I hope and pray you are having a great week! I love this pantry challenge. Go read all about it on Good Cheap Eats, and link up HERE! It is fun to see what moms (and maybe dads) do all around the country (and maybe the world).
While you are reading, just know that today is laundry day and MLK day. We have taken off school in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Here are some facts that you may not know about him, which I took from a Pinterest Post. I am hoping it's ok... :
What I learned this week was I had some great things hidden in the freezer. AND that you can add whatever you want to beef stew and it still tastes good. It's like "trash can" stew. I took that Paula Deen recipe and since I didn't have the veggies she called for, I added red bell pepper, whole green beans and potatoes to it. We had it two nights last week (well I have a built in leftover night every couple of days on my menu) and the rest is in the freezer. I whipped up some biscuits and it was a great meal. And anyway It looked good when I put it on the table. I love a table that looks good. Makes me feel better.
I also made muffins for breakfast and of course we have our pancakes in the freezer too. The funny thing about the muffins is I used a recipe for Strawberry-Banana Muffins and didn't have strawberries. I had apples & raisins though and tossed in some oatmeal and whole wheat flour... So now, we have plenty in the freezer for breakfast.
Plus - for me this past week it was about repurposing foods? Repurposing I said. haha For instance, one night we had spaghetti & meatballs and a couple nights later we had meatball subs. Actually - I pulled the sauce out of the freezer and made the meatballs which were a mixture of ground beef and chicken sausage that I had in the freezer. And can I just say that I also made some burgers for one night next week. We have a class at Church on Thursday nights, so it's usually soup/sandwich... so we are going to have some burgers. Good thinkin, huh?
For lunch I'd made tuna salad for sandwiches and my husband decided one evening he wanted French fries too. So - I made extra, and Sunday after church, we used them in hash browns... That is what I call repurposing. It is just a fancy word for leftovers. And anyway - don't they look good?
French Fries: Clean potatoes, slice to desired width, in a glass bowl put flour, garlic salt & ground pepper. Make sure the potatoes get covered in the mixture (lightly) and I use the pan in the picture and fill with about an inch or so of vegetable oil mixed with olive oil. I fry till they are golden brown (yes I leave the skins on). Then I sprinkle with garlic powder and seasoned salt.
Hash browns: Take a little olive oil and (1 - 2 Tblsp) put in a pan, then add minced garlic and diced onion and bell pepper (in this case red). You can also add mushrooms or anything you like. Then take the leftover fries, dice them and add to the mixture. Just brown everything up to your liking and voila... Easy Peasy.
AND - I have a popcorn maker AND gourmet popcorn and salts, etc.... which is why I buy microwave popcorn I'm sure. But - in our attempt to use things up, we are out of the microwave stuff, so we used our fun popper... I remember when I first got it Christopher and his friends would watch it pop... and so - here we are using our popper tonight... you can see not much has changed in the watching department... "mom, mom it's popping! Come look!"
This is really a fun exercise, don't you think? Speaking of fun, it snowed on Tuesday. Since Christopher is homeschooled, he got to play in it. Ok - he could have been more "dressed" for it, but how much fun did he have on our neighbor's pristine driveway?! See pic below. He's apparently a pirate - which I am sure is why he has his sword. More pics in the weekly-wrap up post on our homeschool blog. (Upper left hand of this blog, click on link).
So anyway, I found a Date Nut Loaf Mix (I think it is actually date muffins) from Bobs Red Mill. So I made those. I added a few things to spruce them up. One bag of mix made three loaves. So now I have two more things in my freezer. lol I would say that we still have a lot in our pantry. I am looking forward to payday on Wednesday so I can replenish our yogurts/milks/eggs and some produce. But mostly - we need nothing. It's such a great feeling.
Since we are doing Dave Ramsey at the same time, we have not built eating out into our Pantry Challenge. But to me, it doesn't make sense to eat out if we are using up what we have in the Freezer/Pantry. I am not being judgmental towards anyone who chooses to eat out. It's just that for us, it doesn't pass the "make-sense" test! Plus, we really need to get our savings built up. We know there will be a time when we can live like no one else.... but for now - we have to live on the cheap. It could be worse.
I am starting to feel better with this flu thing I've had. Hmmph. But I have to say - I have been having tummy issues and I think it's going to end up that I will have to alter my diet - as in gluten free. AACK. Pray for me. That will be hard. I'll have to be super creative to get the family onboard.
Anyway - the pantry challenge is going really well for us.
I hope and pray it is for all of you who are playing.
Have a great week.
Take care & God Bless.