Last month I shared how we feed our family of five (plus two dogs and three guinea pigs) on $400 a month along with what we had on our dinner calendar for October. This month I want to talk a little bit about how we use our pantry to save money and inspire our monthly meal plan. At the very bottom is a list of our dinners for the entire month of November. This post contains affiliate links, if you purchase any of these items through our link we get a small commission at no extra cost to you.
Planning from the Pantry Keeps Food from Expiring
For years I would clean my pantry out like once a year and even with my efforts to rotate on occasion, I would have a ton of food that got chucked straight into the trash. While I know a lot of people are happy to eat shelf stable food long after the expiration date I’m paranoid, especially with young kids. I’m too busy for three plus cases of botulism so if it doesn’t get eaten within a couple days of the expiration date it’s not going into anyone’s mouth. Since making an concerted effort, I haven’t thrown away expired pantry food in a long time and less waste is better for our environment.
Spending a Little Money Adds up to A Lot of Savings
We’ve all heard you have to have money to make money but when it comes to meal planning for a month sometimes spending a little extra to keep the pantry stocked with staples saves you a lot of money in pizza delivery and happy meals. This is the only way I manage to avoid the drive thru on those days when everything goes wrong and whatever’s on the calendar doesn’t make it into the crock pot or the oven in time for a pre-bedtime dinner. Our emergency meals almost always take the form of breakfast for dinner so we make sure the peanut butter, cocoa powder, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and kosher salt containers are always full so we can make a batch of dairy free waffles or fluffy pancakes whenever we need to go off of the plan. Usually I do this by shopping the sales for fresh fruit and veggies and then using the money I saved to stock up on pantry staples or sale items.
A Well Stocked Panty Saves You Time and Gas Money
I used to be bad about running out for one item which not only ran up the wear and tear on my car and cost me extra in our already tight gas budget but I’m not so great at only buying one thing when I go.
November Monthly Meal Plan Dinners
There are a few repeats from last month because those are either family favorites or…stuff we never got around to making last month (remember those emergency meals I keep stocked up on) and still had the ingredients in the fridge, freezer, or pantry to use up.
- Crock Pot Ham, Baked Potatoes with all the Fixings, and Roasted Broccoli
- Chicken, Rice & Broccoli Bake
- Apricot Chicken
- BBQ Chicken Sheet Pan Bake
- Mississippi Crock Pot Chicken
- Balsamic Pork Shoulder Roast
- Salsa Verde Chicken Fajitas
- One Pot Chicken Stew
- Quiche & a Side Salad
- Lemon & Herb Roasted Chicken Quarters
- Carne Asada Fajitas
- Butternut Squash Soup and Andouille Sausage
- Surf and Turf Fajitas Bowls
- Chicken Tikka Masala + Daal Soup
- Vegan Pesto Chicken
- Chicken Noodle Soup
- Spicy Bacon Red Sauce Pasta
- Lemon Dill Chicken Thighs
- Apple Pancakes and Eggs
- Bagel Pizzas
- Egg Scramble with Veggies + Toast
- Bacon Spinach Balsamic Pasta
- Pumpkin French Toast
- Vegan Tomato Soup
- Slow Cooker Orange Chicken
- Kielbasa Sheet Pan Bake
- Pork Cider Stew
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