Thursday, December 31, 2009

January 2010 Eat from the Pantry Challenge and meal plan

Well I took the first step in not buying groceries in January, I took an inventory (not a very detailed one) and I've made out a meal plan for the ENTIRE month. Hold me because this took forever and also I had to rework it because I had planned mashed potatoes nearly every night all month long. Now, I'm Irish so I wouldn't mind and hubs loves my mashed potatoes so he wouldn't complain either but I am thinking that we probably need more variety in our diet. You'll notice I repeat the same vegetables over and over and over. Well, hubs doesn't eat vegetables so I tend to stick to my favorites which tend to be cheaper anyways. If I'm only making them for myself might as well get what I want, right?

I have included breakfasts and lunches too since I pack us breakfasts to eat at our desks or on the road and we each take our luches to work.

muffins- blueberry, pumpkin chocolate chip, dried fruit
granola bars

salads (chicken, egg, etc)
homemade mac n cheese

Friday, Jan 1, 2010
Traditional southern with a twist
pinto beans w/ ham, sauteed spinach (I don't like my vegetables cooked within an inch of their lives like most southerners)

Saturday, Jan 2, 2010
We are meeting some friends out of state for lunch so not sure what time we will be home. It will either be see food (see food, eat food) or leftovers from New Year's

Sunday, Jan 3, 2010
Roasted chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans

Monday, Jan 4, 2010
chicken noodle soup made with leftover roasted chicken and homemade stock that simmered in the crock pot all night

Tuesday, Jan 5, 2010
Meatloaf muffins, rice pilaf, broccoli

Wednesday, Jan 6, 2010
pizza w/ pepperoni and pineapple, spinach salad w/ mandarin oranges, almonds and pear vinegar dressing

Thursday, Jan 7, 2010
Taco night with refried beans and corn

Friday, Jan 8, 2010
leftovers or date night

Saturday, Jan 9, 2010
hamburger helper (don't judge my husband makes me do it), roasted carrots

Sunday, Jan 10, 2010
balsamic chicken breasts, rice pilaf, green beans

Monday, Jan 11, 2010
hot dogs w/ chili, french fries, fruit

Tuesday, Jan 12, 2010
chili bowls with chili, fritos, cheese & sour cream, carrot sticks

Wednesday, Jan 13, 2010

Thursday, Jan 14, 2010

Friday, Jan 15, 2010
spaghetti with fresh pasta, garlic bread & zuc coins

Saturday, Jan 16, 2010
Chicken Marsala, garlic mashed potatoes, green beans

Sunday, Jan 17, 2010
dirty risotto, fruit

Monday, Jan 18, 2010
Parmesan crusted pork chops, roasted potatoes, carrots & parsnips

Tuesday, Jan 19, 2010
welsh rarebit, broccoli, fruit

Wednesday, Jan 20, 2010
hamburger helper, fruit

Thursday, Jan 21, 2010

Friday, Jan 22, 2010
Patty melts, french fries, fruit

Saturday, Jan 23, 2010
Dunbar macaroni, salad

Sunday, Jan 24, 2010
Roasted chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, roasted parsnips

Monday, Jan 25, 2010
chicken salad, fruit

Tuesday, Jan 26, 2010
Swedish meatballs, egg noodles, carrots

Wednesday, Jan 27, 2010
Stuffed pork chops, broccoli

Thursday, Jan 28, 2010
breakfast for dinner- breakfast potatoes, sausage, eggs, fruit

Friday, Jan 29, 2010
date! I'm gonna need a break after all this cooking!

Saturday, Jan 30, 2010
pizza with Italian sausage, peppers & onion

Sunday, Jan 31, 2010
Stuffed baked potatoes with bacon, broccoli, caramelized onions and fruit

The end. I'm tired just thinking about it.

Ultimate Recipe Swap Janet's Cheeseball and Ann's Open House Meatballs

Hi! Jessica aka Fishmama of asked us to share our favorite appetizer recipes. As soon as I think of appetizers I think of two recipes, my mother's meatballs and my cousin's cheese ball.

Janet is my cousin. She is my first cousin but because of the age gap in my family she has children my age. She is a wonderful wife, mother and woman and I am so happy to have her as part of my family and not just because she makes a darn good cheese ball that takes 3 minutes to throw together.

Janet's Cheese ball

1 package cream cheese (you can use reduced fat or fat free)
1 envelope Italian dressing mix
2 Tablespoons garlic pepper blend (example McCormick's or Jane's Crazy Mixed up Pepper)

Soften cream cheese. Place in a small bowl. Mix with dry Italian dressing mix. (I usually use a fork for this).

Put a layer of the garlic pepper blend on a small salad plate. Dump the cream cheese mixture on the plate and roll around to form a ball and coat outside with the garlic pepper blend.

Allow to sit for several hours for flavors to blend. I usually put it back in the refrigerator and then pull it out an hour before serving.

Serve with crackers and for goodness sakes don't tell your guests how easy it was!

Ann's Open House Meatballs

1 package frozen meatballs (or you can make your own- I usually make my own and freeze them and then use those)
1 small bottle ketchup
1 can beer (use anything or you can use root beer if you would prefer)

Mix beer and ketchup in a non-stick skillet over medium heat until boiling. Add in frozen meatballs, reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes or until sauce thickens and meatballs are heated through.

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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Eat From the Pantry Challenge

Hi. Long time no talk to. Sorry I'm not very good (ok so not good at all) at this blogging thing. One of my goals for 2010 is going to be posting more and I am going to kick it off in January by participating in the eat from the pantry challenge.

Crystal over at Money Saving Mom and FishMama from Life as Mom are hosting this challenge and encouraging us to use up what we have in our pantry and freezers and greatly reduce our shopping at the store.

I'm just gonna be honest here for a second. My pantry, it overfloweth. To the point that I can't find ANYTHING! I need a much better organization system but I think that the best way to do that is to use some of this up. Now, I'm not going to go an entire month without buying groceries and my goals are a little different from everyone else's. There are some things that I'm not very well stocked on (boneless skinless chicken breasts for example) and if they go on sale at my buy price ($1.79-$1.99/lb.) I am going to buy some. But, since I am planning to use several pounds this month that will be ok.

I will continue to buy milk, bread (maybe I'll make it one week but I'm not going to commit myself to that), fresh vegetables and I'll probably need eggs, sour cream, etc at some point. I will continue to coupon so that I can get these things at the best possible price.

I'm starting to think about meals that I could make from my pantry. There are several favorites that come to mind:

Homemade mac 'n cheese
Dunbar Macaroni
Chicken Marsala
Pulled pork
stuffed pork chops
roasted chicken- which also turns into chicken noodle soup and chicken salad
Carne asada- which also turns into steak quesidillas
Patty Melts

I'll keep thinking and will take inventory some time over the next couple of days to get ready. This is exciting... and scary!

Go to and to learn more about how others are approaching this challenge!