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Help me meal plan from my freezer/pantry!

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
We had a few unexpected bills come up recently, so money is tight this pay period. I want to eat out of the freezer/pantry as much as possible for the next 2 weeks. Fortunately, freezer and pantry are pretty well stocked, but I am having trouble putting together a meal plan that require buying additional ingredients and stretches the meat we have.

1 whole chicken (4 lbs)
2 bone-in chicken breasts
Tilapia fillets (enough for 2 meals)
small frozen lasagna (leftover from a few weeks ago, needs to be eaten.)
frozen veggies: spinach, mixed veg., corn, green beans
frozen fruit (intended for smoothies, but can be used for snacks for DC, baking, etc.)
vegetable and chicken scraps (to make stock/soups)

big carton of plain yogurt
some produce: lettuce, celery, onion, carrots, squash
cheese: cheddar and ricotta

canned soup (probably lunch one day)
canned and dry beans: pinto, garbanzo, black, black eye peas, kidney, lentils
canned green beans
canned mushrooms
peanut butter and jelly
canned tomatoes
baking supplies

I'd like to get eggs, milk, and maybe some fresh fruit or an ingredient that would open up some more meal possiblities, but want to spend less than $10. Milk and eggs will cost about $5.

So far, I'm thinking oatmeal for breakfast most days, and eggs or pancakes on the weekends. I'll bake a few loaves of bread for PBJ sandwiches for lunch. We can have canned soup for lunch one day with bread. For snacks, hummus and veggies, fruit smoothies or I'll thaw out some frozen fruit, yogurt, I can do some baking and make cookies or muffins or something.

I'm mostly stuck on dinner. DH really likes to have some meat with dinner. A few meatless meals would be OK, but I'd like to make the meat we have stretch so that we have some meat most days. We're eating at his parents' house one day, and I have a frozen lasagna for another day, but I still need to come up with about 10 dinners before the next pay day. Soups are probably good... Any other ideas? With the $5 I have left after buying milk and eggs, I could get a pound or 2 of ground turkey ($1.25/lb) but I'd rather get fresh fruit for DS if I can stretch the meat we have far enough.
post #2 of 8
That's lots of food. You can do it.

Eat the lasagna first, and w/salad lettuce before it goes bad. Serve it will the spinach & homemade bread.

Then I would cook the chicken. I'd roast it with some of the squash, carrots and celery.

From that, you can take some chicken and put it aside for burritos or chili, to which I would add rice and the black beans. Plain yogurt is a great sub for sour cream.

With the rest of the carcass I would make soup. Use celery, an onion, and a couple fo carrots. To thicken and add heft to the spoup, add rice or small pasta. Save some of the stock for something else.

After you are all chicken-d out, have a meal of the tilapia. It's a fleshy fish, so maybe a chowder one day, in addition to one day of grilled or broiled fish? You can add potaotes and the corn for a nice meal on a fall afternoon.

You can make the other chicken go further by using it in a stiry fry (pasta or rice), tou can add some of your frozen or fresh veggies to this.

You also have all the ingredients for a great minestrone soup.

I think this is about 10 dinners?

I know it's not enough, but I haven't finished my coffee.
post #3 of 8
OK here is what I would do....

1 - Black Bean Soup (black beans, carrots, canned tomatoes) http://cookingformyfamily.blogspot.c...-biscuits.html
2 - Lasagna
3 - Whole roasted chicken with potatoes & carrots (or make chicken pot pie with it to stretch further)
4 - Chicken Noodle Soup (the stock, veggies, and meat from above chicken along with scraps you have plus celery, carrots, etc.)
5 - Baked tilapia (or breaded if you have bread crumbs and lemon I have a good recipe) with some of the canned veggies.
6 - Make a spaghetti sauce with the canned tomatoes, squash, canned mushrooms, onion and then use that with the pasta. You could probably get 2 meals out of this if needed.
7 - Combine above with cheese and bake it like baked spaghetti or ziti
8 - bone in chicken baked and served on your lettuce with any leftover veggies or some beans
9 - Crustless quiche with eggs, spinach, etc. or you could even make a crust with your baking supplies. If you have any chicken left you could put it in since DH likes meat with meals.
10 - Fish again since you had enough for two meals, do one baked and one breaded/fried if you want variety

For breakfasts I'd do yogurt, oatmeal, pancakes, muffins, etc. and use those for snacks. For lunch... soup both canned and leftover from above, with sandwiches to fill you up. If you spread the soups out right ever the 10 days this should work for most lunches.

I hope that helps!
post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thanks UUMom and wife&mommy! I didn't realize just how much food we had until I wrote it all down! Those are great meal ideas. wife&mommy, can I have your breaded tilapia recipe? That sounds great! I have some bread ends in the freezer to make bread crumbs.
post #5 of 8
post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by wife&mommy View Post
Thanks! I love your blog, by the way. Just spent a few minutes looking through it and got lots of ideas!
post #7 of 8
Oh thank you!
post #8 of 8
this was a great thread. I love all the ideas.

One of my suggestions would be to get some powder milk the next time to keep on hand when you are short on money. It is great to have around for cooking and when money is tight. My kids to not even know the difference. I put a little vanilla in mine to make it taste even better. You can also get some flaxseed to keep on hand when you are out of eggs. It is for substituting when cooking.
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