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Anyone ever do a pantry challenge?

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Old 06-16-2009, 01:20 PM   #1
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Default Anyone ever do a pantry challenge?

My pantry, fridge and freezer are packed to the gills. I think starting Monday I am going to do a "clean out the pantry" challenge. I'll only buy fresh foods that I absolutely need. I'll see if I can do it for $25 a week for a month. The only other rule will be that all meals have to be low fat, healthy and diet friendly.
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Old 06-16-2009, 01:34 PM   #2
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You know, I think I ought to join you in that challenge. I'm in the process of buying an apartment, and I'm likely to be moving sometime in July. Cleaning out my pantry & my freezer would really help me with my packing efforts. Even though I'm only moving about five miles away if the deal does go through -- which is hardly enough time for anything frozen to melt -- the less that I have to put into boxes & then take out of boxes, the better.
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Old 06-16-2009, 03:05 PM   #3
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I'd love to join you on this challenge!

We're moving on August 1 and I've really just started planning for it. My first priority is my freezer - I have sooo much meat that I'd rather not have to move to the new place, so I have decided I am NOT buying any more meat until August. I'll definitely try to use up lots of non-perishables, too.. the less we have to move, the better!

I sort of started this with my shopping trip yesterday, although there were a few too-good-to-pass-up sale items I bought. Next week I'm getting serious!
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Old 06-16-2009, 03:25 PM   #4
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I've been doing one for the last two weeks! It's been going great. I have been coming up with meal ideas by going through the freezer and pantry. I only planned on doing one week, but I'm into week two now and we still have plenty of stuff.
It's surprising how many meals I had around the house, without going shopping. I have still bought fresh produce, milk, and bread, and the occasional ingredient that was missing to make a meal, but my grocery budget for the last two weeks has been less than half of what I would normally spend in one week.
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Old 06-16-2009, 03:42 PM   #5
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Man, did I ever read the title of this thread wrong. Takes a whole different meaning knowing the word is PANTRY - and that's what we're talking about cleaning out...
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Old 06-16-2009, 04:39 PM   #6
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I take it that you were you hoping for a panty challenge?

This challenge means I'll be eating a lot of chicken leg quarters, which I can't seem to resist buying in family packs when they're on sale. I've been meaning to try a recipe in which you boil down carrot juice to reduce it, pour it over the chicken & bake it. (I also bought two cans of marked-down carrot juice at some point.) That's two ingredients in one meal.

How do we do this? Should we post each meal as it is prepared & consumed & list what we managed to use up? I will also be confessing to anything I bought rather than took from the pantry or freezer. As others have noted, it's likely to be fresh produce.
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Old 06-17-2009, 08:35 AM   #7
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I would love to do a pantry challenge, but I need to be kept accountable. How is the challenge going to work?
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How do we do this? Should we post each meal as it is prepared & consumed & list what we managed to use up? I will also be confessing to anything I bought rather than took from the pantry or freezer. As others have noted, it's likely to be fresh produce.
I would love to join, please post the rules of the challenge.
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Old 06-17-2009, 12:16 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by saef View Post
I take it that you were you hoping for a panty challenge?

This challenge means I'll be eating a lot of chicken leg quarters, which I can't seem to resist buying in family packs when they're on sale. I've been meaning to try a recipe in which you boil down carrot juice to reduce it, pour it over the chicken & bake it. (I also bought two cans of marked-down carrot juice at some point.) That's two ingredients in one meal.

How do we do this? Should we post each meal as it is prepared & consumed & list what we managed to use up? I will also be confessing to anything I bought rather than took from the pantry or freezer. As others have noted, it's likely to be fresh produce.
Sounds like a plan!
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Old 06-17-2009, 12:19 PM   #9
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I will be posting what I used up, the name of the recipe I used it for, and what I had to buy in order to make the meal complete. I will also list anything else I had to buy to make my hubby happy (for instance, he eats bananas and raisins as if they were going out of style). My personal budget will be $25 per week for perishables and things I need to complete meals. Also, the meals have to fit into my eating plan (which for me means low fat and as healthy as possible).
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Old 06-20-2009, 10:22 PM   #10
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So, how has everyone been doing?

I've used up a bunch of stuff already. Here are a few particularly pantry-challenge-friendly meals I've made:

One night we had turkey kielbasa, quinoa, and Balsamic Chard which used up a can of tomatoes and some chard that was in my 'fridge for a week. It's a good thing that stuff is so hardy, I had forgotten it was there!

Another night we had spaghetti and meatballs... which means I used half a box of whole-wheat spaghetti (I have SO much pasta in the cupboard), half of a huge jar of pasta sauce, and some pre-cooked frozen turkey meatballs. I also made garlic bread (which isn't terribly healthy and didn't use anything up other than a little butter and garlic powder, but I had a craving!).

For brunch this morning I made my favorite quiche recipe (which isn't TOO unhealthy if you leave out the oil altogether - you don't need it) to use up some low-fat cheddar cheese, eggs (I have far too many eggs), bacon, asparagus, bisquick, and skim milk (I always buy too much milk).

Tomorrow I'll go to the store and the farmer's market for fresh stuff... I'll report back about whether I avoided buying meat or canned goods.
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Old 06-21-2009, 07:10 AM   #11
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I`ll do that too! I`d try to do so all the time, actually, and then hubby goes shopping... :-)
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Old 06-21-2009, 08:44 AM   #12
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I've been using up last summer's frozen veggies. In the last week I used up two large packages of shredded zucchini, 24 oz. carrot soup, two containers of rhubarb strawberry sauce, loaf of low calorie bread. One night we had French toast and bacon, I used regular bread for DH meal and I used the 1/2 calorie bread for mine. I don't know how you all feel about cardboard turkey bacon but it's better than nothing. (I freeze it in 4 pack strips.) I used up one 8 oz. container frozen apple juice and some of the wheat germ I've had for quite some time in granola for DH. I used the next to last package of frozen beets, it sure is looking empty in the upstairs freezer. We have all our meat in the basement freezer, my DH is a hunter and we always have lots of big game meat. Right now we have a bull elk in there, yum! I have a couple of large packages of hash browns in there, anyone have a good low calories way of preparing them. I hate wasting my calories on them and there's only the two of us to eat it. The hash browns have been there awhile.
You all have a great day and keep reducing those cupboards and freezers!
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Old 06-21-2009, 10:55 PM   #13
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Today, I cooked up four of those chicken leg quarters that I'd frozen at some point in the past. (Note to self: Date packages with a marker when you freeze things.) I made chicken, carrots & cabbage, and used up some of the boxed low-sodium chicken broth that I bought last fall.

Also made healthy muffins (oats, whole wheat flour, ground flax seed, mashed banana, applesauce, sweetened with Torani sugarfree syrup) & embedded some trail mix in them. I'd bought Trader Joe's dried fruit trail mix because my mother wanted the traditional greasy banana chips in it & picked them all out. So I had the picked-through mix lying around. The stuff is dangerous for me. I do better if it's baked into something, rather than being left alone with a bag & the potential for handful after handful.

I also made ratatouille, using up some frozen red & green pepper strips. (No need for those, now that peppers are in season & more affordable.) And some zucchini that I'd bought last week & that had gotten a bit wrinkly. I had to buy eggplant.

On Friday, I used up a bag of dried lentils that had been sitting there with a rubber band around it & also some rhubarb that a coworker gave me in a lentil soup recipe that I found on the Web.

For groceries this weekend, I have not bought any meat at all. I am going into the freezer for any meat I need for the next few weeks, except for fish, which I prefer to eat fresh. (Or what passes for fresh from the chain grocery store.)
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Old 06-22-2009, 07:16 AM   #14
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Yesterday I was feeling creative so I made a ground pork curry thing... I used up 1/2 lb ground pork (I had frozen), 1/2 cup TVP, 1/2 a bag frozen mixed vegetables, 1 can diced tomatoes, 2 blue potatoes... seasonings were things I always having laying around: soy sauce, garlic, ginger, and curry powder. Served over brown rice I had pre-cooked and frozen (I cook the rice, rinse with cold water, and freeze in a thin flat layer in a 1 gal freezer bag.. then I can break off however much I want to microwave and it's ready to use).

I also did my grocery shopping - bought only fresh fruits and veggies and one package of mozzarella cheese (and laundry detergent and shampoo). Didn't even need milk or eggs or bread or anything yet. That was an easy week.
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Old 06-22-2009, 08:59 AM   #15
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Good Morning!
I used up the old frozen hash browns yesterday on our guests. I only ate at little bit of it since it wasn't calories friendly. We had DD, SIL and one grandson over for grilling and Father's day. The hashbrowns were mixed with onions, smoked cheese, cr. of chicken soup (98% fat free) and fat free sour cream.
Saef...I make homemade granola for DH and I have to keep the container hid in the cupboard, otherwise I'd be nibbling on it every time I walked by. That's funny about your mom picking out all the banana chips!
Quote:
The stuff is dangerous for me. I do better if it's baked into something, rather than being left alone with a bag & the potential for handful after handful.
Mayness...I have been making large batches of rice and freezing it for years but I never realized you could run it under cold water first before you freeze it. What a great idea, then it won't be gluey right? Do you pat the water off with a paper towel, let it drain off in a colandar?
I pulled out a four cup package of frozen apples from our last falls apple crop, thank goodness I don't have many left. I used the majority of apples in sugarless applesauce that I make into fruit roll-ups for the grandkids. (I mix different flavors of Kool-ade in them)
I'll have to work on the canned goods and dried beans. I'd rather use canned beans than dried, it such a pain in the butt to cook them when I'm in a hurry. I only buy them in case of an emergency which never comes. Can dried beans get toooooooooo old?
Have a good one!
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