Pantry Challenge: $0 Meals Made Using Items From the Pantry

Al's Epic Family Life
by Al's Epic Family Life

Today I'm working on a pantry challenge. In order to save money, I like to do pantry cooking or pantry challenges. I am going to show you all what dinners I create over the course of however long I'm able to avoid the grocery store.

Day 1 - Ground beef with vegetables

I have no meal plans, so every night will surprise you and me both. I pulled out some ground beef, sweet peas, cream of mushroom soup, potatoes, garlic, onion, mozzarella cheese, celery, and whole-kernel corn from the pantry.

I don't know if I'll use everything you see here, and I might add something to it, but I think we can make something tasty with this.

Browning ground beef

We're going to start by browning the ground beef.  

Next, I'm going to be chopping up my veggies. I have the meat on medium heat instead of high heat if it's not fully solid until I get it chopped up. I'm adding my potatoes. 

I'm going to chop some more veggies while this cooks. I drained some grease, added chopped-up celery and onion, and let that cook. This needs some carrots, so I've got these frozen carrots already diced up. We're just going to add those in along with our onions. I just used half of the onion I showed because I like to have onions since we have a pantry challenge. 

Adding vegetables to the beef

I'm going to add half this can of corn and some peas. 

I'm thawing the cream of mushroom soup in warm water; then I will add that in along with some garlic. I'll mix this up.  

Next, I'm going to add cajun seasoning and then just salt and pepper, and I'm going to cook it on medium heat until the potatoes are cooked.  

Pantry challenge recipes

We topped it with shredded cheese and had buttered toast on the side.

Day 2 - Red curry crock pot pork loin

Earlier this morning, I threw a pork coin in my crock pot. I'm going to add more ingredients now that it's been in there for a little bit.

I'm going to take the pork loin out of the crockpot, chop it up a little bit, and then put it back in.  

Cooking red curry crock pot pork loin

I'm going to chop up a whole onion, half an onion from yesterday, and seven or eight cloves of garlic.  

I'm going to add the other half of this jar of red curry paste. In a little while, I'm also going to add some broccoli. 

Adding tomato chicken bouillon

I'm also going to add four cups of water and four teaspoons of tomato chicken bouillon.  

I'm going to add two and a half teaspoons of parsley and a teaspoon each of onion powder and garlic powder. I'm going to finish off this little squeeze of lime juice, a quarter cup of soy sauce, and a tablespoon of brown sugar.  

Stirring vegetables and coconut milk

I'm going to stir this and then add the broccoli, cauliflower, and Thai premium coconut milk.

I'll mix it all again and let it cook for about an hour and a half to 2 hours. It'll be cooking on high for all that time.

Red curry crock pot pork loin

I'm also going to cook some white rice with this filling meal.

Bacon spaghetti and green beans

Day 3 - Bacon spaghetti and green beans

The next night we had spaghetti with green beans on the side. We added leftover bacon from breakfast that morning. Spaghetti is a super easy, kid-friendly, and pantry-friendly meal because all you need is a box of pasta of any kind and sauce. 

Day 4 - Barbecue chicken pasta 

For tonight's pantry challenge dinner, I am making barbecue chicken pasta. I've put two frozen chicken breasts in the instant pot with a cup of water for 30 minutes. 

Shredding chicken

Next, I'm going to shred it up a bit.

How to make barbecue chicken pasta

I'm going to add a 16-ounce box of elbow macaroni and about a cup of barbecue sauce, maybe a cup and a half. 

I'm going to stir this, and then I'm going to use enough water to cover the pasta completely. 

Barbecue chicken pasta

I'm going to pressure cook this for four minutes to cook the pasta; then I'm going to put cheese in and stir it.

Pantry challenge tips

Day 5 - YoYo night

The next night, we had a yoyo night: you're on your own, fridge cleanout, or whatever you want to call it. You could have a sandwich, a wrap, leftovers, or even cereal if you wanted to. 

Day 6 - Chili with hot dogs and fries 

Today is going to be the last day of our pantry challenge. I am making a cheater chili with hot dogs and French fries. We can either have loaded chili dogs or loaded chili fries. 

Ingredients for chili with hot dogs and fries

We've got garlic, onion, potatoes, diced tomatoes, a can of chili, a can of pinto beans, a can of baked beans, and about half a pound of ground beef, along with potatoes to make French fries. 

We'll also be using hot dogs and sandwich bread. I've got my oven 

preheating to 475 degrees. I cut the potatoes into fries, season them with salt, paprika, and garlic powder, and bake them in the oven with oil.

For the chili, I've got my onion and my garlic chopped, and I'm going to put my ground beef and the onions in the skillet. I'm going to let these cook for a little bit, and then I will add the garlic. 

Cooking beef with garlic

Once the beef is cooked, I'm going to add my garlic and let that cook for another second or so until it's fragrant. 

Adding tomatoes to the chili

Next, I'm going to add in the tomatoes and the chili. 

The next addition is pork and beans and seasonings like chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper. I'm going to let it simmer for a while. 

Pantry challenge meals

This was my bowl once it was done.

Pantry challenge meals

That does it for my pantry challenge. I hope it gave you some inspiration for some pantry meals your family will enjoy. What's your go-to pantry meal? Share in the comments below.

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