I'm so glad that I decided to join in on the Eat From the Pantry Challenge hosted by Money Saving Mom and Life As Mom. I have a huge overflow of a stockpile that needed to be dwindled down and used.
I guess in my mind, I have been more cautious about what I've been making since I know that I'm limiting myself on what I can pick up this month. I'm thinking my meal plans through more and trying to "roll ingredients" to make sure I use everything.
So what do I mean by "rolling ingredients?" Well, sometimes I get careless and I don't end up using everything that I cook or chop up. Sometimes I have the best intentions to use up that half an onion I store in the fridge or to finish up the leftovers. But they seem to fall into that "Black Hole" of the fridge and only re-appear after spoiling. (Know what I mean?) So this is a peek at how my week looked:
Started off with Beef Stroganoff. I intentionally cooked up twice the amount of steak needed. (I used round steak instead of top sirloin since it's cheaper and its what I had on hand.) I sliced up all of the onion and mushroom that I had and put them in separate containers for later.
The next morning, I used the sliced mushrooms in an omelet, cutting down my food-prep time. I then used the onion in a big crockpot of ham & bean soup for dinner. Another time-saver. We also made some cornbread and we had a lot of that left.
The next day, we had leftover soup for lunch and then I used up the extra steak I had cooked up for some steak tacos on burrito shells.
The following day, I used the leftover cornbread that I had to make an Enchilada Meatloaf.
The next night for dinner, I made Crockpot Lasagna, which called for cottage cheese. Since I didn't use the entire container, I made sure to use it up in our lunches the next day.
At the end of the week, I really hadn't used up that much of my stockpile and I didn't waste any leftovers since I made sure to keep rolling everything and making notes of what was leftover and needed to be used.
I also started keeping the containers that I finished up. I normally would just recycle them but I knew some of them could be used for other things at least one time. The mushroom container, which was actually plastic and not foam, I rinsed out really well and it made for a perfect holder for my used dish cloth for the day. The spice containers, lunch meat and yogurt containers will all be perfect for the mixes that I plan on making from the Make-A-Mix book that I got for Christmas.
I love that the challenge is not only forcing me to be more creative with meals but it's also helping me get outside my comfort zone of regular recipes and try new things. Along the way, I've found some really great recipe books and recipes that will now be part of our regular routine:
Healthy Meals for Less: Great-Tasting Simple Recipes Under $1 a Serving
The $5 Dinner Mom Cookbook...
My original plan was to use our savings to have a nice 3rd birthday party for my son at the end of the month. But I've come to realize that I have most of the food for it already in my stockpile. So instead, I've allowed myself to spend a little more on fresh produce and a few other items we wouldn't normally buy.
I hope you are having just as much fun participating in their challenge. Don't forget to link up to them HERE and HERE. There are so many wonderful postings there, too, for those of you looking for ways to stretch your groceries further and in need of new recipes.
You can also leave a link in my comments section to your challenge progress posting, if you'd like.