Monday, January 18, 2010

Menu Plan Monday & Eat From the Pantry ~ Week 3


I've been planning my menu for the past few weeks and it is going extremely well. Here's the deal though. When you are really trying to eat strictly what you have on hand already, as the weeks go by, the job gets a little more difficult. You start putting garbanzo beans with peanut butter, or taco shells with tuna fish. Ewww. I haven't actually done either of those, but I imagine that recipes will start to get a little more interesting. And I've noticed that the condiments in the back of the pantry are now surfacing.

Did I tell you how much fun I'm having with this? The kids are wondering if we have much money at this point. That's totally not the point of this challenge for me, nor is it the reality. And both the dinners and lunches have been delicious. They're just used to me ordering food from the grocery store on line or going to the store when they are in the mood for something.

One of the other reasons I am doing this is because before long, we will be moving back home from the U.K.

So here is our Menu Plan for Week 3:

Monday, 1/18 ~ Roasted pork chops with gravy, mashed potatoes, buttered carrots

Tuesday, 1/19 ~ Chicken fajitas & a side of fruit

Wednesday, 1/20 ~ Rice, beans, ham, and cheese casserole (this is where the funny recipes come in)

Thursday, 1/21 ~ Beef tacos with rice & beans

Friday, 1/22 ~ Homemade tortilla pizzas & fruit


Probably the biggest challenge I have put before me was a budget of £250. By the way, that converts to just over $408 for the month. When I threw that number out there at the beginning of this month, I did so without truly knowing the dollar amount we spend per month on average. Apparently I am a little off with my number.

Here is what I spent during this past week:

£21.35 at the Co-operative (fruit, bread, milk, honey, chicken)
£16.87 Morrisons grocery store (similar items to above)
£6.30 Farmer's market
Total: £44.82

It's only January 18th, and I'm really close to £250. The grand total is: £189.94 + £44.82 =

I'm not a half full kind of gal, but I'm thinking that £15.24 is just not going to cut it. I will continue to stay close, though.

Thanks for following me through this & Happy Monday! Oh, and Happy MLK Day!

To see more menu plans, go to Orgjunkie. com. Also, visit and to see more pantry challenges.


Jenn@Spejory said...

I had to giggle at the garbanzo beans with peanut butter combo. Actually, I have made hummus using peanut butter before. I just sub in the peanut butter for the tahini in the traditional recipe. Peanut butter is cheaper than tahini and easier to find. Almond butter works too.

I have experimented with eating from the pantry and trying to reduce our grocery bill. We average $700 per month for a family of five, in the midwest region of the US. But I have found that's a good number for us, especially since we have 3 boys, two of whom are entering adolescence. I have a real hard time lowering it beyond $700 per month for more than one month at a time.

Andrea said...

WOW...great menu.
Blessings, andrea

Mocha Momma said...

Very creative. I admire you taking that challenge and successfully I might add.

I haven't looked at how much we spend on groceries lately. My husband & I both grocery shop and since I work now I haven't been doing well with cooking good food.

Gotta get back on the cooking wagon.

Take care,

Denise said...

Hi Carol, sounds like a yummy menu to me :) I am always trying to not over spend at the grocery store, I think for me the key is not to even go there but only once a week! My weekly shop is now Friday so I have things for over the weekend too. I did my menu plan again for this week also, which takes a lot of guess work out of 'what shall we have for dinner tonight'. When do you move back to the States? and which state will you be living in?

Darcie said...

Once have inspired even me to get back to my menu planning. Not that I am posting it obviously, but this is the second week in a row I have done it.

Makes it so much easier really when it comes time for dinner.

Rachel said...

You're doing a great job - I admire your steadfastness and determination to be a good steward. I totally need to learn from you!

steffenboysmom said...

We are definitely eating from the pantry tonight. I can't say that I plan ahead that good though. I used to way back....

Manuela@TPOH said...

Eating from the pantry challenges your creativity. Good job on the challenge!


Manuela@TPOH said...

Eating from the pantry challenges your creativity. Good job on the challenge!


Kim... and Her Coffee said...

Hey Carol! How are you? I've missed so much being away from blogging. You are moving back to the States??? WHEN??? Love this post... my monthly grocery budget is embarassing... so this would be fun to try. Have a great day Friend.

Diana said...

Love the food choices!!

I had such great plans for cooking this week. Then a repainting job has stretched out a little longer than I had anticipated.

Oh well. There's next week!

Jules said...

I've never planned a menu for the week. I really like that idea. The problem is my hubby is gone for work a lot and it is just me. Cereal seems to satisfy me for supper most nights.

petrii said...

What a fun post!!! I love garbanzo beans and peanut butter, but I don't know about that combo together. Youzers =)

I like your menu too, sounds very yummy.

When are ya'll moving back? Will that be soon?

Have a Blessed evening friend,

chili pepper said...


It has been fun seeing what you come up with. The USDA has a fun calculator where you can plug in your family info and they will calculate how much you should be spending on groceries based on eating the recommended servings in the food pyramid. I have not done it in a while but I was surprised to find that our family spent far less than what they suggested we would.

Happy Tuesday!


heidi said...

$408 for the MONTH? That seems impossible to me! I usually spend between 6-800 for the 6 of us plus snacks for all the kids that end up here throughout the week.

I do like menu planning, though. I find that it helps me out TREMENDOUSLY to make a menu and then grocery list for the two week period between shopping trips. Then I know what we can have when it fits our schedule.