Jan 11 10
by admin
at 9:22 PM
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Menu Plan Monday and Eat From The Pantry Challenge

For the month of January, I’m joining in the Eat From the Pantry Challenge hosted by Money Saving Mom and FishMama.  Though I’m just now posting about it, I’ve been working on this challenge since the beginning of the year.  Last week, I didn’t go to the grocery store.  AT ALL.  On purpose.  I was forced to be creative and make meals out of what we had on hand in the pantry and the freezer, and I actually had a lot of fun doing that.  There was one meal in particular that I was quite proud of, made up on the spot: shredded chicken soft tacos made with homemade tortillas, Mexican rice and refried black beans. (recipes coming soon!)

Although our pantry and freezer are stuffed to the gills, I was more than ready to get back to the grocery store today to get some fresh produce and other things we were out of completely (milk, eggs, and yogurt, among other things).  My list for today’s trip seemed like it was a mile long, but even skipping last week’s grocery shopping and planning a full week of dinners for this week, I still managed to spend less than normal (and less than the weekly budget) on groceries!  I decided that for this month, I’ll only go to the store every other week.  My plan is to only do menu planning for ONE week at a time, grocery shop for ONE week at a time, then be creative and eat from the pantry and freezer the following week.  So this week was a grocery store week, and my menu (below) reflects it.

I will note that this plan doesn’t include dining out.  We’ve got a separate line item in our budget for dining out (though it is limited to once a week or once every other week).  Last week was fairly easy because we used a gift card to dine at Ruth’s Chris Steak House for our anniversary, had dinner with my parents on Sunday night, and ordered pizza for our “dine out” for the week.  That’s pretty atypical.  We’re usually eating at home more than that.  I’m really only trying to address our grocery bill with this challenge since I think there is still lots of room to cut back!  If all goes well (and I’ll report in with a summary at the end of the month), I may continue this!!

Here’s our dinner menu for this week:

Monday: leftovers from anniversary dinner at Ruth’s Chris

Tuesday: Beef Stew, Ciabatta Bread

Wednesday: Chicken Etoufee (new recipe), Brussels Sprouts (new recipe), Bread

Thursday: Turkey Enchiladas with Pumpkin Sauce (new recipe), Mexican Rice, Refried Black Beans

Friday: sandwiches or leftovers

Saturday: Dine Out

Sunday: Lasagna (new recipe), Caesar Salad, Garlic Bread

I’m also sharing this post with Menu Plan Monday at I’m an Organizing Junkie

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  1. Wow what a fabulous idea, and a hard but very well worth it challenge. It can save money, food and make things very “interesting” ! I really want to look at what I have now. If it is just from the cabinets, the kids will be eating brown sugar with old yeast packets and green tea – but the freezer – wow – there are things PACKED in there that aren’t even labeled! Keep us posted – can’t wait to hear more!

  2. What a great challenge! Your menus are also so inspiring and drool-worthy… your apples are very lucky to have you! 🙂

    We too have been cutting back on our weekly grocery bill – no easy task, is it? We managed to skim off about $100 each week just by doing a bit more planning. I plan out our meals a month in advance and post the menu on the fridge. 🙂 I’ve been doing this for about 9 months now and it’s working out really, really well. Takes a little time to plan, but save loads of time when I have to create our grocery list.

  3. Alice Osborne permalink

    In my job for a cooking software company I study blogs and one of the happy parts of this assignment is finding great sites like yours. I am so glad I found this! I can so relate to your menu-planning challenge, and without sounding like an infomercial, I wanted to tell you about their recipe program that does this for me and it has simplified my life a ton. (I’ve included the link in case you are interested.) Finally, thanks so much for a great site—I love your information and how reader-friendly and inspiring your site is!

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  1. Chicken Soft Taco Filling | The Picky Apple
  2. Manicotti Italian Casserole | The Picky Apple

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