Benefits of a Pantry Challenge

I found chocolate, the good stuff, hidden in the pantry today.  My husband and I had ourselves a little mid-day treat, and I was reminded again what a great thing this Summer Pantry Challenge is!

Mid-Pantry Challenge Highlights

  • For last Sunday’s family reunion I made Cheesy Summer Squash Casserole and Pineapple Zucchini Sheet Cake.  I had to buy the pineapple and the cheese, but the recipes were built around staples on hand and free garden bounty.

  • Rather than buy a box of crackers or dry dressing to top the casserole, I went the “what I have” route and made my own seasoned breadcrumbs with ends and crusts that were lurking in the depths of the freezer.  Nothing more frugal than that!
  • The pork cutlets taunting me every time I opened the freezer were about to do me in.  I’ve tried two different cooking methods for them, and we didn’t like either.  I gave away a few packages (these came with the 1/2 hog I bought last fall) and nearly tossed the last two.  Enter my Facebook friends and Pork Fried Rice.  Fixed it for the first time, ate it, loved it!  Yay for a Pantry Challenge Success!

  • When I opened the pantry door tonight, I noticed about 5 pounds of potatoes looking at me.  Their eyes were sprouting, and they needed attention.  A few minutes of scrubbing later, and I stuck them in the oven all at once.  After chilling tonight, I’ll shred five pounds of hashbrowns in the morning to stick in the freezer.

  • Last night was our turn to provide t-ball snacks after the game.  I shaped some baseball treats and tinted the leftover cream cheese icing from the pineapple zucchini cake… with a package of kool-aid that had been in the pantry  My daughter saw it and said, “What is this?!” in her most “8 going on 18” tone.  It made the icing rather tart, but whatever.  I was in a hurry and had run out of red food coloring paste.
  • Ahhh, sweet corn harvest.  When you’re gorging on the once-a-year deliciousness of fresh sweet corn on the cob, challenge takes on a whole new meaning.  The timing couldn’t have been more perfect!

Clearly, we’re not lacking for variety yet.  I did buy some fruit earlier this week, and will continue to do so as needed.  It’s good for us, it’s an easy snack, and the kids love it.  We’ll continue on our way to 101 different ways to eat zucchini and see what other tastiness can come from creativity in the kitchen.

Be sure to visit my friends as they take on a pantry challenge of their own!

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  1. I love to get creative with what I have on hand as well, I bet that icing turned some heads, lol. Now you must share the Pineapple Zucchini Sheet Cake recipe!!!

  2. Puu-leeeaaasseee tell me you will be sharing the pineapple zucchini cake recipe SOON! Our CSA is doling out Zucchini like it is going out of style and we love anything pineappley!

  3. kathleen says:

    With the potatoes are you baking them? I have not done much freezing so do you cook the hashbrowns before freezing them, and what do you put them in?

  4. Kristen Trappett says:

    We have zucchini sheet cake at our house too!! Our looks really similar but no pineapple though that sounds very delicious too. Yum I heart zucchini! I also love how it freezes so well so you can store it for later yummyness!
    We use cream cheese frosting on ours so yummy. Maybe you do to

  5. Please share your pineapple/zucchini sheet cake recipe!

  6. We have always made chocolate zucchini cake, but I’m definitely looking forward to your recipe. It looks delicious.

  7. Great idea for the potatoes, Amy! I’ve never shredded them to freeze – how do you keep them from turning brown?

    • I think the trick is in the baking them before shredding them. When I cut or shred raw potatoes, they turn brown/gray rather quickly. These I have no trouble with.

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