I’ve seen lots of posts about pantry challenges, and I thought they look like a great idea. So, I decided to write a post about how to save money by shopping your pantry. The basic idea is to look in your pantry and see what you have. Then, you come up with ideas for meals based on what you found in your pantry.
What to do When Shopping Your Pantry
This first step of looking in your pantry is pretty easy for me because I already have a pretty good idea of what’s in my pantry, and it’s easy for me to see, just by looking in. However, some of you may have a pantry that has lots more stuff in it than mine, or maybe you’re not sure of what’s there. If that’s the case, it’s a good idea to go ahead and pull things out, one shelf at a time to make it easier, and see what you have. It’s also a good time to check expiration dates to make sure everything’s still good; if not, just throw it away, and remember to check your pantry stock more often from now on.
The next step is to look at what you have that’s still good and see what kind of meals you can make. You can look through your freezer and see what meats you have available to use (or if you’re like me and have a whiteboard inventory of your freezer items you can look there). Then, you can look through your recipes and see what you can make, or you can go to the internet. There are several websites you can go to and just enter the ingredients you have, and they’ll give you several recipes you can make. Here are the 3 websites I found that you don’t have to sign up for: Allrecipes.com,Recipematcher.com, Supercook.com.Have you always wanted to do a pantry challenge, but didn't know how. I share with you how easy it is to do. Click to see how!Click To Tweet
The Meals I Came up with by Shopping Your Pantry
So, I’ll show you what I came up with this week for our dinner by shopping your pantry (my pantry).
In my pantry, I had grated parmesan cheese, flour (in the green canister), whole wheat crackers, 2 healthy request cream of mushroom soup, salt and pepper.
With those ingredients, I made this parm-breaded pork chops dinner. I didn’t have to purchase many other ingredients to make this whole meal. I only had to buy the boneless pork chops and the frozen mixed vegetables. Also, the pork chops are cheaper if you buy a bigger package, and the one I bought was discounted! So, I saved money and even have enough in the freezer now for the next time we have a pork chop meal. By the way, we had enough of this meal to have it for 2 nights, and my husband took it to work for lunch for 2 days.
Also in my pantry, I had 2 healthy request cream of chicken soup, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and parmesan cheese.
With those ingredients, I made this chicken and bows dinner with carrots and celery. I didn’t have to purchase many more ingredients for this meal. I already had boneless skinless chicken breasts bought in bulk from Costco, and I already had celery. So, all I had to buy was the bow tie pasta, frozen peas, and carrots. We were able to have this for 2 nights and I’m even going to use the leftover vegetables a third time with the dinner below, and my husband took it to work for lunch.
In my pantry and on the storage shelves in the garage, I had whole wheat crackers and some boxes of macaroni and cheese.
With those ingredients, I made my mom’s famous macaroni and cheese bake with the carrots and celery from the previous dinner. I didn’t have to buy anything else for this meal. We’re also going to have this for lunch on Saturday or Sunday. So, that will save us from buying something else for lunch.
I’ve included a couple of these meals and their recipes in this 5 Healthy & Easy to Prepare Family Meals for you:
The Benefits of Shopping Your Pantry
So, you can see that you don’t have to have a lot of things in your pantry in order to make enough dinners for the whole week for your family. We are a family of 5: 4 adults (2 parents, 2 adult children, and a 10 year old), and these dinners lasted us Monday – Friday, plus 1 lunch on the weekend, and 3 lunches for my husband to take to work. If you notice, I used a lot of the same ingredients for different meals. Since the meals featured different meats, sauces, and pasta/rice, even though some of the ingredients were the same/similar, we didn’t get tired of eating them because of the variances.
Some of the products I had in my pantry, I bought on sale previous weeks, knowing I would use them in future meals, like the cream of chicken/mushroom soups, and the whole wheat crackers. You can see how I shop the sales in my post, How To Compare Grocery Store Prices. Buying in bulk at Costco really helps a lot too and gives me lots of meat and other food products to feed us for awhile. You can see how it saves me money to shop at Costco in my post, Is Shopping at a Wholesale Club Right for You?
You should try shopping your pantry and see what you come up with. You will probably be surprised at the meals you are able to make from what you already have in your cupboard, and will be pleased at how much money you save, and how proud you are about using the food you have instead of wasting it. If you do try shopping your pantry, or if you’ve already done this before, I would love to hear what you came up with for a meal. Please share it in the comments.
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