Eat from the Pantry Challenge: Week 1 Menu

Pantry Challenge Ivy Shelf PaperI am in the process of a pantry makeover and I am knee high in pasta. I literally uncovered 15 different kinds of pasta in my pantry. {I like to think it’s an Italian thing but really who am I kidding….it’s a disorganization thing.} I also have 9 boxes of cereal and an unbelievable amount of rice, barley, tortillas and bread. {Can you say…carboholics?}

Since I am in the process of organizing my pantry I figured it would also be a great time to organize my menu planning strategy and use what we have in the pantry and the FREEZER. Yes, there seems to be some food hoarding happening in this house and I am not sure who is the guilty party because my husband and I shop together every Sunday and God help us if we bring one of the kids on the grocery shopping “date”.

Of course, I reached out to my BFF, Google, and checked to see if anyone else was eating from their pantry. Duh…I am so late to the party and apparently this has been a great idea for years. So Google provided me with plenty of Pantry Challenge inspiration and guidelines that vary to however you want to tailor your spending. After comparing different challenges I discovered most people were pledging to spend $100 a MONTH on refrigerated items and produce. I can’t even imagine the budget of $25 a week for eggs, milk, bread, produce and lunchmeat. I have 5 people eating breakfast, lunch and dinner in this household and nobody would fall in the “skinny bitch” category.

pantry challenge before and during

After consulting the family, my daughter informed me that it was not possible for us to pledge a weekly budget of  $25 for the next month. My first thought was… me….but then my husband pointed out that we spend $15-$20 on lunchmeat and cheese at the deli counter and $16 on organic milk. After some calculating we all agreed that $100 per week ($400 for the month) would be a reasonable challenge for this family considering we typically spend $300 per week.

Now that we have settled the budget issues the next challenge was to create a balanced meal/menu plan. Considering we have 15 boxes of pasta plus barley and couscous we are good on the carb portions.  So I had to inventory the freezer which turned out the be a visit from Pinterest recipes from the past that were never made and on the verge of freezer burn.

Eat from the Pantry Challenge: Week 1 Menu

Below is the dinner menu {in no particular order} that I came up with for the first week of  our “Eat from the Panty” challenge.

  • Pot roast, potatoes and carrots
  • Chicken fajita tacos, rice and green beans
  • Spaghetti, meatballs and salad
  • Beef barley soup and grilled cheese
  • Ravioli with sautéed veggies, salmon and salad
  • Potato pie, broccoli and Salisbury steak
  • Turkey Panini, potato soup with salad

pantry challenge cinnamon bread

One of the great things about organizing the pantry and challenging ourselves to eat what we already have is that we broke out the bread maker today. First loaf we made was cinnamon bread with Craisins (because we didn’t have any raisins). It made the house smell wonderful and it tasted oh so yummy. Next time I’ll do a light crust, more Craisins and some honey butter. Right now we have a traditional white loaf of bread baking for sandwich making this week. {Hubby is happy because we only buy wheat bread which I’ll be making next.}

Cinnamon {C}Raisin Bread Machine Recipe

  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 3 1/4 cups of bread flour
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons of bread machine yeast
  • 3/4 cups of raisins

Add ingredients to bread machine in the order listed and push start. {Or whatever your machine has you do to get the baking started.}

If you would like some extra inspiration and motivation to take the Pantry Challenge make sure to visit Beauty and Bedlam or Good Cheap Eats. I would love for you to share your menu plan or challenge struggles with me on the My Thrifty House Facebook page.

More Ideas from My Thrifty House


  1. Vicki K. says:

    Great ideas for when I clean out my pantry! I’ll use what I have to figure out recipes for the week and go from there. I can always whip up something without having to go to the store, but having the whole week planned will be awesome.

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