Sunday, February 21, 2010

Update: Eating from the pantry challenge

A week ago I shared that due to unforeseen circumstances my family and I would be eating from the pantry through the end of the month. Since my last post our financial situation has dramatically improved but I am still committed to following through with the challenge. Saving money and stretching our dollar is always a priority to me. 

First I want to share what I bought earlier this week to hold us over for the next 2 weeks. In addition to the items shown below I also bought 6 Jenny-O extra lean ground turkey and 1 more sour cream. I had put these items away in our extra refrigerator before I took this picture. The bananas, apples, eggs, and salad are organic.

I bought all of this (and the stuff in the garage refrigerator) for $100. Savings totaled $50. Prior to this shopping trip I had to buy milk and some tortillas which totaled $20.  Grocery prices in my area are MUCH higher than in other parts of the country.

I will not have to grocery shop until the end of the month. So for 2 weeks I only spent $120 to feed my family of 5. Compare this to spending on average $600-$700 for a month to feed my family in previous months and I am doing fabulous! 

Of course my success in this challenge is helped by the fact that I stocked up on ground turkey earlier this month when it was on sale for $1.99/pkg. 

Some of our meals for this past week have included:
Lasagna; noodles left over from lasagna the previous week, used my Mom's canned pasta sauce, 1 package of ground turkey, and thinly sliced zucchini bought earlier in the month.

Tacos; these are a staple in our house, otherwise affectionately known as Taco Tuesday. This week though we had them on Monday because of time constraints and defrosting meat. They were bare bones this week. Homemade pinto beans, ground turkey, tomatoes, chopped olives, and sour cream. Usually we also include lettuce and avocados but I couldn't justify spending the money when we didn't have them in the house. 

Salt & Pepper Chicken; Thank you Sam the Cooking Guy for your inspiration! Pounded thawed chicken breasts until they were even thickness. Season with a little olive oil, salt (I used sea salt) and pepper. Pan cook until done. Squeeze lime juice over before serving. Very tasty and easy! With this dinner we had salad and rice.

Lentil soup; a wonderful item I pulled from our pantry and finally used. Add some thinly sliced carrots and celery (wilting in the fridge but fine for this soup, yeah for not having to throw these out). Served with garlic toast, I used just a regular loaf of bread, nothing fancy.

Flank steak; another treat from our freezer, saved and refroze from a meal earlier this month. Pan grilled with olive oil, garlic pepper, and sea salt. Served with homemade pinto beans and garlic green beans.

Leftovers; who doesn't love leftovers? These nights are a frugal Mom's dream come true. Leftovers from the week included lentil soup, ground turkey from tacos. and chicken. My oldest had a bean, cheese, and turkey burrito. Another son had chicken and veggies, my daughter had some chicken too, hubby had lentil soup and salad, and I had salad. 

I am missing 2 dinners which for the life of me I can't remember, so sorry. I will take notes this coming week on what we make for dinner. By the way, my entire family eats every meal at home, 7 days a week. We are fortunate enough to have my husband work close enough to our home that he can come home for lunch everyday. 

Breakfast during the week are typically cereal for the kids and a smoothie for my husband. I eat a protein bar when I get a minute to grab something. Lunches are more leftovers, soup, sandwiches, quesadillas, or bean and cheese burritos.

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  1. Way to go! I've been scrapping the pantry shelves as well and doing really well. I really liked the Parmesean Chicken we had last night which was basically taking chicken breasts, rolled in italian dressing and then in a mixture of fresh parm, parsley and garlic powder. Then baked for 30 minutes at 350, so simple and rather tasty and VERY low carb :) it met all the requirements for me yesterday.

  2. Glad the income is doing better! And kudos for sticking with the plan regardless!

  3. We grocery shop weekly at our local Aldi's and can usually bring it in right around $100 for our family of four- and that is being "extravagant". Back in the day, I would spend $35 per week on groceries, but I can't say we ate very healthy. LOL- you do what you have to to survive the early married days with babies, right?

    I've tried to shop one month at a time and 'live off the pantry', but always need to go back for milk, fresh fruits, veggies and sometimes meat. I'd love to get an extra fridge/deep freeze- I think that would be very helpful.

    I used to do menu planning on my blog (weekly/monthly) and that really helps to keep order to the home budget b/c you know what you'll need!

    Sounds like you have some great recipes and ideas- I'll have to give them a try.

    Thanks for the post...



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