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Eating From the Pantry and Freezer Challenge: Week 2

Eating From the Pantry and Freezer Challenge: Week 2

Welcome to the second week of the Eat From the Pantry and Freezer Challenge! Find out what it’s all about or read my post from Week 1.

My update as I head into week two:

The first week of these challenges are usually the easy ones. Last week it just felt like I was trying to focus a bit more on using up some things we have a lot of.

My meal plan still came together easily for this second week, although I’m starting to get just a little bit more resourceful. We’ve already eaten most of the fresh fruit I bought last week, which I thought would last two weeks. Guess that means we’ll be having lots of smoothies using frozen fruit! I also thought we had more rice than we did when we began, so I’ll be coming up with some creative side dishes in place of rice pretty soon.
I’ll probably spend about $8-10 at the store this week, just picking up a couple small things like sour cream, but other than that, I don’t have any more money to spend until the weekend. We’ll just have to make do!

Several people have asked, “What if I want to do the challenge differently?”

That’s just fine. This isn’t meant to be something that pressures you into running your budget and menu a particular way. It has to work for you and your family.

For some, that will mean just cutting back on what they buy, but still going shopping every week. Some might not want to shop at all, unlike my own plan which includes fresh dairy, eggs and produce within a limited budget. Others might love the idea of doing this for a week or two, but find four weeks a bit too long.

At the end of the day, it’s simply about saving money and making good use of what you already have. That’s it!

What our family will be eating this week:


  • Breakfast-  Soaked oatmeal with raw milk or cream and honey
  • Dinner- Dinner- Roast beef, made with this recipe (later in the week, I’ll turn it into shredded beef for fajitas, etc.), with a recipe I’ve made for roasted root vegetables like carrots, beets and sweet potatoes. (This was supposed to be yesterday, but my husband took our 5 yr old son for birthday fishing trip and we ate trout instead. 🙂
  • Prep- Soak muffin batter.


  • Breakfast- Soaked blueberry muffins (a variation on this recipe)
  • Dinner- Beef fajitas, using leftover roast meat.
  • Prep- Soak black beans.



  • Breakfast- Baked oatmeal with raw milk 
  • Dinner- Almond Encrusted Fish with Beurre Blanc Sauce, with baked sweet potatoes and carrots (I got this recipe through someone’s shared recipes on Plan to Eat, I think)


  • Breakfast- Yogurt or milk, homemade granola (I’ve been using the Granola Bar recipe in Healthy Snacks to Go and making it into granola instead), fresh or frozen fruit.
  • Dinner- Whole chicken in the crockpot all day, while we’re out all day (see below). I’ll ask my sitter to start prepping some rice and veggies before I get home.


  • Breakfast- Kids are at Grandma’s house, while my husband and I are running a booth for our music school at the local homeschool convention all day Friday and Saturday. We’ll grab some toast and cheese before running out the door, most likely.
  • Dinner- At Grandma’s house.


You’ll notice that I don’t plan lunches. Basically, that’s because I like to keep them really free and simple. If there are leftovers, we eat those. Otherwise, we make quick basics like sandwiches, yogurt, fruit and veggies, smoothies, quesadillas, etc. The thing with meal planning is that it has to serve you. There are so many different styles and ways to do it, with something to suit every family!

Don’t forget…

During this month-long challenge, all of my ebooks are on sale. Use the coupon code CHALLENGE25 to take 25% off any single ebook, OR use code BUNDLE50 to buy all 3 of my ebooks at 50% off!

*Note, when you go to purchase the bundle, if you put all three books into the cart separately, the code won’t work. You need to choose the ebook bundle option at the bottom of this page to use the bundle code. 

It’s your turn to share your money-saving meal plan with the rest of us!

We would also love to read your savings goals and your progress with those goals as the challenge goes on! Are you starting to get really creative? Please share!

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  1. This has really been perfect timing, because our CSA starts up in 2 weeks, and I really needed to clean out the freezer/pantry because soon we’re going to have all manner of food to start putting by. I was wondering if you’ve ever used live oats? We received them in a grain CSA, and because I really don’t know what to do with them, we have lots of them left! I think they would be the oats before being steel cut, the farmer told me that these are the only kind that will “sprout” so I’m wondering, should I soak them and then put them in a food processor to get “steel cut” or should I put them in the processor first and then soak them? Or do you have experience with them in any other way? Thanks again for this challenge! I’m really excited to finally use the grains and beans we’ve had in our pantry for a few months. Usually I end up just buying a few things at the store because of the time it takes to research and cook the new grains, but with this challenge I really feel like I’m learning a lot.

  2. Thanks for this challenge! Our goal is to not spend more than $300 for the 4 weeks of the challenge to feed our family of 5. Our CSA starts up on 6/5, so I think the majority of our money will be spent the first two weeks, and then we should get most of our produce from the CSA. I’ll be sharing a spending report on Wednesday.

  3. I find it helpful to fill in some kind of lunch on the menu even if I don’t usually stick to the plan. I also fill in the snack times at 10 and 3. It just gives me more of an idea mentally how much bread, fruit, veggies, etc I might need to stock up on. What usually happens: my husband takes the leftovers from last night for lunch and the kids and I eat snacks, smoothies or sandwiches.
    I’m behind about a week on the challenge. Last year we were strapped financially due to unusual circumstances and bared our cupboards down to the minimum. It has taken 5 months to gradually restock. I think I’m about ready now; I appreciate your blog post series!

    1. And feel free to just jump in and do the challenge whenever it works for you!

      I totally understand why some people like to plan lunch. I just like going with the flow and seeing what’s around, but I absolutely get why it’s helpful to pre-plan.

  4. We’re on board with this pantry/freezer clean out. Im a bit nervous as we generally live on a tight grocery budget but I am looking forward to adding a bit extra cash to the debt! Im willing to make the sacrifices! Thank you for your encouragement through your blog!!

  5. It’s been fun being resourceful and really seeing the freezer/pantry look cleaner and cleaner over the last couple weeks (I started the day you first posted about it). We had taco soup last night with frozen hamburger meat, frozen farmer’s market corn from 2010 (remembering I froze it before I gave birth to my now 1.5 year old!), frozen black eyed peas. One night for a side I dug up a trader joe’s risotto mix and used up some random frozen chicken stock. We’ve used up almost all the random frozen meats and beans and I have loved supplementing with the first little garden harvests (parsley, cilantro..) It feels good to be saving money and using things up that often get thrown away after they expire. My husband is just finishing his PhD and there is no job so far in the Fall – we can really use this saved $$ so thank you for the inspiration!!

  6. You are encouraging me. I am resisting the urge to run to the store before the end of the month. I can do it!

    I left a link up about all that I am learning about bulk shopping. In the past we have spent way to much a bulk shopping stores, and I was nervous how Azure Standard would work. We are getting the hang of how to budget for these trips!

  7. Well my pantry challenge ended this morning the fridge broke over night and we lost everything! EVERYTHING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    UGH!!! 🙁 not a great way to start a beautiful weekend.

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