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Articles: Food

Living out of your Pantry: Meal Plans

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There comes a time in a mother's life where she is having a particularly hard week and there is no grocery trip in sight. I have been there myself too many times. However, if you are prepared for it by having your pantry fully stocked, making meals will seem a lot less daunting. I consider a "stocked" pantry something that is filled with opportunities for you to make several meals out of some basic core ingredients. There are lots of lists out there that tell you what you should have in your pantry, but few that tell you what to do with it and that fit each individual's personal tastes. If you do menu-planning then you will already have a good idea of what you can make with your own ingredients. If you do not do menu-planning, this is a good place to start to discover what is important for you to have in your pantry. You can read all about that in my article on grocery shopping.

This has been my month to live out of my pantry and thankfully we were fully stocked. Although, the last few days are always the hardest not to break down and go to the store. I did this to test my skills as well as save us some money during a particularly tough month on our finances. What good would a website called, "Mom Advice" be when I do nothing that I advise everyone else on?

This article will break down for you what my meal plan for the month was, my shopping list of the ingredients I needed to accomplish this, and the recipes that I used to make the meals. There are a few important things to keep in mind for how I did what I did. All of these items were already in my freezer and pantry. I don't really consider it living out of my pantry when I am making my usual grocery trip and buy all of the ingredients. Because I was using ingredients I already had on hand it required a lot of creativity on my part to create meals that were relatively healthy, easy to prepare, and something different each night.

Within my meal plan, I have sixteen meals listed. This leaves room for you to have a few nights of leftovers, and if you are lucky, at least a few nights off from cooking. In my shopping list, I do not include things that you will need for lunch or breakfast. I try to think creatively in that department as well. For example, we ran out of cereal half of the way through the month. We then started eating toast, French toast, pancakes, and eggs. For lunch, I usually rely on my two standbys: grilled cheese or peanut butter and jelly. I know that this can get old after awhile so you can always have some of those leftover homemade meals for a little variation.