Menu Plan ~ Pantry Meals

I have decided the BEST thing about the Pantry Challenge is that my meals have been free or almost free. Most of my ingredients were purchased for other meals, so many of the meals last week were under $0.25 a serving!

My goal was to spend under $100 for groceries during the first two weeks of January. I ended up going over because I happened to be near Costco (which is not close) so I purchased my monthly Costco groceries, then stopped at the Commissary for milk and a few other essentials. I ended up spending $139 total, but we will only need milk for the next week and have all our butter, eggs, and frozen fruit for the next 4 weeks.

Last week my pantry looked like:

This week – definitely showing signs of depletion – and yes, I am aware is is also a mess. Clean up the pantry in on my list for this week.

I veered from my menu a bit last week because I realized I had things that needed to be eaten right away. Here are a few of the highlights.

Breakfast burritos (using eggs, leftover tortillas, extra cheese, and leftover salsa)

Frito Casserole (one stray pack of crescent rolls, leftover ground beef, taco seasoning, leftover salsa, cheese, and half a bag of Fritos)

Beef Soup in a Bread Bowl As good as Panera but a fraction of the price! (used leftover pot roast and potatoes from Christmas, and all the leftover veggies from my freezer)
$0.25 a serving!

Menu for the Week

French Toast, Whole Wheat Pancakes, Whole Wheat Waffles, Cinnamon Rolls

Leftovers, sandwiches with homemade bread, fruit, Greek salads


Northern Beans and Cornbread

Pizza with whole wheat crust



served with mixed vegetables

Sausage and yellow rice

served with carrots, salad, and apple slices

Mexican Chicken Skillet

For more than 300 menu plans each week visit Org Junkie.


  1. We’re having beans and cornbread too. It’s such a delicious, comforting (and inexpensive!) meal with so many flavor variations that we have it several times a month and never get bored.

    Good for you for keeping your weekly tally so low even with a trip to Costco! It’s hard for me not to leave that store for under $100!

  2. Is frito casserole posted somewhere? It might be something we like. I suppose you just gave me a great idea for my ham, cheese, eggs, and tortillas that need used up… mMMMmm!

  3. Sounds like your pantry challenge is going great! I’m participating as well, and my pantry is also looking very depleted:) But that’s a good thing b/c I’m loving not making a huge grocery run for a few weeks.

  4. Last week I asked you where you “bought” your bread bowls, and then after carefully reading your post a day later, I realized you made them from scratch! I will definitely try that! It looks absolutely delicious with the stew! I will be doing a pantry challenge for the next two weeks. I’m looking forward to the savings!

  5. Great idea! Keeping anywhere NEAR $100 for a family of 9 is pretty incredible. We spend almost that much a week for just the 2 of us!

  6. Great on the pantry challenge! !

    Hey, will you be at BlissDom? Would be great to meet up! 🙂

  7. Off to check out the pantry challenge now — you all have INSPIRED me!!

  8. Um, can I come over? Your menu looks great!

  9. We’re doing beans and cornbread as well. Also pizza. I have about 6 more pizza dough rolls in the freezer that really need to be eaten, so that’ll be on our menu all month.

  10. Sounds like a yummy menu!! Thanks for sharing!!

  11. So, I am looking at your wheat recipe – because I want to try that soup in a bread bowl and I am wondering where you get gluten. Thanks!!

  12. Katena Dyser says:

    We are pantry eating because we are moving next month across country. This way we have almost nothing and whatever is left we are freecycling. This has saved my grocery bill and we have came up with some great and inexpensive meals. Thanks for the idea

  13. Tanya Reyes says:

    I am glad I have found this website. I have been doing the pantry challenge system for a long time but always thought I was a bit extreme of me. It feels good to see that other woman are doing it and liking it.

  14. I realize that this article is a year old and you may not read this but you did great! I love that you have an actual pantry, if I had the ability I would too. I have had pantries in the past and LOVE them. I know that this is an old Challenge, but my food budget has been knocked down tremendously and I have to make 90 dollars for four people stretch for a month. It is obvious I will need to spend more for perishables, but I do have quite a bit stocked up in the pantry and a very good person gifted me with some staples. So, this January I am going to see how little I can spend on groceries for the month using what I have in the house. Do you know of any sites that you can punch in what you have on hand and it will find recipes for you? I know they exist, I stumbled on a couple but foolishly didn’t bookmark them. Congrats on your great achievement!

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