Well, we've officially been Eating From The Pantry for a whole week. And I'll admit, it's definitely been a challenge.
We always have surplus since I practice the "Buy-Ahead Principle" in my grocery shopping, but I didn't do a whole lot of shopping in December, so we actually started this month a little low on reserves.
I'm okay with that, though, because I wanted this to be a true challenge. A learning experience. Something to force me to be creative.
You see, I've been feeling stuck in a rut when it comes to cooking recently. I've been making a lot of the same things over and over again. Sure, they are good recipes–and we like them!–but too much of the same thing quickly becomes lackluster and boring.
So this Pantry Challenge and spending a few days eating at a gourmet chef's house has been exactly the motivation I've needed to experiment in the kitchen again. And while it was hard at first to get my momentum going, I'm starting to get all inspired. In fact, I keep coming up with new ideas and am beginning to wonder if the month will be up before I have a chance to make all the recipes I want to try with our pantry ingredients. I suppose that is a good problem to have.
We made a quick trip to the store yesterday to pick up fresh produce, milk, and cheese and then I made up a list of meal ideas for this coming week based upon those ingredients and what we already have on hand. These ideas are just to serve as a starting point as I'm giving myself free reign to be creative in the kitchen–so long as I can make the recipe with what we already have on hand!
Cereal x 3 (trying to use up some of our extra boxes of free or $0.50-$0.99 cereal!)
Oatmeal with cinnamon, apples, and sucanat
Side options: Fresh Orange/Apple Juice, Oranges, Grapefruit
Mixed Green Salad with Hard-Boiled Eggs, cheese & crackers
Side options: oranges, apples, carrot sticks, frozen veggies
Lit'l Smokies with Potatoes, Onions, and Carrots in the crockpot, Cornbread Muffins, Oranges, Chocolate Pudding
Sweet and Sour Chicken Stirfry over rice with Chow Mein Noodles, Apple-Pineapple Salad
Turkey Meatballs, Sweet Potatoes, Homemade Rolls, Corn, Grapefruit
Chicken Tetrazinni, Mixed Green Salad, Broccoli, Homemade Bread
Barbecue Chicken in the crockpot served on buns, Steamed Mixed Veggies, Twice-Baked Potatoes, Oranges
Homemade Pizza, Carrot Sticks, Apples, Brownies
So there's my list of ideas to work from this week. I'll let you know how it goes. And if I have any colossal flop or discover a really incredible recipe, I'll be sure to let you know.
How's your Pantry Challenge going? If you've been blogging about it, be sure to leave direct links to your update posts below so we can all be inspired!