Saturday, January 9, 2010

Week 1 of the Pantry Challenge: Status Update

The Goals:

- Only spend half our grocery budget, preferably less!
As of mid-day on 1/9, we've spent 15.3% of our budget, and we're 30% of the way through the month. The snowy weather is helping out in this respect....who wants to shop for anything more than the bare necessities in weather like this?
- Eat from the pantry as much as possible -- in part so that I can get it better organized.
We have mostly been eating defrosted stuff I am discovering in the freezer, but I've gotten a little creative with bits and pieces from the back of the fridge and cabinets as well.
- Stick with my kitchen resolutions and boost our preparation for my maternity leave in the spring. 
So far, so good!
    Made/froze so far:
  • 2 dozen rolls
  • Chopped carrots
  • Eggrolls
  • Beans
  • Mac & cheese for Stella's packed lunch
The first week has been pretty smooth. I need to make some bread, since our stockpile is now empty, and I didn't get a chance to make tortillas, so we've drained our tortilla chip stash down to pretty much zero by having nachos instead of tacos on two nights (leftover beef roast, yay). Overall, we've eaten more leftovers/frozen things than I had planned (you never know what you'll discover when you thaw something out...) and we ate things in a slightly different order, so the non-leftovers meals are stretching further into the month -- we may bridge the gap with our next CSA delivery with some room to spare. My cinnamon roll plan was put on ice when I realized...duh....I have no granulated sugar. We have ingredients remaining for these meals/entrees:
  • veggie burgers, maybe w/chili or soup
  • steak
  • lamb roast
  • onion-coated chicken
We also have the ingredients for these sides:
  • yellow split pea-spinach dal
  • squash and potatoes with rosemary in crockpot
  • roasted carrots
  • potato-carrot pancakes
Future prep items for now through the 15th include:
  • a cake
  • tortillas
  • more mac & cheese
We have so many cookies plus chocolates from the holidays that I'm not sure that cake serves much purpose other than pantry de-cluttering. Then again, cupcakes are always welcome anywhere you take them. We have a two-pound pack of chicken thighs that I bought ages ago and have been avoiding because they were a mistake...I don't usually cook with dark meat. I am willing to be convinced to use them in the name of the pantry challenge, but I need to find a recipe. Maybe Cook's Illustrated can help me there -- I am willing to believe that if they call for chicken thighs in something, it's for a good reason. I have another beef roast, and some smoked pork hocks (so far, the only recipes I've found use them in red beans & rice, which I could definitely fall for).

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