Meal Planning: The Final Week of the Pantry Challenge

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I’m entering the final week of my pantry challenge. I’m making it an even 4 weeks and ending on Friday. Carry on until Monday if that’s your druthers.

It’s been harder than I expected in some ways. We’ve run out of milk and produce more often than I thought we would. Side dishes have been dwindling as well.

This challenge has been easier than I thought it would be in other respects. My freezer was pretty well stocked with proteins. In fact, I think I’ll still have a turkey and several roasts when this is all said and done.

Overall, it’s been good. I’ve been more deliberate in thinking through what’s left in my grocery envelope. But, I’ve also been a little more stingy — or felt that way — with my family. But, more on that next Sunday when I share a wrap up.

It’s never too late to start your own pantry challenge. To check out the details and join in, go here. And to read what we’ve really been eating, pop over to my food blog.

Meal Planning the Easy Way

This month, meal planning was pretty easy. Each week I used a fillable planning page, page 95, to be exact, from my planner. On one side I listed all our breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. On the other side I listed the groceries that I didn’t already have to complete those meals. This was essential to making the Pantry Challenge work since I needed to focus my grocery spending on our “needs” first.

Here’s the plan for this week:


Yes, I know the Chargers are out of it. But, one can always dream of next year….



  • Roast Chicken and all the fixins
  • French Dip Sandwiches
  • Beef and Barley Soup
  • Pizza
  • Tacos
  • Spaghetti with Homemade Ragu

In comparing last week’s plan to what we actually ate, I see that I didn’t exactly follow our plan. But, we had a target to shoot for. And that’s better than aiming at nothing.

How does Meal Planning help your daze?

Don’t forget to pop over to Organizing Junkie for more meal planning inspiration.

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. In some ways I want to make myself continue this challenge, but in other ways, I’m glad it’s coming to an end. 🙂

    Like you, I’ve still got a turkey and some chicken in my freezer – it’s the sides that have forced my most creative self to come out!

  2. Denise C. says

    After going through my pantry, freezer & fridge, I came up with a list of foods for breakfasts, lunches & dinners. Leftovers are included on the list. This already has helped me tons, usually when my kids want lunch I have no idea what to feed them (I can only take cooking mac-n-cheese so much). Dinners were the same way. Now I peek at my list & if meat is not thawed for one dish, I make it another night. Meal planning is a goal for me this year, I want my family eating out to be a treat. 🙂

  3. Thank you for this Pantry Challenge! One thing I learned this month is that we can spend a lot less and still have abundance!

  4. Here’s my menu for this week:

    We’ve got steaks and ribs in the freezer – any ideas for those?

  5. I also am trying to reduce my grocery spending by better planning my meals. So far I have saved $350 (put in my savings account) and am not at the bottom of my checking account. But I always start off the year with a bang since I have so much stockpiled. The real challenge is going to come from when I run out of favorites. I enjoy seeing how you all have managed and esp. like the idea of the list of possible foods because I have a bad habit of changing my mind when life gets complicated! I want more meals in place that I can whip up quickly to spare us going out to eat. Keep those ideas coming!

  6. I’m pretty good about keeping my pantry light and lean, but my freezer is completely out of hand. I’ve been spending the month whittling down my freezer stash which has helped with my grocery budget because I tend to hoard proteins. I think though that I’m inspired to take on my pantry next month. Thanks for sharing your plan.

  7. Just wanted to say thanks for the recipe for the brats with peppers and onions! I had some mark-down smoked sausages that I didn’t have a CLUE what to do with, and this recipe was PERFECT! I served it with oranges and edamame. Nice, fast dinner for a busy night! 🙂

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