Eating From the Pantry and Freezer Challenge: Week 4

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To those who’ve been doing this challenge all along, way to go! You’ve reached week 4 and your family hasn’t starved yet. Your creativity has been stretched to the max, no doubt, but I hope that you have some excellent savings to show for your hard work.

To those who have joined us at some point during this month or have done any variation on the challenge, thank you for joining us! I’m sure that you’ve seen that even just a week or two of eating what you already have, or purposefully shopping less than usual, can make a huge difference and help you put extra dollars towards your larger grocery purchases, towards debt payments, or simply to help save up for something you’d like to buy.

My own update

I’ve been finding the challenge easier than I thought I would. Which means, we had a lot more food that I thought we did!

All that I’ve bought since the middle of May is fresh dairy and produce (and even less of those items than I would usually buy). It will be easy to finish up this challenge with the full $300 that I had planned to save, and with strawberry season around the corner and our meat supply starting to dwindle, the timing couldn’t be better.

The key for me was focusing on those things that we had in abundance, rather than on what we didn’t have. So long as I tailored my meal plans to use those foods heavily, rather than simply planning what sounded good to me, I found myself cleaning out some food storage and making meals that were just as good as usual.

What our family will be eating this week:

Monday

  • Breakfast-  Soaked oatmeal with raw milk or cream and honey
  • Dinner- Chicken noodle soup (no recipe, really– I just use homemade broth, chopped chicken, onions, carrots, celery, beans, or whatever veggies we have around, and then add noodles in the last 15 minutes)
  • Prep- Soak muffin batter

Tuesday

  • Breakfast- Soaked blueberry muffins (a variation on this recipe)
  • Dinner- Salmon melts and raw veggie platter

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

  • Breakfast- Scrambled eggs and fruit smoothie
  • Dinner- Roast a whole chicken and package most of the meat in bags to be frozen for later meals. We’ll keep some out to make fresh chicken sandwiches, with mayo, lettuce, cucumbers, cheese, etc.
  • Prep- Soak pancake batter and thaw blueberries

Saturday

  • Breakfast- Pumpkin Pancakes with homemade honey butter syrup and fruit (thawed blueberries)
  • Dinner- “Clean out the fridge” taco salad (since it’s the last week, I’m trying to really just use up whatever is left, so the salad toppings will depend on what we have on hand)

Sunday

  • Breakfast- Yogurt or milk, homemade granola (I’ve been using the Granola Bar recipe in Healthy Snacks to Go and making it into granola instead), fresh or frozen fruit. This is becoming a standard Sunday morning breakfast, since it’s so quick and easy before church.
  • Dinner- Creative chicken pasta recipe (ie. I still have chicken and pasta to be used up, so I’ll work with whatever vegetables we have left at the end of the week and get creative!)
You’ll notice that I don’t plan lunches. Basically, that’s because I like to keep them really free and simple. If there are leftovers, we eat those. Otherwise, we make quick basics like sandwiches, yogurt, fruit and veggies, smoothies, quesadillas, etc. The thing with meal planning is that it has to serve you. There are so many different styles and ways to do it, with something to suit every family!

Last week of the book sale!

This is the last week to take advantage of the fact that all of my ebooks are on sale. Use the coupon code CHALLENGE25 to take 25% off any single ebook, OR use code BUNDLE50 to buy all 3 of my ebooks at 50% off!

**Note that to use the bundle code, you need to choose the 3-book bundle option at the bottom of the page, rather than putting the 3 individual books in your cart.

Get ready for giveaways

Starting tomorrow, Tuesday, June 12th through to Friday, June 18th, there will be new giveaways up each day. Make sure you check in each day (or follow our Facebook page) so that you don’t miss any of them!

It’s your turn to share your money-saving meal plan with the rest of us.

Has this challenge been difficult for you? How did you go about your meal planning and what types of meals have frequented your table?

And most importantly… did you get things cleaned out and meet your savings goals? 

About Stephanie Langford

Stephanie Langford has a passion for sharing ideas and information for homemakers who want to make healthy changes in their homes, and carefully steward all that they've been given. She has written three books geared to helping families live more naturally and eat real, whole foods, without being overwhelmed, without going broke and with simple meal planning. She is the creator of Keeper of the Home.

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Comments

  1. This is the best idea I have seen in such a long time. I came from a family of six, but now there is just my husband and I. The problem is I shop and cook like my mom taught me and always end up with lots of excess in the pantry making me feel guilty about wasted food. Thank you!

  2. I just had to stop by again because my husband and I were just downloading about our days and going over the game plan for the next couple of days when he said “It feels like you haven’t gone grocery shopping in forever!” I told him that I was trying to stretch us, and he said “But there has still been plenty to eat. Way to go!” :) Pantry eating is working as long as I keep cooking! (And the garden is starting to kick in too!)

  3. If nothing else this challenge has inspired me to go “just one more day” between grocery trips and many times the next day I also find I can make it “just one more day.” I could cut 7 whole trips to the store a year by going every 8 days instead of 7. That really adds up!

  4. Your menu plan looks yummy (and doable)!

    Question about your lunch options – do you buy or make your tortillas for quesadillas? If you make them any tricks for premaking them/having them on hand? I make them (and love them) but they are time consuming so I doubt I’d whip them up for a lunch. :-)

  5. Stephanie, Thanks so much for the challenge! I am always up for saving money while trying to clean out some of the odds and ends left lurking in the freezer. I need to make another run at it before we pick up part of our meat share as I have added so many strawberries, plums and broccoli back in this month :) As always I truly enjoy reading what you write and your encouragement you offer! Here is what we are having this week: http://thefrugalgreenishmama.com/2012/06/eating-from-the-pantry-and-freezer-challenge-week-4-meal-plan.html#

  6. I laughed at your comment about cooking with what you have, instead of what you feel like eating. I definitely find myself giving in to that feeling. I usually temper it by what meat is on sale that week, and what vegetables are seasonal. We don’t have a chest freezer, so I don’t stock up on things, not really. I still find that it needs cleaning out though!

  7. I too often ignore what is stockpiled in the kitchen. I have been menu planning for the last few months and more and more am learning to inventory my kitchen *before* starting on the meal plan. Last week I did it and spent less than $30 ( I think it was actually $22) to supplement what we already had here in the house. This week I didn’t inventory first and spent $250! Guess what I will be doing every single week from now on??? Even on a Primal/Paleo/GAPS + starch (meat, fats, veggies, and fruit – no nuts, seeds, eggs, dairy, or grains) diet like we follow, you can save money by following a few basic rules.

  8. I agree, this challenge has been much easier than I had anticipated. I found I needed to be a little more flexible with my menu planning on weekends, but I still had my meals based on what I have on hand. One of my goals was to stop buying “prepared meals” for convenience (i’m single LOL), and I have saved a lot of money just from this. I’m also having much healthier meals, since I do not bring junk food into my home. I still have quite a bit in my freezer and plan to continue challenging myself to use what I have and not spend money unnecessarily.

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