The Pantry Challenge

For the month of April, I have set a food budget of $50 per week. “That’s insane!” you’re probably saying. “Doesn’t this lady have four people in her household?”. Yes, I do. No, I haven’t gone off the deep end. We’re going to be undertaking a pantry challenge.

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What does this entail?

I’ll be cooking dinners based entirely on the contents of my pantry, freezer, and refrigerator. I won’t be buying extra ingredients. I won’t go to the grocery store more than once a week. I WILL buy milk and eggs, along with bananas and apples and foods covered by my remaining WIC checks this month. I’ve set a budget of $50 each week, so if I spend less than that one week I’m letting myself use it for other staples I’ve run out of (I’m mostly doing this because my in-laws are coming, and I’m not sure if I have enough in the pantry to feed 6 people).

I’m hoping that this challenge will help me see what we have in the pantry in a different light. It will also let us start from scratch with our freezer, so we can stock up on frozen leftovers for when Baby is born. I learned the value of pre-frozen meals when Little Man was born and I want to have a whole freezer full this time around.

Week 1 is off to a less-than-stellar start. I did go through my pantry and reorganized it so I can see what all I have. This helped a lot, since I now know what lives in my pantry.

We ate dinner at Del Taco one night this week, which I feel wasn’t as much of a failure as it seems. We were running errands, my stash of snacks for LM and myself was depleated, and I had to eat something or pass out.

Some of our meals this week were lentils with saffron rice and cantaloupe, leftovers, meatballs, and elbows (noodles with tomato juice). Tonight I’ll be cooking for Hubby, the guy he’s on duty with, myself, Little Man, and whatever hungry Marines happen to wander through the duty hut. I’m not sure what we’ll be having, but I think it’ll probably involve beef and possibly quinoa.

I haven’t noticed a huge dent in the pantry yet, but I’m hopeful that I will before long. I want pantry space, gosh darn it!

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