A Denver Family's Adventure Through The Ups And Downs of Life

Monday, March 1, 2010

February Pantry Challenge- Wrap Up


Another stellar week (please read sarcasm)!

Here was the menu plan for last week.
Monday- Fish and veggies
Tuesday- Plum Tomatoes and Artichokes with Penne
Wednesday- Plum Tomatoes and Artichokes with Penne (if there is enough leftover)
Thursday- Shredded chicken tacos
Friday- Black Bean Soup
Saturday - Black Bean Soup
Sunday- Pizza

Here is what actually occurred.

Monday- Fish and veggies
Tuesday- Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Wednesday- Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Thursday- Pizza
Friday- Thawed marinated chicken
Saturday - ILs took us out to dinner
Sunday- Crockpot Chicken

One of these weeks I will finally make Black Bean Soup and the Plum Tomatoes and Artichokes with Penne that I have been saying I would for a while.

I’m definitely going to keep heading to my freezer first for meal selections, instead of the grocery store, but the restrictions that I tried to abide by wasn’t for us at this stage of my family’s life.

Here were our family’s goals for the “Eat From The Pantry Challenge”:

1) Stop at the store a maximum of three times in February.
2) Only buy dairy (milk, eggs, cheese, etc.), produce (fruits/vegetables), and breads (we eat too many sandwiches to not have fresh bread). - FAIL
3) Spend a total of $100 or less on groceries during the month of February. - FAIL
4) Donate the extra $85 leftover (or more) that we would usually spend on groceries to Sam’s college fund. - FAIL, but I have donated $40 to his college fund.

What I have learned from this experience
• Unless you have time to cook on the weekends, don’t try to cook full meals during the week with a 10 month old that is on a certain schedule.
• Make sure that everyone in your house is eating the same thing. Sam is not fully eating table food yet, so his dinners were different.
• I think that this would have worked a whole lot better if I was a SAHM (stay at home mom). I don’t have a lot of time with my son after I pick him up from daycare. I don’t want to spend it in the kitchen, cooking.
• Utilize the Crockpot more often on the weekends.
• Purchase a programmable Crockpot with a warmer option, so that things aren’t overcooked after a 10 hour day. (I drop Sam off at daycare at 7am and get back to the house after picking him up at 5pm.)

My next adventure will probably be a Monthly Freezer Weekend by making an entire month’s worth of dinners over a single weekend.

When I first hear about making an entire month's worth of meals in a single day, I didn’t believe it was possible. But with dedication and some prep work, it can be done. I know people who have done it.

I will try to do it over a weekend instead of a single day. I’m not that ambitious.

There are many families who will spend an entire day making a month’s worth of meals. It requires planning, such as selecting recipes, listing all the ingredients needed then shopping for them and doing any prep work such as chopping or peeling. Then on the day, it will consist of a systematic routine to prepare all the meals, most of which are made in multiples of at least two or three to make up the monthly quota. Finally, packaging and labeling, then popping it into the freezer to be served as the meal later in the month.

Of course, it does take dedication to do this. It is a lot of work, but then it makes a lot less work over the rest of the month, which is why so many people do it. And you can easily plan these meals around what happens to be on sale at the time, which enables you to budget better, particularly when the bulk of your food budget is purchased at once.

So many people swear by this system, and would never ever go back to cooking a meal for the family every night. It is much easier to simply defrost and reheat that it is to go through the entire preparation, cooking and serving of a new meal every single night.

Of course I will wait to do this until I get my programmable crock pot so that I can have 2 going at once along with the oven.

Wish me luck!!!

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