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Eat From the Pantry Challenge: My Goals and Plans (and come link up yours, too!)


It’s so easy to think we have to go to the store every single week (or maybe even more often!), but I’ve found that when I challenge myself to make do with what I already have on hand, we can usually eat pretty well. Plus, we can save a lot of money in the process!

In recent weeks, I’ve been feeling like we have all sorts of odds and ends in our pantry, refrigerator, and freezers which need to be used up. But with the busyness of the Christmas season, I didn’t have much creative juices or energy to come up with ways to use this random assortment of items. Thus, the Eat From the Pantry Challenge idea was born.

I’d been contemplating how I wanted to pull it off, when FishMama wrote and asked if I’d be interested in doing an Eat From the Pantry Challenge in January since she was also feeling like her cupboards were bulging. I guess great minds think alike, huh?!

So we brainstormed for a few days and decided we’d co-host an Eat From the Pantry Challenge on our blogs January 1-31, 2010. We’re attempting to avoid grocery shopping as much as possible and will be blogging what we’re feeding our families, creative recipes we’re concocting, and how we’re pulling this whole thing off.

To be perfectly honest, I’m still not exactly sure at this point how I am pulling this off because I’ve never done something like it before. Let’s just hope it doesn’t royally flop seeing as there’s no such thing as backing out now!

The good news is that I have all of you and FishMama so if I get in a bind or run out of ideas, I’ll know just where to turn. Whatever happens, I know it will be an adventure!

Now, let me say right upfront that I am not going to completely avoid buying any groceries for a month. We like to have fresh eggs, milk, and produce, so I plan to buy those at least three times during the month.

So here are our family’s goals for the Eat From The Pantry Challenge:

1) Stop at the store a maximum of three times in January.

2) Only buy dairy (milk, eggs, cheese, etc.) and produce (fruits/vegetables).

3) Spend a total of $75 or less on groceries during the month of January.

4) Donate the extra $85 leftover (or more) that we would usually spend on groceries to Gleaning the Harvest.

Now for some caveats: we usually have dinner out once a week as a family (this comes out of our “Dates and Eating Out” envelope and is separate from our grocery money) so we plan to continue that. We also often eat a meal at our extended family’s house at least once per week and we plan to continue that, as well. Plus, we’ll actually be in California for the first few days in January visiting FishMama and her family so we aren’t going to officially start our Eat From The Pantry Challenge until we get home.

You can see FishMama’s goals and plan for her family here.

Would you like to join us in this Eat from the Pantry Challenge? We’d love to have you along! However, I want to encourage you to make your own rules according to what works best for your own family’s needs. Don’t feel obligated to do things the way we’ve decided to do it; do what works for you!

You can join in the entire month, or for two weeks, or just a week–it’s up to you! It’s not a competition, we just hope to encourage you to get creative and save money by wisely using things in your freezer, refrigerator, and pantry.

So, set goals for your own family for the Eat From The Pantry Challenge. And, if possible, consider setting aside the money you save by participating in this Challenge and either applying it towards debt, putting it into savings, or donating it to a worthy cause.

This is a simple way that you can squeeze a little extra out of a tight budget to help meet a financial goal or give to someone in need. It’s not required that you do this to participate, it’s just something I’d encourage you to consider.

At the end of each week in January, we’ll have a post with a Mr. Linky for you to share about what you ate from your pantry the past week and how the Challenge is going for you. You can also interact with others participating in this challenge on Facebook or follow along here on Twitter with the hashtag #pantry.

If you’re participating in the Eat From The Pantry Challenge, post about your goals and plan and then come back here and leave a direct link to your post below so others can read about it and be inspired. If you don’t have a blog, you can tell us about your plan and goals in the comments section of this post.

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  • Rebecca says:

    Crystal, I plan on joining in but am wondering if I can use your picture?

    Money Saving Mom here: You certainly may, Rebecca! The Challenge logo is free to use on anyone’s blog who is participating!

  • Tiffany says:

    I don’t know that I’ll join in for January. My pantry/freezer aren’t real full right now. But I do have an ongoing challenge on my blog to do this. It’s under the “Saving Money” page on my blog. I like the creativity this challenge presents. Everytime I do it, I come up with new meals or substitutions and sometimes even really great new recipes.

  • Mary In Ohio says:

    We will actually be doing this the end of Feb/beginning of March as our third child will be delivered then and I know that after this c-section (my third one) there is no way I will even feel like going grocery shopping for a couple of weeks! I will be reading along for ideas though!

  • Sounds great! I’m in! … not with the same dollar goals of course, but I know I need to be a better steward of what we have. Waste less, spend less, do more with less. We’ve lived on half the income we do now, yet haven’t really had much extra money to show for it. No more! Time to trim the fat so we can give and share!

  • I’m excited for the challenge! It’ll be a good way to start the new year by *really* cleaning my cupboards;)

  • Lauren Z says:

    I spent yesterday afternoon looking in my pantry and browsing recipe websites for recipes to use the stockpile I have (chili, spaghetti/meatballs, chicken tortilla soup, quiche, tacos, etc – looking for more). I am making a calendar and will sit down tonight and plan out the month. I am going to limit the grocery store trip to once per week, $100 for the month and I cannot wait!!

  • Lauren,
    I’ve been rooting my cupboards and found that I should be making 20 dinners of stewed tomatoes!

  • Sarah B says:

    I too was planning a personal pantry challenge last night. When I went to make my month menu though, I discovered that I will be short meat…so I won’t be able to make it through the whole month.

  • Leslie says:

    Hello! I am so excited about this challenge! My pantry is really packed right now, and I needed a challege to use up all the items in it. Most of the time, I become lazy and just spend money on getting fast food, rather than using what I have. Then everything I do have normally goes bad!

    This is the perfect challenge for me — I get to use what I have, save money, and learn new and exciting ways to spice up my “normal” items. Thanks again!

  • Jennifer says:

    This always sounds like such a good idea, but the problem I run into is that for every thing I want to use up, there are at least two more things I need to buy! For instance, maybe I have a package of lasagna noodles that’s been sitting in the back of the pantry for months, but in order to make lasagna, I would need to buy tomatoes, mozzarella, and ricotta. Does anyone else deal with this?

  • This is what we’re eating:

    The only reason we would go to the store is for extra greens, as this is my last month of pregnancy and my winter garden is not growing all of the greens that it should be (my original plan was to not have to buy any greens this winter).

    We were already planning on doing this before you posted (in fact we already started a few weeks ago). Our income is variable and in January it is going to be much lower.

    Just a note to Sarah B above: You can do a lot without meat. I have several ideas in my menu above that you can use, that will take things you probably already have on hand in your pantry.

  • Jackie Brown says:

    I’m starting my list and checking it twice. I’ve been making soup and chili quite a bit and freezing the extra. The gladware portions go with hubbie for lunches and I make taco salad with single serve chili. I freeze chicken noodle soup in quart bags for the kiddos. I double every recipe and freeze the extra. A favorite to do is make boiled chickencubes for recipes, broth for soup and enchiladas, chicken noodle soup and chicken enchililadas with one large family pack of chicken on sale for 1.69 at our local Ingles. It’s amazing what you can do with a $6 pack of chicken, celery, onions,carrots, egg noodles and a few enchilda ingredients. I’ll try to post this on our website some time.

  • Mary Ann says:

    I’m excited to join in!

  • kathi says:

    To Jennifer above–time to get creative. What could you do w/ lasagna noodle other than lasagna? Break them up to put in chicken soup? make them into wraps in place of tortillas? Off the top of my head I’m out of ideas but you get the general drift

  • Honey says:

    My reason for participating is to move toward more whole foods. Right now I am well stocked on many things, but want to make room (on the shelves and in the budget) for healthier fare. So I will only be getting freebies and almost freebies as well as fresh produce/dairy and healthy items that are at rock bottom prices. I’ve got enough pancake mix, pasta, hotdogs, canned veggies, and things to last me a long while!

  • Heather says:

    Jennifer – try to think of other uses for the lasagna noodles besides lasagna. Maybe cook them and then cut up the large noodles for something else? I don’t think Crystal uses ricotta in her lasagna – so perhaps a substitute? It’s all about being creative with what you have. Try not to limit yourself to the normal uses of food! (:

  • Elisa says:

    This is great, I’d planned to do something similar myself so I’ve linked up. Due to the higher cost of living in AK I’ve upped the monthly amount to $100 but hope to be under that! Boy do we need to clear out the freezer.

  • Tricia Young says:

    Okay, I did a little inventorying and this is what I’ve come up with:
    shake n bake chicken strips with jar sauce to dip
    shake n bake chicken parm, jar sauce, pasta
    chicken breasts
    chicken breasts
    chicken breasts
    slow cooker italian herb chicken, can stewed tomatoes, brown rice
    noodles, frozen sauce, meat in freezer
    ground turkey
    roast, onion soup mix, baked potatoes
    asian pork chops
    pork chops, jack daniels sauce, mac n chz
    pork chops, sweet baby rays, baked beans
    pork chops, sweet baby rays
    roast, 2 cans cream soup
    sweet and sour chicken
    white chicken chili
    venison (x’s as many meals as we want of that!)

    i have corn, green beans, 2 bags peas, cranberry sauce, potato pancake mix, 2 sweet potatoes, and lots of baked potatoes to add to this in places we need sides.

    It can be done!! At first glance I thought I didn’t have anything in my house!!

  • Chris P says:

    I’m in! Maybe you all can help me figure out what to do with 8 cans of turkey gravy….lol….what was I thinking when I bought those!!!

  • Lisa says:

    Looking forward to the challenge!

  • Michelle M. says:

    Oh I can’t wait! My pantry is busting at the seams because my stockpiling is now bordering on hoarding:) This is something I have been needing to do for a while. That’s for coming up with this great challenge! I am not looking at sales flyers or clipping coupons for the next month…….that’s a challenge in itself. I will only be purchasing the dairy, produce, vegetables and also breads 3 times a month.

  • Jackie W says:

    I would love to join both of you on the Eat from the pantry challenge. I don’t know if a month is a realistic for my family. But we’d love to try for at least a week or two. I’ll update how my family is doing as you post your updates! Thank you!

  • This challenge aligns so well with the goals I already marked down for 2010, saving money and losing weight. If I chose to spend a little bit of money it will be on produce and dairy items, not chips and ice cream. 🙂 This will surely help me see the backs of our cupboards and freezer shelves by February 1st. Our goal is to spend less than $200 for our family of 8.

  • Danna says:

    I love your eat from the pantry challenge. I REALLY recommend that you check out this lady has been eating from her pantry for like 3 years. It’s a really interesting story and she has pantry only menus.

  • WilliamB says:

    I do this – but not in winter, when a stocked pantry can be a godsend if the roads get blocked or the power goes out.

    Jennifer, there’s a book called “Half a Can of Tomato Paste” which specializes in how to use up leftovers, starting with the infamous leftover tomato paste. It’s organized by leftover (such as cottage cheese, rice raw or cooked, etc) and the index is amazing – lists every recipe that uses some type of often leftover food, even if it’s not in that food’s section. I think it’s out of print but try the library or

    Also, when I’m eating down my pantry my goal is clear out stuff that doesn’t usually get used, rather than to not shop. So I don’t mind buying ricotta as long as I use all of it. But if that’s not for you, then sometimes the pantry food can be repurposes. For example, break up the lasagna noodles for “spaghetti” instead.

    Good luck all!

  • aimee says:

    I’m in and linked with FB. I love this idea because like the Prudent Homemaker, our income is very low in the winter months. I fully intend not to go to the store AT ALL in January…period. I love to cook and I think this will be a big challenge. We have a stocked freezer all ready (plenty of deer meat and such), I make our bread and buy flour in 25lb bags, we have chickens for our eggs, but I really think lettuce will be my struggle. Having just read “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” though really makes me think about how far my greens are traveling. I can’t wait to share recipes and ideas!!

  • Brooke says:

    I think you read my mind. I have been couponing really hard the last couple months and besides having full cabinets, I’ve been feeling a little burned out of shopping and running out for the latest great deal. This will be a great challenge and chance to clean out the cupboards and take a break from the rush!

  • Mamie says:

    I’m excited to take on this challenge! We won;t see a paycheck until January 29th (the last one was on December 21st), so this is a perfect time for us to try pantry/freezer eating. I put my link into the Linky, joined on Facebook, and I’m READY! Thanks for sponsoring this!

  • Deven says:

    I will definitely be in for this challenge? Do you still buy paper products and stockpile items at the store too? With infant triplets, this will be nice!

  • Laura says:

    I am definitely doing this, but I have to keep it hush-hush! I’ve noticed in the past that as soon as I say something about eating exclusively from the pantry, hubby gets ‘antsy’ and wants to go to the store. So…I’m going to plan from the pantry, pick up some produce and dairy as needed and see how it goes. I’ll post menus and recipes on my blog, but I won’t be saying much about precisely what I’m doing – sssshhh! 😉

    Laura at

  • Janet says:

    Wish I could join in but we just moved the weekend before Christmas and our freezer is empty and our pantry is only minimally stocked. Another time.

  • Jennifer says:

    I’m very excited to join in this challenge. I plan on combining the freezer cooking with the eat from the pantry challenge though. I’m cooking up a storm on the 1st with mostly things I already have. Then I hope to not have to cook or grocery shop much for the whole month. Can’t wait to get started!

  • Laura says:

    I’m in! Our pantry/freezer is bulging with all the extra food I stockpiled to make it easily through the holidays. We must have lived on cookies all month because we have quite a bit left over! This will be an adventure–we’ve never done anything like this before. I do have some unusual things leftover from Christmas, like bits of a fudge batch gone bad and lots of nuts. It will be interesting to come up with ways to use what we have on hand.

  • carla says:

    I am unable to do this for a whole month, because I cleaned out my cupboards/freezer for the most part before I had to cook for Christmas and family being here. Not many left-overs! I will enjoy reading how it all went for you though.

  • matty says:

    I’m in! I posted my resolutions as well!

  • gretchen says:

    I’m signed up to do this, but need some ideas! 🙂

  • Ann says:

    My pantry isn’t full, but my freezer is. So I think I am in for a modified eat from the freezer challenge.

  • WilliamB says:

    @ChrisP – I love other people’s food challenges! Yummm, gravy. Here are some ideas that pop into my head:
    – pot pie;
    – on top of potatoes;
    – casseroles;
    – with biscuits for breakfast;
    – gringo burritos: wrap tortillas around sauteed veggies, top with gravy and optional shredded cheese;
    – gringo breakfast burritos: same as above but make very thin omelets to use as the wrap.

    I find jarred gravy to be a bit flat so jazz it up. I saute onions and sometimes garlic, then add the gravy (sometimes thinning it out), then add more herbs, then either wine or vinegar or tabasco/hot sauce. If 8 jars gets to be a bit much, try adding tomato paste to some of it; it’ll taste rather different.

    FYI, I often make my own tomato paste. I’ll freeze liquid I save from canned tomates; when I have enough I simmer it down, ideally in the oven when I have something else cooking.

    Vinegar is my secret ingredient in many sauces; it brightens the flavor without being detectable. Tabasco and many other hot sauces are mostly vinegar and hot peppers and so it brightens up the sauce twice over. I’m a spice wimp so I don’t add enough that you can taste the spice.

    Good luck y’all!

  • Danielle Bradbury says:

    Haha! I love reading that others find odd stocked up items in their pantry too….makes me rethink how much I really need to buy of a “great item” when it goes on a “great sale”!!! Hormel chili anyone??

  • Lucky says:

    We did this in December — in fact at one point we were snowed in for 4 days and I really surprised my DH by putting together a blueberry pie! I thought my pantry would be empty but then we got a lot of jams and nuts and other goodies for Christmas presents. I’ll be focusing on working these things into my meals hopefully in a healthy way.

  • Danielle R says:

    I’m in!

    It will be hard to stay away from those tempting CAT deals at Shaw’s though. But I do need to ‘rotate stock’ so to speak. I’m looking forward to a bunch of vegetarian meals as well. Plus we’ll all eat a little leaner so maybe we’ll drop a pound or two? Who knows!?

    Thanks for the motivation!

  • Tricia Young says:

    MSM, I’m going to join you and I plan to only buy produce, bread, eggs, and dairy that are a must. What are you going to do when February comes and you’re out of chicken/meats and it isn’t on sale? Will you continue to buy great deals during January or tackle that when February comes? I don’t want to pass up great deals and then wish I had gotten them because I’m paying higher later.

  • stacy says:

    I’m in and looking forward to doing this!!!

  • LisaL says:

    This is my first “Pantry Challenge” I have been working on stocking my pantry and now get a chance to clean it out. Although, I do not have much in the freezer, it will give me a chance to see what I do need to stock/freeze.
    My goals will be to actually make 1) a weekly menu, 2) plan lunches for hubby, 3) be creative, 4) only allow myself three trips to the grocery store for the month of Jan. and 5) take notes to stock my pantry with variety. Lisa

  • I started doing this this week.
    My goal is to use up what I have in my big freezer so I don’t throw away food that has freezer burn.
    To only spend $75 a week on eggs,bread,fruit and household cleaning supplies
    The extra money I would have paid to the store will go into a cruise jar.

  • melinda says:

    if it’s possible can you delete my link #121 so I can fix it.
    I forgot to link it to the actual post not my blog, thanks.

  • Rachel A. says:

    I am going to do this to but I might need to hit some sales before the end of the month we have been doing so much eating out with family we will need to cut back on that to. But I know the creativity will be fun!

  • Carol says:

    I’m in. My goal is to organize and clean my pantry and refrigerator. I just finished
    organizing and cleaning my freezers. I plan on using the older things first. I will only shop for milk, eggs, bread, and lunch meat. Hubby likes to take lunch meat sandwiches in his lunch everyday. Since he hardly ever eats out for lunch and he earns the money I will certainly do this for him! Any extra dollars leftover at the end of the month will go towards our get out of debt program!

  • Sharon says:

    I think this is a spectacular idea. I’m not posting on a blog about this but I have a newsletter that I send out. I’ll be pointing out this challenge.

  • Angela says:

    Okay, so I am in too! I just bought a box of chicken at the chicken plant so my family will be having lots and lots of chicken this month. I know there are lots of variety I can do with chicken just need to be creative. Thanks for the idea and I will definitely be checking back for ideas on recipes and encouragement. My biggest struggle will be taking something to work for breakfast and lunch instead of drive thru!

  • Katharine says:

    I’m excited to dig into my excess as I begin the new year!

  • Leah says:

    We are excited about participating in this challenge! Thank you for hosting it and providing the inspiration we needed to clean out the freezers and pantry before stuff goes bad 🙂

  • Michelle H. says:

    This is so timely! We are about to sell our home and I need to declutter. Part of that is whittling down my stockpile so my pantry appears more spacious to potential buyers. (And clean out the laundry room cabinets that hold the overflow.) Last week I bought only milk and bread and we still ate like kings. Of course, my husband has taken it upon himself to eat the ice cream stockpile. : )

  • Laurie says:

    I’m hoping this will help us stay more focuesd this month – thanks for the encouragement!

  • I am so excited about this. Game on! Fun challenge that dh and I were just discussing today. Great to read this post! Can’t wait to read updates from everyone!

  • Kim Reilly says:

    I just saw this challenge 10 minutes ago… I am SO in! The way my pantry is bulging it may turn into a 60 day challenge for me.
    My goal is to cook from the pantry every night (except for weekly dinners at the grandparents’). No fast food for the sake of convenience. I’m starting this off with 50 lbs of prime rib steaks and roasts in the freezer, thanks to a GREAT sale the week before Christmas.
    The money we save on groceries and eating out will be used to pay down our debt.
    I’ll need to organize the pantry tomorrow, I’m pretty sure there are some dry goods in there that are older than my children.. ick.

  • I have decided to take the challenge of 30 days without buying anything except gas and groceries. As I was making my “ground rules” for the month, I came upon your post about the pantry. I had already decided to keep my groceries to $110/week (I have a baby on very expensive formula and diapers which eats up around $60/week) and wanted to do more.

    Thanks for the post. Can’t wait to see your recipes!

  • Blakely says:

    I think it will be fun to participate in the Eat From the Pantry Challenge. I have tried to do this on my own, but know that there are others will be helpful. I added a link to my blog.

  • Jean says:

    On board! What a great idea!!

  • Michelle Cox says:

    I took my inventory two nights ago, did my “supplemental” grocery shopping yesterday and we had our first “Eat from the Pantry” meal last night. I came up with 10 meals, so I’m hoping to make the “pantry/freezer” plus those supplemental groceries last until Jan. 9. If I do, I will have saved about $150 in just one week off my usual grocery costs. I’m so excited to have found Money Saving Mom! I put my post up on

  • KellyH says:

    Lasagne noodles- my mom brought out a dish for lunch one day last year. She had made chicken salad (or maybe tuna) and rolled it up in cooked lasagne noodles, then we used some salad dressing (Italian maybe) on it if we liked. It was pretty good.

    I am planning on the challenge starting next week. DH is on vacation this week, and my folks are coming for Christmas next week. I have LOTS of ground venison, canned green beans and canned pears/ applesauce to eat.


  • Patti says:

    I am joining you, too! Started today (Dec. 31st) by deciding on tomorrow’s menu from food I have on hand. For the traditional Southern January 1st meal of pork, greens, and hopping john, we are having: country ribs with Sticky Fingers BBQ sauce, canned black-eye peas, white rice, and succatash of tomatoes, okra, and corn.
    No greens exactly but that’s ok. I also decided to use something from my pantry for a New Year’s Eve dish: made cheddar cheese cookies (the kind with hot sauce and Rice Krispies). While these were baking, I did my pantry inventory and found loads of ideas for party foods: popcorn in the Whirley Pop, four jars of salsa (and I know I have black beans if I wanted a dip with these), and a Tastefully Simple Savory Cheese Dip Mix. Can’t believe I was planning to go to the store to buy something for the party we are attending. Thanks, Crystal, for encouraging us to use our stockpiles!!

  • Lindy says:

    Great Idea! My family acctually did this for this month December! The month of Dec brings alot so I really wanted to focus on my family this year and not be couponing. I didnt have to get any groceries at all. It was great. I have a fully stocked pantry and freezer. I didnt even make a dent. I was nice to get a break from the stores especially with them being so crazy this time of year. You should all be able to do it!

  • I decided to participate for the whole month of January and here are the rules I came up with.

    1. To limit spending at grocery stores to no more than $20 a week and mostly on items such as milk and eggs. While trying to use giftcards from RX transfers when possible to buy some of these items.

    2. To create meals using items from our stockpile and post the recipes.

    3. To continue eating at home every night – we just do not go out to eat much around here.

    4. To use the money saved to go do something fun as a family (i.e. movies, dinner out)

    5. And lastly, to update my inventory and post updates on the Challenge status weekly.

  • Darrell says:

    I’m going to try this! We have a few chickens, chicken legs, ground turkey, and some fish in the freezer and a pile of beans in the pantry. I think I could make dinners with that and I’ll let myself pick up a great deal on meat if I see it:) I hope doing the challenge along with everyone else will provide the motivation to put that grocery money into savings!

  • Shannon says:

    I’m in! I started doing this back in the fall but have fallen off the wagon. No better time than the present to start again!

  • I did something like this when I planned my December menu and had already put my menu and grocery lists together for January with this in mind. I’m excited to have found this online community of folks all working on the same project! I also love the challenge of “odd ingredients” so feel free to post on my blog if you’ve got some odds and ends that you need ideas for 🙂

    In skimming the ingredients folks are looking for uses for:
    -Gravy can be used in a soup or stew base
    -consider rolling cheese and veggies in the lasagna noodles
    -make “lasagna” with finely chopped veggies & cheese and cream sauce instead of the traditional red meat sauce and rich cheeses.

    just a few ideas 🙂

  • Joyagg says:

    I’m in and sharing the word. Did a freezer inventory today and plan to do the pantry as soon as the new shelves go into the laundry. Thanks for the challenge.

  • Kris says:

    I’m in. I’ll be trying to organize my stockpile, rotate stock in my pantry and freezers, and stick to a budget of $200. I’ll also post more recipes (I have a bad habit of seasonings things until they look and taste right, without actually measuring them).

  • Kati C. says:

    What an exciting challenge!! I have to admit, it’s pretty scary at the same time for me, but I’m definitely looking forward to it! I posted my goals up on my blog at and am anxious to see how this goes! Hopefully I’ll learn more about the value of stockpiling and work on that a bit more!

  • Stardust says:

    I’m excited for this challenge! I hope to end this month with at least an extra $350 in my pocket!

  • La Yen says:

    Genius. So excited to do this.

  • Cyn says:

    Finally got my post up about the eat from the pantry challenge. Almost decided to give up and not do it since I realized that in reality I don’t have that much in my pantries or freezer but then I started seeing the benefits of participating anyway!

  • Mary H. says:

    Thanks for this great idea! I am anxious to get started…and since it’s almost time to get dinner started, I guess now is a good time!

  • Adrienne says:

    My husband is laid-off, so we NEED to eat from our pantry now. I’m glad it’s well-stocked. Today, I took $50, some scrounged pop cans, and some pocket change to the grocery stores to shop. My goal is to spend $50 per week. I think it can be done.

  • Erin says:

    I sort of did this in December because we always tend to spend more to make those special holiday recipes (and we generally eat more too). I think I will keep it going because our pantry is still fully stocked.

  • Amy says:

    I am very excited to be joining in. I love challenges! Between my pantry and my two freezers, we really shouldn’t have much problem. We are just going to have to be very creative and that is part of the run. I will be like most of you with grocery store runs only for milk, eggs, fruit and veggies. My hubby thinks this is a great idea.

  • Wendy says:

    I actually started this tonight without seeing your post till late this evening.

    We had steaks, brocolli and pears and garlic bread…My husband is so burned out on potatoes I decided to skip the starch.

    I am blessed to work for a food brokerage company where I receive most of my food free. We actually had to purchase a freezer to store everything. I was laid off earlier this year and this was one of the enticing factors for them to get me in there. However my husband was laid off several months later and 4 months later, he is still without a job. Thank goodness we have not had to touch our savings except a bit to get our 8 year old Christmas gifts, but I’ve found that with clipping coupons and receiving the free food by the grace of God, we have more “extra” money and I am so thankful.

    I will definately be participating in the January adventure and will be sure NOT to tell my husband about it either. He, too gets antsy as well. 🙂 Good luck to everyone!

  • Wendy says:

    Menu tonight from the freezer and pantry – Day 2

    Pulled BBQ
    Home Made French Fries
    Fruit Cocktail

  • Stacy says:

    sounds like fun. will be doing this!!!
    i spent $85 this past week but it included stuff for ds’s slumber birthday party this past weekend (about $25 worth of extra groceries) so we are well on our way to this end as well.

  • Stacey says:

    Kudos to you guys with full pantries. My cupboard is barer than bare at the moment. I’d like to get in on the challenge once I’ve restocked though.

  • I’m joining in – better late than never! 🙂 After having an energy audit done recently, we’ve decided that the cost of running our older model chest freezer negates the savings from stock-piling food when its on sale. So I guess we’ll be eating our way through the freezer this month!

  • Justine says:

    I, too, am in for a modified “eat from the pantry/freezer” challenge… at least for this week! If it goes well, I might go for week 2, but since kitchen creativity drains me (and I started back to work today after 2 weeks off) I’m not sure how this will go. Definitely hoping to glean some ideas from others! I already like the unconventional lasagna uses… I’ve got 1/2 box from a while ago and hate making lasagna!

  • Steph in Canada says:

    Count me in!

    We’ve got a very well-stocked kitchen pantry, basement pantry, chest-freezer and cellar…. so we could probably do this for 3 months, but let’s see how the first month goes. Part of being well-stocked is taking advantage of the sales when they happen – so everything in my freezer, pantry, etc. was bought on sale (except for those things I canned/preserved myself).

    This week’s menu:
    Mon – Broccoli soup (bone broth from freezer, already had broccoli, cheese, onion, carrot)
    Tues – Bangers n Mash (sausage in freezer/potatoes in cellar)
    Wed – Ribs, Salad and Rice (already have everything – ribs were in freezer)
    Thurs – Eggs and Toast (quickie dinner before heading out to class)
    Fri – leftovers or something quick from the freezer, such as chicken strips, fries, pizza, etc.

    This weekend will be shopping trip 1 of 3 and I will plan next week’s menu then.

  • DJ (Deb) says:

    I am so glad to read about the “Eat From The Pantry Challenge” because there is plenty of room for my family to improve on cutting/saving dollars with coupons and in our creativity with weekly menu planning. About this time last year, I started our own little pantry because of wanting to budget our food money better. Then, last summer we found out my one daughter needs to restrict spicy, acidic, high fat foods which helped with cooking more from scratch. Now, I want to see what else we can do with our pantry by cooking more with what is on hand in this new month/new year. My dollar figure will probably be different because we go to the store for fresh dairy and I plan to purchase bargains/on sale items for re-stocking our “pantry” because of continuing this after January. I’m not sure how much I can participate with comments but I look forward to reading and getting lots of great ideas to help us with our own pantry challenge. I’m particularly interested in seeing if there are any others with food restrictions and how their pantry and meal planning works.

    I plan to post on my own blog and will add to the above list. Thank you so much for doing this!

  • Ursula says:

    This a great challenge and was ready to do it anyways to rotate my foodstorage….I have to say, going to some of the blogs and seeing the pantries …oh,my what dream pantries there are ….are there any of you, who also are limited on space and how do you deal with it, not having a semi big pantry or storage room ..?

  • jodie says:

    Well, I officially decided to join up with you all after checking out my stash of stuff. It’s insane. Besides… I’m always up for an adventure!! 🙂 My goal is to spend less than $40 a week on ONLY fresh stuff (fruit, milk, juice, veggies) and to use up most of what we have in our stockpile.
    Fun fun fun!

  • Ami says:

    I planning on a bit of a laid-back participation in this challenge. Money saved will be used toward our transition to healthy eating. Specifically, I’ll be stocking up at the Amish bulk foods store and saving more money for 1/4 a steer and perhaps some chickens my friends are willing to raise for meat.

  • Just linked up. A great challenge ladies!

    Our goal is to save at least $200 on groceries so we can add it to our kids’ college funds (daughter and triplet boys). We try to put $50 per month per child away for college, so an extra $200 is a whole extra month’s worth of savings. Maybe we’ll even manage more than that.

    My boys are 1, so I will have to go to the store. Can you say MILK? I’m going to buy only essentials, some fresh produce and the occasional ingredient to complete a dish.

    I’ll be sharing recipes along the way!


  • Jenn says:

    I’m excited! What a great way for me to use what I always freeze and forget! And since January is the slowest month for our business its perfect timing.

  • Shiree says:

    I love this challenge. I would go to several stores a week to get all the great deals around town. One the goals I posted was to shop once a week at only one store. I had a very successful first shopping trip with stock up items as well. You can read about the adventure at Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Sorry it took me a week to post, but I’ve been on board for the get go! Thanks for the “peer pressure” to make this a success!

  • Anne says:

    This is a great project! I posted a similar challenge on my website last November and posted today about my own results. You will learn so much and be amazed at how much you have to eat in your own fridge and pantry.

  • This is a great idea even though I’m slow to respond! My goal is simply to offset some of the unforseen expenses our family had this month and clean out our freezer! Simple I know, but there is little point in buying meat on sale or shopping seasonally if you’re not using it.

  • Felicia says:

    Joining in! What a great idea.

  • KellyH says:

    Hello! So far so good. My folks were here from out of town last week, so a few extra things were bought then. But, as far as the regular family stuff, only a loaf of garlic bread.

    I even have a menu planned for the week, which is a first. And I think we are down to around 57 quarts of green beans. I didn’t really realize how much canned stuff I still had down in the basement.


  • Inumidun says:

    I plan to begin the challenge in March after we return from vacation. I envision trying new recipes to get out of making the same, unexciting dishes day after day. Hopefully, this will inspire my toddler to try something new; anything new is a bonus. This will hopefully save my family at least $100 a month, which can be deposited into a savings account!

  • Joyce says:

    I always love a good challenge! At age 62, it’s an empty nest for me and my hubby, but we can always learn new ways of saving and budgeting. We allow ourselves $300.00 for everything down to the T.P. and dog food. I keep a spreadsheet on the kitchen counter and update our balance after each shopping trip. So far this month, (February) we’ve spent $139.00. At the end of the month, any overage will be given to our local food bank. Seeing the declining balance every day, makes me aware of the need to be wise stewards with all God has given us.

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