Friday, January 1, 2010

Eat from the Pantry Challenge

My husband has been harassing me for about a month now that we need to commit to going through our pantry & freezer & really utilizing the items in there for our weekly meal plans. I’ve been avoiding it because that would mean organizing my pantry (if you saw my pantry, you’d know why!). But, there has been quite a bit of chatter about this idea in the blogosphere lately & in fact, Money Saving Mom has a page on her blog where people are signing up & committing to the Eat from the Pantry Challenge. So….I can’t hide any longer & am committing to this.

The great thing about it is that families are unique & this challenge will be unique for everyone. My goals will not be the same as anyone else’s but they will work for my family. My goals will not be nearly as hard-core as some I’ve read, because we have actually used most of the protein we keep in our freezer (organic beef, chicken, & pork) so I need to stock up on that. Also, since we use almost 100% organic ingredients in our household, my grocery budget may seem higher than most out there. But let’s face it…organic items cost more (which is shameful, but that’s another rant for another posting entirely) & there aren’t nearly as many coupons for organic products.

So, here are the goals my husband & I have set for the month of January. I will be updating weekly (gulp!) so this will hold me accountable. Here goes:
  • We will make week-long meal plans & stick to them. We do meal plan, but I’ll admit that we do it somewhat half-heartedly & don’t tend to stick to them that well. This month we will be more intentional with our planning.
  • We will make 2 dinners a week entirely from items we have on hand (aside from dairy or produce). This means no spices, canned goods, etc. for these dinners will be purchased during our shopping excursions. There might be some creative dinners this month!
  • We will limit our grocery spending to $50 (ideally less!) per week for 2 adults & 1 5-year-old. I know this sounds like a lot, but again….we need to stock up on proteins, so a good portion of that will be spent on meat.

To put my money where my mouth is, our dinner tonight is a new recipe I found searching on using ingredients I knew we had on hand. I’m going to be doing a lot of that this month! I’ll post it below in case you might like to try it. We liked it, but I think a bit of garlic salt or some other spices would help. Also, we topped the bowls with some grated cheddar cheese, so I suppose I should call it Cheeseburger soup!

So, in a nutshell, that is our plan for the Eat from the Pantry Challenge. It might not be the most aggressive plan out there, but my husband & I feel it is realistic & attainable for us. If this sounds like something you want to try, leave a comment about it & let me know. I’d love to hear about how you can make this work for your families!

Quick Homemade Hamburger Soup
1/2 lb ground beef
2 potatoes, peeled & cubed
1/2 can sliced carrots, with liquid (I used regular sliced carrots)
1/2 can green beans, with liquid
1/2 can sweet corn, with liquid
1/2 can (28 oz) diced tomatoes
1 3/4 cups water (I used 2 cups since I didn’t used canned carrots & therefore there was no liquid added from them)
1/2 can tomato sauce
salt & pepper to taste

Brown the ground beef in a medium pot & remove any grease. Add the remaining ingredients & bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low & simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. Season with salt & pepper to taste.


  1. I am eager to know... does this no costco for the month? Does your weekly grocery bill include toliet paper?

  2. I think we're good on paper products (toilet paper, paper towels, etc). My goal is to make one Costco trip to buy meat & have tham come out of the total $200 grocery budget. Cross your fingers for me, though!

  3. i know you can do it heather... i usually come pretty close to that amount each week. i do one costco trip per month. i have been making "meals for the week" list and grocery shopping only once a week for awhile. it is AMAZING how little i spend on food now!

  4. I got 4 boxes of Honey Nut Cheerios, 1 bag of Stacy's Pita chips & 5 Soy Joy bars today for $3!!


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