Archive for Pantry Challenge

Pantry Challenge, Day 25: Salmon Chowder

Sunday morning we were still feeling pretty crummy so we stayed home from church. We’d kind of swapped places though, so at least at the beginning of the day my husband was feeling a little bit better and I was feeling a little bit worse. So, he fixed breakfast for us (also because he’s awesome like that).

He used the last egg and some of the (nitrate free) turkey lunchmeat from Costco to make himself a breakfast burrito. He made me toast with the last of the butter and some honey and cinnamon and heated up the last of the diced ham to top some turkey lunchmeat slices for me.

For lunch I threw together quick salmon chowder using leftover creamy spicy broth from the day before as a base, adding sliced carrots (I’d sliced a lot more than I needed for fried carrots, so I had a bag of pre-sliced carrots in the fridge) and a can of salmon. All I had to do was crush the bones in the salmon and chop a couple of small potatoes, and the whole thing made a pretty good soup.

Supper came in two parts, or as a couple of heavy snacks, depending on how you look at it. We fixed some more ramen (using olive oil since we’re out of butter) and also heated up some chili I had in the freezer which we ate with mozzarella cheese and tortilla chips.

 

Pantry Challenge, Day 24: Leftovers (and Fridge Scrounging)

So, Friday afternoon my husband was already feeling under the weather, but pushed through so we could make it to the Night of the Burning Plum celebration. By the end of the evening I was pretty sure I was also coming down with whatever cold or flu he had so Saturday was an official sick day for both of us.

Saturday morning I still wasn’t feeling too bad, so I put more energy into breakfast than any other meals that day. I took what was left of the sliced ham I’d found in the freezer, diced it up to add to fried potatoes and put cheddar cheese on top. (This was almost the last of the cheddar cheese, and the last bit got eaten as a snack later in the day, so we’re out of cheddar cheese now.) I fried the whole thing in coconut oil because we were down to our last few tablespoons of butter.

We had breakfast late enough that we really only ate two main meals on Saturday, plus some snacking.

Sometime between those two meals I made up a big batch of creamy spicy broth to help ward off germs.

We had leftover orange chicken and rice along with leftover pan fried carrots for our second (late lunchish) meal of the day.

Over the course of the evening I really started to feel the pinch of being almost at the end of a pantry challenge while not having a lot of energy to fix food. It was verging on a situation of “we don’t have any food, just ingredients’. Then I remember that we still had cream cheese, and mixed up some cream cheese garlic dip to eat with crackers and the world was a happier place.

We also fixed some ramen noodles before the end of the evening. (Without the spice packet, of course, just seasoned up with butter and some of my favorite spices. I may be okay with the occasional white flour, but I usually draw the line at MSG.)

I was really glad to have coconut water on hand because I was at that stage of feeling bleah where it’s really hard to drink much water, so having coconut water, fermented ginger ale, fermented peppermint (tea based) soda and hot tea and honey around made the day much more pleasant.

Pantry Challenge, Day 23: Pinto Beans (lunch) and Night of the Burning Plum

I’m behind on my pantry challenge posts because I came down sick over the weekend and I’m still not feeling great. Bear with me and I’ll get caught up as quickly as I can.

For breakfast on Friday I had creamy, spicy broth and a bit of fermented (water kefir) ginger ale. At this point I don’t remember what I fixed for my husband’s breakfast, so it was probably toast.

Once again my husband had to a work lunch so I was on m own for lunch, and oddly not very hungry, so I just heated up the last of pinto beans left from our burritos meal and added some spices.

For supper we went to eat with friends for our Night of the Burning Plum party. Every year, sometime in October or November, depending on how schedules work out, we get together and eat ham and mashed potatoes and salad, drink plum wine and mead, have flaming plums and cherries over ice cream and tell conflicting stories about the true origin of the Burning Plum. I’m not even going to attempt to explain how I accidentally participated in the creation of this holiday, all I’ll say is that it’s great fun, and if you’ve never had a Burning Plum party you should try it sometime.

In this video I included a shot what food has come into the house other than the squash since the pantry challenge started. There’s a gallon of maple syrup (which I’m splitting with a friend, so only half a gallon is staying here), a quart of honey, and vanilla beans. Only some of the vanilla beans made it into the shot because I went ahead and started some vanilla extract with a few of the beans and some vodka we had in the cupboard. I’ll be refraining from using any of this new food until after the pantry challenge is over, so I only mention it in the interest of complete transparency and full information.

Pantry Challenge, Day 22: Orange Chicken

For breakfast this morning I fried up slices of ham I found in the freezer, and we had it with toast and apple butter.

For lunch I ate leftover freezer lasagna and the one lonely little piece of broccoli that was leftover from that dinner.

For supper I made Orange Chicken, loosely following this recipe, but using frozen orange juice concentrate and mostly dried spices. I made pan fried carrots (using coconut oil) and heated up leftover rice to go with the Orange Chicken.

Pantry Challenge, Day 21: Pizza (lunch) and Dinner Out

For breakfast yesterday my husband had scrambled eggs (there’s now only one egg left in the house), and I had Ezekiel bread toast with homemade apple butter.

Lunch (which is what I videoed) was pizza. I still had one crust worth of pizza dough sitting in the fridge from pizza a week and half ago, and I figured the yeast might not be as active now, but there shouldn’t be anything wrong with the dough. So, I made pizza sauce from tomato paste, water and spices, topped it with leftover ground beef from our burritos meals and extra fake sausage that I cooked up when I was making the crockpot spaghetti, then added feta cheese and black olives. It turned out to be quite tasty.

For supper we headed out to celebrate my husband’s grandmother’s birthday with his family at our favorite nice restaurant, The Harvest Cafe. (We have several ‘favorite’ restaurants, but this is our favorite for a nicer and fancier level dinner out.) It’s a farm-to-table restaurant using real food ingredients (not necessarily whole food, but real food, nonetheless) and mostly local ingredients.

Every time we go to the Harvest I am re-inspired to TRY learning to up my game in seasoning foods and matching tastes. I do okay at creating individual dishes that taste good, but a meal at the Harvest always reminds me how outstanding a meal can become when assembled by a chef who has mastered the art of combining the flavors of different dishes into into one whole cohesive meal.

Pantry Challenge, Day 20: Hot Dogs and Americanized Sushi

For breakfast my husband had scrambled eggs. There are now only three eggs left, which are nearing their expiration date. I’d kind of been hoarding them in case my alternative breakfast ideas got tedious. I guess at this point I’ll probably go ahead and use them up soon and then go full tilt into other breakfast ideas. (The ham slices I found in the freezer should help with breakfast protein.)

I started my day with some leftover miso soup, plus additions based on the idea that it reminded me of Postum, a coffee substitute from my childhood. I mixed it half and half with chicken broth (that part was really just for the nutritional qualities–the chicken flavor didn’t strongly come through the miso flavor) and added a spoonful of molasses. The resulting drink was highly nutritious and a bit energy boosting, but had one of those flavors that I don’t really want to ever experience again, despite the fact that I can’t put my finger on anything I disliked about it.

For my actual breakfast I made some impromptu baked beans with leftover pinto beans, molasses and spices, and spread them on a piece of Ezekiel bread toast. (I guess I was feeling rather British.)

For lunch I had leftover shepeherd’s pie. (My husband had lunch out with some of his coworkers.)

Supper was basically thrown together leftovers, but I got a little creative with them. I found two hot dogs behind our other leftovers, which yes, had been in the fridge for a while, but I checked the sell by date (which was still a couple weeks away), and they seemed perfectly fine on smell and taste. We ate them with ketchup and sauerkraut and mayo (we’re getting very close to being out of mayo) and Ezekiel bread.

I also took the leftover sushi rice and made some americanized sushi with nori, cream cheese, carrot and turkey lunchmeat. Since we were getting so low on mayo we used a homemade honey vinaigrette dressing as a dipping sauce for the sushi.

Pantry Challenge, Day 19: Freezer Lasagna and Garlic Broccoli

Breakfast today was peanut butter banana smoothie. I normally make my smoothies with milk, but today I was trying to use up some fermented coconut water that I made using my water kefir grains. (It was worth a shot, but it turns out that plain fermented coconut water doesn’t taste very good. At all.) It worked okay, but I may use the rest of it as a starter for other ferments or for soaking grains because there was still a bit of a sour taste in the smoothie. I managed to mostly cover up the flavor with a dash of cinnamon.

In case anyone is wondering, no I don’t have fresh bananas. I have a gallon size bag that’s almost full of bananas in my freezer, and even after almost three weeks of the pantry challenge, I still really need to make banana bread or something with them.

Lunch was burritos with leftover fillings from Friday night.

Supper was lasagna from the freezer, which had been scooped into bags from a batch of crock pot lasagna so it was pretty much skillet lasagna at this point–mixed instead of layered. I also sauteed our last bag of frozen broccoli (organic broccoli from Costco) with lots of butter and garlic.

Pantry Challenge, Day 18: Crockpot Spaghetti Casserole

For Sunday’s breakfast we had peanut butter and honey toast with peppermint tea.

For church fellowship meal, instead of making a full blown crockpot lasagna, I just mixed together a pound of spaghetti, a mixture of ground turkey and ground pork, homemade cheese, tomato paste and water. It turned out I didn’t need quite as much water as I thought I did, and it looked more like a very hearty spaghetti soup, and pasta was just a touch mushy from overcooking. (I haven’t really gotten the hang of cooking pasta in the crock pot yet….)

We spent the afternoon and evening hanging out with my husband’s family, so supper was basically another potluck type meal on a smaller scale, including everyone’s leftover food from church fellowship meal.

Somehow, we still had over half a crockpot of spaghetti left at the end of the day, but by that point it was very mushy. I was determined to try to rescue it instead of throwing away that much food, and after a quick google search thought maybe frying it into a kind of noodle cake would work. Unfortunately, after packing into freezer bags and setting it on the counter to cool I completely forgot to put it away before bed and it sat out all night, so I had to throw it away after all. On the bright side, we don’t have to eat really mushy spaghetti now…

Pantry Challenge, Day 17: Leftovers

Saturday’s meals were pretty typical for a Saturday for us, which means not typical for the rest of our week.

For breakfast I took the diced potatoes that were leftover from the #10 can of potatoes I used in the shepherd’s pie, fried them in the bacon grease I’d saved from cooking bacon earlier in the week and sprinkled the last bit of leftover bacon across the top with some cheddar cheese. (Naturally, we ate them with homemade fermented ketchup.)

We went out to see a movie in the late morning, and then grabbed a late lunch at Panda Express while we were out.

We also bought 70% off halloween candy while we were out, which I’m counting as a fun, date type purchase rather than a grocery purchase. (Since it didn’t come out of our grocery budget, I think that’s completely reasonable.)

Supper was leftovers, mostly burritos made from the leftover fixings from the night before, but I also made a hot turkey and mozzerella wrap (with lots of garlic) that was quite good.

 

Pantry Challenge, Day 16: Burritos

This is the post for what we ate Friday, which means I got very behind on posting over the weekend. Life has seemed kind of full lately, and it was good to take a little time off from posting. I’ll try to get you all caught up our pantry challenge today, though.

I had creamy, spicy broth for breakfast on Friday. I’m pretty sure my husband ate peanut butter toast for breakfast, but I’ll be honest and say that I can’t really remember every detail of breakfast from three days ago.

I do know that I ended up eating a ‘second breakfast’ or morning snack of toast and homemade apple butter, along with some some nitrate free turkey lunch meat wrapped around sushi rice and fermented pickled ginger.

Lunch was leftover shepherd’s pie.

For supper we had burritos, which included beans, rice, ground beef (almost the last of the ground beef from the freezer), sour cream (pretty down to just scrapings), cheddar cheese and salsa. I was surprised to discover that we have two more jars of salsa in the pantry, so we have plenty of salsa to last through the end of the pantry challenge!

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