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Week 1 Plan- “Eating From the Pantry and Freezer” Month

Mpm new red

As promised, here is a rundown on what I'm doing for this first week of working with what I've already got!

Beth asked me what kind of things I have stockpiled in my freezer and pantry right now. Glad you asked! Here's a basic list of the inventory I created last week:

  • Canned goods from last fall (tons of tomatoes and 1 can of peaches)
  • Frozen shredded zucchini and canned pumpkin puree, also from the garden
  • Baking supplies- kamut, oats, rye, barley, cornmeal, buckwheat, etc. and cocoa, yeast, sucanat, raw honey, spices, etc.
  • Frozen Ezekiel sprouted grain English muffins
  • Frozen organic milk, to make yogurt and kefir
  • Organic butter and pastured butter in the freezer, and one package of frozen cream cheese
  • Lots of dry beans and such- chickpeas, black beans, white beans, red and green lentils, some kidney beans
  • brown rice, wild rice, quinoa, millet, and also a nice big bag of organic popcorn
  • a 5 lb bag of brown rice noodles
  • some dates and organic raisins, and also some soaked/dried walnuts
  • sprout seeds, brewer's yeast, pumpkin seeds that we soaked and dried
  • large bag of organic corn chips
  • tin of olive oil, plus 1/2 gallon coconut oil
  • tons of frozen berries- blueberries, raspberries, as well as frozen peach slices, ripe bananas and a bit of blackberries and cranberries
  • frozen organic corn, plus some butternut squash and red peppers that I diced and froze last summer
  • about 8 large spaghetti squash from our garden (anyone want one???)
  • 2 whole chickens and 2 beef roasts
  • several packages of ground beef, chicken and turkey
  • a bit of beef sausage, plus some organic liver, and about 6-7 packs of grass-fed beef steaks (which are too tough eaten alone, but work really nicely in the crockpot, in stews, etc.)
  • lots of beef broth and a bit of chicken broth
  • a bit of fresh veggies- onions, few carrots, celery, couple tomatoes, green cabbage

What do you think? Time to clear things out a bit or what? I love being well-stocked, but it also seems like a good time to work through some of what we have before summer arrives again (and with it, garden produce and fruit galore!), and before I manage to save up the rest of the needed money for my next big purchase of grass-fed beef.

Armed with this inventory, I created a long list of potential meal ideas, allowing for the addition of fresh produce, milk and eggs, in addition to what we already have. From that list of meal ideas, I made a 4 week menu plan for breakfasts and dinners (we tend to eat leftovers and other odds and ends for lunch).

Here is the first week's menu plan:

Baked Oatmeal x 2
Zucchini Bread
French Toast
Toast and eggs
Yogurt with granola, berries, nuts, etc.
Plus lots of green smoothies and other fruit smoothies

Cheesy Turkey Sausage Stromboli (mine will use beef sausage) with raw veggies and dip
Beef Stew, green salad and bread (I'll toss some of the cabbage into this as well)
Spaghetti Squash with sauce (probably some kind of marinara, though I haven't decided)
Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole, with a side veggie (I plan to challenge myself and create this recipe- hope it's good!)
Taco Salad (using kidney and black beans instead of meat)
Sweet and Sour Lentils, with a salad (possibly coleslaw?) and bread

I've left one spot open each week for both breakfast and dinner, because I find we often have enough leftovers to make up one dinner each week, depending on what I've been cooking. For breakfasts, sometimes we like to just make what suits our fancy one morning (common choices are pancakes or sprouted English Muffin egg and cheese sandwiches).

In addition to these meals, I'll also be roasting a chicken, which I will promptly turn into 4 packages of shredded chicken (3 for the freezer, one for the wild rice casserole), and then a batch of chicken broth for soup recipes in the upcoming weeks. Plus, I'll be baking 3 more loaves of sourdough bread, using this recipe. I tried it once and was quite happy with how simple it was. We all enjoyed it, though agreed that it might need 10 more minutes of baking time, and maybe just a bit more kamut and a bit less rye flour. Otherwise, so far so good!

This morning, I hit my beloved produce market and spent a whopping $31 for two weeks. 🙂 I also bought some cheese in Washington this weekend ($11), because it's yummy and much cheaper than here. Other than a bit of money I had to spend on punch supplies for a wedding shower I'm hosting, that is all that I intend to spend until April 15, aside from my standard milk and eggs. Yay!

Anyone want to share what they're making from their pantry and freezer?

Menu Plan Mondays are hosted by Organizing Junkie!

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  1. Stephanie,
    If you have a chance sometime, could you post your zucchini bread recipe? I tried the link for it in an old post, but the website is gone now. Also…I want to second another posters thoughts in january for posting your tortilla recipe (although I will check out that video link). I just bought tortillas today at the store for the first time in months and was shocked by how much they were! ($4 something for 8 tortillas!) I will not be paying that again!

  2. A suggestion for your tough beef. I’ve never done it with beef, but I know that if you take tough antelope and marinate it in milk, it becomes tender and mild, almost like veal. Couldn’t hurt– you could always make a creamy sauce to go with the beef if you don’t want to waste the milk in the marinade. 🙂

  3. What is your recipe for sweet and sour lentils?? I am interested in this! I like to do at least one meatless meal a week.

    You’re being a good steward of the resources you have by using them up!! Awesome! 🙂

  4. what is shredded chicken?

    I am making a bunch of stir-fry dishes to use up my many peppers! More smoothies with strawberries and peaches, and maybe even making some strawberry jam too if I get some time. Probably just a freezer jam since it takes less time.

  5. Nola, by “shredded” chicken I just mean the chicken that completely falls off the bone after doing my whole chicken in the crockpot. It can’t really be called diced chicken, because it’s more or less ripped into shreds or little pieces. I guess I just don’t know what else to call it. A completely non-technical term, to be sure! LOL!

  6. I wish I still have some home canned tomatoes. I went through all of mine already. And I would LOVE a spaghetti squash! lol

    I am really trying to use up what we have too.

    As for your steaks, we find they need lower heat and less time than conventional beef. You could always use them in the crock pot to do shredded beef for tacos.

  7. You mentioned that you have organic milk in the freezer that you’ll use for yogurt and kefir. I’ve never tried using previously frozen milk for yogurt but I often see organic milk marked down when it is nearing expiration date. Do you need to store it in any particular way or just put a full jug in the freezer? I’d love to stock up when I find a good deal!

  8. The milk I freeze is exactly the milk you’re talking about- near expiry and marked down! If it’s in a cardboard carton, I just freeze it as is. If it’s in plastic, I usually empty out just a little bit (maybe a 1/2 cup?) and then make sure it’s upright until it’s frozen, and then I can store it however I want.

    It works perfectly and you would never, ever know the difference! This is how I make all of our organic yogurt and kefir so affordable!

  9. Thanks for answering that question! I’ve saved a lot just by making the yogurt myself; it only costs me about $1 to make a quart vs the $3 to buy a quart of organic whole milk yogurt. By purchasing the mark downs and saving it, I’ll do even better!

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