Cook from the Pantry Challenge: Planning


In planning for my Cook from the Pantry/Freezer challenge, I took a look at what I had in my deep freeze and outside refrigerator first:

  • 3 hams (I got on sale at Christmas for $0.99/lb.)
  • 3 pork loins (I got on sale in the fall)
  • 2 pork butt roasts (I got on sale in the fall)
  • 1 chuck roast (I got on sale in December)
  • 2 whole chickens (I got on sale for $0.88/lb.)
  • 1 package chicken thighs (I got on sale last week for $0.88/lb.)
  • 1 package chicken drumsticks (ditto)
  • 2 0.5-lb. freezer bags of cooked ground beef
  • Lots of chopped bell peppers (from my garden last year)
  • Lots and lots and lots of chicken stock
  • Plenty of packages of shredded cheese (I stock up on them when they are $2.00 or less)
  • 2 Freezer Meals
  • oodles of crescent rolls (I got them on sale with coupons for around $0.75 in the fall)


Then I took a look in my pantry:

  • Tomato sauce, Rotel, Stewed Tomatoes
  • Pasta (I usually stock up on this when it’s free or less than $0.50/pkg.)
  • Stove Top Stuffing (I stocked up at Thanksgiving for around $0.60/pkg. I believe)
  • Dry Beans
  • Cream of Chicken/Mushroom Soup, Green Beans, French Fried onions (I got on sale at Thanksgiving)
  • Flour tortillas I got for $0.40 per package last fall
  • Potatoes I got on sale last week
  • Sour cream I always stock up on when it’s $1.00 for 16-oz.
  • barbecue sauce and other condiments

In looking at my stock, I got a pretty good idea what I could plan on cooking for February.  Here are some of my intial plans:

  • Baked ham (ingredients to buy: 0)
  • Teriyaki Pork from our last freezer meal session (ingredients to buy: 0)
  • Taco Casserole using crescent rolls, 0.5 lb. ground beef, homemade salsa, taco seasoning I purchased in bulk from Sam’s last fall, cilantro that went to seed in my garden and for some reason decided January in Arkansas is growing season, mexican blend cheese (ingredients to buy: 0)
  • Beans & Souper Cornbread using dry pinto beans, ham hock from previous baked ham, Souper Cornbread where I froze half when I made it last time. (ingredients to buy: 0)
  • Chicken with Basil Pesto using basil from last year’s garden that I froze. (ingredients to buy: chicken breasts, which are $1.29/lb. for the bone-in ones at Kroger, carrots)
  • Taquitos and Pizza Potatoes using chicken meat I will use from the whole chicken, cream cheese I got on sale at Kroger a few weeks ago, shredded cheese, potatoes, chopped peppers (ingredients to buy: pepperoni slices, pizza sauce)
  • Barbecue sandwiches using butt roast, barbecue sauce, and buns I froze (ingredients to buy: 0)
  • Spaghetti using pasta, 0.5 lb. ground beef, spaghetti sauce (ingredients to buy: 0)
  • Cilantro-Lime Chicken using chicken thighs, black beans, corn, cilantro from my garden (ingredients to buy: rice, limes)
  • Stuffed pork loin using pork tenderloin, stove top stuffing (ingredients to buy: bacon, celery, onions)
  • Chicken fingers with panko crumbs (ingredients to buy: chicken breasts)
  • Lasagna using noodles, stewed tomatoes, shredded cheese (ingredients to buy: ground beef)
  • Poulet de France, which is in my freezer from the last time I cooked it, where I froze half (ingredients to buy: 0)
  • DiGiorno pizza, using a frozen pizza I got for $2.67 with a sale and coupon in January. (ingredients to buy: 0
  • Freezer meals from our upcoming freezer meal cooking session

So this pretty much leaves me with buying a few items for the main meals, vegetables and sides, and my basic perishable items like fruits and dairy.  Hopefully most of these meals will produce enough leftovers to cover us for lunch most days.

I’m hopeful, and I’ll share my progress as I go!

3 thoughts on “Cook from the Pantry Challenge: Planning

  1. Wow, Jill! You sure have a nice stash. I’ve decided to take up your challenge. 🙂 I need to go through our freezers and cabinets too. We’re wanting to change our diet in the next couple of months so we need to get rid/use up items that we don’t want around anymore. Plus it would be nice to save some cash this month (who doesn’t want to do that?). Love your list and meal plan!

    • That’s a great idea! I’ve been doing the same thing. Some stuff I’ve read says to throw away all the bad stuff, but I can’t just waste food. Especially food I worked really hard to cut coupons for! 🙂 So I’m working my way through that and won’t replace it. Good luck!

  2. Pingback: Results are In: Cooking from the Pantry February | Bibs and Aprons

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