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Eating thru the Pantry


I loved Elizabeth’s post last week on cutting her spending and eating through her pantry. As much as I enjoy time in my kitchen, I am definitely not at her level…making her own pizza dough. Wow, I am thoroughly impressed and have decided I want to be like her when I grow up…or maybe when my kids leave the nest and I can cook what I want and not consider any of my picky eaters.

The kids and I are also eating through the pantry this month. While I did have to buy a few staples – milk, sandwich meat and some fruit, we are working hard to eat what we have. I chose to do this for two reasons:

  1. We are leaving town for a week next Sunday so I would prefer not to leave the refrigerator/freezer stocked.
  2. Saves us some money toward 1) our travel and 2) restocking the cupboards, etc. when we return.

We’ve tried some vegan recipes and a few other new recipes I found on the internet. I’ve been looking for new things to try based on the ingredients I have on hand. The ones we like get pinned to the fridge and the others go in the trash.

For December, I’m planning to do a month long meal plan instead of the weekly ones I’ve been doing. By doing this, it will make more sense to do a Sam’s Club run to buy some things in bulk. And probably stock our freezer again.

It will also be a good test of a new grocery budget…


Alternative Easy Meals


One of the biggest places in my budget to save more money is groceries. In fact, I think that I will be able to drop my grocery budget a bit after the holidays. But to maintain this, I am desperate for some new ideas for quick and easy meals. By this, I mean to replace the Ramen nights and the sandwich nights. We are getting a bit tired of both.

Now don’t get me wrong, we (or rather I) do not eat Ramen very often. The kids eat it a bit more frequently when they have to make their own food. But sandwiches are my go to choice when we are rushed or tired or I just don’t have an hour to prepare dinner. (I eat a sandwich every day for lunch if there are no other leftovers to eat, which is fine.)

Princess especially does not like sandwiches. Even though I often have different sides…chips, pickles, grapes, veggies and dip. I think the sandwiches are just getting old.

Leftovers aren’t really available come dinner time because both History Buff and I will eat them for lunch if available. So I must provide a new dinner nightly. And there are just some nights, I need something quick. I’m sure this is not an unusual issue in busy families, whether there are two working parents for a single one.

Hit me with your best ideas for quick and easy and health and cost effective dinners. Preferably made from ingredients that stay fresh for a week or two.

I have started prepping some additional sides to be able grab and go as well:

  • Pasta salad with feta cheese, olives and little pepperonis.
  • Chopped up veggies with a new dip every week or two.
  • Cut up fruit for smoothies (this is great, except Princess doesn’t do smoothies.)

We don’t own a microwave so I don’t do any pre-made items. Although that thought has crossed my mind more and more. Especially as we get into soup season, it would be nice to be able to quickly re-heat soup versus having to put it on the stove.

What are your go to meals when you need something quick? I’m placing a grocery order tomorrow, so any advice would be great!