Meal Planning: Stock Up, Plan Ahead, Simplify

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Breakfast Cookies

Though the Eat from the Pantry Challenge was a huge success in many ways, it has left me feeling a little like Old Mother Hubbard. My cupboard is bare! My boys seem to have all hit a growth spurt at once and appetites have been hard to satisfy. It seems like I’m constantly in the kitchen, either cooking or cleaning. What’s a mother to do?

Stock Up – Last week I redeemed quite a few free product coupons in order to fill some of that empty space, and this weekend I’ve been trolling the grocery clearance and sales for whatever might fit our pantry needs. And I bit the bullet and made a big trip through Costco to get some basics on hand, like milk, cheese, and lettuce. While we could certainly subsist on what we have in the Post-Pantry Challenge cupboards, I realize that my comfort level enjoys having a little more in stock. After a long break, I’m eagerly looking forward to getting the food storage built up again.

Plan Ahead – This being the last week of the month, I’m also busily planning my freezer cooking days for March. I’m cooking and planning this week and hope to have a big cooking bash early next week. With a freezer inventory sheet, I can also know that I have a meal plan in the making.

Simplify – Dinnertime prep has been relatively simple around here thanks to the meal components I prepped earlier in the month. Breakfast and lunch have been a totally different story. In fact, I came to the staggering conclusion that I spend 2-3 hours everyday cooking and cleaning up these two meals. That, my friends, is crazy! No more. I’m taking some short cuts in order to buy me some time. I’ll be sharing these more in the coming weeks, but they include cold cereal, instant oatmeal, and healthy serving of Breakfast Cookies.

This week’s dinners?

Chili Dogs, Veggies, and Dip
Pasta with Red Sauce, Caesar Salad, Biscuits
Grilled Chicken, Roast Potatoes, Broccoli, Sourdough Rolls,
Chicken Soft Tacos, Beans, and Rice
Minestrone Soup, Garlic Focaccia
Pizza and ChiChi’s Salad
Grilled Steak, Couscous Salad, and Pita Breads

For more meal planning inspiration, visit I’m an Organizing Junkie. And in case you didn’t know, most of my recipes are being indexed over at Good (& Cheap) Eats.

About Jessica Fisher

I believe you can get great meals on the table -- and still keep that pretty smile on your face.

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  1. I’ve got to try your pizza dough. We love our pizza here… I’ve got to find a dough that works for us! And the breakfast cookies look scrumptious. 🙂

    • @Angela,


      You do need to try her pizza dough. I have been on a quest for YEARS for a great dough and I’ve finally found it! I like to cook our pizzas on parchment paper (no pan) and get it super crispy on the bottom. Perfection!!!


  2. My Pantry did us very well during the challenge, and I must thank you again for the opportunity to participate 🙂

    I am getting really excited about doing some freezer cooking! I am getting another freezer and hope to stock it with all kinds of yummy freezer meals.

  3. I can completely identify with your post. My pantry feels a little bare and my kids have been non-stop hungry. I am working on eating mainly whole foods and no processed so that leaves me with making all snacks from scratch too. I love doing it but once they are gone, they’re gone! I did some weekend cooking/food prep for the week ahead but I am also looking forward to my OAMC day! Really enjoy your blog!

  4. You always have such a great variety!

  5. Have our meal plan ready! However, I might be trying your pizza dough recipe, instead of my regular,which is from Money Saving Mom.

    Meal planning has helped us so much. I think we might do another pantry challenge, too, other than our co-op produce purchases and milk/eggs. We are pretty stocked from this month.

    Jada @ Food. Fun. Family.

  6. Tried to track-back to your “freezer list form” and got an error page.

  7. Denyse Horner says:

    I love the breakfast cookies and so do my kids! They are so healthy too! Thank you!

  8. I hear ya girl! I don’t spend hours in prepping/cooking breakfasts and lunches at all! We homeschool and garden and have busy schedules almost all year around and I’m not about to spend time cooking lunches and bfasts! I do cook supper from scratch and cook most every night. Lunches consist of leftovers from last night’s supper or salads or some kind of sandwiches or a convience (cheap due to sales and coupons) food on a rare occasion. Breakfasts are cereals, waffles or pancakes that I make ahead of time and freeze or oatmeal or cream of wheat. (I am going to try your breakfast cookies soon!) I cook in the crockpot and I do make ahead meals, anything to keep me out of the kitchen and spending alot of time cooking!

  9. Yum! I really want to try this recipe, but I am afraid I will like it too much. Then what will I do with all those pizza crust mixes in the pantry. Ah, sales and enthusiastic purchases.

  10. Two things that we like for b’fast are casseroles that have hashbrowns, eggs, cheese, spinach and lil smokies w’ cheese (cut into bite sized pcs add some seasonings bake in a brownie pan, cut into strips. We freeze leftovers and use in burritos later w a little mustard. We also do (koloches) sausages w cheese which are wrapped with breadsticks. I cook a bunch and just refrigerate the leftovers and re-heat in oven later in the week. Haven’t tried freezing yet but I will now!

  11. I can’t wait to see what you are posting about this Thanksgiving and Christmas. I am wanting to plan ahead and stock up somethings that I may need to use for cooking.

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