Monday, January 04, 2010

The Pantry Challenge Progress Report #1

 January's Eat From The Pantry Challenge started January 1st in our household. Today, Jessica from Life As Mom is asking us to post our progress thus far.

 Over the weekend, I took inventory of all the food in the house and I'll be crossing things off the list as we use them. My general goals are here. 

I'll be making  a supper menu plan weekly and lunches and breakfasts will be planned a day or two at a time to make the best use of my resources. Keep in mind that I am feeding 2 adults with these menus and not a large family, so my goals, recipes, and amounts of food may look vastly different from yours!

With each week's progress report, I'll be sharing the details of what we're eating each week, changes I've made to accommodate the pantry instead of going out to buy more and how much I spent at the store that week.

Being that this progress report is only from Friday through Sunday, there is no grocery shopping to report. But here are the juicy details along with a recipe or two.

Breakfast: toast, clementines
Lunch: lasagna, salad, french bread, roasted garlic for spreading on bread, marinated mushrooms
Supper: Football Snacks while watching the Rose Bowl with friends. I took chocolate peanut squares and some stuffed mushrooms.

Notes: I found 12 ounce boxes of mushrooms at Bi-Lo on Wednesday marked down to 89 cents. I purchased four of them, immediately thinking of sauteed mushrooms and stuffed mushrooms for a football snack. That night, I added one box of mushrooms into the stir-fry. I had found a recipe for marinated vegetables that called for mushrooms, so I used only mushrooms and used 2 boxes in the recipe. The last box I made into Stuffed Mushrooms for the game. I had never made them before so I did a quick Google search for a recipe. After browsing several recipes, I came up with my own:

Mary Ann's Stuffed Mushrooms

12 ounce box mushrooms
3-4 slices of whole wheat bread-used leftover day-old slices I'd stored in the freezer
Italian spices-garlic powder, basil, oregano
1/2 can tomato sauce-leftover in fridge
about 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese- keep a little out for topping

 Wash and dry mushrooms. Remove stems and place mushrooms(stuffing side up) on a greased baking sheet. Make breadcrumbs by pulverizing bread in food processor. Mix in remaining ingredients, being careful to keep a little cheese out to sprinkle on top. I just sprinkled the spices into the mixture-just do what looks about right or tastes good to you. I mixed it really well to allow the tomato sauce to moisten the entire mixture. Spoon the mixture into each mushroom, mounding it up a little. Sprinkle cheese on top and bake at 375 degrees for about 15-20 minutes or until hot and cheese is melted.

**These turned out really good and our friends loved them!  Not bad for something I just whipped up! My mushrooms were on the small side so I had a good amount of filling leftover. Look for that showing up on this week's menu!

I was browsing through my What Would Jesus Eat Cook Book the other day and a recipe for marinated vegetables caught my eye. I was excited to try it with my good deal on mushrooms. I adapted it slightly by using only mushrooms and by changing the ingredients a little.

Marinated Mushrooms
2-12 ounce boxes fresh mushrooms

1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
couple tablespoons balsamic vinegar- I did not measure this but it added so much to the flavor!

Pour mushroom into a plastic bag. Combine remaining ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Pour marinade into bag with mushrooms; seal bag. Turn and mash bag to coat mushrooms. Let marinate in the fridge for 8 to 10 hours, turning occasionally.

**These were very good and reminded me a lot of the jars of marinated mushrooms that we used to get at Sam's Club. We ate some after about 2 hours of marinating and they were good but the ones we ate the next day much better because of the marinade having time to soak int the mushrooms. We still have quite a few left. I can see myself making this recipe with lots of of different veggie combinations. For our New Year's dinner, I threaded the mushrooms on small skewers for a nice presentation.

Breakfast: oatmeal, grapefruit
Lunch: leftover odds and ends from this week
Supper: leftover lasagna, roasted garlic, French bread, salad

Notes: Easy cooking day! My fridge was pretty full of leftovers so we ate those instead of making anything new.

In an immune-boosting frenzy, I picked up a 2 pound bag of fresh garlic on my last trip to Costco. Not until I returned home and began to use them- and used one garlic in over week's time- did I realize just how many garlic bulbs are in a 2 pound bag. I cook with a good amount of garlic and we've been eating some raw for it's immune-building properties, but a little goes a long way. I began looking for ways to use more garlic. I had never roasted garlics before and that sounded yummy so I tried this recipe. It was very easy and quite delicious. Roasted garlic has a more sweet and earthy flavor than fresh garlic and doesn't make your breath stink as much as fresh. I didn't know how many garlic bulbs to roast for the two of us, so I did two. We ate about 1 1/2 at the first meal spread on fresh French bread. I'll definitely be roasting garlic again.

Breakfast-buttered bread, clementines
Lunch- beef stew in the crockpot. We eat with our church fellowship each Sunday and this was my contribution today.
Supper-Chicken chimichangas with salsa and sour cream, rice with salsa and cheese

Notes: Another easy cooking day. I typically keep it pretty simple on Sundays. The chimichangas were a freezer meal. I had leftover rice in the fridge which I mixed with a little salsa and shredded cheese for a simple side dish.

So far the challenge is going very well. No spending so far. I have seen some great grocery deals and have had to say 'no'. This will take some discipline since I am so trained to jump on good deals! I'm still doing a little non-food drug store shopping but am being careful to buy most items that end up being FREE or are needed items that will not cost me a lot out of pocket.

The deals will be there again when i start back to regular shopping in February!

**Check out Life As Mom for more Eat From The Pantry Challenge Progress Reports!

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