The Eating from the Pantry & Freezer Challenge: Week 3

Welcome to the third week of the Eating from The Pantry & Freezer Challenge!  Here’s what it’s all about or you can read the post from Week 2.

Here’s my update from last week

Well, this is a bit embarrassing, but not many of the dinners I had planned for last week got made! Sienna and I were on our own for a couple evenings and we had a couple of rough days so I opted for the drive thru. Another evening we were invited for dinner to a friends house.

The meals we managed to eat were breakfast every morning, egg salad sandwiches, pancakes, peanutty Asian wraps (twice), and smoothies.  Needless to say, we still have quite a bit of stuff in our pantry and freezer!

This week should be different.  My Mother-in-Law is coming to visit for a week so we should be going through quite a bit of stuff.

Getting creative with what you have left

At this point in the challenge you may have come to a point where you need to be creative when it comes to using up what you have an abundance of and filling the spaces of those things you wish you could go out and buy.

There are a few great websites out there that will come up with some recipes for the ingredients you already have on hand.  All Recipes is one of them.  Simply input the ingredients you have and the ingredients you don’t have and it will pull up a list of recipes you could make!  Recipe Matcher, Supercook and Ingredient Chef are also good resources!

Here’s what we’ll be eating this week:

Since not many of my planned meal got made last week, you’ll see some recycled meals on this week’s menu.   To complete my meals this week, I spent about $17 on yogurt, produce, milk and eggs.

Monday:

Tuesday:

Wednesday:

  • Breakfast:  Banana chocolate chip muffins, yogurt, fruit
  • Lunch:  Leftovers
  • Dinner:  Perogies and Sausage, steamed veggies (needs to be a quick dinner)

Thursday:

  • Breakfast:  refrigerated oatmeal
  • Lunch:  Potato soup
  • Dinner: Marinated steak, pasta salad. grilled veggies

Friday:

Saturday:

  • Brunch: Bacon, eggs, hashbrowns, toast
  • Dinner:  We’re headed to a baby shower/birthday party (I have to bring a salad)

Sunday:

Now it’s your turn, what’s your update and what will you be eating this week?

Homemade Ice Cream Sandwiches

These Homemade Ice Cream Sandwiches are like the store bought version, only much better! Make this summer treat right at home and save some cash. 

These Homemade Ice Cream Sandwiches are like the store bought version, only much better! Make this summer treat right at home and save some cash.

I thought for a nice after work treat, I’d try making homemade ice cream sandwiches because I know my husband would enjoy them. They’re his favourite summer treat. Plus, my daughter and I happen to love them as well 😉

Store bought ice cream sandwiches are pretty tasty, but these homemade ones are better!  They turned out really well. So well, I think I’ll be making quite a few batches this summer!

I’m sure you could use homemade ice cream too, but well, I’m not quite there yet. 😉

ice cream sandwiches 1
INGREDIENTS

  • 3/4 cup Flour
  • 1/4 cup Cocoa Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 1/2 cup softened Butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 qt vanilla ice cream

ice cream sandwiches 2

ice cream sandwiches 3

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Whisk together flour, cocoa powder and baking soda. Set aside.
  3. Beat together butter, sugar, vanilla and egg until blended and creamy.
  4. Add dry ingredients to the butter mixture and mix until combined.
  5. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  6. Spread onto prepared pan.
  7. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until top is dry but still soft. Allow to cool.
  8. Carefully remove from pan.
  9. Use a knife and split sandwich cake in half.
  10. Take frozen ice cream and remove from carton.
  11. Using a knife that you ran under warm water, cut into 3/4″ slices.
  12. Arrange ice cream slices on top of half of sandwich cake to cover it completely.
  13. Place other half of sandwich cake on top of ice cream.
  14. Wrap in plastic or parchment and place in freezer for at least 2 hours.
  15. Once ice cream sandwiches are firm, remove and cut into 8 rectangles with a sharp knife.

ice cream sandwiches 4ice cream sandwiches 5

 

Homemade Ice Cream Sandwiches
 
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup Flour
  • ¼ cup Cocoa Powder
  • ½ tsp Baking Soda
  • ½ cup Sugar
  • ½ cup softened Butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 qt vanilla ice cream
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Whisk together flour, cocoa powder and baking soda. Set aside.
  3. Beat together butter, sugar, vanilla and egg until blended and creamy.
  4. Add dry ingredients to the butter mixture and mix until combined.
  5. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  6. Spread onto prepared pan.
  7. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until top is dry but still soft. Allow to cool.
  8. Carefully remove from pan.
  9. Use a knife and split sandwich cake in half.
  10. Take frozen ice cream and remove from carton.
  11. Using a knife that you ran under warm water, cut into ¾" slices.
  12. Arrange ice cream slices on top of one half of sandwich cake to cover it completely.
  13. Place other half of sandwich cake on top of ice cream.
  14. Wrap in plastic or parchment and place in freezer for at least 2 hours.
  15. Once ice cream sandwiches are firm, remove and cut into 8 rectangles with a sharp knife.

homemade ice cream sandwiches 2

The Eating from the Pantry & Freezer Challenge: Week 2

Welcome to the second week of the Eating from The Pantry & Freezer Challenge!  Here’s what it’s all about or you can read the post from Week 1.

Here’s my update:

As it seems with all my weeks, not every meal I had planned got made.  Things just come up or we have more leftovers than we thought!

But I did manage to rid our freezer of a few things!  Some chicken is gone (BBQ chicken salad, Chicken in basil cream sauce), a container of chicken noodle soup is gone, along with quite a bit of produce.

I added up my receipts from my groceries last week and I ended up spending $34.60.  Over my $25 “budget” but I did use a gift card that my husband got from work. Milk, yogurt, and fruit & veggies is what I bought.

Here’s what we’ll be eating this week:

Monday:

Tuesday:

  • Brunch:  Waffles with berry sauce
  • Dinner:  Fettucine Alfredo, Caesar salad, garlic bread

Wednesday:

Thursday:

  • Breakfast: Banana muffins, yogurt, fruit
  • Lunch:  leftovers
  • Dinner: Leftovers

Friday:

Saturday:

  • Brunch:  French Toast
  • Dinner:  Appies (whatever appy things I can find in the freezer)

Sunday:

  • Breakfast:  Oatmeal/cereal, yogurt, fruit
  • Lunch:  Egg salad sandwich
  • Dinner:  Marinated steak, pasta salad. grilled veggies

Now it’s your turn to share your menu plan with the rest of us!  We’d also love to hear your progress and savings report!

The Eating from the Pantry & Freezer Challenge Starts! Week 1

It’s time to start the Eating from the Pantry & Freezer Challenge!

I told you last week that I’d be sharing my goals and plans, so here’s what I’ve got in mind:

My number one goal is to clean out the pantry and freezers, especially the freezers!  It seems like we’re always throwing stuff out because it gets lost for far too long. :(

Secondly, I’d like to spend only $25 each week on the items I decided to keep buying (dairy, eggs and produce).  I think this is going to be quite feasible!

It’s important to decide on an amount you’d like to spend during the challenge.  By not setting an amount, you could be setting yourself up for spending too much!  Determine how little you think you can get by on.

Also, I think it’s important to say to make this challenge your own.  Decide what will work best for you to help you clear out your pantry and freezer while still making it a challenge.  Maybe this means you won’t be buying any household items (toilet paper, toothpaste..etc) because you really do have enough to get you through until the end of the challenge.  Or maybe you realize that you have a ton of stuff to go through so you can actually do the challenge for 5 weeks.  Make it yours!

Now, how am I going to make this happen?

I took inventory of our pantry and freezers (and discovered I had a lot more than I thought)!  Here’s what I’ll be working with:

  • Lots of chicken breasts
  • Quite a bit of beef (ground, a roast and a few steaks)
  • One package of ground turkey (will make two meals)
  • Plenty of flour, oatmeal, rice, pasta, quinoa
  • Lots of frozen fruit (peaches, strawberries, mixed berries, raspberries)
  • Chicken kabobs
  • Chicken fingers
  • A little pack of leftover diced ham

I’m actually quite shocked at how much I found and I’m sure I could do this challenge for longer than I have planned!

Don’t forget to join the Simply Frugal Pantry Challenge Facebook group!  I want it to be a place where we share meal inspiration, tips and more!

Here’s what we’ll be eating until next Sunday 

Monday:

Tuesday:

Wednesday:

  • Breakfast: Bran muffins, yogurt, fruit
  • Lunch:  Smoothies
  • Dinner:  Perogies and Sausage, steamed veggies (needs to be a quick dinner)

Thursday:

Friday:

  • Brunch:  Smoothies
  • Lunch: Grilled cheese sandwhiches
  • Dinner:  Leftovers

Saturday:

  • Brunch: Waffles with Berry sauce and whipping cream
  • Dinner: Marinated steak, pasta salad, grilled veggies

Sunday:

  • Breakfast:  Oatmeal/cereal
  • Lunch: Smoothies
  • Dinner:  At my parents

On Monday, May 11, I’ll be back with my next menu plan and how much I actually ended up spending on groceries to get through this week’s menu!

Now, it’s your turn to share your menu plan, goals and plan of attack with the rest of us!

Homemade Flour Tortillas

Making your own Homemade Flour Tortillas at home is easy and really inexpensive. Perfect for making quesadillas or Tacos at home.

Making your own Homemade Flour Tortillas at home is easy and really inexpensive. Perfect for making quesadillas or Tacos at home.

We go through quite a few tortillas in our home. Between quesadillas, burritos, tacos, cream cheese & meat rollups and even pizzas, it feels like I’m always buying a pack of tortilla shells. That can really add up when a package costs over $3!

I knew it was possible to make your own flour tortillas so I thought I’d try. Let me tell you, they are so easy to make and delicious! (Especially when you eat them when they’re still fresh and warm.)

Making homemade tortillas at home is really inexpensive and you most likely have everything in your pantry already. Flour, oil, baking powder and some salt. It will take a bit of time to cook your tortillas but it is still easy.

INGREDIENTS
3 cups Flour
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 cup Vegetable Oil
1 cup Warm Water

Making your own Homemade Flour Tortillas at home is easy and really inexpensive. Perfect for making quesadillas or Tacos at home.DIRECTIONS

Step 1:
Using a stand mixer, whisk dry ingredients until combined.
Add water and oil and mix, scraping down the sides as needed until ball forms.
Mix for two more minutes until dough is smooth.

Step 2:
Turn out onto floured work surface and divide into 16 pieces and roll each into a ball.
Allow to rest for 10 minutes.
Preheat skillet over medium heat.

Step 3:
Roll out each ball into a 6″ circle.

Step 4:
Cook each tortilla on first side for about a minute, until brown spots form, then flip and cook other side for about 20 seconds.
Stack cooked tortillas and wrap in a clean towel to cool.
If not being used immediately, store in a zip lock bag.

Making your own Homemade Flour Tortillas at home is easy and really inexpensive. Perfect for making quesadillas or Tacos at home.

These homemade tortillas were so easy and so much better than store bought. I’ll be making these on a regular basis over here. They’re perfect for snacks and for meals. What do you use tortillas for in your house?

Homemade Flour Tortillas
 
Ingredients
  • 3 cups Flour
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • ½ cup Vegetable Oil
  • 1 cup Warm Water
Instructions
  1. Using a stand mixer, whisk dry ingredients until combined.
  2. Add water and oil and mix, scraping down the sides as needed until ball forms.
  3. Mix for two more minutes until dough is smooth.
  4. Turn out onto floured work surface and divide into 16 pieces and roll each into a ball.
  5. Allow to rest for 10 minutes.
  6. Preheat frying pan over medium heat.
  7. Roll out each ball into a 6" circle.
  8. Cook each tortilla on first side for about a minute, until brown spots form, then flip and cook other side for about 20 seconds.
  9. Stack cooked tortillas and wrap in a clean towel to cool.
  10. If not being used immediately, store in a zip lock bag.

 

Join in on the Eating from the Pantry/Freezer Challenge!

Do you find your pantry and freezer overflowing with food, yet you keep buying more food?

Would you like to join me this month in possibly saving hundreds of dollars on your grocery bill by eating out of your pantry and freezer?

We’ve been feeling lately, in the Simply Frugal household, as though we’ve got way too much food just hanging around not leaving the pantry and freezers. (umm, except for the ice cream, that mysteriously disappears ;)!)

Since I’d like to use up what we have in the freezer and pantry to make room for all the fresh produce I hope to freeze and preserve, I thought a challenge would get me motivated!  Maybe it will help you as well?

Here’s the plan:

Starting on Monday, May 4, the Eating from the Pantry/Freezer challenge will officially start!

I’ll be sharing my menu plan and goals next Monday and would love to hear your plans and goals as well!

What you’ll need to do before May 4:

  • Do a complete inventory of your pantry, freezer and fridge
  • Decide what your goals will be for the challenge (how much do you want to save, how long do you think you’ll be doing the challenge for…etc)
  • Write up a meal plan for at least the first five days of the challenge (Wednesday  – Sunday)
  • Make a list of the items you’ll need to buy to complete your meals.  (I’ll still be buying produce and dairy and eggs)

Every Monday following (May 11, 18, and 25) I’ll be sharing my menu plans and progress.  This would be a great time for those of you joining in on the challenge to share or link to your menus and progress in the comment section!  I’ll also be tracking how much I’m spending on groceries for the duration of this challenge and sharing my totals.

Update: I’ve created a Facebook group that I would love to have you join! Click here to join the Simply Frugal Pantry Challenge.  I think it will be a great place to share meal ideas, tips and even our struggles during the challenge!

Does this makes sense?  Any questions? :)

Here are some useful resources to help you out with the challenge:

Will you be joining me as we eat from the pantry and freezer?

Copycat Starbucks Mocha Frappuccino

Copycat Starbucks Mocha Frappuccino

Copycat Starbucks Mocha Frappuccino- Here's how you can recreate a Starbucks favorite at home for a fraction of the cost!

Normally when I hit up Starbucks I order an Americano with vanilla or a plain black tea.  But every once in a while, especially when it’s hot, I get my mind stuck on ordering a Mocha Frappuccino. (Especially when they offer them for $2 or $3!) Chocolate and coffee. Those two things combined are hard to beat! Also, the whipping cream is a big seller to me 😉

Anyways, I thought that the Mocha Frappuccino would be a great thing to try to recreate at home so I could enjoy one once in while through the summer. I also happen to love to saving money on “luxuries”.

Here’s how you can create a Copycat Starbucks Mocha Frappuccino at home:

Copycat Starbucks Mocha Frappuccino
Serves: 3
 
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup Espresso Coffee
  • ¼ cup Sugar
  • 1 cup Milk
  • ½ cup Dark Chocolate Syrup
  • pinch Xantham Gum
  • 4 cups Ice
  • Whipped Cream for topping
  • Chocolate Syrup to drizzle over whipped cream
Instructions
  1. Make coffee according to directions.
  2. While still hot, pour coffee into blender
  3. Add sugar and mix until dissolved.
  4. Add milk, chocolate syrup and xantham gum and mix another minute.
  5. Place in refrigerator for 30 minutes to cool.
  6. Add ice to blender and blend on high until smooth.
  7. Pour into glasses.
  8. Top each glass with whipped cream.

 Copycat Starbucks Mocha Frappuccino- Here's how you can recreate a Starbucks favorite at home for a fraction of the cost!

Three Ingredient Strawberry Banana Ice Cream (Dairy Free)

With just 3 ingredients you can make this super delicious non-dairy Strawberry Banana Ice Cream in a flash! 

With just 3 ingredients you can make this super delicious non-dairy Strawberry Banana Ice Cream in a flash!

Strawberry Banana Ice Cream

It’s no secret that I love ice cream. Like, really love ice cream.  It’s my almost nightly treat. :) My daughter also loves ice cream and my husband will eat it if I offer to grab him a bowl.  The unfortunate thing about ice cream is the fact that most brands you can purchase are not very healthful.  That’s why this three ingredient strawberry banana ice cream is a hit with me. Can you believe you only need strawberries, bananas and a bit of sugar to make this?  You don’t even need an ice cream maker!

Here’s how to make delicious dairy-free Strawberry Banana ice cream:

Strawberry Banana Ice Cream
 
Ingredients
  • 1 lb Strawberries
  • 4 small Bananas
  • 2 tbsp Sugar
Instructions
  1. Peel bananas and freeze in freezer.
  2. Hull strawberries and freeze in freezer.
  3. Place frozen ingredients and sugar in food processor and pulse until it reaches ice cream texture.
  4. Enjoy!

So what do you think, are you going to give this a try?

With just 3 ingredients you can make this super delicious non-dairy Strawberry Banana Ice Cream in a flash!

Blackberry Honey Butter

Imagine with me for a moment. Picture yourself pulling a fresh loaf of bread out of the oven. Or a batch of muffins.  Or perhaps you’ve just made a stack of pancakes or some French toast. Now imagine spreading some delicious whipped blackberry honey butter over top.  Drooling yet?  This butter is to die for!  It will really impress the guests, I might add 😉

Blackberry Honey Butter

Here’s how to make delicious Blackberry Honey Butter that everyone will go crazy for:

Blackberry Honey Butter
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup softened Butter
  • ¼ cup Honey
  • ¼ cup Blackberries
Instructions
  1. Whip butter and honey until fluffy.
  2. Add blackberries and mix just until berries break up and are distributed throughout the butter.
  3. Either scoop the butter mix into a jar and seal or form into a log and refrigerate.

Blackberry Honey Butter 2

In case blackberries aren’t your thing, this recipe is so versatile you could use strawberries (chopped small), raspberries, blueberries or whatever strikes your fancy.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I think it’s time for a snack! :)

Tropical Pineapple Peach Slushie

These Tropical Slushies with pineapple and peaches will have you totally refreshed and in the summer mood in no time!

Spring is here!  We’ve been trying to get into the warm weather mood over here by creating delicious pineapple peach slushies!  We’re big smoothie fans so a slushie adds a bit of “specialness” to the same old!

You’ll want to look no further than this if you’re looking for a refreshing cold drink. These Tropical Slushies with pineapple and peaches will have you totally refreshed and in the summer mood in no time. They’re super simple and use just three ingredients to create a perfect blend.

Tropical Pineapple Peach Slushie

Tropical Pineapple Peach Slushie
 
Ingredients
  • 1½ cup diced Peaches, frozen
  • 1½ cup diced Pineapple, frozen
  • 1 cup Pineapple Juice
  • Maraschino Cherries for garnish (optional)
Instructions
  1. Put pineapple, peaches and pineapple juice in the blender and run until smooth.
  2. Pour into glasses and garnish with cherries.

Let me know what you think!  I’ve got a couple more healthy treats coming up in the next little bit that you may want to look out for. :)

These Tropical Slushies with pineapple and peaches will have you totally refreshed and in the summer mood in no time!