started writing it 1/1, so I'll just list from there)

 

1/1  Black eyed pea soup and cornbread

1/2 grilled salmon, mashed potatoes, spinach

1/3  grilled pork chops, cooked kale, leftover soup

1/4 shredded pork tacos with avocado, salad

1/5 burgers and sweet potato, bacon and arugula hash

1/6  thai style pork and rice noodles

1/7 roasted chicken, mashed (or roasted?) parsnips, kale

 

For lunches I usually have a big salad and leftovers.

 

 

Working on more later.  I'm planning a very small, thoughtful trip to the grocery store for this afternoon.

post #9 of 74

I'm in! This will be my first pantry challenge. (I seem to be loading up on the challenges this year, lol) My pantry is overflowing right now and I really need to make use of what's in there.

 

Tonight we are having dinner with my parents for my mom's birthday so at least I don't have to worry about that. I have turkey in the freezer for soup/stock and I need to get a start on my baking for the month.

post #10 of 74

I'm in.  My deep freeze is in desperate need of a clear-out and defrost.  Tomorrow, we're having trout and sweet potato frieswinky.gif

post #11 of 74

So far its going well.

For dinner we had some gnocchi, chicken and carrot soup that my sister was saving.

I took out some chicken soup to defrost and we may have that over rice for lunch tomorrow.

For dinner I'm thinking salmon, mash potatoes and some kind of bean.

 

I started going through our cabinets and we have a lot of multiple items. We also have more canned items than fresh which I guess is a good thing since we aren't going to be buying anything more.

I have the other half of the cabinet and all the cold stuff to go through before I make a full month menu. I'm hoping I can keep my family interested enough to not buy anything else but who knows how that will work out!

post #12 of 74

I'm in - I really really really need to declutter the pantry and use what we have and pare down the pantries to just the 2 main ones again. I coupon shop, so I have lots of odds and ends of things. 

 

Mostly I'm drowning in sauce type stuff - BBQ, Salad dressing, etc. 

post #13 of 74
Thread Starter 

We also just picked up our pork last month, and I need to make room for the beef we pick up in the next few weeks.

 

A few nights ago- used up some frozen turkey stock (made stock with left over thanksgiving carcuses) and some of the ground beef with some kale that came in. Made wedding soup and added a chopped up potato and some spices. We ate this with a huge salad for DH and I. Kids ate defrosted nuggets found in the freezer.

Last night wanted to use up some produce, made pork kabobs w grilled zuccinni and then pepper, onion and mushrooms on the kabobs. Someone brought this special root beer that dd loves. There was one left in the pantry, they drank that for dinner. We also had an open bag of brown rice so made up some of that as well.

 

Today, leftover kabobs for DH for lunch. Left over wedding soup for me!

 

Tonight have to eat and run, we have a wake to attend (bringing brownies that just took out of oven from a boxed brand I found in pantry). This lady is very well known so there will be many many people there. Her granddaughter is my sitter so the family has to attend. Then after the wake, we have a open house type event to go. Since the sitter cannot do it (her grandmom) we are bringing the kids. I have about 1/2 lb of ground beef so I will have them eat some tacos for dinner. Found an opened thing of shells!

 

Dh and I will do on tacos or whateveris left over.

 

 

post #14 of 74

 

 

I think that's how we ended up with so many multiple items. Coupons.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by frugalmama View Post

I'm in - I really really really need to declutter the pantry and use what we have and pare down the pantries to just the 2 main ones again. I coupon shop, so I have lots of odds and ends of things. 

 

Mostly I'm drowning in sauce type stuff - BBQ, Salad dressing, etc. 



 

 

post #15 of 74

I'm not necessarily doing the whole challenge, but am trying to use at least one thing out of my pantry in each meal because I'm absolutely horrid about remembering that I have food in there. (If we cook, it's mostly from fresh stuff.) So, like... I know I have two cans of enchilada sauce in the back of the pantry. That I bought when I lived in Phoenix. Six years ago. >.>

 

Gonna try to clean it out today, so I know what I have left to work with, but I know I have a bit of canned fruit/veg, and lots of grains/beans. The other night I made a vegetarian shepherd's pie, it was super easy and quite good. If anybody is interested, all I did was mix up 3c beef broth (because I'm not actually a vegetarian, you could use veggie if you were) and simmer 1/2c lentils and 1/4c barley for 15min. Then toss in some chopped carrots, celery, onion, and spices of your choice, and simmer 15m more. Then add about a Tbsp of flour, simmer another minute or so until it starts to thicken. While the other pot was simmering, I cooked and mashed a handful of potatoes. Dump lentil pot into a baking casserole, cover with mashed potatoes, bake at 350 for half an hour or until brown on top. Yummy. =)

 

Today I'm eyeing the giant pile of fruit and the half-package of phyllo shells in my freezer and mentally assembling some blackberry tartlets. We'll see how it goes! =)

post #16 of 74
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by esg View Post

I'm about to go search through my pantries. My mother has already pretty much said I wont be able to last all month :(

 

 



Yes, but it might help you get thru the month. Its not about the contest, but helping you with what you want to do. ;)

post #17 of 74
Agreed... I'm doing it just to see how much I can use, and to challenge myself to use it!

Last night made a lentil veggie soup using onion soup mix as the base. Carrots, celery, a can of diced tomatoes, a can of kidney beans, a handful of leftover chopped potatoes and mushrooms from a dinner last week, lentils and barley. Actually used up one of my half-full bags of lentils! wink1.gif

Then I defrosted blackberries, tossed them with sugar, stuffed them in phyllo shells and topped them with a cinnamon crumble. Delicious!! But I only used half the blackberries so tonight I'm going to finish them off as a baked cobbler. DH has requested we purchase ice cream for that, and I'm inclined to oblige since I've done so well using up what we have. =)

Tonight: buffalo mac & cheese and blackberry cobbler a la mode! What's on the menu for everyone else?
post #18 of 74

My menu got bumped out a day since I was busy decluttering on Thursday and decided to just serve leftovers for dinner. 

 

So for us:

1/6  thai style pork and rice noodles

1/7 roasted chicken, mashed (or roasted?) parsnips, roasted brussels sprouts

 

We're eating lots of leftovers this weekend for our other meals and tomorrow I'll work on next weeks menu.

 

I did very well earlier in the week with a minimal grocery trip, but I faltered a bit yesterday.  I had to make the long trip to another town for an errand and to drop some things off at Goodwill, which is right next to Trader Joe's.  It is 40 min each way and I try not to go very often so I went ahead and did my TJs shopping while I was there, even though I didn't really *need* the stuff I bought.  Mostly snacky things to keep the children happy in the car (plantain chips, dried strawberries, org string cheese...) and a few things hubby and I love (Kerrygold butter and cheese, goat cheese).  So yeah, spent some extra $ , a little off track, but still focusing our main meals out of the pantry and freezer (and I'll stay away from there for another month or more!).

post #19 of 74

Finally getting around to making stock today. I am also going to soak some beans tonight and make a big pot in the morning that we can incorporate into several meals. Tomorrow is also my baking day, so I am going to make bread, flatbread, muffins and pancakes (for the freezer).

post #20 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by Amys1st View Post



Yes, but it might help you get thru the month. Its not about the contest, but helping you with what you want to do. ;)



Yeah, she didn't think I would get through the month just on what's here. She did ask a few more questions about it yesterday so she may be turning around! I hope!

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