Menu Plan Monday: Operation Eat All the Food

by Elizabeth on August 12, 2013 · 8 comments

in Adventures, Eat All the Food, Menu Plan Monday, menu planning

*ETA: I forgot to add links to the recipes I’m using as well as picture of my pantry.  I know you want to see it.*

Besides making me struggle with my own imperfections, the thing I hate most about Pinterest is that it enables my recipe hoarding habit.  I have over 1100 recipe pins; that’s over 53% of all the things I’ve pinned!  What makes this is so bad is that I constantly want to make new recipes and try new things.  Which  means I have to buy lots of food which tends to result in an expensive grocery bills.

This summer I’ve noticed 2 things: one, I seem to be going over my $50/week food budget a lot (that also includes toiletries and household products), sometimes by as much as $15; and two, my pantry is so full that I don’t have room for new purchases.  I am one person; I do not need a pantry so full that things fall out when I try to put something away.

One person should not have this much food.

One person should not have this much food.

I realized this on Saturday, when I was menu planning and getting my grocery list together.  I was writing down that I needed to buy pasta and diet coke because they were on mega sale AND I had coupons when I realized that I should probably check and see if I actually needed those things.  I opened the pantry door and found two unopened 12 packs of diet coke (plus some sprite left over from a party) and no less than 6 packages of pasta.  Seriously, y’all.  It’s out of control.

It’s time for Operation Eat All the Food.


For the next 6 weeks, I’m going to be working my way through all the food in my pantry, freezer, and refrigerator.  I will not be stocking up on any food, no matter how good the sale/coupon combination is.  I will be aiming to keep my spending at $30 or less.  I have all the toiletries and cleaning supplies I need for a while, so I’m thinking this shouldn’t be too hard.  I will mostly focus on buying produce and dairy and creating meals around what food I have on hand.  I’ve also got to cut back on eating out because not only do I need to eat the food I already have, I’ve got to stop spending so much money.

I will be doing my best to update you all (and hold myself accountable) on my progress including my spending and what I’ve used up.  I did really well on Saturday; I only spent $26 and that included some sirloin steak and chicken breasts.

The plan for this week is as follows:

Lunch: leftover pizza
Dinner: eating at my parents
Using up  – pizza

Brunch: bagel with cream cheese; fresh fruit
Dinner: chicken picatta pasta (bumped from two weeks ago) *okay so I ended up eating out with The Carpenter and his kids.  At least I didn’t spend any money. ;)*
Using up – cut up fruit, pasta, fresh lemon, parsley

Lunch: leftover pizza
Dinner: meatball subs, salad
Using up – hot dog buns, meatballs, lettuce, croutons, cheese

Lunch: egg salad on crackers, fruit
Dinner: Bible study where dinner is provided
Using up: eggs, crackers, cut up fruit

Lunch: egg salad sandwich, chips, cherry tomatoes and sliced cucumbers
Dinner: basil butter hasselback potato, salad
Using up – eggs, sandwich bread, lettuce, croutons, cheese

Lunch: leftover potato, salad if there’s any left or tomatoes and cucumbers
Dinner: Chinese orange beef over rice, steamed broccoli
Using up – leftovers, rice (why do I have so much rice?!), green onions

Lunch: leftover Chinese beef
Dinner: TBD (if I don’t eat with my parents it will be leftovers or scrambled eggs and toast)
Using up – leftovers, eggs (maybe), sandwich bread (maybe)

Anyone else want to join me in Operation Eat All the Food?

This post is linked to Menu Plan Monday



{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Amber August 12, 2013 at 12:03 pm

Great minds think alike, because as soon as I read this title, I thought of Hyperbole and a Half.

Tentatively, my plan is–
Monday: Grilled chicken & roasted zucchini (Rob grilled chicken for me last night and I’m going to attempt to roast some zucchini; You can tell Rob isn’t home, because I’m having a green vegetable!)
Tuesday: Leftover chicken or good ol’ Hormel chili out of a can
Wednesday: Spaghetti
Thursday: Chicken Voila!
Friday: Tacos (maybe–I’m paranoid by the recent meat recalls)

I’ve really got to start planning what to make and freeze for when Olivia gets here. We already aren’t very good with planning & cooking, so I know that when we have a newborn, there needs to be little thought & effort into what we’ll be having for dinner!


2 Elizabeth August 12, 2013 at 2:07 pm

If anyone offers to bring you dinner after y’all get home with Olivia, say yes! Be upfront about what y’all like and don’t like, and you can always say “I’d love to have something that freezes well”. I would much rather someone provide me with instructions about what the family might like rather than me blindly showing up with some random casserole they’re not going to eat or have gotten 6 of already.


3 Katrina Vega August 12, 2013 at 3:50 pm

I love your idea of using up all the food in your pantry. It really is going to save you money and keep from wasting food. I hope it works out and good luck!

*visiting from Menu Plan Monday*


4 Elizabeth August 13, 2013 at 3:28 pm

I do hate food waste! Thanks for stopping by!


5 Karen August 12, 2013 at 9:08 pm

Thanks for visiting my blog! I love your writing style and your attitude! 🙂 I can’t count all the times I’ve attempted Operation Eat All the Food but apparently I am incapable of not stocking up, LOL.


6 Elizabeth August 13, 2013 at 3:28 pm

I attempt it at least once a year and it never sticks. I’m determined this year because I know there’s stuff in my pantry and freezer that’s been there for more than a year.


7 Leah August 16, 2013 at 12:29 am

Oh, my I love a challenge, especially a pantry challenge. I need to clean out my freezer. hmmm…I will have to mull this over for a future week. I am kind of a recipe nut too. I generally try a new recipe almost every time I cook. Odd I know, but I have been doing it for nearly 9 years and haven’t had a bad meal twice! Good luck with your pantry fun. Are you going to set aside the extra amount to stock up to do new recipes?


8 Elizabeth August 16, 2013 at 8:10 am

I don’t think so. I think I’m to try and get really creative with what I have on hand and make new recipes with those ingredients. I’m sure I’ll have to buy some stuff (produce especially) but I have so much rice and pasta that I should be able to find enough dishes to make to clean out most of that. Then I can stock up again! lol


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