Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Pantry Challenge: Week Two

I should look at my previous week's Pantry Challenge update so that I can remember what I wanted to cook the next week. 
This is what I planned: 

Leftover Holiday Bean Soup, homemade biscuits
Manicotti (I made it awhile ago and it must be used)
Roast chicken, pumpkin bread
Apricot Pork Chops
Baked Salmon, corn relish, cabbage salad with asian ginger dressing
Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore
Pumpkin Ravioli
Salad, every day.

Other than the Baked Salmon and Leftover Holiday Bean Soup this is not what I cooked.

The salmon was yummy and with it we had a cabbage salad (thinly sliced green cabbage, grated carrots, and sliced almonds) with Asian Ginger dressing (recipe to follow).  The recipe comes from Family Feasts for $75 a Week.   You've got to check out this cookbook!  I was dubious about the recipe, but even the kids gobbled it up! 

Another day we ate Pork Chops rubbed with a Barbecue Spice Rub that is one of four Rubs - Barbecue, Mediterranean Herb, Cajun, and All-Purpose - a friend gifted me.  Mmmm.  

I made some rice with the pork chops and mixed a bit of the homemade Asian Ginger dressing into the rice while it cooked.  It flavored it beautifully.

The next day I had a ton of leftover rice.  I sauteed and browned red and green peppers - frozen from my summer garden, onions and garlic - from my summer garden, and sweet bulk italian sausage - from my summer pig, into another great dinner!  

We ate leftovers a couple of nights and soup that was hiding in the freezer.  I adore hot soup on these cold and breezy days, but I guess I made it too much and my daughter finally told me she was tired of soup!

I had to make a run to the grocery stores for some big shopping and ended up spending $217 at our big box store for assorted odds and ends - flour, organic apple juice, toilet paper, etc.  This included giant bags of dog and cat food.  Along with about $8 at the bakery thrift store, $30 for a huge hunk of cheese, and another $25 at the local grocery store for milk, a lemon, and bananas, that is our grocery bill for quite a while!  $217 + $8 + $25 + $30 = $280.  Not too shabby for a month's worth of groceries for four people.  We'll see how long I can cook meals off of this shopping trip.    

The big expenditure at our house is milk.  We can go through up to a gallon a day.  At almost $4.00 a gallon that adds up fast.  I started looking for a local dairy from whom I could buy milk because they usually sell it for about $2.00 per gallon.  Unfortunately, even if I find a dairy, I can't blog about it.  With all the hoopla about raw milk I fear the "milk nazis" could shut down any dairy I would find.  

I made a pumpkin pie out of my kakai pumpkin puree.  The pie tasted rich and pumpkiny, but not quite as sweet as an actual pie pumpkin would have yielded.  My husband, the pumpkin pie aficionado, said he liked the less sweet taste better.  I'll definitely plant this pumpkin next year!  

Asian Ginger Dressing

Makes about 1-1/2 cups

3 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup white vinegar
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 Tbsp. honey
2 Tbsp. sesame oil
1 Tbsp. peeled and minced, fresh ginger
1/2 tsp. salt

1. Combine all ingredients in a pint-size container with a tight fitting lid.  Shake well.
2.  Remove lid and heat jar in microwave on High 1 minute just to dissolve honey.
Cool and shake well before serving.  Store, tightly covered, in refrigerator up to 2 months.
~ from "Family Feasts for $57 a Week" by Mary Ostyn


I usually write about the dinners I'm serving for the Pantry Challenge, but breakfasts and lunches are included in the Challenge as well.   We usually eat biscuits, eggs in some form, toast, or hot cereal of some kind, for our breakfasts  - and leftovers, or soup and sandwiches, for our lunches.  Today, to go with lunch, I'm going to try to make a homemade tomato soup using canned tomato sauce from this summer's crop.  It should make enough to last 3, 4, or even 5, days!    


  1. Try this:

    Tomato Soup

    2 yellow onions, sauteed in butter
    Add 3 C of boiling water and 1 vegetable bouillon
    Add 2 large cans of crushed tomatoes as well as a few ripe cut up fresh tomatoes
    Add a pint of cream and a couple of Tbs of tomato paste

    For flavor I taste it off with salt, pepper, a few pinches of sugar to take the sting from the tomatoes off, fresh basil, some crushed garlic and a pinch of curry.

    The longer you let this bubble on the stove, the better it will taste. I just return to it every 10 minutes or so and mess with the spices until it tastes the way we like it! We usually eat this with some Wasa crisp bread, butter and sliced salami on top!

  2. it all sounds good. I need to make a menu and learn to stick to it.

  3. What a nice gift those spices were! I have heard nothing but good things about the kakai pumpkins, I need to see if they will grow well here. I am sooo glad I have my dairy goats to save on the cost of milk! Yikes!!

  4. Michelle - I find that it works well if I make a list of things we like to eat and that I have the ingredients for and then make what we feel like eating from the list rather than a strict day by day menu. Candy C. -Goats are on the list of things we want to get!

  5. We want to get goats too! Sounds like ya'll are eating yummy at your house. I love tomato soup, especially with some kind of cream in it. Yum.

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