Eat from the Pantry Challenge and Menu Plan

It would only make sense to start an eat from the pantry challenge since I am in the process of doing a complete pantry makeover.

Before pic of disorganized pantry 3

Not to mention that 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?}

before pic of disorganized pantry 1

Since I am 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”.

Pantry Challenge Ivy Shelf Paper

Of course, I reached out to my BFF, Google, and checked to see if anyone else was conducting an eating from the pantry challenge. 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 challenge inspiration and guidelines that vary to however you want to tailor your spending and menu planning.

After comparing different challenges I discovered most people were pledging to spend $100 per MONTH on refrigerated items and produce. I can’t even imagine the budget of $25 a week for eggs, milk, bread, produce and lunch meat. I have 5 people eating breakfast, lunch and dinner in this household and nobody would fall into the “skinny” 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 grocery budget of  $25 for the next month. My first thought was… me….but then my husband pointed out that we spend $15-$20 on lunch meat 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 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 of Pinterest recipes from the past that were never made and on the verge of freezer burn.

Eat from the Pantry Challenge and Menu Plan

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

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.


  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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