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Create Meals From Your Pantry For Two Weeks

Savvy ATM: Take This Two-Week Challenge

Aside from being a shoe junkie, something else I'm guilty of is buying ingredients without actually having a corresponding recipe. I love jarred items in particular, like marinated artichoke hearts and varieties of olives, pearl onions, and baby dill pickles. Eventually I end up with shelves of lovely ingredients with just a few random basics, and I'll spontaneously commit to two weeks of creating meals with primarily what I have on hand. Instead of spending money on additional groceries or eating out, I'll rely only on what I create in the kitchen.

During the two weeks the only food-related items I'll allow myself to purchase are fresh fruits and vegetables to make the pantry crafted meals more healthy and colorful, and I'll only buy them when I have a specific meal in mind so that they don't end up going bad before I get around to using them. I also give myself a budget for these items so that I don't go crazy at the farmers' market. Week one of the challenge is usually pretty easy and it's fun creating my own dishes, but toward the end of the challenge my drawer full of takeout menus starts to taunt me.

This challenge is always satisfying in the end — it's a great way to use random items you have lying around save money by restraining yourself from buying unneeded groceries and eating out. And, hey, depending on how stocked your kitchen you could always extend the challenge another week.


Join The Conversation
aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
I need to focus on eating what I already have in my freezer, it's stuffed with stuff.
Angelica Angelica 9 years
I have the same problem. I'm taking your challenge starting Monday ;)
gooniette gooniette 9 years
Ha, I thought I was the only one who went on the cupboard diet! Hello Savvy sisters. :)
TidalWave TidalWave 9 years
Oh I use ingredient search all the time! I only go grocery shopping once per paycheck period so I try my best to use everything I have in my cupboards at any given time.
jspeed jspeed 9 years
This challenge is a great idea - I really need to use what I have and stop stuffing the pantry shelves full of more groceries!
ihouse-blog ihouse-blog 9 years
I need to do some of this! Hey I was thinking for some of those odd ingredients or ones you are not comfortable with, check out You can enter an ingredient (among other things) and get a great recipe.
bellaressa bellaressa 9 years
Lady, where do you lie at? Free food? I hate when I buy fresh veggies and then I have to leave town for work unexpectedly and then they ruin.
Ladytron7000 Ladytron7000 9 years
My husband is a chef, and just moved to our new town. I'm following in a month, but now I have a fridge and freezer full of fancy-ish stuff I don't have the time or ambition for. Seriously, what am I going to do with a whole chicken carcass and a gallon of frozen stock?
Smart-Living Smart-Living 9 years
SkinnyMarie- That's a great idea — buying those packets of herbs that come in too large portions always frustrate me. Since I don't have room for a mini herb garden, I'm planning to register for one of those kitchen counter herb gardens. Enjoy fresh pesto with all your fresh basil this summer!
lisabunny lisabunny 9 years
It's like we're twins!
SkinnyMarie SkinnyMarie 9 years
I'm guilty of this! What I just did today actually was buy herb plants to grow a mini herb garden for my often used herbs (basil, mint, parsley). I spent $3 on each plant. Thats the same as my buying those dumb packets of "fresh herbs" at the grocery store. I have been thinking of doing this for a while, but was reluctant because of lack of space. But I'm ready to save, and ready to eat better.
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