Menu Plan Monday & A Pantry Challenge–Week #2


Well, I am sad to report that I failed miserably this week when it came to my Pantry Challenge budget of staying under $50. I spent about $80 on the groceries you see here–ack! But I do have a few extra expenses that I had not accounted for. First off, I forgot that I volunteered to bring snacks to the teachers tomorrow for their weekly meeting. I’m bringing for one grade level and the specials (art, music, P.E., etc.) teachers. I only do this a few times a year and I signed up for this week way back when. Since I usually like to provide a healthy snack, I bought grapes. Although they were on sale, they do add up when I need to get a lot. And I will be making pumpkin bread to go along with the grapes. They always love my pumpkin bread!

And, I sort of forgot to include my expenses for the 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats blog hop I’m hosting and that I wanted to participate in the Sunday Supper for this week (Spoiler Alert: the theme is Holiday Gifts from the Kitchen!) And I’ve been using up some basic ingredients for those kinds of things like flour, butter and sugar. So I had to replenish on those things.

Also, I decided to experiment and get a few more organic foods than usual like the butter and apples and celery for this week. Another meal planning fail: I had planned to use the carrots that were in my refrigerator for this week’s Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup. Good idea but the fail is that they were so old that when I went to check on them, they were a little too rubbery for me to use. So into the compost pile they went and I had to buy a new package of carrots. Whoops! Ditto on the chicken. Yes, I had some leftover rotisserie chicken in the freezer but not enough for my recipe so I had to buy more. The good news is I had a $2 coupon for it. The bad news, I had to spend $10 or more on meat (and really spent about $16).

One lesson learned, holiday baking can add up, so be sure to include that in your holiday budgets just like buying gifts. The good news is that for our regular meals this week I feel that I stayed well under my total for the week since most everything I’m using up is coming from the freezer and pantry. That’s my little meal planning victory at least!

I forgot to mention last week too that I don’t use manufacturer’s coupons much at all. I’ve just found that I don’t buy the items that have coupons available. I buy a fair amount of fresh or basic ingredients or store brands since that’s usually cheaper anyway. And as you can see I do purchase a fair amount of organic foods. In this picture the items that are organic are: milk, stick butter, yogurt, lettuce, baby spinach, apples, carrots, celery, chicken. It was my little experiment to see how much more they would be and it looks like a decent bit extra.  And last week I ended up going to the store two more times to get milk (not sure what the deal was but we were drinking more than usual) and some other items. So I probably spent about $15 more last week. Which borrowing from the $10 “leftover” money the week before brings me to about $5 over budget for last week.

So here’s what’s on the menu this week:

Monday: Slowcooker Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup–using up box organic/range-free chicken broth and whole wheat egg noodles in the pantry, chicken in the freezer and cream cheese in the fridge.
Tuesday: Pork Fried Rice–using up pork chops from the freezer; will add in eggs already in the refrigerator and some more of the carrots, celery and mushrooms in the fridge from the chicken noodle soup.
Wednesday: Quick & Zesty Hamburger Vegetable soup–using up half box of broth in the fridge, one pound ground browned beef and two half bags of mixed vegetables in the refrigerator.
Thursday: Sauteed Chicken over steamed brown rice (already in pantry)–using up chicken over purchase mentioned above and satay peanut sauce and masala sauce (not mixed though) from the pantry from a Trader Joe’s splurge a couple of month’s ago; will also steam up half back of edamame and half back of Asian stir-fry vegetables from freezer to serve on the side.
Friday: leftovers
Saturday: Special activity-out to eat
Sunday: TBA

I’m also planning a big freezer meal cookin session for this weekend so my actual grocery budget will be much higher if I include later in the week. But I’m not going to really count that since I’m buying food now to stock my freezer for the month after Thanksgiving through the end of the year. More on that later!

What’s on your menu this week? Are you doing the Pantry Challenge too? Tell me about it!

Looking for more menu plan inspiration? Then check out this week’s links over at OrgJunkie

4 comments
Kristin Duncan
Kristin Duncan

I find that writing your favorite manufacturers will often net you high value coupons. I have coupons for organic cheese, organic milk, and organic eggs in my binder, for example. In addition, since Whole Foods gives a "case discount", it can be cheaper to buy organic milk there than anywhere else if you drink a lot. Last week, Kroger had Imagine broth in a box for only $.99! This brand has low sodium varieties without MSG which is important for my family. I kinda wish I had been able to stock up on more.

Rona
Rona

I'm stopping by for a visit from Organizing Junkie, Menu Plan Monday. This time of year can definitely add up. I'm working on my shopping lists for this week, looking for sales. We're not having turkey this Thanksgiving. The choices are pizza or homemade lasagna. We're turkey'ed out! Everything looks so delicious. I hope you have a wonderful week.

Julia Marks
Julia Marks

Please don't apologize. Just bask in the warmth of your rich life. And enjoy. And we've all seen budgets go over, and not by the small amount you went over by! I'm really impressed by what you accomplished.

Meal Plan Mom (Brenda)
Meal Plan Mom (Brenda)

Thanks Kristin! Those are some good tips. I had heard of contacting the manufacturer before but have only done it here and there. I need to make a list and do it again!

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  1. [...] or prepared meals ready to heat and eat. As I’ve mentioned, I have been participating in the Pantry Challenge hosted by Real Mom Nutrition. I included my freezer and refrigerator too. And since I’m [...]