Pantry Challenge Update

So far, slow but steady… using up things like Nutrela (dehydrated soy… things), corn kernels for popcorn, prepackaged popcorn for the pressure cooker, rice (oh, always the rice!), atta (wheat flour), oatmeal, etc. This week was a focus on Indian & Mexican to use up some of that rice, corn flour, and wheat flour. Next week will be rice & pasta… for the three whole days I’m cooking dinner at home and not eating at school. In the event we do eat at home any of those nights (school dinner being dreadful), I’m planning on: Old El Paso Tortilla Stuffer + homemade rotilla (roti-tortilla hybrids) and leftovers.

  • 29th: butter chicken with veg (probably aloo gobi), rice & roti
  • 30th: chicken with creamy garlic sauce & pasta/garlic
  • 1st: eating at school – Kathak practice for talent show + exams
  • 2nd: eating at school – technical rehearsal for talent show + math extra help
  • 3rd: eating at school – talent show performance for Jr School + exams
  • 4th: eating at school – talent show performance for Sr School
  • 5th: basic lemon & herb roast chicken with veg and rice, the carcass to be recycled next week into soups, sandwiches, or Indian food.
The days of the talent show, I’ll be exhausted and not want to cook – and we won’t be home til after 8:30 or 9:00pm anyway… easier to eat at school (dinner is 5:30-6:30 there).

I took the giant can of clam chowder out and have been using it as lunch/snacks during this week – it’s concentrated(!) so I have had a lot of it… but I’ve eaten lunch at home 3-4 days of the week, and so the chowder plus bread has worked well. Very classy when I also use it as my chance to drink raspberry lemonade that came from my mom in packets, too. 🙂 However, I’m not certain we’ll even have to place a grocery order this week, unless it’s just for milk, orange juice, and mangoes… for mango season is upon us! I’ve been ordering two at a go, eating one and freezing the other, and taking out the frozen ones to thaw to add to things. I think adding it to my breakfast oatmeal/cereal is the next step, I’ll just have to thaw the frozen ones out overnight.

I’ve realised I need to debate on whether or not I can hold onto, or if I should use up, the container full of packages of… stuff. There’s Lipton chicken soup mix, Ranch dressing mix, Swiss Miss hot cocoa, and a few other things. I know that the Pantry Challenge’s goal is to use everything up — but those are things you simply cannot find here in India, and my gut instinct is to hoard them until I really want them, instead of using them for the sake of using them to complete the challenge. Some of the imported goods (like beef boullion) are that way as well – that’s just something you cannot find here, full stop. I don’t want to use up my carefully hoarded cubes just for the sake of the challenge – I don’t ever know when I’ll get them again, and their cost in the USA/Canada is prohibitive for our budget when we go back on home leave. The raise doesn’t kick in til the paycheque…when we return at the end of July.

Some other recipe ideas I’m throwing around: jambalaya (bye, rice!), daal (at least once a week, especially the ones that call for 6 red chillis, to use those up!), and palak paneer, shahi paneer, and their ilk (I have frozen paneer). About a month ago, Adam and I drafted up a Google Docs spreadsheet with the different meals we usually rotate in and out, so I’m going through that and make sure I can add extras to it – or create appropriate sides with variation. Daal once a week? Okay. I want 4-8 different daal recipes, so we don’t get dead tired of one.



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