This week's meal plan goal? Use up as many pantry staples as possible in order to save money and make room for holiday baking staples. While I try to incorporate at least one pantry meal each week and have one budget week each month in order to avoid waste, I still find that my pantry is overflowing with rice, lentils, canned tomatoes, and the like. I can't even fit anything new in my freezer of our beef share and frozen vegetables.
So here's a week of freezer- and pantry-friendly dinners to save money and avoid waste.
Welcome to This Week's Meal Plan
I believe meal planning is the secret to stress-free weeknight dinners. Since I'm frequently asked by friends and family what I'm cooking for dinner each week, I share my weekly meal plan here. Whether you're just learning to meal plan and looking for a real-life example of how this works or you're an old pro on the hunt for inspiration, here's a peek at how I'm feeding my family this week.
New to meal planning? Start here.
Monday: Easy Slow Cooker Lasagna Soup
Pantry staples I'm using up for this recipe? A jar of sauce, chicken broth, dried herbs, garlic, and that dang box of lasagna noodles I opened and didn't use up that has been in the pantry since June. I'm also pulling a pound of ground beef from the freezer, so all I'll need to buy is an onion and a small container of ricotta cheese.
Tuesday: Slow Cooker Taco-Stuffed Potatoes
I can't be the only cook who buys a whole bag of russets when I just need two — I tell myself I'll use them up if I've got them and then promptly for get about them! From the pantry I'm pulling potatoes, canned tomato sauce, more broth, and taco seasoning. Again, I have ground beef in the freezer, but will need to buy an onion plus some cheese and greens for topping the potatoes.
Wednesday: Thanksgiving Lentil Salad
The heart of this salad are the lentils that live forever in my pantry. This vegetarian main makes lots of leftovers for my family of four, so I'll have it for lunches the rest of the week. Besides the lentils, I'm also using a butternut squash I bought but didn't use last week and staples like nuts, raisins, vinegar and mustard. Just kale and a red onion go on my shopping list for this recipe.
Thursday: One-Pot Vegetable Jambalaya with Shrimp
While I think this jambalaya would be filling enough on its own, I also have a bag of frozen shrimp that needs to leave the freezer to make room for pie crusts. I'm swapping a can of diced tomatoes, drained, for the fresh tomatoes so that in total this recipe uses up rice, canned chiles, canned tomatoes, beans, and the rest of a carton of broth from the pantry!
Friday: Basic Weeknight Flatbreads as Personal Pizzas
As much as I'd love to do takeout pizza at the end of this week, I'm going to be steadfast in sticking to my budget meal week and make these flatbreads at home. Not much is really being used up from the pantry (I have leftover pizza sauce to use up, and who really wants to run out of flour?) but skipping takeout pizza this week means I have more to spend on replenishing my pantry and freezer with new exciting ingredients.