Thursday, January 14, 2010

Eat From the Pantry Challenge Update

Well, it's been 14 days and we've had no major grocery shopping and we've eaten mostly from our pantry and freezer. we haven't necessarily stuck with my original menu plan, but we have used what we have on hand.

On the 8th, I bought carrots, celery, onion, milk and eggs. I also included some other items that were free with coupons, and did pick up some dried black beans and red beans, neither of which we had on hand. Also, I "cheated" and bought a small package of beef stew meat, since M had really been wanting stew with the cold weather we've been having. I didn't spend any cash, though, since I used a gift card that was free with a prescription transfer. On the 12th, I took M to the store with me, because I wanted to pick up some items that were free after coupons, and it was the last day of the sale. Other than the free items, we bought coffee creamer, which M was out of, two 40 lb boxes of kitty litter (a neccessity around here!)and a couple of other small items I had coupons for that made them almost free and that we will use soon.

In total, we've spent $33 approximately so far this month on groceries and household items, and over half of that was for kitty litter!

I'm pleased with our resolve to stay with this challenge. My biggest surprise was the cost of produce. I purchased my vegies at a store I usually don't buy those items at (without a great sale and/or coupons), because I had a gift card to use. The things I bought clearly weren't on sale! However, I did modify my recipe selection to use carrots and celery, so that none will go to waste. On Sunday, I boiled a whole chicken, and used the broth and chicken in chicken and dumplings and chicken and sausage jambalaya, both of which used celery and onion and one of which used carrots. We also had beef stew that used carrots, celery and onion. And we have enough chicken broth and onion left to use to a large batch of baked potato soup over the weekend. This week I'll also have M make spaghetti sauce, and his recipe uses diced carrots and celery, so that will be a good use of some more of those veggies. I also think I'll dice some celery, sautee it, and freeze it for recipes that use just a little, so I don't always have to buy an entire bunch.

So, on to the anticipated meals for the next week or so:

Baked potato soup (seriously, this is fantastic! i could eat it every day.)
spaghetti with meat sauce
leftover jambalaya (i omitted the shrimp and added more chicken. i also used a package of johnsonville brats instead of the andouille sausage)
chicken enchiladas verde (using some chicken from last Sunday that I put in the freezer)

I started working again this week, so I'll have less time to shop, so maybe it will be easier to stay out of the stores!

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