Menu Plan Monday: Pantry Challenge

Frugal bloggers around the world have been talking alot the last few weeks about a great challenge, the Eat From the Pantry Challenge, which challenges you to use what you have an avoid repeated trips to the grocery store. While it sounded like a great idea, I didn't pay much attention to it until last week.

Last week, when we had a friend over for dinner and she could not find any room in my freezer to put something temporarily.

Last week, when I went way, way, way over budget on groceries, taking advantage of a few sale items at Farm Boy and making a trip down to the US for some items I can't get here.

My having a job and an income has allowed me some leeway in my budget, but that money would be so much better spent paying off some bills, or going into savings, than making sure I have six packages of sausage in my freezer!

So this week I am making my own pantry challenge and dragging my family along with me. I set myself a rule or two: No trips to the store for anymore more than milk and/or bread. No picking up dinner. And cash only for what little I do buy.

I did give myself a bit of relaxation with a few items I needed, such as garbage bags, toilet paper and kleenex. As in things we don't eat.

And the pantry/freezer challenge began Saturday night:

Saturday: Chicken finger and tortilla wraps with soup - frozen chicken fingers, wrapped up in flour tortillas with left over salad mix, shredded cheese and ranch dressing, soup from the pantry.

Sunday: Prime rib roast with roasted cauliflower. Roast from the freezer (a good deal in December, I bought a couple), cauliflower from the fridge.

Monday: Stew with mashed potatoes, carrots and mushrooms. Beef from the freezer, part of my cow from November, with the last of my pantry potatoes.

Tuesday: Spaghetti with meat sauce. Canned tomatoes and pasta from the pantry, either ground beef or sausage meat (or both) from the freezer.

Wednesday: I'm out tonight so the boys are on their own, hot dogs and fries, both from the freezer, including the buns.

Thursday: Stuffed chicken breast (freezer) with sauted veggies (freezer).

Friday: Lemon shrimp pasta. Lemon from my counter, shrimp from the freezer, pasta from the pantry.

While it isn't likely that next week's plan will involve not a single grocery trip, as I will need fresh fruit by then, I'll likely continue the freezer part. I've got an idea where I can get some good pork, but only when I take out a turkey and some other items from the freezer first.

For now, this is my submission to this week's Menu Plan Monday, hosted by I'm an Organizing Junkie.

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