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If you can eat for a week from your pantry, you’ll be well on your way to living as frugally as possible. And it’s totally possible as well! Let us show you how…
I consider my pantry to be an important part of being prepared….for anything! One of the most important functions of my pantry is to help me ride through any financial storm I might face. Yes, there are foods I love to buy and enjoy when the time is right.
However, if there is a lean week, my pantry is there for me like a good friend. (If you want some tips on building a pantry on a budget, check out this great article!)
What is so important to note is that I fill my pantry with amazing sale items. So, it not only represents a storehouse of food, but also a storehouse of savings. Just one example of this was a recent sale at a discount store, where 10 pounds of onions were a mere $1.97. Of course, I bought TWO! They are keeping quite well in my utility room and I use them regularly.
Recently, I have felt the need to tighten my belt a bit
Not going grocery shopping saves me money on gas, as well as money on food. I’m going to share what a week with minimal grocery shopping and maximal pantry eating looks like for me. While I clearly can’t do this forever – my pantry would eventually empty – I find that it helps me get by in tight times.
Then, I top it up when I am able.
What is great about my pantry meals is that they are some of my favorites and I don’t feel at all like I’m “doing without.” I hope my week of meals will inspire you and your own pantry plans.
My Shopping List on my Shopping Lite Week
- Dozen local farm fresh eggs – $4 –using only half of them this week = $2/week
- 4L organic milk – $9 – using only half of it this week = $4.50/week
- Pound bag of carrots – $2.49
- Bunch of celery – $1.97
- Bunch of kale – $2.49
- 10 large Whole wheat Tortillas – $4
- Bunch of Bananas – $2
- Grocery Cost Total: $19.45
Pantry Items I can use on my Shopping Lite Week
- Organic spelt kernels
- Other baking items (baking soda, salt, curry powder, cinnamon)
- Red lentils
- Peanut butter
- Onions (I keep 20 pounds in my utility room, bought on sale for less than $4)
- Ginger (I keep some ginger root in my freezer at all times)
- 1 can tuna
- 1 box Kraft dinner (white cheese, please!)
- Coffee (I have some beans on hand this week, but could use my emergency instant coffee jar in a pinch)
- 2 cans chick peas
- 2 cans tomatoes
- 1 L low sodium chicken broth
- 1 jar organic apple sauce
- Chia seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
This list gives you everything you need to eat for a week from your pantry.
Breakfasts That Allow You to Eat for a Week From Your Pantry
My favorite breakfast is peanut butter and jam on toast. Because I’m not buying any bread this week, I will celebrate my Irish roots and make Irish Soda Bread. I like to cut my soda bread into four quarters (called farls) and fry it in my cast iron frying pan. The pantry items I use for my breakfast are: whole wheat flour, 1/2 cup freshly ground spelt kernels, homemade kefir for making the soda bread instead of buttermilk, baking soda, salt, peanut butter, jam, coffee, and milk.
If you want to learn more about getting started with making your own homemade kefir, check out my How To Guide 1 on my website.
Hearty Pantry Suppers
I am lucky that I don’t need a whole lot of variety in my food. If I like something, I can eat if quite frequently. So, for my pantry week, I would plan to make only three supper meals. The first is my famous tuna mac casserole, made with a can of tuna and a box of KD macaroni. My secret ingredients in this are a can of tomatoes and some dried chilis to add heat. This would make me two suppers with leftovers.
My second pantry meal is chick pea curry, with two cans of chick peas, one can of tomatoes and some chopped onions, garlic, and ginger and spices. I would serve this over pantry rice. Again, this would give me two suppers with leftovers. For either of these two suppers, I can have steamed carrots and/or kale to accompany them.
Finally, I make an absolutely fabulous red lentil curried soup that would use my chicken broth, some carrots, onions and celery and spices and, of course, red lentils. It is soooo delicious, and even better the second day. It makes such a big pot that I could have my remaining three suppers with lots of leftovers, even some to freeze for another lean week. When I eat this soup, I will have some of my Irish soda bread along with it. I like to dip it in the soup when the soup is too hot to eat at first.
Lunches for the Frugal
My lunches on my pantry week would be simple: leftover KD casserole one day, leftover chick pea curry with freshly chopped kale in a tortilla wrap another day.
One day, I can have a scrambled egg omelet with onions and garlic for lunch, either with soda bread or in a tortilla. With any of these meals, I can eat some of my extra carrots and celery raw on the side, or some gently steamed kale. On the other four days, I can have some of my homemade kefir and the muesli I make by mixing oats with raisins, chia seeds, and pumpkin seeds and cinnamon. I like to also add some applesauce to this for natural sweetness.
Snacks You Can Eat for a Week From Your Pantry
I have lots of options for snacks this week. Perhaps I will grab a handful of my muesli mix or some jam on soda bread with tea. I sometimes like to cut a banana in half and put some peanut butter on it. Then, I line up some raisins on it. I think this is called “Ants on a Log.” Tasty!
I can also have my bananas plain, or some raw veggies, or even a hard boiled egg. Depending on the amount of time I have available, some of my kale may be made into kale chips as well. There are many options for snacks this week. These are all healthy and I feel great when I eat them.
A Pantry is Like a Bank Account
I am eating from my pantry these days. I put most of my deposits in my pantry months ago. Now is the time to make my withdrawals. It is very helpful to be able to cut back on the cash I’m spending these days.
The next time I will need to go to the grocery store will only be when I run out of organic milk to feed my kefira (live kefir grains)….I just went to check how much milk I have left…yes, OK, enough milk for two more batches of kefir, so I will need to go to the grocery store in a few days. Other than that, I’m great to eat for a week from your pantry.
“My” pantry. Though if you’re stocking it like this, I’ll be more than happy to eat out of yours as well!
A Pantry Saved is a Pantry Earned
Here are some more “eating-from-the-pantry” ideas for you.
Do you stock your pantry for lean times or for another purpose? Could you see yourself trying any of the pantry meals I have shared here? Do you see a potential meal I could make with my listed ingredients? Do you have a great pantry meal you can share with us?
How do you eat for a week from your pantry? Please tell us in the comments below.
Colette is passionate about sharing her knowledge of thrifty living and self-sufficiency. She has developed her skills in self-reliance living in the suburbs, the city, and more recently, on her own Half-Acre Homestead. Colette lived five years completely off-grid and without running water in an eight by 24 foot tiny home while designing and building her own 18 by 24-foot eco-cabin. She has just launched her website, Half Acre Homestead. Colette invites you to stop by and visit this work in progress! Coming soon in February 2022 is her exciting new online program. Interested in Resiliency, Preventative Health, and Self-Sufficient/Off-Grid Housing (to name a few!)? Stay tuned for more details!