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Pantry Challenge

A funny thing happened.  I was thinking about how I’m trying to get on a tighter budget and how much food is already in this house.  I decided I needed to start making meals out of my pantry and freezer and try to purchase as little groceries as possible for as long as possible and put the money towards our debt {yes I have debt… and I’m trying really hard to pay it off as quickly as possible.  Do you still love me?}  I thought it would be fun to host a challenge here on this blog so that you could get involved too and so that we could share our successes and failures.  {Isn’t that fun!?}.

Then, I read Fish Mama’s LifeasMom blog and she beat me to it. =)

Great minds think alike.  So, instead of recreating the wheel I thought it would be fun to just join hers.  If you decide to join in too, I’d love for you to leave me a comment with your link so that I can check our your posts too!  Or, if you don’t have a blog, leave me a comment letting me know what your doing.

Here’s what Fish Mama is challenging us to do:  Make this Challenge fit YOU.  Here are some suggestions for doing just that:

  • dig deep into the cupboards and use up those odds and ends
  • give the pantry an overhaul and remove unhealthy items and replace those with more wholesome alternatives

So, here’s how I’m making the challenge fit me.  Since my focus is primarily budget, and I feel my pantry and freezers are already stocked with wholesome foods, I am digging deep and using up what I have.  Here’s what I’m challenging myself to do:

  1. Make menu plans exclusively from what already exists in the pantry and freezers.  If I don’t have a certain ingredient that a recipe calls for learn to make some substitutions (or find a new recipe)
  2. Think outside of the box and search for new recipes to use up odds and ends that are taking over.
  3. Stretch meat so that I’m using less and making it stretch more.
  4. Only purchase dairy, fresh fruits and veggies, and the occasional loaf of bread (I’ll be making a lot of my own) every other week at Earth Fare (this will cut out 1/2 my grocery trips!!
  5. Try to spend only 1/2 {or less} of my grocery budget this month.
  6. See how long I can do this challenge – Fish Mama is hosting it for a month…but I think I can make this food stretch for at least two months!  We’ll see.

I’m excited!  I can’t wait to share my weekly meal plans with you, my recipes, and my grocery trips.  Some of you have been wanting to see what I’m purchasing … so here’s your chance.  Also, I ‘ll be doing a weekly check in to show you some of the success and {hopefully not too many} failures.   So stay tuned!

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  1. Sorry to steal your thunder! ;) So glad you’re joining in!

    • HA! Don’t you love that! It was your idea first… and I’m actually very excited to participate in YOUR pantry challenge! No need for apologies! I think we’re all on soaking in the budget & resolution air waves right now!

      Wholesome Mommy

  2. I have been working on the eating from Pantry, Freezer, and fridge. It is amazing how many great items I have hidden in the freezer that need to be consumed! Looking forward to your receipes!

  3. I’ve been eating out of the pantry, freezer and fridge for the last two weeks…more out neccessity than anything else. For the first time in a Long time I remembered that I love cooing and baking. (not so much the cleaning). I’ve found wonder recipes for using ingredience I didn’t think about. Like last night I made a sauage and grits cassarole that used my left over buttermilk and heavy cream from Decembers menu. It was amazing!! I made stir fry one night and the next day for lunch we had friedrice. The kids loved it. I didn’t have any speg sauce but I had cans of tomatoes…I looked up a recipe and made an awesome sauce…with enough left over for four meals!! By far my best deal is making my dried beans (first time ever) and making awesome soups, nachos, refried beans…all flavored w my left over ham!!! (I had to really scrap the bottom to make sweet tea by getting my kids to open about 100 little packets of sugar…a leftover from a party someone was gonna throw away…so glad they didn’t!

    Looking forward to your recipes.

  4. CRAIG R. MCNEES says:

    I always have a well stocked pantry, relatives think I am a Publix. Mostly only buy sale items or freebies with coupons. Anything expiring I give to a less fortunate friend along with my cooked left overs since I learned to cook in a restaurant I always cook too much, but don’t waste anything. I make my own dog food and they are all fat & happy.

  5. I’m in! I have tons of food and I hope to cut my food budget in half for the next several months.

  6. This is a great idea! It also is coming at the perfect time, with my husband out of town I don’t really want to hit the store with a preschooler and a toddler. Starting tonight with a Sheppard’s pie like creation with the 1/4 packages of frozen veggies that get lost in the freezer and a package of Italian seasoned ground turkey that never quite has turned into meatballs yet!

  7. Ha! I told my girls this very same thing ~ then one daughter went back to being a vegetarian and the other went on a SERIOUS strict diet … hmmm…I’m thinking I should have told them this pantry/freezer idea months ago! I, too, am so sick of wasting food. I am only buying “fresh” foods these days and using what we have on hand ~ and believe me…it’s a LOT. I learned how to shop by my mother who never buys just one of anything. And my dad grew up with never enough of anything, so he, too, never gets just one of anything. So, I’m determined to use every can, box, bag and every frozen morsel in the house!! Thanks for sharing your ideas ~ both of you!!

  8. Jennifer Harper says:

    I’m loving this idea too. I’m thinking we’ll be doing this also. I can’t believe how much money we spend every week at the store. We defintely have enough to last for at least 3 weeks.

  9. This is a WONDERFUL idea! My husband and I realized just the other day how much we actually had on hand that has been sitting up there for months…even a year or two in some cases. We went on vacation this month and realized that we were a little low on money this month, so in an effort to stretch our money, we started using all those things that had been forgotten in the pantry and freezer. We saved a bundle! We plan to keep on doing it even when we do get paid. Its great to find all those recipes. Stir fries, casseroles, and stews/soups are the best way to get rid of odds and ends with meat and veggies. Be creative-I made up soups using stuff like diced tomatoes, corn, lima beans, peas, and shredded boiled chicken. It was pretty yummy!

  10. I’ve been in for a while myself. I planned a menu for the month which makes dinner time stress free. I spend about $20.00 or less on grocery items per week for a family of 4.
    I too, make my own bread, pizza crusts and the like. Tonight is Chicken Pesto Pizza! Mmmm…

    • would you share the recipe for Chicken Pesto Pizza, sounds amazing. I to need to do what you all are doing, working on getting started by finding recipes etc….thanks for all the ideas.

  11. Denise Whitaker says:

    My only problem is I do that a lot because I’m on such a tight budget being a single mom. Do you have suggestions on how to restock (cheaply) when you’ve used up what you have?

  12. Paula Allen says:

    Hello All! I did this last summer when I lost my job. Only spent $150.00 a month on groceries for 3 months straight and we had more than enough food. It felt good to get it out of my pantry anyway. I shopped at the local farmer market and bought fruit and vegs that were in season. Bought bread at the outlet store and put it in the freezer to keep it fresh. Bought milk and only a few things at the grocery. We learned to eat a lot healthier and we don’t just eat junk food anymore because we are bored or watching TV. A great experience for my family.

  13. Grew up this way…Just forgot with so many chioces…Love this idea!!!!!

  14. This is a great idea–but when the cupboard is bare, it has to be refilled, and at marginally higher prices, and perhaps in one big lump sum?

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