Sunday Surprise: Pantry Clean Out

State of our pantry this morning

When my kids open the pantry door to find it looking like this, let the whining commence: “There’s NOTHING to eat!” If they don’t see their favorite pre-packaged lunch and snack items, they are at a complete loss as to how to feed themselves. But I see several days of meals and snacks in this pantry…

– Noodles (with butter and Parmesan) for my picky eaters or meatless spaghetti for others

– Mac n cheese, Ramen, and Spaghettios for quick lunches (in a thermos for school)

– Canned veggies and baked beans for sides

– Flour and sugar for muffins (paired with nuts and/or the frozen bananas I’ve been saving)

– Oats and peanut butter for homemade granola bars, oatmeal balls, and flourless PB/chocolate chip cookies*

– Loads of cereal for breakfast and the after-school munchies

Red beans and Rice for dinner

– Quinoa and pecans to add to my leftover spinach for a more substantial salad

– Canned refried beans to pair with eggs and diced tomatoes for a Southwest breakfast scramble or dinner option

– Pancake mix for Sat morning hot cakes

– Ritz crackers and PB (and maybe some raisins on top) for toddler lunch or snack

– Rice Krispies and marshmallows for my kids’ favorite treat

– Canned corn for a hearty chowder (can add potatoes and diced ham or bacon for a full meal)

– Popcorn, remaining potato chips, and tortilla chips + bean dip for appetizers, sides, or snacks

– Gluten-free crackers, goat cheese in the fridge, and dates for a hearty and quick Mom-lunch

– Barley for a filling soup

– Biscuit mix + Nutella for another breakfast option

While my kids might see our pantry as half-empty, I see it as a pantry half-full. The above list of options may not be enough to stretch for an entire week if you’re feeding a large family, but if you’re looking for ways to save on groceries, you could add a few reasonably-priced perishable essentials, such as fresh fruit and veggies, milk, bread, cheese, lean meats, and butter. With those additions, I bet your “bare” pantry could feed your family for over a week.

Full disclosure – I did take a trip to the grocery store this afternoon because my fridge was looking a little sad and because I have a 4-year-old obsessed with milk, as well as a 9-year-old who binges on fruit. However, I don’t plan to venture back to H-E-B for at least 2 weeks, and our monthly (food only) grocery bill remains under $550 for our family of 6. For more ideas on how to save on groceries, check out my post, 7 EASY Ways to Save on Groceries.

* For this week’s Sunday Surprise, I used ingredients I always have on hand to make Flourless Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies (recipe linked above in list). These are usually a special treat for my husband and me, and the kids have to be quick to snag one for themselves!