The Pantry Challenge Journal ~ Week 2

I started off last week struggling with my menu. I don’t know why it was harder. Perhaps it’s because I felt restrained by my Pantry Challenge. Making out my grocery list was also hard, because even though I was not adding frivolous items to the list, I still felt it was cheating by going to the grocery store at all. However, I was out of eggs and that cannot happen. Another thing that makes it hard is that sometimes I am flipping through recipe after recipe but nothing inspires me. Especially since we’ve got so much fresh tuna in the freezer. Finding something yummy to make of it besides the same old tuna casserole or baked fish recipes is really hard. Consequently, I have no tuna recipes to share at the moment. But in an effort to use up what I’ve got and to maintain a variety, here is what I made this week:

Monday, January 9th: Brown sugar and Dijon honey-glazed salmon. See BBQ Salmon for the recipe.

Tuesday, January 10th: Steak Taquitos.  Because I am working solely out of my pantry I wanted an occassion to use up the frozen Steak Taquitos I bought from Schwan’s and because Cory is out of town AGAIN I knew the boys would have a lot of fun with this. For our veggie I mixed together leftover lima beans and skillet corn for a new twist. Very good.

Served with salsa and sour cream

Wednesday, January 11th: Ground Turkey and Olive Ragu. The basis of this recipe came from somewhere else, which originally a veal and olive ragu served with papardelle pasta. Cook up 1 lb. ground turkey meat with 1 small onion, chopped, and 2 cloves garlic, chopped. After the meat is cooked through add 1 Tbsp rosemary sprigs and 3 oz. tomato paste. Mix in well and heat through. Add 1/2 cup green olives, chopped, and 1/2 cup dry white wine, and 1 tsp parsley. Heat through and add 1/2 cup pasta sauce. You could add more sauce, depending on how saucy you want it, but generally speaking a ragu is not a sauce. Top with parmesan cheese. The boys weren’t crazy about the olives but I liked it. I served it over leftover spaghetti noodles.


Thursday, January 12th:  Steak Quesadillas. I am a Chicken-eating girl at heart. I rarely ever choose steak anything, but I had 2 packages of steak strips in my freezer and needed to make good use of them. The boys like steak so this worked out good for them. I opened one package and pre-cooked it in a skillet with a little olive oil and some Southwest Chiptole seasoning. After I cut the pieces up, I added them to my tortillas with cheese and tomato. Using my handy little Foreman Grill, I made my quesadillas. I served them with black beans, rice, and salsa.

Friday, January 13th: Chicken Cordon Bleu. This is a healthy version I got from my friend Bekki. She made it for me years ago when I was visiting at her house and I have made it ever since. My whole family loves it. It’s very simple to prepare: take boneless, skinless chicken breasts and sear for a few minutes on each side. Wrap in turkey bacon and bake at 350* for 30 minutes or until cooked through. Top with a slice of swiss cheese (or provolone) and melt. Serve with rice, cous cous, or mashed potatoes and a veggie. Here I mixed leftover risotto and kale with leftover black beans and added a pinch of salt and dried cilantro, and some chopped tomatoes. Delicious!

Saturday, January 14th: Family Night. Bowling and dinner at Applebees.

Sunday, January 15th: Whole Roasted Chicken with, seasoned baby potatoes, collard bake, glazed rutabagas, greenbeans, and whole wheat rolls. Sunday’s are my traditional dinner days.

As you can see, I am on a mission here 🙂 Though I generally cook dinner most days of the week anyway. The times you see us eating outside of the home is not any more or less than normal for us. We do not have a separate budget for eating out because we don’t do it often. Restaurants are more expensive on the island, plus most of them close down during the winter months anyway. I am thankful there are no fast food chains around here because we don’t normally eat at them and it would be a considerable waste of our money for zero nutrition.

2 weeks left to go!

Head on over to my second post today and read Family Time. Thanks!


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