Every year after Christmas and through January (and sometimes into February), I do a “Pantry Challenge”. The idea is to eat up as much as you can that is not currently getting eaten from your pantry and freezer so that you can rotate stock, have room for fresh summer produce when it comes in, and save a bunch of money on your grocery bill. I’ve written about it extensively here on my Pantry Challenge blog post. I thought this year it might be fun to share what actual meals look like when we do this.
January 2020 Eat From the Pantry Meal Plans and Grocery Budget
Each week I will add to this post until we decide to end our challenge. I will also keep a running total of our grocery $$ that we spend during this time.
A few things before you read this……
Remember…I’m blogging a little differently now. You can read about it here. I’ve told my husband that I’ve retired from blogging and now only consider myself to be a wife, mom, and missionary. This isn’t going to be a fancy special blog post but just exactly what I said above…a list of what we are eating and a running total of our groceries. I’m hoping you will find it inspiring enough to do your own pantry challenge!
- We still grocery shop on a Pantry Challenge month but ONLY for fresh produce and essentials (like eggs and meat). The key here is to clean out and make room in the pantry and freezer so I will not buy anything that goes in either of those places.
- This challenge started on a Friday for us so you may want to note that Day 3 is actually Sunday. Sunday’s meals are always very quick and easy because we are at church for a large portion of the day.
- This list does not include our snacks and typically doesn’t include the extra fruits and veggies I serve with meals unless I’m actually doing something to them (ie: roasting the carrots).
- Our typical grocery budget is $600 a month.
- Our family has gluten and dairy allergies. (Except for my husband who still eats a small amount.)
- I realize this might not be what you would eat or your family would eat but I’m simply sharing this post because this is what OUR family ate and what works for us. Different diets and different people have different challenges. I actually stopped sharing meal plans years ago because I found that the comments were extremely rude and judgemental. I’m very happy if you comment but please keep it kind. 🙂
Pantry Challenge Week One
Breakfast – Baked Oatmeal (recipe from my book) with raisins (all from the pantry)
Lunch – Leftovers
Supper – Homemade Chicken Nuggets (with leftover meat and rice crispies from the pantry instead of bread crumbs for the coating), Cucumbers, Roasted Ranch Carrots, Spanish Rice (salsa from pantry + leftover rice)
Breakfast – Leftover Baked Oatmeal
Lunch – Chicken Tacos (leftover chicken and hard shell tacos from the pantry)
Supper – Pepperoni Pizza (Used up a Bob’s Red Mill Pizza Crust Mix from the pantry and some canned tomato paste) and Homemade Mixed Berry Cobbler (I used baked apple chips for the crumble on top, I do this all the time! Also used frozen berries.)
Breakfast – Doughnuts (were frozen, leftover from Christmas)
Lunch – Hard Boiled Eggs, Summer Sausage (from the freezer), Spinach Salad, Olives (Pantry)
Supper – Leftovers
Breakfast – Pancakes (leftover mix from the pantry, recipe in my book), Oranges, and Sausage (freezer)
Lunch – Sardines (from the pantry, and yes my kids like these!), Spinach Salad, Grapes, Olives (from the pantry)
Supper – Chicken Noodle Soup (noodles from the pantry, chicken from the freezer cooked into broth in the Instant Pot), Cornbread (cornmeal from the pantry), and Pear Crisp (using the apple chips for the crumble again from the pantry)
Breakfast – Scrambled Eggs, Raisin Bread (from the freezer with jelly from the pantry)
Lunch – Leftovers from the previous days
Supper – Salsbury Steak (meat from the freezer, made with homemade chicken broth gravy from meat/broth from the freezer), Green Beans with fried onions (all from the pantry), Pasta (from the pantry), Sauteed Chard (from my winter garden)
Breakfast – Blueberry Muffins (ingredients from pantry, blueberries from freezer)
Lunch – Leftovers
Supper – Orange Chicken (chicken from freezer), Steamed Broccoli (freezer), Rice (pantry)
Breakfast – Scrambled Eggs, Sausage (from the freezer), Leftover Muffins from yesterday
Lunch – Leftovers
Supper – Roasted Rainbow Carrots (from the freezer), and Baked Chicken (I was sick this day so I’m having plain chicken soup and hubby cooked meals)
Grocery Budget Spent for Week One:
Total Spent: $15.88
Items Purchased: Eggs (4 dozen), Yogurt, Spinach, Grapes (about 5lbs)
Week One Pantry Challenge Re-Cap
Week one is always incredibly easy which is good because I think then it gives me the confidence boost I need to get through the rest of the month! We are still eating up a lot of specialty things leftover from Christmas and we already have a bunch of produce in the fridge thanks to a Costco run the week before Christmas. Next week I will actually have to buy more fresh grocery items but that’s ok. I typically spend an average of $100-$125 a week for food so I saved our family almost $110 this week on groceries!
Pantry Challenge Week Two
Days 8 -11
I’ve been sick with a fever for several days and can only keep down clear liquids at the moment. Hubby has been feeding the kids but I’m not sure what. Hopefully, I will be able to get back to the challenge again soon.
Breakfast – Eggs, Rice-Os Cereal (pantry)
Lunch – Salad, Smoked Turkey Breast (from the freezer), lots of fresh fruit/veggies, leftover chicken soup from the freezer
Supper – Roast (from the freezer), Roasted Cauliflower (from the freezer), Baked Beans (pantry), Green Beans (pantry)
Breakfast – Banana Muffins
Lunch – Leftovers
Supper – Bacon and Cauliflower Salad with Chard (from the freezer and winter garden), Balsalmic Steak Bites (meat from the freezer), Fried Zucchini, Noodles (from the pantry)
Breakfast – Leftover Banana Muffins
Lunch – Leftovers, Canned Corn (from the pantry), Olives (from the pantry)
Supper – Fried Honey Chicken Drumsticks (chicken from the freezer) with Homemade Sweet Potato Fries
Grocery Budget Spending for Week Two
I gave in and used Instacart via Aldi this week to deliver some groceries. We still aren’t well enough to go out and were running so low on anything fresh in the house I had to do something! My total below includes the delivery fees. I just feel lucky we had that option right now. I also put in an order for Walmart pick up towards the end of this week as well, something else I’ve never done but it came very much in handy so we didn’t have to go in the store sick.
Total Spent (this week): $85.85
Items Purchased – Bananas, Peas, Carrots, Cucumbers, Raspberries, Apples, Pears, Pineapple, Tomatoes, Spinach, Mushrooms, Green Onions, Ketchup, Yellow Squash, Celery, mixed veggies, etc.
Week Two Pantry Challenge Re-cap
I will admit, this was a rough week. It’s not that I wasn’t motivated to make food from the pantry but I finally went to the doctor after just not feeling like I was getting back to normal and I ended up being diagnosed with pneumonia so much of my week has been spent resting. You can see in our meal plans were I finally picked back up again and am back to the challenge. I did a little more grocery shopping this week, spending closer to our normal amount but since I just did the shopping the other day, it should get us through most of next week as well.
I will continue to add Week 3 as we eat and make food!