The Not Quite Bare Cupboard Challenge: Final Update

Since we have officially eaten the last of the planned meals, I thought I'd do one final update with an amended list of leftovers to carry over to the next challenge and share a surprising bonus to my week.

The week went off pretty much as planned.  In reality I might have added in salads but in fact we ate what was on the menu save

We had chicken pot pie. That served us for two meals.  I went out to lunch with Mama one day and had a very light supper that evening.  I wish I could tell you what, but all I truly remember eating is berries and yogurt!

We had soup for two meals on Thursday which was cold and blustery.  The soup was tasty.  The noodles photographed were leftovers.  I let them sit overnight and put them into a jar. 

This is an ample amount of leftovers to serve the two of us.  Considering I just made a half recipe, I was quite pleased.  As Sarah pointed out gDonna made pasta this past week.   Two weeks before she made  noodles which is where I drew my inspiration from when I made out my challenge menu.  If you haven't read gDonna's blog, I do suggest it.  Not only is she frugal but she truly does have an interesting approach to living her simple life.  She is something of a plain cook but there's something very charming about her blog overall.  I want to go visit just to fill my eyes with all her lovely d├ęcor!

The same day I made the noodles, I put a cup of yogurt in a flour sack lined strainer over a deep bowl to drain and make Greek yogurt. 

Friday Mama treated John and I to a meal out as a belated birthday gift.  We enjoyed our meal which was absolutely delicious.  We didn't over indulge but we did end up bringing leftovers home.  John and I ate our leftovers for supper that night.

On Saturday we had guests.  Bess had mentioned that she really missed Sam making pizza on the weekend for them and I thought making pizza would be a fun way to nudge him back into the pizza making mode.  I told him my plan when he came in: I'd make the yogurt based dough and he could make his yeast dough and we'd compare the two.  That meant I was down another packet of yeast but we never finished one loaf of bread this week and certainly didn't need the second package to make more.  I would still have a packet of yeast left. 

Since he offered to buy lunch prior to my suggestion, I offered to pull a couple of items from the freezer and fridge to doll up our pizzas. We'll just pretend the guests brought some fixings since he was willing to pay out of pocket for lunch anyway, okay?  Had I truly been in my challenge situation I couldn't have done more than offer up a bit of sliced onion! 

Sam grabbed a can of fire roasted tomatoes from the pantry to make sauce with and then he and I both got busy with other prep and let it burn, sigh.  Fortunately the tomatoes just took on a smokier taste rather than bitter scorched flavor.  Had I added this in to my scenario budget it would have been just 40c from Aldi (which is exactly where I bought them). He did add about half my can of tomato paste to the sauce. 

I pulled my drained yogurt from the fridge and discovered that I didn't have a cup of  Greek yogurt.  I had a flat disk of a cream cheese like substance that might measure 1/3 cup total, not Greek yogurt.  Sam and I discussed it and determined that my homemade yogurt was already the thickness of  Greek yogurt, so I used a cup of it to make the dough.  This was a super simple recipe of 1 cup Greek yogurt to 1 cup flour and then you mix in as much of another 1/2 cup of flour as you can.  I would add a pinch of salt to that mixture next time.  It made a chewier dough and we agreed amongst us that had it been parbaked before topping it would have been best, but it was certainly edible and not at all biscuit like which I'd thought it might be.

The  yogurt 'cheese' I set to the side.  Sam and I both pinched a little piece from the disk and liked it.  Just slightly tart, creamy and smooth.  We decided to use that cheese on our pizzas in addition to the 8 ounce block of cheese.  There were pizza leftovers (about four slices) though we ate all we wanted from the two pizzas. 

For supper that evening, instead of having leftover pizza, I wanted to go ahead and use the chicken legs.  I decided to make the boxed Mac and cheese to go along with that and made up a salad to go along with it.  When I told John it was the last of the chicken he said "Good!"  I think he'd gotten a bit tired of chicken this week, lol.  I will definitely buy one of these roasters again in the future when I see them at Aldi.  Remember this bird weighed in at 10 pounds.  And I didn't save the giblets packet but cooked those and fed to the pets.

Now let us return to scenario foods for a moment or two.  I have leftover at this point:

four slices of pizza
1 c dried black beans
1 can refried beans (I didn't make dip, didn't use on pizzas either as I'd thought I might at one point)
1 package of dry yeast
2 onions
1 pound of potatoes
1/2 bunch of celery
1/2 pound carrots
about 1 1/2 pounds flour (or about 6 cups)
about 3 1/2 pounds sugar (or about 7 cups)
about 3 cups of oatmeal (remember we only had it 3 mornings)
3/4 cup of cooked chicken
1 quart of chicken broth with fat still atop
2 cups egg noodles
5 cups yogurt
2 eggs (we didn't eat an omelet for supper as planned)
tomato paste about 2 ounces (or 1/3 of the can)
1/2 jar of peanut butter
1/3 cup of margarine
garlic powder

So for my next challenge, I will begin with something of a pantry.  Were it too prove necessary I could easily a meal or two off these foods.

Remember that is a food only budget and it's not feeding our cat or dog nor providing us with personal care, cleaning or paper products.  So we'll keep pressing forward and seeing what we can do in future challenges but I say sincerely I feel I could manage well enough on this particular budget if need be.

Of the two challenges thus far, the $30 challenge, while still difficult to plan out, was more satisfying than the $20 budget challenge.  For my area, I don't believe I'd like to have to go below $30 if we found ourselves in dire straits.  That said, I'm not sure if I could manage from only our local store at that budget level.  I see another challenge in my future...


Delorise said...

I am so enjoying this. Thanks for sharing.

Sew Blessed Maw [Judy] said...

How fun the pizza making sounds...
Enjoying these post. Have a good day.

Carole said...

You can buy yeast in a jar at any supermarket and in bags at a bulk food store such as an Amish run store or health food type stores. It keeps indefinitely in the freezer. By doing that, you would not have to be so sparing in your use of yeast. You probably already knew that, but you mentioned using packets.

Anonymous said...

My grandmother used to put her noodles out to dry by putting a towel over the back of a kitchen chair and then putting the noodles over that . I think she did it cause it takes up less space that way. I do that too because I would have no place to put them on a towel flat to dry. I even saw a lady put a quick clothes line up in the house and using the towel like that. ..or a on a long kitchen towel bar. It has been a long time since I made noodles but I may just do it soon!
I did not see any fire roasted tomatoes at out Aldi. They may be out. I will ask. I like to use them. I have heard people say they roast them before canning for extra flavor now too. I have not done a challenge but can see how it would be so helpful to have that information now before retirement or anything changed our incomes. We have all been married long enough to see prices of the basics and meats go way up then level out and even go way down then up again. I never thought meats would get so low as they have recently. As the herds get culled prices will go up again probably. Weather and many things also contribute to price changes. We all seen this before. To have a basic cost ideas of what we would need to keep a balanced healthy pantry + too the extras needed for the house would be soothing to know. Yes inflation etc changes things but as we said things go up and another goes down and many times it evens things out in the long run. [[ hopefully!! :-) ]] I have learned a lot. It got me to thinking...which is good! Sarah

Anonymous said...

I don't know if you follow the blog but Jane decided recently to do a $20 a week challenge too. She only used salt and pepper from her pantry doing like you buying everything from scratch. If you haven't been following her you might like to go and see if you can get any new hints. Sarah

Anonymous said...

P.S. I already told her the other day to come to your blog to do the same. !! Good minds like you two have think alike! Sarah

Terri Cheney said...

Thank you for that link Sarah. I stopped by briefly this morning to scan her last post and linked her to my favorite blogs so I can read through her blog. Very interesting! I'm excited to see how another works with this sort of challenge.

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