Sunday, December 29, 2019

No Spend January and a Meal Plan

I do believe we have had a fairly successful pantry challenge in December.  My plan is to continue into January.  Earlier this week I stumbled upon marked down meat at the grocery store. I spent $14 and bought 17 lbs of chicken and 2 gallons of milk. With the chicken in the freezer, I should be able to get all the way through January without buying any meat.  Probably the first week or 2 of February as well. Then the freezers will be pretty much empty which is my goal.

My budget for food/household needs in January is $250.  I do have several gift cards coming through swagbucks that I will use for household needs as well and am not including anything purchased that way in the budgeted spending. Wish me luck. 

M: yogurt, granola, sliced fruit (B), leftovers (L), taco bake, corn, mandarin oranges (D)
T: baked oatmeal, fruit (B), turkey sandwiches, carrots (L), baked chicken, roasted potatoes (D)
W:  eggs, toast, applebutter (B), pbj, sliced fruit (L), Italian beef sandwiches, broccoli (D)
T: cereal (B), leftovers (L), leftovers (D)
F: oatmeal (B), macaroni and cheese (L), fish (D)
S: cereal (B), sandwiches or leftovers (L) pizza (D)

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Pantry Challenge: Week 3

Week 3 of our pantry challenge. I'm running out of freezer meals and inspiration. We aren't running low on food yet, though.  So that is a good thing. 

This week is fairly busy with multiple doctor's appointments, Christmas gatherings, a field trip, and teen night on top of our regular stuff.  Hopefully I can stay on top of everything without going crazy. :)

The kids were given a huge box of cookies today.  Huge. And were shocked when I said we were putting most of them into the freezer for later.  Apparently I am oh so mean. But now we have cookies for another day because if i'd left them all out, the kids would have eaten the ALL. Pounds and pounds of cookies.

So here's the hopeful plan for the week:

S: pancake breakfast at church (B), leftovers (L), spicy chicken, potatoes (D)
M: cereal (B), sandwiches (L), leftovers (D)
T: breakfast sandwiches (B), leftovers (L), taco bake (D)
W: baked oatmeal (B), homeschool party (L), Boy Scout dinner (D)
T: eggs, toast (B), sandwiches/leftovers (L), beef tips (D)
F: cereal (B), mac and cheese (L), fish sticks/teen night(D)
S: um, all the leftovers

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Pantry Challenge: Week 2

The first week of the pantry challenge was successful. A bit different than I had planned but successful.  Two birthday dinners which each gave us leftovers.  Two nights of cake.  A third night when someone bought dinner for us.  And I found an amazing deal on pork loin at the store and brought home 3 whole pork loins. They were originally $1.69/lb but each package had an $8 coupon attached. So it worked out to about 75 cents a pound. After cutting them up, I know have meat for 7 more meals in the freezer.

We were also given 100 lbs of potatoes, 5 lbs of apples, and a few salad mixes.  The kids ate the salads for lunch today.  The apples will be snacks for the kids. I plan to use some of the potatoes for homemade frozen hash browns and twice baked potatoes. Thankfully our kitchen stays rather cool in the winter so the potatoes should last for us without an issue.

Here's the meal plan for the week:

S: cereal (B), salad, leftovers (L), beef stew, rolls (D)
M: bagels, oranges (B), sandwiches (L), taco bake (D)
T: eggs and toast, sliced apples (B), leftovers (L), pasta, garlic bread (D)
W: breakfast casserole (B), packed lunch for field trip (L), chicken divan (D)
T: cereal (B), leftovers (L), pulled pork (D)
F: oatmeal (B), sandwiches (L), potato soup, rolls (D)
S: eggs, toast (B), leftovers (L), pizza (D)

Sunday, December 1, 2019

December Pantry Challenge

Life has thrown us a few curve balls (and then a few more) so I have decided that December is the perfect month for a pantry challenge.  It might even extend into January depending on the state of our freezers and pantry after December.

So what is my goal here? Use up all of the odds and ends that have been stashed in the freezers and cupboards and been forgotten. Use the meat in the freezers and eat up all of the freezer meals.  Find some creative recipes to use up the canned beans and peanut butter. And, of course, save some money and spend as little as possible on groceries.  Our pantry is looking rather empty for us already so this is going to be a bit more of a challenge than I would prefer.

The first step to an effective pantry challenge is to inventory EVERYTHING edible in the house so you know what you have (and what you don't).  Then you need to plan out everything on the menu for the week including snacks.  Around here this will also require that one person really take back over the cooking because my kids are have amazing kitchen skills but don't quite understand all of the concepts of frugal cooking. We're working on that one.

Of course, we have 4 birthdays in December so those days are going to be a bit different. And Christmas as well will not entirely be pantry inspired although I do already have most everything we need in the house.

So here's the beginning of the plan for the month. This month I am feeding 12 most days, up to 17 other days. 

S: cereal (B), donuts and leftovers (L), leftovers (D)
M: monkey bread, sliced oranges (B), FFY (L), Chinese food (D), cake and ice cream for Ellie's birthday
T: bagels with cream cheese or peanut butter, sliced oranges (B), deli sandwiches, carrots (L), ham and potato casserole, peaches, peas (D)
W: cereal (B), pbj, sliced apples (L), taco bake, veggies (D)
T: breakfast casserole, orange juice (B), leftovers (L), out to eat for Kieran's birthday (D)
F: oatmeal, sliced fruit (B), pbj, carrots (L), tuna of some sort (D)
S: eggs, toast, sausage (B), leftovers (L), frozen pizza (D)