Food on Friday...Pantry Challenge

I mentioned Monday that I am participating in the "Eat From the Pantry Challenge with Money Saving Mom and FishMama" (say THAT three times fast! :)) this month.  I got a late start because I didn't hear about it until the month was well underway, but we had actually been doing this on our own without being aware that there was an official bloggy challenge going on.   I am determined to rein in our grocery spending, and I have noticed in the past few weeks as I've been back to keeping a pantry/freezer inventory that there are items that never seem to drop off the list...items I *intend* to use but never really get around to.

Now...that doesn't mean that we aren't grocery shopping at all!  But I'm trying to use as much from the pantry/freezer as possible, and take a chunk out of our {recently over-budget} grocery spending.  I'm trying to focus our grocery dollars on perishables (dairy/produce/bread), and cut *way* back on the convenience foods we've become way too dependent on lately.  I'm also trying to utilize "found deals" instead of...well, whatever I would have bought otherwise. :)

We've done pretty well.  We've had some really good meals, a great one or two, and one that was only so/so.  The best part has been that I have done much better about making snacks/desserts rather than buying them, which has been much better for us and the budget, as well as making everyone happy to see old favorites we haven't had in a while.  

The other night I found some really good deals during a quick trip to the store.   Country style ribs were marked down to 98 cents per pound.  I bought ribs marked at almost $15 originally for under $6.  We love country style ribs cooked all day in the crock pot.  Yum. :)   I also found bagged salad...the good kind :)...for 50 cents a bag.  I got several varieties of specialty salad for $2.

Last night's dinner was not only delicious, but frugal. :)  We started with this ...(if you don't like to look at raw meat, skip this picture! :))

in this...

and added some of this...

(This is our favorite marinade/grilling sauce, by the way.  We used it for years, and then Sam's stopped carrying it for a loonng time, and then suddenly one day we were walking down the aisle at Sam's and there it was.  I was practically dancing in the aisle.  The kids thought I had completely lost my marbles. :) Not a terribly unusual thought for my children, I'm afraid.)

The ribs slow-cooked all day and by the time Billy got home the smell was absolutely wonderful. :)  At that point I pulled out a bunch of "leftover" red potatoes that needed to be used and put them on to boil.

When they were done, we pulled out some of our 50 cent salad...

and then sat down to eat...

Yum. :)  (And somehow I didn't get a picture of the no-bake cookies we had for dessert.  I had everything in the pantry/fridge to make them (I usually do, which is one of the wonderful things about no-bakes. :)  I think I'm making more tomorrow.)

The best thing about last night's meal was that it was a good reminder to me that there *are* quick, easy, economical meals if I will just stop and *think* a bit.   While the ribs had to cook all day, the actual prep for them took less than two minutes.  Throw them in the crock pot and pour marinade over them. :)  I can do that on the craziest of days.  Washing and cutting the potatoes took maybe 5 minutes?  Then they boiled away on their own while Bayley and I made the no-bakes.  Those are a bit more time consuming, but again, not terribly.  I think my actual prep time (not including cooking times) for the entire meal was less than 20 minutes.   If I'd done the cookies on bulk cooking day and had them in the freezer, my labor time would have been under 10 minutes!  Why do I think these things take so long?

Another bonus...Billy had lunch ready to go this morning, and we still have enough rib meat to shred and use for sandwiches tomorrow.  Yay!  Super-easy  Saturday lunch...I'm all for that. :)

Visit Money Saving Mom for more on the "Eat from the Pantry Challenge".  And to see what others are saying about food this week, visit Ann Kroeker's Food on Fridays.


Anonymous said...

Boy, that looks great! It's a good reminder that we don't have to rush out and buy the stuff for meal after meal in order to eat well. I'm not participating in the pantry challenge, but I've had it on my mind (because so many others are); I think I've made some conscious choices to use what I've got on hand more than I might have otherwise, and it does feel satisfying.

Anonymous said...

good job Jennifer. I am particularly impressed with the cookies. I have been lazy about dessert, but the children could easily make these themselves. Thanks for bringing them to mind. iwill teach them today.