Life Lessons

Take the Pantry Cooking Challenge

Pantry cooking can help you make more of what you have – at least in the kitchen.

They are out of toilet paper at the grocery store . . . signaling the end.

Okay, not really.

The rush on toilet paper caused a shortage – albeit, temporary.

Still, it’s gotten plenty of folks doing the “what if” cha-cha. I did my own little “what if” dance on Friday during the big announcement. Living on 40 acres, in the woods, next to a creek definitely puts me ahead of the game if I never need to survive.

But for now, let’s do what we can where we are with what we have. Bethany Jett shared a video about pantry cooking – one of my all-time favorite games.  Basically, the goal is to see how long you can go cooking from your pantry instead of going to the store.

I’ll make a little confession here. We’ve been playing this game since the beginning of the year. It turns out that when you cook for a house full of boys for two decades and then half the household moves away, you can do a lot more with a lot less.

So my stocked pantry was really over-stocked. After two months of creative cooking, I was down to three cans of enchilada and lasagna noodles. My plan for that evening involved using the remaining ingredients to make a type of lasagna.

Fortunately for all involved, an unexpected baseball practice kept my plan on the back burner.

The next morning, I went to the store.

So let the games begin once again.

What’s in your pantry? Will you dare to join in on the pantry cooking fun?

What’s in your pantry?

How to Pantry Cook

  • Step One: Make a list of EVERYTHING you have in your pantry. Be sure to also make a note of how much you have of each item. Repeat the process for your freezer and then your refrigerator. These lists give you the foundation for your pantry cooking game plan.
  • Step Two: Outline a menu map for the next week. What can you make with what you have on your lists? If no menu ideas come to mind, do a quick search. You can use a website like or You can also put your ingredients in the search bar of your browser along with the word recipe. Use the images or recipe titles to jump-start the creative juices.
  • Step Three: Dare to make it yourself. If you are missing an ingredient, see if you have what is necessary to make it from scratch. If you don’t have the puff pastry, make it yourself. If you don’t have the flour tortillas, make them yourself. Try something new. Be a little daring. Keep learning and growing along the way.
  • Step Four: Write down what you do as you go. This is where I often fail. I’m in too much of a hurry to keep a record of what I do so the next time around I can’t repeat a recipe that my family loved (and asked for). Keeping a record will help you remember what worked as well as what probably shouldn’t be tried again.
  • Step Five: Give yourself a little extra time. When something is new it takes a little more time than when you are doing something you do every day. Set aside extra time so you don’t feel rushed in your pantry cooking game.

Who wants to play? Over the next few weeks, I’ll share some of my favorite pantry cooking experiences, tips, and fails and would love to have you join me.

Leave a comment below about your pantry cooking experiences and also let me know if you are going to be joining in. If you have a link to your pantry cooking launch be sure to share that as well.

Happy pantry cooking.

The Mom

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