Pantry Challenge Progress Reports: Share Yours!

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Last week Crystal offered folks a chance to share their plans for the Eat-from-the-Pantry Challenge. It’s been so fun to see the turn out of links as well as those talking about their food adventures on Facebook and on Twitter. Little did we know what a popular activity this would prove to be. Wow!

The FishFam has officially been “eating from the pantry” for just a few days, but since I didn’t do any separate shopping trip in the last days of December, I guess you could say we’ve been doing it for some time. Regardless, it’s been quite successful, even with feeding another family!

The Paines have been here visiting these last few days and it has been a blast! Our family has seen things we never saw before, though we live in San Diego. And for each outing we were able to pack a picnic based on what we had in the house and avoid the high costs of eating out when you visit tourist attractions. I was so glad to have a huge stockpile of Capri Sun juices for the kids. That made their drinking choices so much easier, and no one clamored for the fancy (read: expensive) sippy cups at the zoo.

You can read the play-by-play of what we’ve eaten these first few days of January over at my food site, Good (& Cheap) Eats. So far so good — I guess I have a pretty stocked pantry. I’ve even been able to write a rough draft of our monthly meal plan that appears to be very workable. At least I hope so!

One surprise when Crystal and I inventoried my garage freezer was that I have three pans of Macaroni and Cheese! I know what we’ll be eating for lunch in the next couple weeks. Should make for some easier homeschool days.

If you’re just checking out The “Eat from the Pantry” Challenge, it’s not too late to start! Never! Crystal will be sharing later this week how you can prepare for this type of meal planning.

So, how have you done? What were your successes? What were your challenges in the challenge? Did you create some great recipe using what you have? Share the link to your post that describes your last week or simply leave a comment. We’re so excited to see how people can save some money this month by using what they have.

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. Heather Robinson says

    My pantry and freezer are inventoried. (I'm starting small- there wasn't much!) But now that I know what I have, I can begin. I spent $26 getting a few basics that I needed and plan to save the other $75 for stock-up food once the challenge is over. I know I'm not actually saving anything financially, but I like to think that I'm conditioning my frugality with this challenge.

  2. My inventory is done and ALL the leftovers are purged:-)

  3. I knew what my inventory would consist of (in the freezer, that is): lots of beef and vegetables. 🙂 And a couple of whole chickens.
    So far, we've had vegetable beef soup, chicken fried rice, chicken pot pie (love your recipe!) and today will be a spinach quiche. I bought a few staples at the grocery store (we were out of milk, eggs and fruit) but nothing major. I think we can go another week or so without buying much! 🙂

  4. wtrnymph says

    So far, we've made pastichio twice, baked rigatoni with meat sauce, and spaghetti using 3 lbs of ground beef. I also made a pork shoulder that we will be using tomorrow, a "polish sausage" mushroom and onion quiche (I say "polish sausage" because I actually AM polish & I don't consider Aldi's version or any other grocery stores version of polish sausage to be even remotely comparable to real polish butcher smoked sausage), and an English pot roast with Yorkshire pudding. I have a ton of leftovers for the next few days (which thank goodness I did because between the newborn loving being held & the 4 year old having a stomach bug, I won't be having time to cook next few days). I plan to only use my WIC checks for the rest of this month, so my expenses should hopefully be nothing. BTW, I really recommend that if you have a child under 5 or are pregnant, you should really check to see if you are eligible for WIC because most people who are eligible don't know that they are & never take advantage of what they've been paying their taxes towards.

  5. wtrnymph says

    This is not the recipe I use, mine is from the older Better Homes & Gardens cookbook but this gives you an idea of what pastitsio (or pastichio for us non-greeks) is:
    Its a great use of eggs & whatever noodles you have. You can use less meat or even make it vegetarian & put in spinach if you want. I make it in 4 layers (the noodles get mixed with 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, 1 egg, and 1/4 cup milk & then 1/2 of this goes on the bottom, then the meat sauce mixed with one egg, then the rest of the noodles, and finally the greek white sauce on top sprinkled with cinnamon) & like it served sprinkled with some balsamic vinegar. My husband loves this recipe and asks that I make it often, after I stumbled upon it in my cookbook & gave it a try once. Smacznego! Bon apetit in polish, of course 🙂

  6. cheryl says

    We rent & our fridge died on Friday (actually probably Thurs evening, but it was found friday) SO I had a lot of thawed frozen veggies to use up (some were tossed though, too) I made so excellent stir fry & a beef & vegetables using these packets
    and some thawed steak.
    I have inventories the fridge & dumped most & organized downstairs shelves. I have an idea of what I want to make, but still have a hrad time planning the meals

  7. Laura Giletti says

    I think I got DH on board with this one! We inventoried (and cleaned) the freezers and are on Day 7 of eating the pantry.

    I have lots of dried fruit to eat, as well as tons of pureed pumpkin.

    Forward march!!

  8. Thanks for this challenge! I made a list of what I need to use up and started this weekend using it up. It's something I've sort-of wanted to do for a long time–thanks for the push 🙂

  9. AllBlueZoo says

    Day 4 'round these parts! We're doing good at eating up the leftovers as a snack/late lunch which is good! Usually I am the only leftovers eater and I can only eat it so many times before it gets pitched. I used our left over taco meat in chili…kids said it was the best chili I've ever made?!

    Tonight, pot roast…which always creates MASSIVE leftovers. I stored teh veggies separate from the beef in the fridge and tomorrow I'll make BBQ beef out of it and have sammies with pickles and chips 🙂

  10. Ktietje85 says

    I haven't officially done this, but I have been trying to use up my leftovers more.

    I remember reading on a recent post you're trying to eat better. You should go to and read about their nutritional ideals. We've followed it for about a year, and my husband has lost 40 lbs. and I've lost baby weight plus 20 lbs. Last time they checked his cholesterol and sodium were actually too LOW. So, it's working out pretty well.

  11. Ktietje85 – Do you have a link to the nutritional ideals? I searched the website but couldn't find a direct link.

    I've looked around the site before but think it is poorly organized. We are trying to eat better here (more whole foods, less processed, lacto-fermented foods, etc., kind of like Sally Fallon advises) but a big one is raw milk: we have no source. So I do the best I can.

  12. Are you talking about the "Nutritional Guidelines"? If so, nevermind. 🙂 I've seen that and have it posted. 🙂

  13. Thanks so much for starting this! I created a blog just for this challenge and I love the idea of not spending the usual amount of money this month! I have two freezers worth of food to use up, I admit it, I am a food storer!

  14. lipsticktocrayons says

    Things are going well so far — although my teen is complaining a LOT!! I wrote about it on Lipstick to Crayons (

  15. healthynhappyhome says

    I need to join, albeit I'm a little late. I'm moving out of the country at the end of the month so I HAVE to work on cleaning out my freezer and pantry, all of which are overflowing. Yikes.

  16. I just joined the "Eat From The Pantry Challenge" yesterday and have posted at my blog. Thanks so much for doing this!

  17. Jackie says

    I was so shocked at the amount of food I had once my inventory was done. It took about 3 hours over a 2 day span to complete. And while we are participating in the Challenge for the entire month I am only "planning" dinners. We eat breakfast on the way to or at work, the kids eat at the babysitters, and we take leftovers for lunch or eat sandwiches or frozen meals when I find them on sale. So my menu is done, which I have to say is the easy part. The hard part is sticking to it! So far we've at Thursday's, Monday's and Sunday's meals (in that order). I don't like living by a I have to cook this and this only menu. It just doesn't work for me, but a kinda plan, that I can handle!

Thanks so much for participating in this conversation about "a mom's life."

This is a place where moms can be themselves. Remember that each mother's path looks a little different. Please keep your comments respectful and kind. Reasonable minds will disagree in a nice way.

So let's talk about it, using "our big girl words."

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