Pantry Challenge: Day 1

In an effort to cull expenses and save money every month, I challenged myself this weekend while grocery shopping: Only thing things we absolutely had to buy. Everything else would come from the freezer or pantry. The idea sprang up last week while, mid-conversation about cutting expenses with the husband, I had to get something out of the pantry.

Five minutes later, he had to come in after me because I had about four bottles of marinara in my hands and I was shaking my head because I had just found four more. Why do I have eight bottles of spaghetti sauce? More importantly, why did I just buy one more at the store? Idiot!

This is my dream pantry. Take note: Mine does not look like this.

It looks more like this.

And so the idea took shape. Or hit me in the head. Or foot. Whatever.

This week, I’m challenging myself to cook with most food coming from the pantry. I made it a reality at the grocery store this week: I got out of Trader Joe’s for less than $50. What did I buy? Mostly stuff for the boy and vegetables for us:

  1. Organic string cheese (2 packages)
  2. Organic yogurt cups
  3. 16 organic fuji apples
  4. Ready-t0-eat shelled edamame
  5. Sugar snap peas
  6. Hummus
  7. Organic broccoli
  8. Organic peanut butter
  9. Organic baby greens
  10. Mini blueberry muffins
  11. Frozen dinners for lunch

I did it again at Target, only buying bananas (because the ones at TJs weren’t green enough) and some frozen food for the Hubbs.

What have I gotten myself into?

For dinner tonight: Chicken Enchiladas. They are completely not authentic. In fact, we’ve never had this version before. I made it up. Because I thought I had enchilada sauce in my pantry. But guess what? I didn’t! Hahahahah! So this is my “make-do” version. Also, I bought NOTHING for this recipe. It was made from things I already had in the house:

Shell’s Made up, could be completely gross chicken enchiladas

1 shredded chicken breast
3 chipotle chilis in adobo sauce
1 roasted red pepper
1 jar salsa (your choice)
1/2 cup shredded cheese
8 corn tortillas

Cut chilis into small pieces, throw in a bowl with shredded chicken.
Cut roasted pepper into pieces, throw into bowl with other stuff.
Pour about 1/4 of the salsa in the bowl.
Pour about 1 tsp of the adobo sauce in the bowl.
Mix it up.

Take your corn tortillas and stuff them with the chicken mix. Roll, and put in a baking dish, seam-side down.
Cover them with salsa.
Sprinkle on the shredded cheese.

If you’re me, you’ll cover this in foil and pop it in the fridge for the next night. (I did this Sunday night.) Take it out and let it sit at room temp for at least 30 minutes before putting it in the oven.

I’m going to bake them for about 30 minutes at 350 tonight, then remove the foil and bake another 10-15 minutes to make sure the cheese gets all gooey. Goes with a side salad and maybe some black beans.

If I can find them.

I’ll let you know how this turns out. But tomorrow: No-boil lasagna! I think. Depends on what kind of meat I have in the freezer …

Maybe I should have thought this through a little more …

Dinner wasn’t horrible! Huzzah! According to the Hubbs, it was “OK. (Telling, isn’t it?) So the ultimate test: Should I make it again? Answer: “Was it quick and easy to make? Then ‘Yeah. Sure.'”

Next time, I’ll definitely use more salsa, because I think it was a little dry.


4 comments on “Pantry Challenge: Day 1

  1. Jason Leary says:

    “Could be completely gross chicken enchiladas” sounds so enticing that I think I just might volunteer to work a lot of overtime at work tonight and eat whatever I can find in my desk.

  2. Oh please. How bad can they be? (Don’t answer that.)

  3. Jason Leary says:

    I have dibs on the toilet in the master bathroom …

  4. Jason Leary says:

    Does WordPress require us to tip our heads to the right in our avatar photo or do we just need a V8?

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