Have you ever gotten close to the end of a month with $0 left in your grocery budget, nothing planned for meals, and next to nothing in your pantry? I’m sad to say this happens to me more often than I’d care to admit.
It happened this month in fact! I could list for you the many
reasons . . . excuses . . . reasons why, but bottom line is: I didn’t plan carefully. Hey, it happens to the best of us.
Lately I’ve been doing less couponing, and more shopping at Aldi, getting just what I needed for my meal plan. So my pantry isn’t as stocked with miscellaneous items as it once was. As I took stock of what i had on hand, I knew I was probably going to have to take a $30 trip to Aldi to get me to the end of the month.
But then I decided to suck it up, get REALLY creative, and attempt to eat from the pantry instead!
Here are some tips for successfully eating from the pantry.
- Take stock of everything you have. Write it down or pull it out to help you visualize.
- Be creative. If you need help, check out the ingredient finder on www.allrecipes.com. Type in the ingredients you have and see what recipes come up.
- Don’t be too picky. You’re trying to not go over your budget here, not making some pinterest-worthy gourmet meal.
- Don’t make something gross. The flip side of “don’t be too picky.” If you make something you know will make everyone in the house puke, you’re going to end up ordering a pizza. (And cleaning up puke.) That won’t save you any money. And puke is nasty.
Here’s the menu plan I came up with for the last 3 days of September.
Lunch: PB&J (Last of the bread)
Dinner: Tri-Colored Rotini + Alfredo Sauce + Leftover Meatballs (broken into smaller pieces.)
I would absolutely never make this again if I had a choice, but my husband said, “It’s pretty good, I mean, it’s not the worst thing you’ve ever made.” If that’s not a glowing review, I don’t know what is! (I think it would have actually been pretty good if I had made it with Italian Sausage!)
Lunch & Dinner: Spaghetti Noodles + Frozen Peas + Garlic Salt + Butter + Italian Cheese + Bacon Pieces
This was actually pretty tasty. I had
seconds thirds at lunch time! The best part of doing this experiment is that sometimes you come up with a tasty new recipe you never would have thought of otherwise!
Because I ate so much for lunch, ahem, I’ll probably make myself a baked potato for dinner. (A stuffed baked potato is another great pantry dinner.) There are so many things you could put in it!
Lunch: Cereal (Most likely, unless I can think of something more creative by then!)
Dinner: “Brinner” Sausage, eggs & Pancakes
I saved the best for last as a reward for making it to the end! Brinner is my go to I “don’t have any food in the house” meal. I almost always have pancake mix and eggs in the house, but this time I really lucked out because I also had sausage!
Have you ever tried to “make something out of nothing” at the end of the month? If not, why not give it a go sometime? I’d love to hear about what you make!