Ever since I reorganized my pantry a few weeks ago, I knew I needed to take it one step further and actually start USING up some of those items that had found their way into my pantry. And freezer and refrigerator for that matter. But I haven’t been all that motivated to REALLY start using things up. With the holidays around the corner, I really want to get it cleaned out so I can restock it with easy-to-prep and freezer meals for that busy time of year.
So when Sally at Real Mom Nutrition announced last week that she was starting her Autumn ‘12 Pantry Challenge for the next few weeks (Sunday, October 28th through Sunday November 18th to be exact), I knew I was in! Joining up and being held accountable with others was just what I needed. You see, I tend to “collect” food. Not in a hoarder type of way but just when it comes to buying ingredients for meals that got rescheduled or saving leftovers from other meals in the freezer (hello, rotisserie chicken) and need to be more intentional about using those items before buying new.
The rules are simple:
1. Spend $50 or less per week for food*. Keep in mind that your weekly budget can be higher– the point is to significantly shrink your current grocery bill. Mine is based on a family of four with two elementary aged children with medium appetites.
2. Draft weekly meal plans and try very hard to stick to them (I’ll be posting mine).
If you’re joining me, tell me in the comments section! Or visit Sally and comment on her blog (or do both!)
*This budget does not include non-food groceries like toilet paper, cleaning supplies, pet food. Nor does it include seasonal items like the pumpkins I bought today for our jack-o-lanterns.
I actually started last week and did pretty well—my total grocery money spent was just around $40!
This week, I was a bit higher at around $47. And I totally flaked (or was asleep at the store) and only bought one gallon of milk so I know I’ll need to make another trip to the store near the end of the week for another gallon. Since we buy organic I know I’ll go over the $50. But since I was lower last week on my total money spent, I figure that’s ok.
So here’s what’s on our menu for this week:
Monday: Crawfish Creole & garden salad (using up crawfish in freezer from crawfish boil back in May, plus celery and bell peppers getting old in the fridge!)
Tuesday: Almond Crusted chicken (trying a new recipe). Bought almond meal a couple of months ago at Trader Joe’s when I was there (we only have two in the Houston area right now!) because it looked interesting; plus roasted sweet potatoes and rosemary new potatoes, roasted broccoli
Wednesday: All-American Chili and Mummy Hotdogs. We don’t very often have hotdogs but these are a Halloween tradition I started when my kids were much younger and since it’s only once a year, it’s ok with me! The chili is also a Halloween tradition started by our neighbors over 15 years ago (they’ve since moved away so I carry on the tradition)
Thursday: Chicken Stir Fry over steamed rice (using up a stir fry kit I made months ago)
Saturday: leftovers/out to eat
Sunday: Chipotle Steak (using up a jam that was an impulse buy at the grocery store–it’s hard to resist those in-store cooks!), Pumpkin Gnocchi with Garam Masala Sauce, Blackberry Cobbler (using up blackberries from LAST year!)–I realize this is a random mixture of flavors but the steak is mainly for my family and the gnocchi mainly for me although I plan for us all to try some of each.
So what’s on your menu this week? For more menu plan ideas, visit OrgJunkie.com.