Celebrating Pantry Eating Week 4 - Celebrating Life with Paula Blog at Allrecipes.com - 297960

Celebrating Life with Paula

Celebrating Pantry Eating Week 4 
Feb. 21, 2013 7:15 pm 
Updated: Feb. 26, 2013 10:31 pm

This eating out of my pantry, frig, and freezer is now on week 4! I did break down and go to the store for toiletries and storage items like toilet paper, paper towels, shampoo, soap, aluminum foil, plastic wrap, and storage bags. I knew I wouldn't have room in the cart for all that plus food. And just getting those type items cost an unbelievable amount! So I decided to spread the cost out :)

Planning menus has now turned into a game for me. It's a challenge on week 4 to come up with new and interesting dishes that actually taste good. Thankfully, I have a husband who plays along and eats almost anything I put in front of him. 

Light Pimento Cheese - This recipe interested me because it didn't have a photo to go with it and because of the prior reviews, one who didn't even make the recipe, I'm sure! For this spread to be good, you need to buy the best tasting pimento cheese the store sells. I happened to have some in my frig, as well as the fat-free cottage cheese, so I figured I'd give it a try. For me, the pickle relish was too overpowering, but oddly enough, my husband really liked it. It did make a pretty tea sandwich, though, don't you think?

We've had a lot going on for the last few months what with our granddaughter's cancer diagnosis and my husband working really late hours. So he decided to surprise me and scheduled a 4-day trip to the coast. Since we were to leave on Valentine's Day, I decided to have an early Valentine's dinner. I must admit, I broke down and bought some strawberries, blackberries, and lemon curd at the store. I wanted them for my special dessert, but more about that in a moment. My entree was Connie's Sweet and Sour Christmas Meatballs. I had all the ingredients for this, so I thought I'd give it a try. I tweaked the meatballs a bit but followed the sauce part exactly. I like that the sauce uses normal, everyday ingredients. I served the meatballs over rice, and fixed a side of Pineapple Casserole. I've certainly had better, but believe this recipe could be improved upon if the flour and sugar were actually mixed into the pineapple rather than just lying on top. I also think there's too much cheese (as well as sugar), but that may be just my preference. 

The dessert was the star of this meal. It was a Chef John recipe, Lemon Berry Tartlets. I had 1 sheet of phyllo dough in my freezer. In fact, I'd been trying to find a use for it lately. Well, I saw this recipe and decided it was what I wanted to fix. Yes, I had to buy the other ingredients for it, but I wanted to fix something really special (and easy) for my Sweetie for our pre-Valentine's dinner. He enjoyed it too!

Our few days at the beach were just what we needed! My husband especially got extra brownie points because when we arrived at our condo, he had flowers and a basket of goodies waiting for me. We slept late, walked the beach, ate seafood, and.............shopped at the outlet mall! Don't I have a fabulous husband? He even shopped with me without complaining. Even more brownie points for that!

Back to reality. My next meal was headlined by an entree I happened to catch on AR's front page - Quick and Easy Mexican Chicken. I accompanied it with noodles topped with the left-over sauce from the chicken and another can of those Jalapeno Black-Eyed peas. Thankfully, my husband loves those peas! (By the way, take a look at the pretty, ruffled white plate. I got it at Goodwill for $.25!)

Another quick and easy meal I fixed was Spinach Ravioli. I had a box of frozen spinach ravioli in my freezer. I also had a jar of Prego Heart Healthy Spaghetti Sauce in my pantry. A quick boil of the ravioli and a quick warming of the sauce and voilĂ ...another meal without buying more groceries. Oh, I also grated a couple of  mozzarella cheese sticks I had bought for the Grands over the top of the sauce, and I pulled out a couple of slices of Onion, Garlic Cheese Bread I had made and frozen earlier in the month. 

My 4th meal was 1-Dish Pepperoni Cheese Pizza Bake. I was really digging to make this. I used 2 different kinds of yeast, the teeny tiny mini pepperoni I had bought for the grandkids, and some mozzarella cheese sticks which had gone past their "use by" date. This was probably my husband's least favorite thing I'd fixed in a while. My attitude is that not all meals are going to be 5 stars. This one certainly would have been better had I used onions, peppers, and another type of meat. But I didn't have all that. So, for this to be my last pantry meal before going to the grocery store, it wasn't bad. 

For dessert this night, I used some of those strawberries and blackberries I bought. I layered them in a pretty dessert dish and topped them with a dollop of lemon curd and whipped topping. Then I sprinkled cinnamon on top. Not Chef John's recipe, but still delicious.

Every day when my husband came in this week, he asked if I went to the grocery store :) I think he's ready for the pantry to have chips and crackers and just a little bit of junk food in it. And now I'm finally ready to go to the store. I used food I already had, didn't have to throw away any expired items, and actually made a game of shopping out of my own pantry for 4 weeks. I think I rose to the challenge and had fun doing it! 

Feb. 21, 2013 8:44 pm
You are my hero! That Pepperoni Cheese bake makes my mouth water and I am not a big fan of pepperoni. Try as I do, I still have to shop twice a month for cat food, milk and fresh fruit and vegetables, but I have whittled down my canned tomatoes and have a plan for some of the canned pumpkin.
Feb. 21, 2013 10:54 pm
Bravo! next challenge , please... KUDOS
Feb. 21, 2013 10:56 pm
Bravo! next challenge , please... KUDOS
Feb. 21, 2013 10:56 pm
sorry double post
Feb. 22, 2013 3:14 am
I'd say you get an A+! Great job - your meals all looked and sounded delicious!
Feb. 22, 2013 4:42 am
Great job, Paula. Now enjoy your trip to the grocery, you deserve it!
Feb. 22, 2013 7:07 am
I think your idea is great! I should be doing that too!
Feb. 22, 2013 8:28 am
Good job Paula. I didn't know your granddaughter was diagnosed with cancer, so sorry to hear that
Feb. 22, 2013 11:42 am
Wow you did an awesome job! love the dessert dishes.
Feb. 22, 2013 2:13 pm
Wonderful job Paula,picyures are great.Don't faint when you see the prices at the grocery store.
Feb. 22, 2013 2:37 pm
BigShotsMom, I have been out of fresh veggies and fruits for at last 2 weeks. It's near about killed me! I've never wanted a red pepper so bad in my life! That 1-Dish Pepperoni Cheese Bake wasn't bad. I'm not that crazy about pepperoni. It seems pretty salty to me. But I had it, so I used it.
Feb. 22, 2013 2:40 pm
Easy123, the next challenge? The Faceless Frenzy this weekend! I've got about 15 recipes that have no accompanying photo on my list to make in one day. Should prove interesting. That will be my next blog.
Feb. 22, 2013 2:41 pm
Mother Ann, Bibi, rita - Thanks for your kind words and encouragment. I feel that I really did save money and wasn't wasteful.
Feb. 22, 2013 2:44 pm
Alex - Yes, our granddaughter was diagnosed with a brain tumor in October. She had surgery, 6 1/2 weeks of radiation, and is now on a year of IV and oral chemo. She's doing well right now and we're taking it one day at a time. Something like this really gives you perspective.
Feb. 22, 2013 2:47 pm
Joey, I loved the desserts too. They turned out really pretty and tasted good too. Or did you mean you liked my glass dishes the dessert was served in? I got those on one of my antique outings. Since you and I share a love for pretty dishes, I bet that's what you meant :)
Feb. 22, 2013 2:48 pm
Manella - Too late! I went to the grocery store this morning and oh my! The cost of food has really gone up!
Feb. 23, 2013 12:31 pm
Yep that is what I meant! ;)
Feb. 23, 2013 12:32 pm
Oh and I like the look of the dessert you did better then the recipe! It looks fresh and yummy!
Feb. 24, 2013 1:31 pm
Yes you did rise to the challenge! And I want you to know that Ive gone thro my pantry & extra fridge and pulled those items to the front that have been thete for a while, and am making efforts to use them because you have inspired me. So Ive used fish sticks, 1/2 # ground pork., long grain rice, yogurt, canned peaches, and I finally opened the curry powder I bought over a year ago. I feel good about finally using some of that stuff and plan to continue until I am satisfied with the status of my pantry.
Feb. 24, 2013 2:21 pm
Good job, Clover! Glad I could inspire.
Feb. 26, 2013 10:31 pm
Wow, what an inspiration you are! I have been staying with my Dad for the last 8 months helping him out and I have thrown away at LEAST 30 or 40 expired cans and bottles of food. Just found a bottle of Rose's lime juice last night that expired in '03..... What I couldn't salvage got fed to the seagulls and the rest...I used. But your loyalty to the pantry is pretty impressive! I'll bet you saved a ton of money, cleared out some space, learned some new cooking techniques and had a blast while doing it all. I will also bet that first pepper tasted GREAT! :)
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About Me
I'm a wife, mother of 2, and grandmother of 6. I love to cook. I especially like to cook new and different recipes. I don't like to have the same meals week after week. My husband has decided it really doesn't matter whether he likes a new recipe or not because he won't see it again for a very long time anyway!
My favorite things to cook
I like to cook entrees and desserts. I like preparing good, down-to-earth cooking. I also decorate cakes, mostly for the grandchildren now.
My favorite family cooking traditions
Holidays bring out the traditions: chocolate chip cheese ball; crockpot chicken and dressing; and broccoli salad, sweet potatoes and butterscotch pie handed down from past generations. Another thing that must be tradition in my family: we all make new recipes when we have company! My mother, sister, daughter, and I all do this. My daddy never understood why we would risk making something we had never made before. Actually, none of us has ever served company a new recipe that didn't taste good.
My cooking triumphs
Cake decorating: wedding cakes, bridal and baby shower cakes, birthday cakes: Little Pirate, Cinderella, Elmo, Strawberry Shortcake. My friends call me Betty Crocker. When my daughter got married, she had a bridal shower where the guests were asked to write something on an apron. My best friend told her if she needed a recipe or help in the kitchen to ask her mother. If she needed a good place to eat out, ask her.
My cooking tragedies
A 4 tier huge wedding cake that fell apart at 2:00am. Thankfully, I still had time to salvage the cake.
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