SC Johnson Family Economics Blog
Friday, January 21, 2011

Pantry Challenge Week or Month | Family Economics

By Erin

Have you ever started to write out your grocery list or your meal plan and discovered that your cupboards are stuffed to the pantry challengegills, and your freezer is practically overflowing?  After weeks and months of stockpiling and taking advantage of the great deals on your favorite ingredients at the grocery store, it is inevitable that your pantry, fridge and freezer begin to burst at their seams.

When this happens, it’s time for pantry challenge week.

The goal is simple: Spend less than $20 to $30 at the grocery store for the basics like milk, eggs and bananas, and then get creative with the ingredients that you have on hand from previous shopping trips. 

Here are some cooking ideas for the week:

• Do some batch cooking to use up extra flour, eggs or milk. Make triple or quadruple batches of pancakes, waffles or muffins. Double or triple a favorite soup recipe that calls for pantry staple ingredients like canned corn, canned tomatoes and other canned vegetables and beans.

• Perhaps you stocked up on cans of tuna when they were on sale for 50 cents per can or less, make tuna salad sandwiches for lunch every day or even dinner.

• Maybe your pantry is overflowing with canned pumpkin, leftover from the holidays; try using it to make pumpkin cupcakes, or pumpkin waffles (these have chocolate chips in them—yum!) 

• If you’ve stocked up on frozen vegetables when they were on sale for 88 cents; use them to make slow cooker beef and vegetable soup or slow cooker curried coconut chicken.

• Also, survey the contents of your freezer and pull out the packages of meat or chicken that you froze, after stocking up during a recent sale. Make a meal plan so that you can use all those for dinner during the pantry challenge week.

Write out a short grocery list and set your spending limit for the week. You’ll be well on your way to a successful pantry challenge week!

What do you think? Are you up for a pantry challenge week?

3 Comments so far

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On Monday, January 24, 2011, Crystal from Maryland wrote

Pantry challenges are great. I need to do one myself soon. Thanks for the reminder. However, I would like to discourage anyone from serving tuna every day of the week, regardless of how thrifty, especially if you're serving children or women of child bearing age. Mercury build up is not good for anyone, but especially detrimental to anyone in those groups.

On Sunday, January 23, 2011, California Momme wrote

This is my "pantry challenge" YEAR! After looking over my pantry, cool room and 2 freezers, I realized I needed to clean house! This is the year of less for me :).

On Sunday, January 23, 2011, Denise wrote

I am so up for a pantry challenge. I think I have about $40 or less left in the grocery fund this month. If I wanted to get up off the couch right now I could go check, but I don't. :)

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