Monday, November 11, 2013

My Two-Week "Eat from the Pantry" Challenge

Over the past month, I have really fallen off the menu-planning wagon.  Like, badly.  I was somewhat mortified to look back over my calendar and realize the last time I actually "planned" a menu for the first 1-2 weeks of October!  As we all know, it's a lot easier to keep grocery spending under control (as well as eliminate last minute "what's for supper" headaches!) if you have a plan, and I was tired of not having one.  I also decided it would be good to eat up some of our stockpile and keep the grocery spending really low for the next 2 weeks (at least) before the extra holiday cooking and baking is upon us.  So, it was time for another eat from the pantry challenge!

I finally had time over the weekend to make a list of most of the staples we have on hand (including meat and veggies in the freezer), and I planned my menu based on that.  Here is my tentative plan for the next two weeks.  (This is just suppers--breakfasts are usually baked oatmeal, granola or other cereal, toast, or eggs, and lunches are usually just sandwiches.)

Tonight 11-11: Fiesta Sweet Potato Soup (using chicken instead of sausage), Cornbread

Tues. 11-12: Mac 'n Cheese, Applesauce or Roasted Carrots

Weds. 11-13: Spinach Stuffed Shells, Italian bread

Thurs. 11-14: Pancakes, Bacon OR Leftover Mac 'n Cheese (if we have enough)

Fri 11-15: Roast Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, Squash

Sat. 11-16: Steakums on sub rolls, Popcorn or Pita Chips

Sun. 11-17: Pizza and Popcorn

Mon. 11-18: Chicken Quesadillas, Rice

Tues. 11-19: Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup (I adapt this recipe), Biscuits

Weds. 11-20: Buffalo Chicken Lasagna (crockpot), Italian bread

Thurs. 11-21: Pancakes or Scrambled Eggs, Bacon

Fri. 11-22: Crockpot Venison w/Gravy, Mashed Potatoes, Mixed Veggies

Sat. 11-23: Tomato Soup, Grilled Cheese or Tuna Sandwiches

Sun. 11-24: Pizza and Popcorn

I have to do a little more figuring, but I *think* we probably have enough stuff on hand to also make meals for the three remaining days after this menu ends, before Thanksgiving.  We'll see. :)  My goal is to keep my grocery budget for the next 2 weeks at $50 total (or below).  So far all that's on my list to supplement what we already have is:

  • Ricotta cheese
  • Jumbo shells
  • Frozen chopped spinach
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Square foil pans (this and the above 3 items are all part of a meal I'm making for someone, which is the reason I'm buying them instead of eating from the pantry that night--plus my kid LOVE stuffed shells :))
  • Brown sugar
  • Potatoes
  • Dishwasher detergent
  • Swiss cheese (possibly) or mozzarella
We will also need to buy milk at least once, I'm sure, and probably some fruit.  But looking at my list so far, I'm hopeful that the challenge will be a successful one. :)  AND, I'm really happy to have a plan worked out again, finally!!

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