Saturday, January 30, 2010

Eat from the Pantry: The Homestretch

Well, the finish line on the Eat from The Pantry Challenge is here. This week was much better than last week. Taking two nights off last week by ordering pizza one night and taking advantage of the bonus free meal from Chipotle helped improve my attitude.

This week we had some great meals, and I tried a new recipe for potatoes that I LOVED! (I'm sharing it below, don't worry.) I also made classic scalloped potatoes and ham (leftover from I don't even know when) that were delish as always. We even fed company on Sunday when we had friends over to watch the football game.

Here's our supper menu from the rest of the week. Again, we ate leftovers for lunches, with the occasional scrambled egg or peanut butter sandwich for me when there weren't enough leftovers for two. As a bonus for you, I previously posted three of these recipes, and the links are included below.

Sunday - Jambalaya, garlic bread and snap peas with dip.
Monday - Steak bites, crash hot potatoes, spinach salad
Tuesday - Leftover jambalaya, steak and potatoes with veggies/salad
Wednesday - Scalloped potatoes and ham, spinach salad
Thursday - Homemade cream of tomato soup, fish sticks, green beans
Friday - White chicken chili, salad
Saturday - Chinese takeout

We got the week off to a great start when I found some steak in the freezer and was able to make steak bites, one of our favorite treats. The recipe has only two ingredients: steak and butter.

See why it has to be a treat and not a regular on our dinner table?

The recipe comes from The Pioneer Woman. You can find it here. Enter her site forewarned that her food is amazing, but she cooks for hard-working ranchers, so it's not exactly low-calorie. Of course, that's why it's amazing.

Combine it with her Crash Hot Potatoes, which are incredibly easy and completely delicious, add a little veg and you've got a meal fit for a king. Or the WBH.

Crash Hot Potatoes are basically new potatoes boiled then "crashed" with your potato masher, brushed with olive oil and seasoned. I only had regular baking potatoes, so I cut them in half or thirds to make them a little smaller. The Pioneer Woman uses fresh rosemary. I used dried chives from the cupboard. All good.

Stick those beauties in a super hot oven and they come out all crispy and oh, my. Yum. I'm salivating on my keyboard. You can find the recipe here.

Again, I am not responsible for any weight you might gain just from looking at The Pioneer Woman's recipes.

I did have to buy groceries again this week. You know, what with all the milk consumption that goes on in my house and the need for well-rounded meals.

Total groceries purchased: $53.29

I bought fresh spinach, grapes, bananas, 6 gallons of milk, 8 cans of fruit, a loaf of bread, snap peas, hot dogs, avocados, bell pepper, blueberries, a pint of half and half, and veggie dip for our meal with company.

I am not including in this total the orange juice I bought because I started a cold. That's medicinal. Or the ice cream I bought to assuage the WBH. What's the point of saving money on groceries only to spend it on a divorce? If you must include those two items, my total comes to $58.97.

Which makes my grand total for groceries this month $123.90.

(Or $129.58, if you MUST hold the o.j. and ice cream against me.)

Either way, we came in well below our average monthly grocery budget of $425 and easily met the goal of saving $200 for college funds. And I still have meat in the freezer, rice, pasta, some canned fruits and veggies on the shelves, frozen veggies and all kinds of other staples. The shelves are not bare, so I will not have to go out and spend my nearly $300 in savings to restock.

I do have lots of space in the freezer to stock up on good deals, and I have a list of things I still need to use up. I hope to try some new recipes to get rid of the last few odds and ends. Only now I'll be able to but a few ingredients to experiment with!

I learned two big things in doing this. One, I need to keep better track of what's in my freezer and on my shelves and challenge myself to use things up. Bargains are only bargains if they get eaten and don't languish in the bottom of the freezer until they are past the point of no return.

Two, I am a 64-color-crayon kind of gal. That is, I felt very limited by not being able to go out and buy a few ingredients here and there. An extra $20-$30 would have really freed me up to try some new recipes while still using up much of what I had on hand. I will probably do just that in the next few weeks to use up a few more things, which will still save us money on groceries, but will be a lot more fun.

Hope you enjoyed this little foray through my pantry!

© Trippin' Mama 2010

1 comment:

Brenda said...

I wanted to thank you...you've inspired me to try the 'eat from the pantry' challenge. It's kinda cheating since I picked the shortest month of the year, but I gotta start somewhere. I have 7 month GGG triplets and love the idea of saving money! Thanks also for posting the directions on how to protect the photos. It worked just like you described. Your kids are adorable!