The Eating from the Pantry & Freezer Challenge: Week 3

The Eating from the Pantry & Freezer Challenge from SimplyFrugal.ca

Welcome back to 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

I took a little hiatus last week since we had family visiting and we were all over the place! We feasted on burgers, hot dogs, pizza… all the healthy stuff 😉 Needless to say, we still have quite a bit of stuff in our pantry and freezer!

This week should be different 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 meals got made last week, you’ll see some recycled meals on this week’s menu.

Monday:

  • Breakfast:  Refrigerator oatmeal
  • Lunch:  Smoothies
  • Dinner: Asian Vegetable Pasta (with chicken and using healthy ramen noodles from Costco), artisan bread in the slow cooker

Tuesday:

Wednesday:

Thursday:

  • Breakfast:  refrigerated oatmeal
  • Lunch:  Potato soup
  • Dinner: Quiche, salad

Friday:

Saturday:

  • Brunch: Bacon, eggs, hashbrowns, toast
  • Dinner:  Leftovers

Sunday:

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

The Eating from the Pantry & Freezer Challenge: Week 2

The Eating from the Pantry & Freezer Challenge from SimplyFrugal.ca

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 taco meat is gone, a couple of bags of frozen fruit are gone, along with quite a few frozen bananas.

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

Monday:

  • Breakfast:  Banana Muffins, yogurt, fruit
  • Lunch:  Egg Salad sandwich
  • Dinner: Ham, mashed potatoes, corn (didn’t get made last week)

Tuesday:

  • Breakfast:  Scrambled eggs with yogurt
  • Lunch: Potato soup using leftover ham?
  • Dinner: Cheesy Beef & Rice

Wednesday:

  • Breakfast:  Refrigerator Oatmeal
  • Lunch:  Potato soup using leftover ham?
  • Dinner:  Baked Ravioli

Thursday:

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

Friday:

  • Breakfast: Refrigerator oatmeal
  • Lunch:  Smoothies
  • Dinner: We will have family in town so maybe a BBQ but I’m not setting anything in stone

Saturday:

  • Brunch:  French Toast
  • Dinner:  We will have family in town so I’m not setting anything in stone

Sunday:

  • Breakfast:  Oatmeal/cereal, yogurt, fruit
  • Lunch:  Egg salad sandwich
  • Dinner:  We will have family in town so I’m not setting anything in stone

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

The Eating from the Pantry & Freezer Challenge from SimplyFrugal.ca

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. 🙁

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 that I don’t have as much meat as I thought)!  Here’s what I’ll be working with:

  • Some shredded chicken
  • a couple of packs of Ground beef
  • Taco meat
  • Ham
  • Shrimp
  • Pulled pork
  • Plenty of flour, oatmeal, rice, pasta, quinoa
  • Lots of dried beans and lentils
  • Lots of frozen fruit (peaches, strawberries, mixed berries, raspberries)
  • Frozen vegetables
  • Chicken nuggets/fries
  • Puff pastry
  • Crackers
  • Apple sauce
  • Premade butter chicken and Coconut curry (No one will eat it but me!)
  • Frozen bananas
  • And lots more!

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 

Wednesday:

  • Breakfast:  Oatmeal
  • Lunch:  Tomato soup
  • Dinner: Taco bar

Thursday:

  • Breakfast:  Banana muffins, yogurt, fruit
  • Lunch:  Chicken noodle soup
  • Dinner: Ham, mashed potatoes, steamed vegetables

Friday:

  • Breakfast: Overnight oatmeal
  • Lunch:  Smoothies
  • Dinner: Chicken in basil cream sauce, Greek quinoa, steamed vegetables

Saturday:

  • Breakfast: Waffles with Berry sauce and whipping cream
  • Lunch:  Cheese Quesadillas
  • Dinner: Fettucine Alfredo, Caesar Salad, Raw carrots

Sunday:

  • Brunch:  Oatmeal/cereal
  • Lunch: Grilled cheese sandwhiches
  • Dinner:  At my parents

On Monday, April 23, I’ll be back with my next menu plan!

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

How to Turn Ramen Noodles Into a Healthy Meal Idea

It is no secret that Ramen Noodles are a staple in every college student’s pantry. However, ramen noodles are not just for the college student, bachelor, or preschooler anymore. I have even found some organic brown rice ramen by Lotus Foods at Costco that we love, making it a healthy choice for our family! Even if you buy the budget friendly packs of ramen, there are quite a few healthy ways to spice up a package of the fried noodles.

How to Turn Ramen Noodles Into a Healthy Meal Idea

How to turn ramen noodles into a healthy meal idea. This post sure has me wanting some ramen noodles now! #healthymealidea #mealidea #ramennoodles #cheapeats #budgetbites

Ditch the Packet

Some people prefer ramen noodles simply because they are cheap, cheap, cheap. Others prefer them because of the beef, chicken, or oriental flavor that comes in the package. While that packet is full of flavor, it is also packed full of sodium and MSG. Make your meal a bit healthier, by ditching the packet, and adding your own herbs and flavoring. Boil the pasta in low sodium chicken or beef broth, and throw in some pepper and herbs, like thyme, or oregano.

Use Uncooked, as a Topping

That’s right. You can eat Ramen without cooking them, prior. Dig the recipe for your favorite Asian inspired salad out of your recipe box, and simply swap out the Asian noodles for Ramen Noodles. Just discard the seasoning packet and break the noodles up. Add them to your salad just before serving.

Stir Fry

Instead of opting for burgers and fries, pull out a package of ramen, and some fresh or frozen veggies. Cook up chicken or beef pieces, and throw some in some veggies, with a bit of low sodium soy sauce. Meanwhile, cook the Ramen in either plain water, or low sodium beef or chicken broth. Once it is all done, simply toss it all together, and grab a bowl and a seat.

Make a Hearty Soup

There is nothing like a hot bowl of hearty soup, on a chilly evening. Gather the ingredients for your favorite soup, and toss it all in the slow cooker. When there are just a few minutes left of cooking time, add a packet or two of Ramen, minus the flavor packets, and you have yourself an easy, healthy meal.

Limit the amount you eat

Even if you dish up Ramen Noodles to be healthier, you still need to limit the amount you eat. Many carbs come from ramen noodles, even if it doesn’t seem like it. Which is why adding them to a salad as a topping or using it as a filler, is an excellent idea.

The great thing about Ramen is that it’s so inexpensive. Once you get rid of the packet and figure out how to make it into the perfect healthy dish, you are good to go.

I’d love to hear how you use ramen noodles! Let me know in the comments below!

$20 Until Pay Day: How to Get the Most Groceries for Your Dollar

We’ve all been there: pay day is still a week away and you only have $20 to your name. This might feel like a reason to panic, but the truth is, you have options. There are certain tips and tricks you can implement so you can make that $20 go its very farthest and get the most grocery bang for your buck. Take a look at these tip on how to get the most groceries for your dollar. So you can be sure to stretch your food budget the best you can until pay day arrives.

Only have $20 left until pay day but still have grocery shopping to do? I love these tips for stretching the grocery budget as far as you can!

Purchase rice in bulk.

A 2 pound bag of rice will cost you about $2, especially if you buy generic. Rice is perfect for stuffing in tortillas, adding to casseroles, or serving as a side dish. You can even add some milk and sugar to it for rice pudding, and inexpensive dessert idea. ($2)

Purchase beans in bulk.

Consider a 2 pound bag of beans, perfect for using as a side dish, in soups or stews, or add them to wraps. They are full of protein, taste great, and cost pennies per serving. Just soak them to soften them and then cook to your liking. ($2)

If you’re wanting to figure out how to make your grocery dollars stretch even further, try out the 14-day free trial of $5 Meal Plan! If you decide to continue after your trial period, for just $5 a month, they will send you a delicious meal plan where every meal will cost about $2 per person, and in most cases less.

Start my free trial

Canned vegetables may cost less than fresh.

It can be hard to find fresh produce at a great price. If you can grab cucumbers or peppers for under $1 each grab them. If not, you may be better off buying canned or frozen. Head to a store such as Walmart or Superstore where you can grab canned tomatoes, green beans, corn and peas for less than .80 cents a can. ($3)

Apples and bananas are your cheapest fruit option.

If you thought fresh vegetables were expensive, fresh fruit can be even worse! When you’re on a budget, fresh bananas and apples are your best options. Simple red lunch box apples run about .25 cents each, while bananas are around .70 cents per pound. This is a great way to get the fruit your body needs while staying on budget. ($3)

Powdered drink mixes are pennies per serving.

Beverages can be pricey, so instead, opt for water dressed up with a drink packet if you’re wanting something other than plain water. You can find powered drink mixes for pennies per serving. For calcium, milk may be pricey so opt for a few yogurt cups at .50 cents or so each. ($2)

Chicken will be your most budget friendly choice of meat.

You can often find chicken wings, drumsticks or thighs for a low price so this is your most budget friendly option. Dress them up with salad dressing or simple olive oil and salt and pepper. Some other cheap “meat” 😉 options include deli meat and of course, hot dogs. ($5)

Opt for day old bread choices.

Visit the day old bread store or raid the clearance bin at your local grocer for bread items under $1. Bread is perfect for sandwiches, making garlic bread, making croutons, etc. Plus if you find a great deal on it, you can freeze it. ($3)

Don’t let pay day being days away keep you from eating well. Keep these tips in mind for how to make the most of your grocery budget between pay days and see how much they can help!

How do you make your grocery budget stretch in between pay days?


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Here we are, five days into the new year. How are your resolutions or goals going so far?

Still trying to save money, eat healthier and be more organized?

I think the Ultimate Healthy Meal Planning Bundle is a tool that will help you knock out all three resolutions :-).

I’m especially loving the Instant Pot and Slow Cooker ebooks. Since I’ve recently gotten over my fear of blowing the house up with my Instant Pot, many of the recipes have been added to my menu plan! The bundle just has so many great nuggets. Everything from Budget meals to freezer cooking to gluten-free to vegan. I’ll be referencing this all the time if the last week since I’ve purchased it is any indication.

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