There are a number of reasons to do an eat from the pantry challenge. One reason is to simply eat down what you've stocked up so that things don't go bad. Another reason is because you need to save money (like for Christmas gifts!), quickly build up your emergency fund, or to survive a No-Spend Month.
Whatever the reason, there are tips you can use to make things easier. Whether you check the dates or get creative, you can survive an eat from the pantry challenge.
Check the Dates
First things first. If you haven't organized your pantry by expiration dates, you want to sort through everything and make sure you're going to use the products that expire sooner first. While you're doing this, organize like products together so that everything is easier to find. Chances are your pantry is already set up the way it should be, but it never hurts to make sure things are in order.
If you want to truly live off the things in your pantry, make meatless meals at least two times per week. It might be vegetable soup, vegetarian chili, beans and rice, or a variety of other dishes. If you're doing this challenge to use up your stock, a soup can use up a lot of product. Make a large batch of soup using chicken broth and your favorite vegetables. You can freeze the leftovers for easy meals in the future.
As the challenge goes on, you're going to need to get creative. You may be left with items that don't seem to match up. For example, you might have corn, chicken broth, and processed cheese. It might not seem like it, but you can use these items to make corn chowder. There are also websites online where you can enter ingredients and get recipe ideas.
Make a Game Out of It
Host your own version of Chopped. Have your family choose the ingredients and then do your best to come up with something delicious. Remind them that they're going to have to eat what you make. This will ensure they don't choose items that are REALLY different from each other.
Get the Family Involved
Last, but not least, get your family involved. Let them give you meal ideas. This can be a great way to get your kids involved in cooking. Each week, go through the pantry and work together to create a yummy menu for the week.
A pantry challenge can be a great way to save money or use up your stockpile. However, it can get trying. The key is to have fun with it, be creative, go meatless from time to time, and get the family involved.