The Pantry Challenge-week three report

The 31 Day Pantry Challenge: Week 3 Report

Another week of the pantry challenge has flown past.  We are not suffering from lack of food, and I must confess that I haven’t been to the grocery store since last Sunday.  We will need milk again in a few days, but we are doing fine otherwise.  I must confess that I cheated this week.  I didn’t spend more than my allotted money, but I bought a pantry staple.  We were out of oatmeal, and we missed it, so I spent some of my grocery money and bought 5 3/4 pounds of oatmeal.    I’ll get back to that later.

Here’s a breakdown of our meals for the week.


  • Toad in a Hole served with a slice of ham and tea, coffee, or milk
  • Oatmeal–We obviously ate oatmeal several times.


  • Buffalo chicken bake, roasted carrots and garlic green beans.
  • Leftover assortment–tuna casserole with a chicken kabob, and sriracha edamame
  • Italian cold cut salad with lettuce and pickles. Italian garden mix of pickled vegetables.
  • Chicken noodle soup made from the carcass of Monday night’s stuffed chicken.
  • Leftovers and some new food:  Beans and Rice with tortilla chips or leftover chicken fried steak and mashed potatoes
  • Hot Wings with celery and carrots, taco nachos
  • Leftovers–hot wings, Alfredo, sandwiches.


  • Buffalo chicken bake, roasted carrots and garlic green beans.
  • Slow cooker stuffed chicken, potatoes, and green/yellow beans with baby carrots
  • Chicken Fried Steak, Mashed Potatoes, gravy, and garlic and onion green beans
  • Tacos and Burritos
  • Patty Melts with grilled onions, or grilled cheese, and baked beans
  • Chicken Alfredo, broccoli, and garlic bread
  • Saturday, we ate out.


  • Brookie (Brownie topped with Chocolate Chip Cookie dough then baked.  This didn’t work out right, so it looked weird.  It still tasted good.)
  • Sugar Cookies
  • Tortilla Chips


  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Milk
  • Hot chocolate
  • Juice
  • Low Calorie Flavored Drinks
  • Iced Tea–It has become part of my evening routine to make a pitcher of iced tea of some sort.  We have used herbal teas, berry teas, and mixed both green and black tea with lemonade.

Money Spent on Groceries

We were out of milk and eggs, and I wanted a few other things to round out our menu plan.  Then, there was the matter of the oatmeal.  In theory, we could have survived without it, but it’s a favorite breakfast around here on weekdays.  I broke my rule about not buying pantry staples.  I bought oatmeal.

For my shopping trip, I went to two stores.  At the first store, I purchased fresh green beans and fun flavored instant oatmeal.  Total Cost:  $2.00.  I also bought three other non-food items for a grand total of $5.23.  Here’s a copy of the receipt.31 day pantry challenge week 3At the next store, I bought more oatmeal, milk, eggs, and I decided that I had enough money in the budge to splurge and buy some flavored creamers.  I know that they aren’t necessary, but they make Baker’s Man happy, so I spent the money.  Grand total at this store was $16.81.

31 day pantry challenge week 3The total amount spent on groceries for this week was $18.81.  I began the week with a total of $40.39, so I still have $21.58 left.  I get another $21.00 next week, so I will have $42.58 to spend on groceries for week four.

It’s strange how having such a limited budget has changed my perspective when I go shopping.  I no longer think “I want to try this.”  and grab an item off of the shelf.  Instead, I ask myself “Do I really need this?” and the result is that most of the time I am deciding that I don’t really need that item.    These budget restrictions are also spilling over into other areas of my shopping.  I’m not going to the store for anything as often.    It’s interesting, and I wonder if these changes will be long lasting.  In fact, I’m having so much fun with this pantry challenge that I may do it a second time this year, or continue it into next month.  It really is like playing a non-stop game of chopped.

My family isn’t complaining too loudly, either.  Food Critic has gotten over his Ramen and Macaroni and Cheese withdrawals.  He frequently claims leftovers for his next day lunch.  He’s even enjoying my weird homemade iced teas. Bus boy would still prefer to have cheeseburgers and fries most days, but he acknowledges that even his doctor has told him he should eat healthier.    Another benefit of this challenge is that we are eating different menu items than our usual fare.  I had only made salmon patties once before in my married life.  I had never made chicken fried steak for my husband, either.   Baker’s Man asked me why we hadn’t made Patty Melts more often, too.  Ironically, though Patty Melts are cheeseburgers, Bus Boy doesn’t like them.  He wants his burger on a bun, not grilled.    Sometimes, he’s more picky than Food Critic.

I have made a conscious effort to increase our vegetable intake, and this has improved a great deal this week, but we are still lacking in the fruits department.  I will have to make an effort to serve more fruit, too.  Eating cheap is easy.  Ensuring that the meals are nutritionally balanced is more difficult.  What is it that they say?  Awareness of the problem is the first step.

That’s our third week’s summary.  If you have a question or a comment, leave it below.

Check back next week for our week four update, and follow us on our Facebook page.

Thanks for visiting Patty Cake’s Pantry.

Click HERE to learn more about our 31 day Pantry Challenge

Click HERE for our Pantry Challenge Week One Report

Click HERE for our Pantry Challenge Week Two Report

Click HERE for our Pantry Challenge Week Four Report

Click HERE for our Pantry Challenge Final Report

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