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The Great Pantry Challenge!

pantry challenge

The other day I was standing in front of my open pantry with my typical bemused look, wondering what on earth I was going to make for dinner…..again. I was feeling uninspired and in a rut when it came to cooking. I decided that maybe it was time to shake things up a bit!

So I invited my daughter Britta and daughter-in-law Kaitlyn to come take a look at my pantry and see what they could come up with! I figured that two pairs of “fresh eyes” might see something my “tired eyes” couldn’t see! And boy was I right!

I originally asked them to come up with 5 meal ideas and in less than 15 minutes they had more than TWICE that!

As we were performing this little exercise I realized that this “challenge” could serve a couple of different and useful purposes!


I now have more than a dozen “new” meal ideas to draw on in the coming weeks (that I could share with you!)


By relying almost solely on the ingredients that are already in my pantry I will be using up some of the items that have been in there awhile and need to be used before they expire. Extra benefit……little or no need to go to the store for supplies for a couple of weeks.

pantry challenge

So, for the next few weeks I am going to use only ingredients that are in my pantry (and a few refrigerated items too) and forego any trips to the grocery store unless there is a compelling emergency like I need fresh milk or eggs, or it’s a chocolate emergency or something dire like that!

I would love it if you would take the challenge too and together we can get our creative cooking juices flowing again!

To get you (and me) started….below are just some of the meal ideas that we came up with after just a few minutes looking in the pantry. I’m not including actual recipes but I know that if you do a quick internet search for any of them you will find lots of options!

pantry challenge

pantry challenge

pantry challenge

pantry challenge

pantry challenge

pantry challenge

Like I said, this is just a few of the ideas we came up with…..but you get the general idea.

So what do you say?  Are you up for a challenge!?



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Jill Nystul Photo

Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee


Homekeeping Tips

  • Just came across your tip for buying jeans without trying them on,brilliant!,heavy rain here today and as I do not drive had look at what I can make for dinner,chicken leftovers ,tagliatelli,mushrooms onions=dinnerset pasta 2 cook.add soon of butter to work or pan throw in chopped onion,mushrooms.keep stirring,add dessert spoon yeast extract spread of soy sauce add diced chicken stirring all the time,drain pasta toss in to work serve with a tipping of parmesan

  • Hi, I love your site. I must say that I was surprised to see so much processed food in your pantry considering your love for homemade/natural products that you come up with. Just an observation.

  • I am pretty stocked…. I am making some chicken soup tonight with the left over chicken breast(4)….some chicken bouillon to taste( approximately 3-4 tbsp…. garlic salt..pepper …pinch of salt…peeled and cut potatoes ( 4) and slow cook. Half hour prior to eating…place egg noodles

    I have left over chilli that I can warm up with salutes chicken( butter and garlic salt) with side salad

    Monterey burritos

    Pancakes…or eggs and hash browns
    MeAt loaf with ground hamburger..bread crumbs..garlic salt and ketsup ….,.side of sautéed green beans with salt, butter and bacon bits( real bacon bits)…home made mash potatoes

    Grilled turkey sandwiches with salad

    Deep pit chuck roast( garlic salt..crushed
    red peppers and salt wrapped in two layers of tin foil placed in tin container with water and cook at 300 degrees for 12 hours. Side dish green bean casserole and cheater beans

    Cheater beans is made with 3 cans of ranch style beans one small can if tomatoes sauce and one small can of el pato.

    I have plenty of soups and chicken beef and steak in freezers and pantry

  • I made a New Year’s resolution to clean out my pantry and freezer this year. I have so much stockpiled! I started a little before Christmas and have only purchased milk, bread, some produce and 2 bags of sugar from the bargain bin that I couldn’t resist. We still have a lot of varied choices but I warned the kids eventually we’d be getting down to jello, pickles and that giant turkey we never ate over Thanksgiving. When we have exhausted all possible meals, the restocking begins with fresh and favorite items.

    Tonight I ate salad brought home from my son’s pizza parlor job but added shredded cabbage, grated cheese and homemade Italian dressing.

    Tomorrow: Boxed potato au-gratin with sauteed hamburger and chopped broccoli, then baked with a layer of grated cheddar cheese on top.

    We have plenty of pasta, rice and beans but the pasta is down to the odd shapes and the rice is brown (kids don’t like it plain). The pasta is perfect for soups or sauteed with butter and sprinkled with parmesan cheese. The rice will be used for chicken fried rice or ham fried rice with any bits of weary veggies in the fridge. I use any kind of white beans to make a gluten free muffin that tastes like corn bread.

    I used a bit of a package of orange jello to make orange chicken sauce (combined with some honey, soy sauce, ginger, garlic and red pepper flakes). It was so good I will do it again and I think it will work for beef, pork or chicken.

    Today I made granola bars from a recipe I found on Pinterest–and substituted dark corn syrup for the honey since I didn’t have enough. They turned out great (read: I will make again) and are my grab and go for the morning commute.

    Stuffed french toast will be good tomorrow for breakfast-I cheat and use sandwich maker that I had previously only gotten out occasionally (easier to make grilled cheese in a pan). Use any kind of bread (day old is better as the bread is easier to spread with butter), butter the outside, use a couple dabs of cream cheese and jam of your choice, let brown lightly and sprinkle with powdered sugar and cinnamon. Chocolate cream cheese and orange marmalade is my favorite. My daughter skips cream cheese and likes straight strawberry jam. What about a PB and J version?

    I have ground oryx meat that my daughter hunted (go girl!). It is very lean and I will use it for meat balls, tacos, frittatas, and perhaps stuffed peppers or cabbage as it needs to have generous seasoning.

  • Between lack of money or the fact the nearest reasonable grocery store is 25 minutes away, I do this all the time. Last week I mixed up chicken, pepper Jack cheese, paprika, and cream of chix soup and put it inside of crescent rolls! Yummo! Looks like you are a gluten free eater, so that won’t help you :) My sister is, too!

  • I could cook chicken with chicken stock and sherry, butter and flour, most breakfast items, salami sandwiches. I have a bunch of soups and odd canned items. Thank god for google……. I am always doing a search on allrecipes to figure out what the heck I am going to make for dinner. I need to work on this area of my life a bit. :)

  • Jillee, I am taking the pantry challenge by making Spinach and Feta cheese pie tonight. Most of the ingredients are in the fridge and freezer except for onions and spices.

    Thanks for all you do!!!


  • I need to take this challenge! My pantry overflowith! My problem is I shop like I’m buying for 4, and I’m cooking for 1! I try to freeze a lot, but right now the fresh and frozen items are depleted, but the pantry it alive and well! I work so much that I forget what I have, so then I just buy what I need to make what I want at that time. Okay – you’ve inspired my, Jillee! When I get home this evening – I have taking pantry stock! And will try to make my dinners match THOSE items! Okay! I’m on it! :)

  • What fun, with what I have in the pantry and my refrigerator I could make the following to start.

    ~Eggplant primavera, with a ceasar salad and grilled steak. Ingredients; eggplant thinly sliced, oven baked with primavera sauce and topped with parmesan cheese. A ceasar salad made with lighthouse ceasar dressing, croutons from the bread and cracked pepper on top of a bed of lettuce, and a side of steak grilled to taste. I like mine rare to medium.

    ~Broccoli salad, with broccoli, bacon, pine nuts, and cubed cheddar cheese or dried cranberries.

    ~Homemade Mac N Cheese and oven fried chicken. Ingredients; gluten free noodles, Cougar Gold and Mozzarella cheeses. The oven fried chicken is boneless, skinless thighs dipped in an egg and water wash, rolled in rice crispies that were ground in the food processor with Johnny’s Seasoning salt. set in the oven on 350 until done or the smoker until done.

    ~ Broccoli and Chicken casserole, Boneless chicken breasts cut into bite size pieces and sauted in butter, steam the broccoli just until warm, meanwhile the sauce sour cream, fresh cream of mushroom soup ( gluten free), and white pepper. Line the bottom of the pan with chicken, then the broccoli followed by the sauce and topped off by cheddar cheese. Back until bubbly and cheese is brown.

    ~Chicken with Port Mushroom Sauce. This is an interesting one. Normally I would not have the red wine in the house but my oldest daughter was here and she left a half bottle in the refrigerator. This recipe requires very little, chicken breast, 2 garlic cloves, mushrooms sliced, salt and pepper, chicken broth and Port Wine or any dry red wine will work.


  • We are going to make Crockpot Chicken Fajitas!!

    4-6 chicken breasts
    1 package of taco seasoning ( it’s been in the pantry way too long)
    1 16 oz jar of salsa

    Cook on low for 8 hours

    Shred chicken with 2 forks, place on soft tortillas and add a dollop of sour cream. (which is going to expire soon.)

  • This is so funny! I was doing the same thing. I was doing my budget and noticed we ate out way too much I thought if I could just go the rest of the month w/ what I have on hand (minus egg and bread runs to the store) I could really help my budget. So this is what I listed.
    -Chicken Enchilada Casserole
    -Chili Dogs
    -Chicken Tortilla Soup (made that yesterday so yummy. We got 2 meals out of it.)
    -Corn Cakes w/ bacon
    -Veggie Barley Soup (maybe w/ some soda bread)
    -Potato Soup
    -Orange Beef Stir Fry w/ Broccoli and Cashews
    -Carnitas Served with Refried Beans and Rice (I can get two meals out of this)
    -Ribs (gonna have to research how I am going to do these…crock pot maybe)
    -Couple of frozen pizzas from last time my hubby went into the store
    -Pizza Muffins (kids love them)
    -Pasta (this idea needs work)

    I have a bunch of salad, frozen veggies and carrots to round out meals.

    I think I can do it!

  • I could make a chicken pot pie. Cream of chicken soup, canned chicken ( I prefer a whole cooked chicken) but since we are using what is in the pantry. Add a can of the different vegtables i have. Mix all together with some salt, pepper and garlic salt. Place in casserole dish, top with a pre-made pie crust from the frig. Bake on 350 for 45 min. Good on a cold day.

  • I could do plenty of pasta dishes– mac and cheese, spaghetti, alfredo, etc. Fried rice. Cakes, cookies, muffins, biscuits. Lots of different soups and chicken dishes. I could also wing a roast, but I’m lacking in the fresh potato department. It’d definitely have to be finished off with instant mashed potatoes or some potatoes that are starting to grow in my kitchen, haha.

  • Frozen English muffins from the freezer;

    A can or two of Tuna;

    A can of drained pineapple;

    Whatever “grateable” cheese is in the fridge;

    A bit of mayo ( and a bit of plain yogurt, if on hand) to bind it all up


    Our go to pantry favourite: Paradisio Tuna melts :)

  • I could make breakfast for dinner, pumpkin soup, chicken fettuccine Alfredo, chili dogs, chicken noodle soup with dumplings, green bean casserole, chocolate silk pie.

  • I have been enjoying your site for some time now and have found
    so many wonderful ideas, but today was super exciting!!! I never
    knew you were one who did the whole gluten free eating!!!! I have
    celiac and have to eat gluten free!!! You are a huge help with the
    whole pantry challenge,since you have the same things I have in
    my pantry, you have given me some wonderful ideas and made my day. Keep up the great job!!!!!!

  • I could make scratch turkey vegetable soup with pink beans, clam chowder, scratch meat pasta sauce, a variey of green salads with craisin, walnuts, almonds, mandarin oranges, pears, avocado, etc as additions. I could probably cook for a month without shopping except for gluten-free bread and pasta, almond milk and kombucha and kefir! Always fun to clean out the old and make room for new and healthier options.

  • Lucky me, I’m overstocked on bacon. Going to the pantry for some grits (yes I’m from the deep south) and Bisquick for some Sprite biscuits. Will have to wait for my night shift working husband to wake up to let him decide on the way the eggs get cooked.

    If yall haven’t tried biscuits made with 2 c Bisquick, 1/2 cup sour cream and 1/2 cup Sprite, you really need to. Oops, I left out the half stick butter melted in the pan and the other half stick mixed into the dough. Stir them up, spoon the out, bake at 400.

    Good thing I’ve only had salad today because this sure isn’t a figure friendly dinner but it sure is a taste bud friendly dinner.

  • My oldest son is going into Boot camp at Camp Pendleton this Monday and I want to make the Banana Cream Pie for him. We won’t be seeing him for four months and wanted a special dessert for him. This is his favorite pie. I am the Gf eater in our family so I will enjoy eating the Banana Pie. Thank you!

  • I am so excited about this giveaway
    We do chili fries or an old Utah favorite we call hot dog boats
    hotdogs butterflied open with mashed potatoes on them and cheese on top
    baked in the oven till done

    • Hot dog boats! Love hot dogs, love mashed potatoes, love cheese. Thanks for sharing this. I would have never thought to put those together but I shall soon. My mom used to make what my daughter dubbed “special weiners” when she was a toddler. Mix a little ketchup, a little mustard and a little Worcestershire, spread over wieners and bake until the sauce is browned, almost burned. Goes great with mashed potatoes. Sometimes I butterfly the wieners, sometimes I leave them whole depending on how hungry I am.

      My favorite way to cook wieners for hot dogs is in a dry non-stick skillet on high. Shake the pan to keep them rolling or turn them often. They taste like you took the time to grill them outside. When they are done, pour some water in the skillet before you turn the burner off. When you pour the water out to wash the skillet, it will be almost totally clean.

  • How funny! We’ve been doing a pantry challenge the entire month of January so far and will continue through the end of the month! We are doing so out of necessity as December was a rough month for us…we had $800 in car repairs, my 11 month old daughter was hospitalized on Christmas with RSV and pneumonia, my 4 year old had an upper respiratory infection at the same time and had to stay with my in laws so I could take care of my baby girl, had to pay $800 to the doc for this pregnancy and Christmas for the kids on top of normal bills and hubs being off work some time while our baby girl was in the hospital and being off during the holidays with no overtime. Anyway, that put us behind on a lot of things, so we are spending the month trying to play catch up and that means ONLY buying absolute necessities (i.e. yesterday was payday so going to the store for milk, eggs, toilet paper, baby wipes, and maybe a little fresh produce today and that is IT). Thankfully we had a pretty full freezer/fridge/pantry. It is getting low now and I’m having to get creative. Some examples of what we have eaten are….chicken and dumpling soup (used chicken bullion and spices to make the broth, rotisserie chicken shredded and frozen, tortillas for the dumplins, the last half of a frozen bag of corn, and some baby carrots from the fridge served with some frozen rolls), Italian chicken pasta (a box of penne pasta, some more shredded frozen chicken, olive oil, the last bit of a bag of Italian cheese, and herbs..all tossed together, served with corn on the cob and 5 cheese Texas Toast), potato and egg breakfast burritos (part of a bag of frozen potatoes and peppers, a partial bag of cheese, and the last for eggs scrambled with some milk to stretch them a bit further…had these for breakfast a few days this week), lunch today was Hawaiian rolls with butter and apple slices with almond butter……lots of oatmeal served different ways with flax seed, honey, Nutella, applesauce, almond butter, coconut oil, etc….different add-ins on different days. some random bags of cereal and milk with fruit. Tonight’s dinner is supposed to be briscuit (precooked and sliced and frozen…bought during a really good Christmas sale), Texas Toast, corn, and cheddar ranch mashed potatoes (last part of the bag of cheese, and some ranch dressing hubby mixed up with some extra sour cream and a ranch packet for chips…but out of chips so need to use the ranch)…and some cherry cheesecake from the freezer…bought during Christmas but didn’t get to use since my baby was in the hospital so we really didn’t do a Christmas celebration. Now those chili cheese fries sound so good though (we don’t have fries, but we have the frozen potatoes mixed with peppers and onions and a few cans of chili and a big block of colby jack cheese needing used up….so I may make that for lunch tomorrow!). Anyway, thanks for your post…helping me stretch my creative juices some more. I have a few bananas browning so I will probably throw two in the freezer and use 2 for a batch of banana bread for breakfast this week and then do another batch for breakfast next week to get us through the challenge!

  • I have been thinking along the same lines this week and started a list a couple of days ago. Sweet Hawiian Chicken, Lasagna soup, teriyaki chicken, sloppy joes, whole wheat bread. rolls, pumpkin choc. chip muffins, pancakes, french toast and more.

  • I think I could come up with several. We have the makings for tuna noodle casserole, bean soup, chef salad, deviled eggs (I know that isn’t a main dish, but makes a great salad or side dish or snack…) arroz con pollo, chicken noodle soup, spaghetti and meatballs, baked tuna, fried trout, sausage casserole, etc.

  • I could make creamy burritos, meatloaf, lasagna, spaghetti, chicken pot pie, vegetable soup, but these are all of my normal go to meals, very excited to try the ones you suggested Jillee! Thank you for your wonderful, informative, entertaining, and useful blog. I look forward too your email everyday!!

  • I could make keilbasa with BBQ sauce, ketchup, brown sugar and pinapple over noodles.
    (pineapple kielbasa)
    I could make chicken salad with chicken, mayo, celery and onion and put that on a bed of lettuce.
    I could make pancakes and bacon with syrup and toast.
    I could make alot more too if I really thought about it.

  • There’s not a whole lot I COULDN’T make, since I’m a hoarder of sorts in my pantry, plus 2 separate freezers, in addition to the two bottom drawer freezers in my fridge! So why do I go and spend gobs of money at the store??? whew, but I’m planning to make an awesome crustless bacon, artichoke, and gruyere quiche this weekend. Tonight, I’m using some leftover roasted chicken with jarred Alfredo sauce and fettucini along with a salad…yummo. Actually, we eat pretty good around our house…and it’s not looking too pretty anymore!

  • I have some broth and some imported from Germany spaetzel noodles… and since I’ve been feeling under the weather, we’re making SOUP from it all! I know, a little untraditional for that type of noodle, but thinking outside of the “box” helps when doing a pantry challenge. We’re then going to have mac and cheese and browned hamburger (one of my all-time faves) probably several times this week! Also, found some potatoes I had forgotten were in there. Add that with a can of chili and we have another quick and easy go-to… Oh, thank you thank you thank you for this challenge, I seriously needed it!

  • I have just re-stocked my pantry after finding some expired items. Right now I am making ham and split pea soup and shredded barbeque beef in the slow cooker.

  • I could make: Banana Bread, Split Pea Soup & Waffles. I know there is a lot more I could make as well. That was first glance! I am going to ask each one of my kids to find something I could make too! This is going to be fun!

  • I could make a Buffalo Chicken Salad with Broccoli (I leave out the hot sauce) and a tossed salad with olive oil and apple cider vinegar and italian seasoning.

  • I have everything to make Chicken Pot Pie…I do this at least once or twice a month. As I say I stick my head in the freezer and come up with something for dinner. Where I live you don’t go to the store but maybe 2 times a month! An hour drive one way just doesn’t do good on the budget so I always buy staples but by the 3rd week of each month you still scratch your head and think now what am I going to have for dinner…

  • Spaghetti and meat sauce, faux Mac and cheese, chicken curry with rice, bean burritos and Mexican rice, tune casserole, tuna cakes, tuna melts, oh my, lots of things!

  • A favorite from when we were kids and my Mom had to take us to different activities and there was no time to prepare dinner, she would make it ahead of time and we could eat when ever we came in.

    Brown 1 lb chop meat with diced onion, drain fat. Add 2 large cans of baked beans, 1/4 cup ketchup, 1/4 cup molasses, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 2 tbsp yellow mustard. Simmer 20 minutes. Serve with coleslaw and biscuits or bread and butter.

    Even better leftover and put on toasted hamburger buns topped with slice of bacon and slice of cheese.

  • canned black beans (or whatever beans you have on hand) drained and rinsed. Cook one cup rice according to directions, heat black beans in microware then spoon on top of rice in bowl top with shredded cheese. If you have them on hand top with hot sauce, sour cream, salsa or even avodaco if you have it.

  • I have a lot of similar items in my pantry. I would make curried pumpkin coconut soup with dinner rolls! I also like to make baked potatoes with chili/cheese.

  • Fried rice. We actually did this a couple of nights ago. I cut up a couple of boneless pork loin chops I had in the freezer, made up a cup of rice from the pantry, stir fried the pork, then removed it and did 3 scrambled eggs, removed them and stir fried some frozen veg (peas, carrots, corn) and the cooked rice, dumped the eggs and meat back in and added some soy sauce. Yum! Total time, 10 minutes once the rice was cooked. ( that was 20 minutes unattended time in the microwave.)

  • Ha, definitely need to do this. I could do salsa chicken right now: black beans, red beans, corn, diced tomatoes–rotel with cilantro and lime juice, frozen chicken breasts, throw altogether in crock pot on low 6-8 hrs. Eat with sour cream and tortilla chips and cheese.

  • I was just thinking this yesterday! I made some broccoli soup, and tomato soup and there is “just enough” left over, So I could boil some pasta, and have two batches of pasta with “soup sauce”

    I also have some shredded pork cheese, and pie crust, so I could make some mini shredded pork pies.

    I have some homemade chicken stock, so that is a great base for soups, sauces and gravies.

  • Homemade spaghetti sauce. I have canned tomatoes, dried pasta and kalamata olives in the pantry. I wish I had fresh basil, good ole Italian seasoning will do. Add some garlic, onion and a seeded, chopped Serrano pepper for some heat….Smells amazing when it’s simmering! Throw in some grated parmesan cheese and olives before serving. Delicious!!

  • To think, I used to do that every few months but somehow got out of the habit. Thanks for the reminder, Jillee!

    Let’s see, I’ve got Chicken, Frozen Broccoli with Cheese, More Cheese :), and Rice for a casserole. Frozen Veg, Chicken and Biscuit Makings for a biscuit topped pot pie. Blueberry Pancakes, yum. Soyrizo, cheese and french fries for chili cheese fries. Goodness, and I just went to the store, but I didn’t get *any* of that this go-around. And that’s without looking!

  • I coulde make several meals in this challenge
    – tuna noodle casserole
    – franks& beans with jiffy cornbread
    – pigs in a blanket with tatertots
    -spaghetti and meatball
    -a chocolate Graham cracker crust pie
    Plus many more meals….what a super way to
    Challenge yourself to be more resourceful!
    Thanks Jillee :)

  • I’m going to make Pork Fried rice tonight, since I have all those ingredients on hand. When I buy a pork loin, I slice it up and freeze it in small batches so I can just pull out a couple thick slices to fry up for the pork fried rice dish. I also found a recipe on the Internet to make my own seasoning so I don’t need to rely on the seasoning packets I used to buy. I always have eggs on hand (I have 6 chickens), as well as soy sauce and frozen peas. Last night I cooked up a big batch of rice to freeze and will use some of that. Yum!

  • I can start with 2 boxes of potatoes au gratin. Prepare as directed on the package, but decrease the liquid a little. Then add a whole can of Italian seasoned diced or chopped tomatoes, including the liquid, and add some seasonings……garlic, Italian, a blend, whatever….and mix gently but well. Put in a 9×13 baking dish. Next, top with a precooked meat….pepperoni, smoked sausage slices, kielbasa, ham, your choice….and push the meat partly down into the potatoes and sauce. Bake a little longer than the box calls for, letting the top brown slightly. Serve with a vegetable or salad for a delicious, complete meal! It’s always a great standby for me!

  • I could make a yummy crockpot meal with Golden Mushroom soup, dry onion soup mix and pot roast. I will serve it over brown rice since I found several half full bags of that and green beans.

  • Great idea! Sometimes all it takes is to look at stuff from a different perspective! Tonight I made Goulosh. Tomorrow it will be tuna noodle casserole w Red Lobster bisquits. Now I could find some recipies to use up the huge bag of quinoa!

  • Whole Roasted chicken from freezer 99cents a lb.
    baked potatoes..cook several
    green beans
    winter squash
    tossed salad

    pumpkin (also made with frozen winter squash)

    Meal #2
    chicken fijatios
    lettuce and tomato from salad made yesterday

    Meal #3
    homemade chicken noodle soup, made with frozen chicken broth from the Thanksgiving turkey.
    leftover chicken from meal #1
    any pasta in the cupboard
    Leftover canned green beans,
    spoonful of winter squash from meal #1 (makes a healthy,yummy, butter colored soup broth)

    Meal #4
    breakfast for dinner either pancakes/waffles with a spoonful of squash for a yummy, color color
    OR fried potatoes ( from the baked potatoes made with meal #1
    Scrambled eggs
    I ALWAYS eat from my cupboards and/ or freezer during the month of January.
    I love the challenge and only buy milk, bread, and eggs , and salad fixings
    My goal for those are less that $50 for the entire month…I also do this in the first few weeks of Feb.

    I always eat from my

    (makes a sweet, yummy healthy,soup and a nice buttery color)

  • Just did this tonight! Turkey Tetrazzini, except with leftover ham. My son said I should have added broccoli. Brilliant since I have a lot of it in the fridge. Unfortunately he was not here to suggest it while I was preparing it.

  • I am well stocked, I can make any number of things. But I have part of a roasted chicken that needs to be used up, so I am thinking Olive Garden chicken gnocchi soup clone recipe. I even have gnocchi, although I can make it from scratch if I need to.

  • Homemade Taco Pizza!
    Refried beans mixed with salsa and spread as the “sauce”, then we top it with seasoned meat, sliced olives, fresh diced tomato, sliced green onions or yellow onion, and Monterey Jack cheese :) after it’s baked we top it chopped cilantro and a dollop of sour cream….yum!

  • Man, I am reading this post in bed (it’s been a long day!!!)
    I want to get up and go thrmygh my pantry! I know just from my perusal earlier, I can make bread, cranberry white chocolate scones, chili, black bean burgers to name a few. But I want to know where you got the can organizers. Do tell sweet jillee.

  • Off the top of my head without checking. Comfort chicken soup, twice baked potatoes, scalloped potatoes, beef Stroganoff, white lasagna, breakfast (french toast, pancakes or waffles). I also know I have a pantry full of home canned goods and a freezer with 2 Turkey’s, 3 chickens and a small ham. I also may have reorganized recently.

    I tend to shop once a month so knowing what I have is important for me. We live about 30+ minutes from town. A quick trip to the store isn’t really an option.

  • following on pinterest , have repinned (more than) 3 things from your “One Good Thing” board. I would make noodle fritters with a pack of ramen, an egg, a little flour, some seasonings, a little splash of milk, and some drained canned veggies or left-over veggies out of the fridge. makes enough for at least two people. freezes well, too. yummy with some soy sauce. add meat if desired. “fry” in a skillet with just a table spoon or two of oil, like a pancake til brown on each side and hot through. very versatile and economic dish. toss out the ramen seasoning packet, though!

  • I could make some grilled fish tacos. I have tilapia, tortillas, a fresh lime, shredded broccoli slaw and a tomato plus cheese and some leftover salsa. Yummy, yummy to my tummy!

  • I have jars of Indian sauces like tikka masala and yellow curry, as well as bags of basmati rice. I am going to go WAY out of my comfort zone and utilize some chicken I have in the freezer and make an Indian meal at home.

  • This is a SUPER idea for a challenge and something I need every week to clean out my pantry and freezer and make do with what I have! I hate how I am always needing one or two ingredients I don’t have. I do have stuff for sloppy joes and a salad on hand.

  • I can make; a hearty meat sauce with pasta, a lasagna or add beans for a winter chili; peach cobbler, hot or cold quinoa salad, tuna casserole, turkey and stuffing with all the trimmings, homemade cream corn, corn bread, biscuits and gravy, pancakes, waffles, rice pudding, homemade mac n’cheese, macaroni salad, schnitzel, Pho, pesto pasta, steak fajitas, homemade refried beans, beans and hamhocks, chicken pot pie, quiche, turkey tetrazini, ohhh my, I can keep going! Am I a hoarder?

  • When I can’t think of a good dinner I do breakfast. On hand I have bisquick for pancakes, eggs, and bacon. Sounds like a plan for dinner tomorrow. And Hey I can even throw in some chocolate chips that have been in my pantry for awhile :) So excited about the giveaway!!

  • Spaghetti sweeet Italian sausage and tomato-basil sauce. Pecorrino-Romano grated cheese on top.
    Tossed green salad
    Yeast rolls and
    wine poached pears w/ herbed cheese for dessert.

  • I could make cheeseburger spaghetti…..pasta, cream of mushroom soup, a block of Velveeta cheese, a can of rotel and some ground beef (or use chicken for chicken spaghetti) Always makes great leftovers!

  • Between my pantry, refrig. & freezer (I just froze several meals or parts of meals to help out when I just don’t feel like cooking due to health issues. I can make homemade pizza with pesto, Mozzerella & Parm cheese. I have leftover chicken, pasta, ricotta & Mozzerella for chicken lasagne, homemade baked beans & hotdogs, pasta with canned white beans & spinach, beans & rice, frozen homemade minestrone & froz sweet potato soup, hamburgers & homemade sourcream double baked poatoes & always grilled cheese sandwiches to go with soup.

  • Well, to name a few……
    chicken pesto pasta (garden fresh pesto in freezer)
    chicken stir fry w/frozen veggies ‘n quinoa
    turkey shepherd’s pie
    chicken spaghetti casserole
    beef tacos
    beans ‘n cornbread
    always breakfast for dinner (with our home raised eggs)

    all Gluten Free!
    I’m so guilty of making what I’m “hungry” for or in “the mood” for, but I always keep a stockpile of pantry/freezer items. This challenge is great! Money is EXTREMELY tight and I need to cook with no money and use the blessings already provided! I am truly grateful! And I will know I am in good company with the other lovely ladies in the challenge.

  • I was just thinking of this idea as January is usually a tighter financial month after the excess of the holidays. I have frozen shrimp and was planning to make shrimp scampi! I also have breakfast for dinner on my list.

  • Pancakes with bacon and scrambled eggs. Chili beans. Homemade chicken nuggets and french fried potatoes. Potato soup with cheddar cheese and cornbread. Pork chops and mashed potatoes. I’m really hungry now, so I probably should stop, lol :)

  • I made taco salad using the leftover rice, some ground beef, taco seasoning, an open bag of tortilla chips, Roma tomatoes, romaine lettuce, cheese and sour cream. All of these things were in my fridge and took me 10 minutes whip up after work and just in time for hubs to head to work with a full belly and his dinner for later.

  • Denver omelet with bacon and biscuits. Or tacos with beef, lettuce, tomato, cheese, onion with Spanish rice. Or green chicken enchiladas. any number of soups.

  • I just did my weekly menu planning yesterday using only items in the pantry and freezer! The one Iam excited for- Chicken Pot Pie Soup from Taste of Homes website. Very easy and great flavor!

  • I could make a Greek Salad, cucumbers, feta, kalamata olives, red onion, EVOO, lemond juice, tomatoes, oregano, ……no, wait, make that a Greekish salad…. I’m out of green peppers. :)

  • Another idea instead of tacos/burritos is Mexican pizza. Layer the beans and taco meat and some salsa between 2 tortillas. Top the tortilla on too with salsa, cheese, olives, maybe some onions or tomato chunks instead of salsa. Bake at 350 for 5-10 minutes.

  • I could do pasta with tomato sauce, chicken and dumplings, chicken tortilla soup, or white chicken chili. (Notice my freezer is well stocked with chicken at the moment.) Love this challenge, and love your blog. Hope I win!!

  • tonight was Chicken Apple Sausage, red & yellow peppers, corn & rice, all thrown into one pot. All leftovers from earlier in the week, I call it “clean out the fridge” dinner.

  • Wow..I think I don’t have much stuff but right now….
    -pasta with meat sauce
    -cnnamon roll pancakes with sausage
    -sub sandwiches
    -chicken with rice
    -tuna casserole

    It helps that my teen and husband don’t mind eating like Kindergarteners!

  • WOW…I could make so many things from the over abundance of items in my pantry! Tuna noodle casserole or salad, homemade spaghetti sauce + noodles, minestrone soup, potato soup, etc… The possibilities are endless! So why did I go grocery shopping the other day???

  • You have so much genetically modified food in your pantry it’s scary. I would never follow any of your food or health advice. This post has been quite the eye opener for me.

  • Tortellini Soup with flakey dinner rolls, Turkey chili with corn muffins, French onion soup, Broccoli and cheese frittata, Broccoli cheddar soup, Chicken, roasted red pepper & garlic on angel hair pasta.
    Baked ham, mashed potatoes, brussel sprouts, carrots and cole slaw. Looks like I have next weeks meals all planned. Thanks for the inspiration, Jilliee

  • Actually, I was able to make this Moroccon chicken with a small pack of wings and legs today. It only took:

    One can of pineapple w/juice
    I large onion
    Two cloves of Garlic
    Red Pepper flakes

    Plus, I always have CousCous on hand, love that stuff!

  • You had me at Walmart gift card, yes, I shop at Walmart, good pricing, so there! Thanks for the chance. Happy New Year, with blessings for 2014.

  • I have been doing this already this month. We are trying to clean out the freezer before restocking. I can make a pumpkin pie from frozen pumpkin and stir fry beef as the main dish.
    I already follow you on FB and pinterest.

  • Pretty sure I could make enough pasta for an army. Whenever I plan on making a pasta dish, I feel compelled to buy another box of pasta. When I get home, I discover that I have a 1/2 box of about 5 different pastas and about 4 full boxes of others. Guess I won’t ever run out!

  • this is so timely, I have just a couple of weeks ago done this with our supplies and embarked on a serious wt loss diet following some really ugly results to some meds that had to be taken for an extended period of time.

  • Taco soup. Always a favorite and easy because I used my frozen hamburger meat that I precook end and put it in frozen. Serve some cheese, chips, and sour cream on the side and it is good to go.

  • We are having pancakes for dinner, and not because I saw your dinner suggestion. Yesterday I found that I have 2 boxes of Bisquik, and I need more room in the freezer, so I’m using up some blueberries. This is a great challenge, though. I have been doing this with my freezer things.

  • I can make chicken quesadillas with green chilies, and the chilies fries ( which will be tonight’s dinner, thanks) rice and beans with pork chunks and anything with pumpkin.. I have 3 large cans!!

  • Cheesy Mac with ground beef and tomatoes; Corn Chowder using cream corn, SOS mix, carrots, and chicken broth; Minestrone using cannalini beans, tomatoes, onion, carrots, celery, frozen limas, tiny pasta; Fajitas with London broil, seasonings, soft tortillas; Mushroom risotto; red beans and rice, chicken florentine rollups with mozzarella and parmesan; cornmeal crusted chicken tenders and collards; fish and grits; chicken, mushroom, broccoli pot pie

  • I have a well-stocked pantry, so I could make a NUMBER of meals – like minestrone and cornbread, dal and rice, lentil loaf with gravy, spaghetti with marinara or pesto, unsausage patties, lasagna….

  • I could make pancakes & eggs, chicken noodle soup, spaghetti, and any beef pasta along with a multitude of frozen items like pizzas, burritos, and lean cuisine meals. We could probably get by a whole month if we just bought milk & eggs!

  • I could make lasagna, chicken with homemade noodles, chicken parmesan, meatloaf, chicken cordon blue pasta, turkey pot pie and ham, to name a few. Thanks for asking us to post this! I was wondering what I was going to make over the next few days.

  • I have a home farm raised ham hock that I could use for my favorite: Split pea soup. I also could make salmon cakes. And beans and rice for probably 6 months…

  • I always have the ingredients for Taco Soup on hand, but I could also whip up a More-Than-Three-Bean Salad, chocolate chip cookies and a loaf of bread :)

  • Wow, that’s a great challenge! We have had a few nights like that already. Our favorite go-to? Crock-pot Chalupa. I have a freezer full of chicken and boneless pork ribs purchased on sale, so I shop my own freezer. Brown 2 lb. meat, throw it in the crock pot. Add a can of black beans (rinsed), chopped green chiles, an onion, crush a couple of garlic cloves, and add 2 T. chili powder, 1 T. cumin and 2 t. salt. I pour water in the browning pot, then pour that over the meat until it just covers. Cook 5-6 hours on high if pork, 3-4 if chicken. Shred the meat and use it for burritos, tacos, nachos, taco salad, then taco soup. Last night was taco soup, using the last dregs of the Chalupa. I just add a cans of corn, diced tomatoes, another can of black beans, a couple cans of chicken broth. Top with tortilla chips, cheese, sour cream, green onions and a sprig or two of cilantro. Tonight we’re again shopping out of our fridge and pantry, and it will be a crock pot chicken with cream cheese/Italian dressing mix and mushrooms, and we’ll serve it over leftover boiled potatoes. We pre-cut a bunch of lettuce for salad at the beginning of the week and it’s still good. Tomorrow, Pita pizza made with leftover spaghetti sauce from the other day.

  • I could whip together a curry from vegetarian protein with carrots, potatoes, (frozen) peas, raisins and nuts. Um… over rice. For dessert an amazingly Italian-athentic deep chocolate gelato (made locally). Yeah! That sounds good! We’ve raised 7 children who are now all adults and out on their own. My stock-up habits are slowly readjusting to just the two of us, but I still tend to have too much hanging around in the pantry. This is an excellent exercise and supports what I’ve been trying to do since Christmas. Thanks for the boost!

  • Apple pie, pumpkin pie, red beans and rice, Yoshida chicken, pancakes or waffles, spaghetti and chili. My pantry is pretty bare since I haven’t gone to the grocery store since before Christmas but I always keep “staples” on hand and buy in bulk.

  • I made mac and cheese with everything in my house! I was too busy to make it to the store, but I always have cheese, butter, milk and pasta on hand. When I have bacon or pancetta, I’ll add that too!

  • Fortunately I just went shipping yesterday! I must have felt that our cupboards were bare because I spent way over my weekly budget. So I decided last night I need to assign ALL of our meals for the whole month! And I am determined to stick to it…and win $150 Walmart gift card! I need to get dinner started and I was thinking of throwing some chicken in the crockpot, stir in some cream cheese and hot sauce and wrap refrigerator biscuit around it! Maybe call it a Buffalo Bonb!

  • Beef and bean enchilladas using tortillas, refried beans, enchillada sauce and rice from my pantry and ground beef I just bought last night. For dessert I have cake-like dessert cups and boxed vanilla or chocolate pudding in the pantry and I can top that off with whipped cream made from heavy cream and blackberries in my frig.
    Wow, that sound kind of good, lol.

  • For my small family of 3 I just made Chicken Taco Casserole (froze half so that is 2 meals), can make hamburger tacos, breakfast for dinner, spaghetti, lasagne (which makes again makes 2 meals for us), and I have about 6 frozen crackpot meals I could make.

  • Chicken spaghetti, chicken tetrazzini, pasta & marinara sauce, minestrone soup, crème pie, and granola bars! I think I could eat a week out of here! In fact, I was already starting a challenge to use up stuff in the pantry and freezer so I can start fresh! Thanks for the inspiration!

  • I’ve actually been doing a pantry clean out as my January goal! I am only allowed to buy fresh produce, meat, dairy and diapers for the rest of the month. Tonight, we’re having a quiche made with a leftover frozen pie crust from the holidays, a can of artichokes and some frozen spinach. I’m thinking of doing a pantry clean out every 3 months or so.

  • I was hoping this was going to be about organizing the pantry. Great idea about using what you already have. I can’t look in mine as I’m laying down with a persnickety grandson who likes company for his naps, lol.

  • I could make a lot of stuff. Tonight it will be deer meat taco’s and enchalada’s, rice & beans. I am over stocked in my pantry & freezer. I made the decision a couple of weeks ago to start using stuff up. Mainly because I need to defrost my deep freezer. I have already thrown some stuff away because it was outdated or freezer burnt. So I am up for the challenge.

  • Hmmm, homaemade Shrimp & Pork Pad Thai {(we LOVE meat)}, hamburger gravy & mashed potatoes {remember the good school lunches back in the day?!}, homemade chicken & garlic pizza {think papa murphy’s} with artichokes & feta, enchilada casserole, beef burritos/nachoes, ummmm, I gotta go eat lunch, grilled cheese & tomato soup. See ya later….

    Better Than Takeout: Vegetable Pad Thai
    Vegetable Pad Thai with Peas, Carrots and Mushrooms

    1/2 pound dried pad Thai rice noodles (banh pho) **I use linguini noodles in place of these as that is what our local favorite asian place with the BESTEVER ad Tahi used!!**
    2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce–GOTTA have it!!
    2 tablespoons oyster sauce–optional {I didn’t have & it turned out wonderful}
    2 tablespoons sugar
    1 tablespoon Sriracha or chile-garlic sauce
    2 tablespoons vegetable/olive oil
    2 small shallots, thinly sliced–regular onions ok too
    4 ounces mushrooms, such as shiitake and cremini, stems removed and halved–I used jarred but drained mushrooms from dollar tree, or fresh sliced white mushrooms
    2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
    2 cups julienned carrots (from about 3/4 pound carrots)
    4 scallions, cut into 1-inch pieces, plus thinly sliced scallions, for garnish
    1/3 cup frozen sweet peas (I think canned would be fine, drained & added at the very end to warm through)
    2 large eggs, beaten
    1 cup bean sprouts–optional, don’t have these usually
    **1/4 cup ground roasted peanuts {see note below}
    1 lime, cut into 8 wedges, for serving, optional
    3/4 lb thinly sliced pork, optional
    3/4 lb small shrimp sautéed in garlic butter, optional

    1. Put the noodles in a large bowl and cover with very hot water. Let soak until just pliable, about 15 minutes (or according to package directions). Drain the noodles in a colander, shaking off excess water. **If using the linguini, just cook until al dente–when mixed in the noodles soak up the flavors nicely.
    2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk the fish sauce with the oyster sauce, sugar and Sriracha.
    3. In a large nonstick wok or skillet, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the shallots and mushrooms and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and carrots and stir-fry until soft, 2 minutes. Add the noodles, the 4 scallions and the peas and stir-fry until heated through, about 2 minutes.
    4. Scrape the noodles to one side of the pan and add the eggs. Cook, stirring occasionally, until nearly set, about 1 minute. Toss everything together–including the meat & shrimp if desired. Add the sauce and stir-fry until the noodles are evenly coated and the sauce has thickened slightly, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the pad Thai to a platter. Garnish with the bean sprouts, peanuts and thinly sliced scallions and serve with the lime wedges.

    **I use crunchy peanut butter anytime I do asian cooking. Added to the hot liquids it thickens it a bit & turns it into a peanut sauce, which is something that makes the asian dishes over the top yummy!! Be careful to not crack the sauce, while it does not change/affect the flavor, it doesn’t look pretty if you serve it to guests.

  • Beans and Rice! We always have the ingredients for beans and rice. Season some beans with a little Mexican seasoning, hot sauce, etc. Serve over rice and enjoy! You can also eat this over lettuce or as lettuce wraps, put it in a tortilla for a quick burrito (with cheese, sour cream, etc. if that’s your thing), or mix in a few veggies and eat it like a fajita. The possibilities are endless :)

  • That is so funny, I made a pact with myself to use things just out of my freezer
    this last month! It is working so far…
    I just made a chicken/vegetable and quinoa casserole to share with a co-worker.

  • I’m already at the tail end of using up pantry and refrigerator supplies, so there’s not much; breakfast for dinner is always good in a pinch though.

  • We are going to have Simplified Alfredo Dinner, simple homemade alfredo sauce with cream cheese, broth, flour and spices. We will have it over spaghetti squash b/c we have one and add in fresh, steamed broccoli also because we have it. YUM!

  • Hmmm, my pantry has a lot of dry and frozen ingredients too … but I always wonder when I read something like “not going to the grocery store for several weeks, exept for milk and eggs” – don’t you eat any fresh fruit and vegetables? Thats what I go to the grocery store for twice a week, to really have these things in fresh quality

  • Recently before this challenge our family decided to clean out our deep freezers. We have not bought anything other than milk and eggs for two weeks now and we haven’t repeated any meals. Last night was beef and broccoli over rice. Tonight is shrimp jumbo. One of my favorite pantry recipients is salmon patties. Two cans salmon, crackers, eggs, old bay, salt and pepper. Make hamburger size patties and fry them until crispy. Normally served with rice and broccoli from freezer.

  • Spaghetti with frozen veggies and homemade rolls. For dessert– Brownies with ice cream. We always have lots of different kinds of ice cream so everyone gets their favorite combo.

  • I can make chicken pot pie straight from my pantry & fridge. Mix together 1 can of cooked, white chunk chicken breast, 1 can of cream of chicken soup, 1 can of mixed veggies (or 1.5 cups of frozen mixed veggies), pinch if salt and dash of pepper, and pour into a casserole dish or glass pie plate. Then mix together 1 cup of baking mix, 1/2 cup of milk and I egg and pour over chicken mixture. Bake at 375 for 35 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Delicious.

  • I laughed when I saw the very first post was breakfast for dinner! I have done that many, many, times over the yeaars my children were little! That being said…I am a canner and I have an extensive pantry that I can pull from. I found it crazy, however that I always seem to be headed to the store some something or another. I vowed that I would make an extensive list to go with my extensive pantry of all the menu ideas I could come up with. When I go shopping next time I will purchase only the existing items to complete a menu for 2 weeks or so. I think I am going to see some real savings as well as being able to rotate and use up items that may be getting pushed to the back.
    Great idea Jillie!!!!

  • Linguine with clam sauce

    Tuna Casserole

    You name it, I’ve probably got the stuff to make it. I’m a stocker!

    Jillee, don’t believe expiration dates on canned goods. That’s a bunch of hooey.

  • I’m also gluten free, I’m so excited that I have the stuff to make the chicken ranch pasta it’s so simple but I would of never thought of it. I can make chicken with salsa and melted cheese.

  • I would be able to make Red Thai Chicken Curry. Chicken, frozen peas, frozen red and yellow peppers, coconut milk, red curry paste and water. Serve with cauliflower rice or brown rice.

  • I just started doing this last week to help clean out our pantry and fridge. We did a Broncos party on Sunday with only pantry items: Crescent Pizza Roll-ups, Crescent Buffalo Chicken Roll-ups, Fiesta Mini Sweet Peppers, mini relish tray, and Blueberry Pie. Everything was made from what we already had on hand!

  • I have everything to make this wonderful dish. Even if you do not like brussel sprouts, with this
    recipe you can eat and like it. This can be a main dish if you’re vegan or a side dish.

    Cranberry Orange Roasted Brussels Sprouts

  • I can make chicken quesadillas with green chilies, and the chilies fries ( which will be tonight’s dinner, thanks) rice and beans with pork chunks and anything with pumkin.. I have 3 large cans!!

  • Thank you for these ideas! I’m going to make the chicken ranch pasta for dinner today! I can also make Swiss chicken using chicken breast, cream of chicken, swiss cheese and bread crumbs or stuffing.

  • I appear to have every spice and Indian spice. I could do Breakfast for dinner with dry buttermilk culture. I could do corn chowder, I could do beef and been burritos. I have some homemade taco seasoning and fajita seasoning. So fajitas could happen. I seem to rely heavily on tortillas. I also love tortillas with peanut butter and cereal roll-ups. I could make a soup with chicken, great northern beans, broth (see Tuscan Chicken Stew in South your mouth). I am unsure what to use the tomato paste for…..chilli…..in the future. I could also make a yellow cake with mandarin oranges in it.

  • Italian Wedding Sour, Wild Alaskan Salmon, mashed potatoes, and carrots in a brown sugar sauce. I LOL when I saw your post because I had just done the same thing and decided what to use up first!

  • Chicken Pasta Salad is on the menu!!! And talk about a timely post!!!! Thanks so much!! Now who can I invite over to check out and get ideas from my pantry??!!!

  • Meatloaf and mashed potatoes. What we call Faux-sagna (pasta with meat sauce, layer with ricotta cheese and bake. Quicker than lasagna, but similar taste.). Parmesan crusted pork chops and polenta. Potato Soup and grilled cheese sandwiches.
    This gift card would be amazing. Still haven’t found that elusive money tree yet.

  • I like that you have banana cream pie ready to assemble.
    Dinner yesterday started with my Ghiradelli Triple Fudge Brownies; I also made chicken parmigiana (to use up leftover tomato sauce from pizza night) sliders (I make a ton of chicken nuggets after a stock up on chicken shopping trip, so I can make a million varieties of your “dump chicken ” and have a bunch of small pieces of chicken left & freeze). Made slider rolls (google 30-min rolls recipe) or just buy some, buttered pasta shells, green beans
    Day before homemade Hawaiian pizza and fudge drop cookies (hey- gotta make use of the hot oven; wouldn’t want to waste all that energy).
    An ace up my sleeve is Chinese inspired Pineapple Chicken: stir fry julienne sliced fresh carrots, garlic, & red bell pepper; then add chopped thawed-ish chicken nuggets & drained pineapple chunks;while that heats, whisk together the pineapple juice, juice of 1 lemon, 2 TB tomato paste or ketchup,1 TB soy sauce, and 1 TB cornstarch. Stir in liquid & cook until thickened. At the end I add raw chopped celery (for crunch). Serve over rice.
    My pantry can always give up “almost from scratch” soups, biscuits w/ or w/o meat, & gravy (especially w/ Jillee’s SOS recipe) and of course beans & rice. My refrigerator can always give up some version of a frittata.
    I make a point to always have jello & canned fruit around too (DH’s motto–if there’s jello, dinner just got a little better).
    Can’t wait to finish reading the rest of these comments

  • Pasta Puttanesca using canned tomatoes, tomato sauce, olives, capers, canned tuna or anchovies, garlic, onion, red pepper flakes and any of the 6 boxes of pasta in my pantry.

  • I am doing this as well. We are moving in a month and I don’t want to move all my pantry items, so I am trying to eat them up before we go! It is saving money as well!

  • I could make breakfast for dinner as well! Also, chicken fettuccini alfredo, or any type of pasta dish for that matter! But I’m loving your idea of the chili cheese fries. I don’t have fries, but I have potatoes, chili and cheese, so I could make my own!

  • I just did this Jilly, last weekend….how freeing!!! And I ended up with more space too! So I whipped up a simple taco Cassarole! A hit for the whole gang!

  • Hi:

    I just recently lost my daughter to cancer, so I haven’t been cooking anything. However, after seeing this challenge, I have decided to try it.
    I have always been one for stocking my pantry, and freezers just in case of an emergency. However, I haven’t done much shopping in the past few months.
    So, I could make tons of cakes and cookies because I never got around to making my Christmas goodies :( However, that isn’t really a dinner menu item. I have tuna and pasta that could be made into something yummy. I have all the fixings for a red sauce, and soups. I have many options, just not the desire.
    I have tried many of your recipes for various things, and I simply love your blog. Please continue to shine and bless us all with your wonderful ideas.
    Thank you for getting me to think of other things at time when all I want to do is cry.


  • Since we’re finally enjoying cooler weather here in FL, I have been making soups and chili in the Crockpot using lots of canned beans, tomatoes, and broth. The family keeps requesting my minestrone and they also love the corn chowder I came up with which is super easy and actually uses canned corn. An unrelated tip: I keep at least one can each of tuna and chicken breast in the fridge so that it will be cold already if I decide to make tuna/chicken salad for my lunch. I’ve been keeping chopped onion, bell pepper, celery on hand too. Makes meal prep so much easier!

  • I could make Chicken Alfredo with Tyson Grilled & Ready Chicken Strips, Ragu Light Alfredo Sauce, Super Pasta (fortified whole wheat pasta) and seasonings. I could also make spaghetti stuffed garlic bread (pinterest). Then, I could make Rice Krispie bars with the marshmallows my service dog snuck while going through the baking aisle – with a woman behind me laughing so hard, I really couldn’t discipline her, so I just made her give them to me and sheepishly went on our way. Gotta love her. :)

  • I like to make creative soups to use up random veggies and I keep canned broths in my pantry. I can also make chicken and cheese or bean and cheese quesadillas.

  • Taco soup

    Ground turkey
    1 can of black beans
    1 can of kidney beans
    1 can of corn
    1 can of diced tomatoes
    1 packet of taco seasoning
    water according to desired consistency

    Brown ground turkey and then place everything in pot or slow cooker. Heat thoroughly and serve with tortillas or chips.

  • Let’s see…three recipes(or more) right now. 1. chicken spaghetti 2. Chocolate Sheet cake Texas style 3. Pineapple cheese casserole 4. Frito Chili Pie 5. spaghetti and meatballs 6. BBQ baked potatoes 7. Hoppin’ John w/hamburger. But, I have to confess I have a well stocked pantry for emergencies.

  • Thank you SO MUCH for this challenge Jillee!

    With items SOLELY from my pantry, I could make many meals. But my all-time favorite is Tuna-Mato. 1 box mac and cheese, 1 small can tomatoes, 1 small can tuna, salt, pepper & other seasonings to taste.

    Make the mac & cheese according to package directions. Add the tomatoes and tuna, along with desired seasonings, and warm through. Delish!

    The gift card would be nice, but you’ve already saved me more than $150 by proposing this challenge. You have reminded me how rich I am with the things I already posess. No need to spend money needlessly. – THANK YOU!

    And Thank You to everyone who posted – you got my culinary juices flowing!

    Gramma Lu
    T’Rivers, WI

  • Right now I could make spaghetti and meatballs, chicken salad, bacon Mac & cheese, chicken & dumplings. I stay pretty well stocked up. Always have something in the fridge, freezer or pantry to go to.

  • Pasta with kalamata olives and artichokes.
    Swiss fondue with cheese and beef.
    Slowed cooked pork with carrots, onions, and potatoes.
    Antipasto salad with Kalamata olives, cheeses from frig, ham and salame with French bread.
    Pizza with mozzerella cheese, tomato sauce and pepperoni.
    Herb roasted chicken with sweet potatoes and spinach salad.
    Spaghetti and homemade meat balls.
    Breaded talapia with rice and corn on the cob.
    Parmesan eggplant and salad.
    Guess I have a full pantry for awhile, so no shopping needed.

  • I can make a QUICHE anytime just using the leftovers from my fridge. Eggs, odd vegetables, leftover meat, almost empty cheese packages, etc.

    Also, I am using up the food from my pantry and freezer that are ovedue. Anything with too much freezer burn or outdated from my pantry I take to our local Food Bank where they have a depository for farmers who come for food for their pigs or chickens. Doesn’t seem like such a waste if I do that.

  • I’ve been playing a game (as I do every January) that I call snowbound pantry. I don’t often actually get snowbound because I live in a heartland city. The game is to use up as many things from my pantry and freezer as I can without having to buy things from the store.

    I have 2 get-togethers left for this month, one tonight. So, I’m making chicken vegetable soup, home-made bread, and banana pudding for my guests. I had frozen yellow peppers, carrots, onions, green beans, chicken thighs, all begging to jump into the soup pot and two different pastas that work well in this chicken soup. I am using up a couple of bananas, a package of vanilla pudding, whipped cream and some cookie crumbs for dessert. I’ve been making artisan bread for the last several days, and today will wipe out all the flour that I have in the house.

  • Whenever we don’t know what to make we always do pancakes for dinner, but also if I can use my freezer to I almost always have the ingredients on hand for chicken dumplings. Yum!

  • Burritos using homemade refried beans I have in the freezer, tortillas that are in the cupboard, the last of the shredded cheese, and I may have enough sour cream in the container — if not, well, they will still be good.

  • I have the stuff to make caramelized onion and bacon dip with homemade garlic naan. I LOVE this stuff – so creamy and flavorful, not to mention the wonderfulness of homemade naan. I could make any homemade bread product: whole wheat bread, hamburger buns, hot dog buns, rolls, biscuits, tortillas, bagels…
    OR most homemade condiments. I have enough stuff right to make Caesar dressing, Ranch dressing, italian dressing.
    Not to mention our homemade toiletries :) toothpaste, deodorant, body powder, hairgul, face wash, shampoo/conditioner, body wash…

  • I stock my pantry & freezer well since we live a ways from town. So – I would be able to feed my husband & I for quite a long time. We would be able to have…hashbrown casserole, hamburgers, potato soup, hot dogs (the good ones :-), cabbage & kielbasa, chicken noodle soup, chili, and yes we do breakfast quite often for supper. We love crepes! We are gluten-free so also have a good stock of g/f flour for our bread that I make 1-2 times a week. Just made meatloaf & mashed potatoes yesterday and have enough for leftovers tonight. (YUM)

  • Great minds think alike! Perfect timing – except I just did a “Freezer Inventory” last weekend, instead of the Pantry Inventory (which would also be helpful) with exactly this in mind…. use what I have and skip a few trips to the grocery! I’ve got about three weeks worth of meals ahead of me, starting with homemade potato soup from the freezer, and following with baked salmon, meat loaf, and more “Already Homemade Soups”. I love to make a large pot on cold winter days and freeze three or four quarts for later!

  • Oh Lord.. I could come up with 2 or 3 moths worth of meals in my pantries, frig & freezer..

    Tonight though.. we’re going to have Buffalo Chicken Breasts with fried potatoes for M’honey and probably broccoli for me. I might have a few marinated veggies with mine too.

  • Tonight we’re having yellow rice made with chicken broth with black beans and whole kernel corn. Can’t wait! I’ll also chop some fresh onion as garnish and make some cornbread with creamed corn added. All from pantry & fridge.

    Thank you for the opportunity to win the Walmart gift card.

  • chili
    veggie soup
    tuna casserole

    are what could be made for lunch/dinner from pantry

    also have pancake mix for breakfasts

    and cake, jello mixes for desserts

  • BBQ chicken roll ups and never made them so yay!! Chicken and noodles with mashed potatoes. Mexican Roni- macaroni hamburger taco seasoning crushed tomatoes beans and tortilla chips.

  • Right now I could make Enciladas, Chicken and Dumplings, Cheeseburger Macaroni, Chicken and Rice (3 different ways). That doesn’t count the soup and sandwiches meals.

    This is exactly the way I plan my menus! I try to have a the non-refigerated/frozen items on hand at all times. I get them when they are on sale and stock up on them. This way there is enough to make satisfying meals even when we are hit with expenses we haven’t budgeted for. As far as I am concerned, this is the only way to do it.

    Have a friend come over and tell you what they would make with the things you have, and you do it for them. You may find that if you swap one or two thingswith each other, you will have even more meals.

  • We have a Preppers pantry, so I am able to make pretty much, any recipe you could think of. I just finished canning 5 (25 pound turkeys). I have two 5 gal. food containers filled with shredded cabbage, which in a few weeks will become sauerkraut to go with our canned corn beef or ham. My dehydrators are filled with 29 cent a pound bananas. Having gluten-free turkey meatloaf canned is a great ready-made when my grandsons come. My favorite recipes for my pantry from your site are the laundry, cleaning and beauty recipes. Those are the ones I want to start adding to our pantry. I would love to get to the point of going to the store, maybe once a month….