Friday, January 8, 2010

Eating from the Pantry Week 1 Wrap Up

We've been "Eating from the Pantry" for a week now, and we've barely made a dent. But, we have used up some odds and ends, and it feels good to be clearing the kitchen clutter. I'm only posting our dinners here because breakfast is usually cereal and lunch is usually leftovers or something simple, like soup and sandwiches.

Day 1 - Appetizers: home-made cream cheese & crab wontons, pigs in a blanket, cuties, celery with cream cheese, sweet pickles, cheese ball with crackers, and sparkling cider.

Pantry items used:
  • Sweet pickles
  • Cream Cheese
  • Crackers

Verdict: Yummy!!!!!

Day 2 - Southern Style Chicken Sandwiches, Frozen Onion Rings, Green Smoothies

Pantry Items used:
  • Tyson breaded chicken breasts in the freezer (gone now!)
  • Whole wheat hamburger buns in the freezer (gone now!)
  • Pickles (We have tons of pickles that I got for dirt cheap when Smith's doubled coupons)
  • Frozen Fruit (I got a bunch of Albertson's brand frozen fruit on clearance before they changes to Fresh Market)
  • Onion Rings (used half the bag)
Verdict: Nothing amazing, but they were tasty.

Day 3 - Apple Pecan Pancakes with Pumpkin Butter, Green Smoothies, Hash browns, Sausage

Pantry Items Used:
  • Krusteaz pancake mix (that I got for $.67)
  • Pecans (chopped and stored in the freezer)
  • Pumpkin butter that I made from our jack-o-lantern that we never carved
  • Frozen fruit (gone now!)
  • Jimmy Dean Sausage (that I got for $.49) (gone now!)
  • frozen shredded hash browns (gone now!)
Verdict: Yummy! And very filling - We had lots of leftovers (which we ate for lunches)

Day 4 - My version of Outback Steakhouse's Alice Springs Chicken, salad, canned pineapple

Pantry Items used:
  • Center Cut Bacon (that I got for $.75)
  • Cheese (there have been so many good cheese deals lately - we have a ton!)
  • Chicken (frozen - bought for $1.29 / lb)
  • Canned Pineapple (I bought for $.25)
  • Used some salad dressing on the salad, but we still have tons in the fridge)
  • Used leftover ham sauce from Christmas instead of making honey mustard sauce (and it tasted great - my ham sauce is pretty amazing, if I do say so myself)
  • Potatoes (they have been so cheap lately that we've been buying and using a lot of them. These I got at 10 lbs / $.99 at Albertsons)

Verdict: Soooooooooooooo good! (but not worth paying $10+ for in the restaurant when you can serve 4 for half that price)

Day 5 - Steak, Baked potatoes, roasted broccoli, cherries

O.k. so I know that it is not remotely close to cherry season, but they looked so good and I love them, so I splurged (paying $2.99 / lb - ouch!) Grant loved them too!

Pantry Items Used:
  • Chef's Request Steaks (I got these for $.98 after coupon)
  • Italian salad dressing (I used it as a marinade - 1 bottle of salad dressing down, 9 to go!)
  • Potatoes
Verdict: Good. I bought 4 packs of the Chef's Request Steak (at $.98 each) before I'd heard that they weren't very good - you can taste all the preservatives they use. But, I didn't want to waste them, so, I marinated them for 2 days and served them with crushed pecans and they actually tasted good. Not great, just good. I don't recommend this product at all.

Oh, and the cherries were delish!

Day 6 - Macaroni & Cheese with ham and Broccoli, tropical fruit

Pantry Items used:
  • Macaroni (Ronzoni Smart Taste Pasta that I got for $.20 / box)
  • Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • Evaporated Milk (I got for $.24 / can)
  • Frozen Broccoli
  • Deli Ham
  • Del Monte jarred Sun Fresh fruit (I used a BOGO coupon on this, it was still a splurge at $1.50 / jar)

Verdict: Creamy, warm, and yummy! I probably wouldn't buy the fruit again though - it's really nothing special and you can get canned fruit for much cheaper. I love the Ronzoni Smart Taste Pasta - it's fortified with fiber, calcium and protein, so it has some of the benefits of whole grain pasta but the taste and texture of regular semolina pasta which makes it more versatile.

I made a ton of macaroni & cheese, so we froze half. I love to make double batches of recipes and then freeze the second portion. We rarely eat out, so it's nice to have something on hand for those days that I just don't feel like cooking.

Day 7 - Spaghetti & Meatballs, peas, cherries

Pantry Items Used:
  • Spaghetti (Ronzoni Smart Taste again)
  • Ragu pasta sauce
  • Ground beef (96% lean that I got for $1.99 / lb - gotta love Smith's markdowns!)
  • Italian Blend cheese
  • Green Giant Frozen Peas
  • Bread Crumbs
  • Dried herbs

Verdict: Nothing special, but it satisfied the family's craving for spaghetti and meatballs after watching Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.

I also made a double batch of meatballs and froze the second portion.

It has been a lot of fun challenging myself to use up what we've got, and it's nice to start making more space in the fridge and freezer. The back room and pantry are still a total mess, but hopefully by the end of the month we'll have cleared out enough that I can get in and organize it better.

1 comment:

Lisa said...

Wow! What great pictures. Everything looks so good. Good luck with the challenge!