Pantry Challenge & Menu Plan 07/09–07/15


Baked Potato Soup

I’m sure you all are wondering how we did this past week?  Well, we actually did very well! I went through both refrigerators to see what needed to be used up &, for the most part, had very little that I just could not get incorporated into our meals before it went bad.  The few things that I found to be trying to push their usage, I fed to the chickens before it did go bad.  (No, I do not feed my chickens food that is bad, I promise.  They’re some of the post spoiled birds on the plant!)


So, what did we eat for the rest of the weeks?  Let’s see.  We had: Beef tips & rice, roasted chicken with veggies, wings in homemade BBQ sauce, fresh corn on the cob, homemade seasoned fries, baked potatoes with assorted toppings, & homemade baked potato soup using roasted potatoes!  Yum!

I’m sure you’re wondering, “why all the potatoes?”  Well, I had several potatoes that were starting to look less than stellar that I knew would not last much longer, so I made sure to incorporate them as much as possible. I only had 4 that I had to throw out, & those would’ve had to go out anyway since they were bad in the center.  But, they didn’t actually go out.  They will be going into my compost bin!  See, they still had use, just the original intended purpose.  I was also able to use up the last of our fresh mushrooms!  They meals also made enough for at least Brian to have some to take to work for his, and a couple of times a little more was left so that we, too, could enjoy them the next day.


I did, however, have to go to the store for more milk, bacon, Worcestershire sauce, mixed salad greens, dates, mushrooms & heavy whipping cream.  (I also picked up a water & can of Pringles since Melia was with me & had not eaten – cheaper than drive thru). I spent $45.56 more out of our $400 budget, which leaves me with $224.18 for the month.


Side note:  I forgot to mention that we have a birthday in the family this week, so that many constitute a meal out, which I will not count against us since will we be doing something fun with the birthday girl & will not be close to home.  I will, however, pack snack foods for us to munch on!



Now, that we’ve caught up on how we did, here’s our menu plan for this coming week.



  • smoothies
  • homemade yogurt with fruit and/or granola
  • hard boiled eggs
  • banana bread
  • homemade muffins (?)
  • pancakes/waffles



  • leftovers
  • sandwiches
  • fresh fruits/veggies



  • Homemade Cheeseburger Mac (Monday)
  • Chicken Caesar Salad
  • Tacos with homemade whole wheat tortillas
  • Leftovers
  • Crock Pot ™ Chicken & potatoes
  • Pizza – homemade (for birthday girl & guests)
  • Possible meal out – if not, I’ll figure out something


Now, that week #1 is done & we’ve done fairly well, I’m definitely ready for week #2.  This week, I’ll also have my dehydrator & canner going. I’ll be working on mushrooms, cherries, potatoes, carrots & garlic.  Check back periodically for updates, especially around Monday/Tuesday when I’ll update on how our week went!


Post Linked To: Organizing Junkie

Menu Plan: 06/18–06/24



I’m not really going to be planning a menu this week since it’s just 3 of us.  Our girls are off to camp for the week and will be back on Friday.  I do know that we promised Michael, our son, that we’d take him to his favorite pizza place one day this week, so we will be eating one one day.  Other than that, I’m just going to wing it!  We have plenty on hand to eat. I really need to try to get the grill cleaned up so we can start grilling.  I just haven’t been home the last few weeks to get it done.  So, this week will be a laid back week.  Michael will probably be picking most of the meals this week.  So, check back next week to see what’s on our menu once everyone is back home again!  I’ll be glad.  It’s too quiet around here!

Menu Plan: 05/21–05/27



I can hardly believe that we’re near the end of another month and almost halfway through the year!  Where has the time gone?  But, one of my favorite things about this time of year is all of the FRESH fruits and veggies that are showing up in all of the stores and at market stands all over.  It’s so refreshing to taste the freshness that they bring to a meal.  So, if you’ve read my post about my shopping trip on Saturday, you’ll know that my menu this week will revolve around a lot of our fresh ingredients. 



  • Fruit smoothies
  • Fresh Fruit with homemade yogurt – sweetened with honey
  • Oatmeal
  • Homemade biscuits with eggs & cheese


  • Sandwiches on homemade bread
  • Hot homemade chicken broth with noodles
  • Leftovers
  • Bagel pizzas
  • Chicken Nuggets/pizza rolls with fries/tater tots


(in no particular order)

  • Crock Pot ™ Roasted chicken with potatoes, garlic, carrots, & onions with a side of corn, & peas with mushrooms
  • Crock Pot ™ Swissed Steak with a side of potatoes & steamed broccoli
  • Chicken fajitas (using leftover chicken) on homemade whole wheat tortillas using homemade fajita seasoning mix
  • Crock Pot ™ Poor Man’s Soup 
  • Crock Pot ™ Beef Stew with lots of veggies & homemade rolls
  • Leftovers

The only day I’m not too sure about at this point is Thursday.  We’re finishing up our homeschool co-op classes that day & will be having a special night.  I believe everyone will be bringing a covered dish or two to share, but I’ll have to double check that tomorrow.   Regardless of how Thursday goes, I have plenty of food on hand to improvise, if necessary. 

I’m also going to try my hand at making homemade roasted red pepper hummus this week.  I’ve been putting this off for some time, but I’ve finally decided to give it a shot.  I have a red pepper that I need to use up, so I’ll roast that up to go with the chick peas that I already have precooked & in the freezer just waiting to be used. 

For more great menu plans, don’t forget to head on over to Organizing Junkie to see what everyone’s planning for the week! 

Menu Plan: 05/07–05/13


I know I’m a bit late posting my menu for the week, but better late than never!  I’ve had it made & ready to go but, for some reason, I didn’t put it on my blog.  Oh, well.  Here it is.  I spent Monday making a double batch of homemade whole wheat bagels, and they turned out deliciously!



  • Amish Baked Oatmeal with fresh/dried fruit
  • Sausage, egg, & cheese bagels
  • Cream cheese bagels
  • Oatmeal pancakes



  • Sandwiches
  • Leftovers
  • Pizza bagels


  • Crock Pot Beef Stew (held over from last week)
  • Spaghetti
  • Mexican Goulash
  • Biscuits & gravy, bacon, & eggs
  • Beef Stroganoff
  • Leftover Buffet
  • Out to eat (Mother’s Day) – my family would like to take me out

If you’re looking for more great menu plans, don’t forget to head on over to Organizing Junkie!

Menu Plan: 04/30–05/06


I confess, I’ve been very bad about menu planning the last few months.  When life became chaotic & I never knew when we would get home, I let my menu planning fall to the wayside.  (SIGH)  I know better. When I do this, my grocery budget suffers.  Badly.  As well as our eating out (read: swinging through the drive-thru) goes up.  Thankfully, things are settling down and I am finding more time to fix good homemade meals again.  And we’re all very thankful since we’d rather eat at home than eat out any day. 


AND, now that it’s summer-like weather here in good ol’ East Tennessee, it’s time for me to start switching over to my summer cooking routine.  This will be a bit hard through the month of May since we still have Awana and our homeschool co-op classes, but I’m going to do my best to stick to my plan and keep our eating out down to the very bare minimum (hopefully none).  My plan this week will include some of the chicken that I cooked Saturday night in the Crock Pot ™.  I put 5 pounds of chicken breasts into the Crock Pot ™ on Saturday.  I used 4 of them to make homemade chicken salad yesterday morning, which turned out delicious!!  (I’ll try to share the recipe with you later on this week.)  So, my menu plan this week will be using some of that chicken in another meal.  The rest will be divide  & frozen for future quick meals.  I’m also using ingredients that I already have on hand. 



  • Amish Baked Oatmeal with fresh/dried fruit added (made a double batch, which should last us most of the week)
  • Fruit/Yogurt
  • Oatmeal Pancakes
  • Egg Cups (Bacon & eggs baked in the oven in muffin tins)



  • Sandwiches on homemade whole wheat bread
  • Leftovers



  • Roasted chicken with veggies
  • Homemade Pizza (might do
  • Chicken Alfredo
  • Crock Pot ™ Beef Stew with homemade rolls
  • Chicken Enchiladas with homemade whole wheat tortillas & homemade enchilada sauce
  • Hoagie Sandwiches on homemade whole wheat bread- choice of Ham, Turkey, or homemade chicken salad
  • Spaghetti with sauce & homemade garlic bread

See, I’m keeping things pretty simple around here, but they will be good, home cooked, filling meals that will keep us from eating out!  So, what’s on your menu for the week? Not sure what to fix?  Head on over to Organizing Junkie for more great menu planning ideas!

Menu Plan: 01/09–01/15



As much as I love having a menu in place and am a huge advocate of them, I’ve really let mine slide for the last 3 months!  So, I’m jumping back on the bandwagon and getting back to planning my weekly menu.  Not only does it take the stress of dinner off, but it also really helps to keep our grocery budget in check.  So, here’s my menu plan for the week.




  • Leftovers
  • Sandwiches
  • Ravioli
  • Ramen Noodles (my kids love these)


  • Monday: Grandma’s Soup (aka Poor Man’s Soup)
  • Tuesday: Crock Pot Pinto Beans, cornbread, & potatoes
  • Wednesday: Refried bean burritos
  • Thursday: spaghetti with sauce & garlic bread
  • Friday: Chicken fajitas with Spanish Rice
  • Saturday: Leftovers
  • Sunday: Crock Pot Beef Tips & Rice

There’ll be more sides – just not sure what I’ll add with which dinner yet. 


There’s my first menu plan of 2012!  I honestly don’t know why I let menu planning fall to the way side last year, but I did.  I love having a plan in place.  It makes life so much simpler.  So, what’s on your menu this week?  Not sure?  Well, head on over the Organizing Junkie for more great menu plans & ideas!

Menu Plan: 04/17–04/23



I knew it had been a while since I had posted, but it’s hard to believe that it’s been a month! It’s been raining at our house, both figuratively and in reality.  But, it seems like things are finally starting to settle down, which I’m very happy about.  And it’s also about time that I get back to making out a menu & sticking to it, especially since I had gone to the store & have a few things that need to be used up.  Here’s our menu plan for the week:



  • Sandwiches
  • Leftovers
  • Salad


  • Sunday:  Sandwiches & nachos
  • Monday:  Crock Pot Beef Tips & Rice with steamed broccoli
  • Tuesday:  Fried chicken with mashed potatoes, corn, green beans, & homemade rolls
  • Wednesday:  Leftovers (spaghetti if needed)
  • Thursday: Hot Dogs
  • Friday:  Our Anniversary Dinner!  Special meal planned for my dear husband of 17 years!
  • Saturday:  Easter Dinner with my side of the family (making rolls & a dessert)

That about sums up our menu for the week.  For more great menu plans this week, don’t forget to check out Organizing Junkie & see what everyone else has planned this week.