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Pantry Challenge 2019: Week 3 Update

I can’t believe we’re already finished with Week 3 of the Pantry Challenge. So far, so good. Here’s how we did this past week.

bagels and boules cooling on tray

It rained almost the entire week. Not something we normally experience in San Diego. While I’m thankful for the precipitation, I am so thankful for the sunshine that finally broke through on Friday afternoon!

The weekend has been a weird one, being a holiday and all, so I am a little late in posting this report. But, since tomorrow is the Monday that will feel like a Sunday, I decided not to worry about it too much.

My Pantry Challenge Plans

As I mentioned earlier, I plan do to this Pantry Challenge all the way through the end of January. I officially started my reporting the Sunday before New Year’s. Only ten more days to go!

My general plan is to spend only half of our monthly budget (currently set for $1000/month for the new year) by shopping my pantry and freezers before I go to the store. I’ve focused on making more things from scratch and making good use of leftovers.

I’m not sure if I will really squeak in under $500, but I think it will be close.

How you can join in:

Here are some of the ways you can participate in the Good Cheap Eats Pantry Challenge for 2019:

  • Get the Pantry Challenge ebook. I’ve put together a quick and easy guide to help you do a Pantry Challenge on your own. Purchase the instant download Pantry Challenge ebook..
  • Sign up for my emails. During January, I’ll be sending out specific tips and tricks to help you make the most of the food you already have in your cupboards. Sign up for the emails here.
  • Follow me on Instagram. I’ll be sharing my pantry challenge adventures on Instagram stories, @jessicagfisher.
  • Watch Kitchen Winning. I’ll also be chatting about the challenge in this month’s episodes of Kitchen Winning.
  • Join the Kitchen Winners Circle. January’s focus in the Kitchen Winners Circle is the Pantry Challenge. Naturally. I’ll be offering personalized coaching to folks in the circle and sharing my daily menues from our family’s Pantry Challenge. We’ll also be chatting in our private chat forum about what we’re making each day and getting help and inspiration from each other. Our first master class was on how to make the Pantry Challenge work for you so that you can make the most of what you have. The class and its replay is free to all members of the Kitchen Winners Circle.

Pantry Challenge 2019: Week 3 Update

Despite the rain, it was a pretty good week. We were able to use up some more things from the fridge, make good use of leftovers, and keep our grocery spending fairly low.

I consider this the doldrums week of a Pantry Challenge, the time when I notice my kids are hungrier and I feel uninspired in the kitchen.

To combat this, I wasn’t afraid to have my daughter bake up two batches of Gramma John’s Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies to get us through. I also gave my 14yo carte blanche on the crackers, one of his favorite snacks.

We also had a burger lunch out; something we’ve not done all month is eat out, so it was time.

In case you missed it, here’s our Week 1 Update. And Week 2. Here’s what we ate this week:

Day 15

Brunch: Breakfast Burrito Bar

Dinner: Grilled Chicken, Rice, Vegetables

Sunday lent itself to brunch. It was not by design, but it’s how it worked out. I’m totally fine with that, particularly on a day when I do a lot of meal prep.

Somehow I didn’t think to take pictures of breakfast or dinner, but I did get a shot of my Split Pea Soup that I prepped on Sunday. So yummy!

Day 16

Breakfast: Fried Eggs and Toast

Lunch: Soup and Bagels, Bagel Sandwiches

Dinner: Burning Love Mashed Potatoes with Sausages, Eggs, and Broccoli

Monday was rainy and full of school doings with the kids. I was busy all day and we didn’t eat until almost 8!

Dinner turned out to be less than I had hoped. Somehow the kid I assigned to peel potatoes didn’t peel enough, so when I was prepping dinner, I realized people would leave the table hungry. I cooked up a package of sausages and fried some eggs to make sure people left the table full.

I like Burning Love Mashed Potatoes without sausage, I think.

Day 17

Breakfast: Toast and Jam

Lunch: Wonton Cups, similar to Samosa Cups, but with different fillings, Salad

Dinner: Oven Tacos. I use a Homemade Chipotle Taco Seasoning Mix.

Tuesday was an at-home day, but it rained and felt blah. We had sourdough toast with the best raspberry jam. Costco has this French organic jam that is amazing. I stocked up over Christmas.

For lunch I used up the leftover wontons we had as well as some random meats from the freezer (cooked pork and breakfast sausage). I also baked up some frozen appetizers I had leftover from NYE.

At dinner time, I made a few pans of Oven Tacos. These are a favorite with the people here. 24 isn’t quite enough for 8 people, however, so kids also ended up making quesadillas and burritos.

Day 18

Breakfast: Oatmeal Bar with Toppings

Lunch: Soup and Bread

Dinner: Burrito Bowls

Another busy, rainy day. We ate leftovers and fairly bland colored foods.

Though this wild rice soup from Week 1 is still amazing! Will need to recreate that again. I heated up the last container from the freezer.

Day 19

Breakfast: Eggs and Toast, Special Coffee Drinks

Lunch: Pork and Sauerkraut with Sausage and Boiled Potatoes

Dinner: Chicken Tikka Masala and Coconut Rice

By Thursday I was done with the rain and the sickness I’ve been fighting all week. I couldn’t handle another bean or soup dish, so I dug out my 30-minute cookbook for inspiration.

Lo and behold! I had all the things for Chicken Tikka Masala. Soooo yummy and just what we needed to mix things up a bit.

I had to make my own garam masala but it worked out okay. Yay!

I had leftovers that I froze. The kids and I will have them for lunch this week.

Day 20

Breakfast: Oats and Toast

Lunch: Hamburgers out

Dinner: Grilled Sourdough Pizza and Caesar Salad

Friday was sunny and bright so we celebrated with an easy lunch out and then made our regular Grilled Sourdough Pizza.

I had found a few bagged salads on clearance at Ralphs, so that made for an easy side dish.

Day 21

Breakfast: Cereal and Fruit

Lunch: BLTs and salads

Dinner: Chicken Enchilada Casserole, Rice, Beans

Saturday, Bryan and I were filming some more cooking videos so the kitchen was busy all day. The kids had cereal while we worked.

Then we broke for lunch with BLTs on bread I bought on clearance.

Told you — doldrums week.

Dinner was a quick enchilada casserole. If you’ve got the chicken cooked — I poached chicken in the Instant Pot — the casserole comes together in less than 45 minutes.

So there ya go. All in all, it was an okay week. It wasn’t the most stellar, but I think I took enough kitchen breaks to give me a little stamina to get through this last ten days.

How is YOUR pantry challenge going?

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