Category Archives: Kitchen Challenge

Kitchen Challenge

If you read the blog recently Kalissa and I are working together on a kitchen challenge.  Both of us have full cupboards and full freezers and want to use things up.

Our goal is to only spend $100 on groceries from April 15th to May 15th.  We aren’t allowed to buy meat and we both want to focus on using that money on perishable products like milk, fruits, and veggies. I’ve been doing good on my kitchen challenge.  I’ve been working hard to try to plan meals around what I have and what I can use up.

Here are some things I used up this week.  I went to the freezer and pulled out some steaks for Karl and me after we had worked so hard and accomplished so much outside.  I figured we had worked hard enough to warrant steaks…so steaks it was.

While I was digging in the freezer I told myself to grab something a little less desirable to have the following night.  Lookie what I found…Oxtail.


For those of you who haven’t heard of that, it’s basically the tail.  It’s very boney with not a lot of meat.  I typically make soup with it…and that’s what I did.

I put the meat in the Instant pot along with water.  Remember I have lots of dried beans??  Well, half of this jar went in with the meat.


I am out of my favorite Better than Bouillon but I did have bouillon cubes so…I used up six of the cubes in this batch of soup.  I am determined not to buy and use any of the others until this jar is used up.  (Admittedly, previous to the challenge I think I would have just left these in the cupboard and bought the Better than Bouillon that I love)


I threw in some chopped onion.  I set the Instant Pot for 62 minutes using the meat button.


Once that was done I pulled out the meat and deboned it.  I added it back to the pot.  Then I chopped celery and carrots too.  I checked the refrigerator for any other stray veggies that needed to be used up.  I found some frozen zucchini and some chopped cabbage so I added that too.   I did add some spices, salt, pepper, and garlic.  Then back in the Instant Pot for 4 minutes on manual.

The soup was FABULOUS!!  Karl was over and ended up having some.  He raved about it too.  Seriously, any soup or stew is WAY better in an Instant Pot.

Sorry, there is not a real recipe.  This is just how I cook.  Especially with soup.  Whatever needs to be used up gets thrown in.

Something else I used up is… Continue reading

Kitchen Challenge

If you read the blog recently Kalissa and I are working together on a kitchen challenge.  Both of us have full cupboards and full freezers and want to use things up.

Our goal is to only spend $100 on groceries from April 15th to May 15th.  We aren’t allowed to buy meat and we both want to focus on using that money on perishable products like milk, fruits, and veggies.

I’ve been doing good on my kitchen challenge.  I’ve been working hard to try to plan meals around what I have and what I can use up.

I have frozen cut-up peppers and onions that I’d like to have used up before the next garden season.  So…I made some Peppered Steak in the Instant Pot.  Karl was here and we were doing yard work.  Early in the day, I had put all the ingredients into the Instant then a half hour before we wanted to eat I went in the house and turned it on.

Here are the ingredients.  Remember, I am a fly by the seat of my pants kind of cook so there is no real recipe.

I put 1 cup of water in the Instant Pot…then I put some of all of these in.  It was likely 2 tablespoons of Worcestershire Sauce and 1 heaping tablespoon of Better than Bullion.  The rest to taste.


I cut up four small round steaks and put them in along with my frozen peppers and onions.  You don’t need frozen.  Just cut up peppers and onions.  Cut how many you’d think you’d like.  This recipe is so forgiving.  You can’t do it wrong.

I set the Instant Pot on Meat for 20 minutes.  I don’t think I would have needed 20 minutes.  I think next time I’ll only do 15 minutes.  YES.  It was that good.  There WILL BE a next time.

I served it over rice.  If you read the blog you know the Sandra of the Cresco Ladies quilting group gifted me a bunch of rice.


Sometimes when I’m trying to clean the cabinets out of food I hate it as everything I make doesn’t seem as fun as I “have to eat it to clean things up”.  This was totally not true with this meal.  This was GREAT!!

It smelled awesome too.  Karl came in the house and said, “Holy Crap, what are you making Mom.”

I’ve been using up so many things…a cake mix and a can of pumpkin made a batch of mini muffins.

They are so good and very popular with everyone here.  You can find the recipes HERE on the blog.

I used up Macaroni and Cheese and a can of tuna.  I had to laugh the other day.  One of my childcare moms contacted me and asked, “How do you make Mac and Cheese?  The kids say mine isn’t as good as yours and yours is whiter.”


Bahahahahaha!!  I add tuna to mine.  Years ago when I started childcare and was part of the USDA food program we were required to serve fish every so often.  Well, easy for me.  I went back to my college days when my roommate Stacey and I made Mac and Cheese and threw a can of tuna in it.  To make the whole situation even funnier.  I use generic Mac and Cheese!!

I used a can of Pumpkin Pie Mix.  It’s been in my cabinet for a bit.  I accidentally bought it instead of regular pumpkin.  The mix made so much that I made a mini pie in a pyrex bowl for Craig to take to work.  They are full-on planting crops now so he’s going to need some meals on the go.


I used up a can of cherry pie filling and a bag of marshmallows that was starting to get hard.  This was a great recipe to use them up.  It’s a Black Forest Torte.  Find the recipe on the blog HERE.

It calls for a chocolate cake mix but instead I made my regular chocolate cake from scratch.

It’s not a pretty dessert but super tasty especially if you like chocolate-covered cherries.  It tastes much like that.

I made a batch of my Macaroni Salad…The recipe for that is HERE.  Everyone loves my Macaroni Salad.  I used Spam, noodles, mayonesa, and Queso cheese.  You’ll have to check that recipe out.

I’ve used up other stuff too but these were the main things.

I did get a few groceries.  In my defense, I did not exactly buy all of these.  Kalissa and Kayla went and visited the Amish.  They have grocery stores there that we frequent.  I asked them to get me some cheese and they bought extras.


It’s completely okay…the cheeses were $10 each (no picture of them, they are in the freezer already)…everything totaled $32.


I’m doing really well with this.  I have spent a total of $44 so far.  All I need to do is get to the 15th of May and only spend $56.  At this point, I don’t think that will be a problem to accomplish at all.

It’s going so well that I plan to extend the challenge from May 15th to June 15th.  I still have plenty to use up and it shouldn’t be too hard for me to continue on for another month.

If you’re doing the challenge with Kalissa and I, share some of the things you’ve made in the last week.  Oh…and don’t forget to check out Kalissa’s progress at her blog, The Pink Shoelaces.

Kitchen Challenge

If you read the blog recently Kalissa and I are working together on a kitchen challenge.  Both of us have full cupboards and full freezers and want to use things up.

Our goal is to only spend $100 on groceries from April 15th to May 15th.  We aren’t allowed to buy meat and we both want to focus on using that money on perishable products like milk, fruits, and veggies.

So how did I do….Great!  I did spend a little bit of money.  I bought:
1 pint of buttermilk
1 bag of onions
1/2 gallon of soy milk for Gannon
1 package of pepperoni

That’s it!

I’ve had quite a few people here to feed so the groceries have been flying off the shelf and out of the freezer.

So far being I’ve had a lot of company here, we’ve had spaghetti and a great soup.  A blog reader sent the recipe for Turnip Green Soup.


You can see Georgia was here and she actually ate it.  She can be a picky thing but this day, she ate it!!  Here’s the recipe.  Thanks so much, Margaret for sending the recipe.  It’s helping me use up beans.

For anyone interested, here is the recipe: Continue reading