Well here we are with just one more day of January left. My pantry and freezer challenge was successful in that I used what I had on hand from December 26, 2011 forward except for needing eggs, bread, milk and fresh lettuce, fruits and pet foods. I didn't save one penny of my grocery budget this month however. Not one penny. I spent it all and then some stocking up the pantry and freezer in anticipation of all that I thought I'd use this month. Here I am with two days left in the month and in my freezer I still have several items from that inventory back in December that weren't used. So I'm offering up a continued challenge for another two weeks of Pantry/Freezer challenge, bringing my total to 8 weeks. And this time around I mean to save the budget beyond what I'll need to purchase in milk, cheese, eggs, lettuce, and fruits. John will require a couple of loaves of store bought bread but I also mean to make bread.
In fact, baking is big on my list for February. I meant to learn to make English muffins and bagels this month but due to illness never even went near my baking center at all. John has been busy today with a DIY project. I moved my small freezer into the craftroom closet I use as a pantry area. We had to have a way to plug in the freezer, and didn't want to run an extension cord. Since the outlet was on the opposite side of the wall, we put a hole in the wall about a foot below the outlet, complete with a nice plate cover, ran the plug and cord through the hole right to the outlet. Voila! I now have the second freezer ready to be up and running. And that means I must begin to fill it. I thought baking bread and making doughnuts and bagels and muffins and such might just be the thing to start with, don't you?
Well best get to the menus for the week. I'll post seven menus as I did last week, but at least one meal won't be prepared in our home this week. John wanted to take me out to eat today and I happily accepted. He's working extra hours, I'll be with Mama all afternoon as she gets pre-surgery workups done tomorrow. We had all day today but John knows full well if we stay home we tend to be busy in separate rooms for hours on end. He says leaving home is the only way he can be assured we spend time together, lol. It was lovely to go out with him and the meal was thoroughly enjoyed.
Chicken Dressing Ring with Creamed Chicken, Broccoli with cheese sauce, Cranberry sauce
I have chicken left from roasting a hen this past weekend, dressing put in the freezer at Thanksgiving and Chicken gravy too. A perfect use for our leftovers is this main dish.
Cranberry BBQd Meatballs, Mashed Potatoes, Coleslaw, Corn Muffins
I'll use up the rest of the can of cranberry sauce mixed with some cocktail sauce and poured over the porcupine meatballs I froze a couple of weeks ago.
Tuna Pinwheels, Sour Cream Potatoes, Buttered Sweet Peas with Carrots
Just a baking powder biscuit with grated cheese and a moist tuna mixture (cream of ? soup and tuna or homemade well seasoned white sauce with tuna) rolled and cut into pinwheels.
Slaw Dogs, French Fries, Baked Beans
I froze hot dogs in buns a couple weeks ago, leftovers from our meal. I'll reheat in the oven, serve with leftover slaw from our meatball dinner piled atop. I bought vegetarian baked beans back at Labor Day when the sales were super good. I'll heat these in the oven too, along with the frozen french fries. I might even be a really good homemaker and make an apple pie to pop in that oven, too.
Ravioli with Creamy Winter Squash and Sage sauce, Green Salad, Crusty Bread
I cooked an acorn squash in December but no one was home to help it. So I scooped the pulp form the shell and froze. I'll use that squash to make a creamy sauce seasoned with sage for frozen cheese ravioli.
Tamale Vegetable Pie, Citrus Cabbage Salad, Pineapple Upside Down Cake
Corn, kidney and black beans will make up the vegetarian chili base for this tamale pie. I'll add sections of orange to a sweet dressed Savoy cabbage salad.
Chicken Turnovers with Mushrooom Sauce, Honeyed Carrot Coins, Fresh Spinach and Apple salad
I'm betting I'll still have leftover chicken after making that creamed chicken for the first meal. And if I don't, I'll surely have chicken bits left after boiling that carcass, so we'll likely have enough for a third meal from that chicken. The pastry for this is a cream cheese based pie crust.