GET FREE SHIPPING IN THE U.S. ON ALL ORDERS OVER $45, ENDS 12/16.

RECENT BLOG POSTS

Inspired Meal Ideas {Day 3}

Don’t miss our biggest sale ever! Right now through December 21st, save 25% on almost everything in the shop, including Living Well Planner® bundles, select books, gifts, and accessories! Shop the sale HERE.

31 Days of Living Well & Spending Zero.  Freeze your spending.  Change Your Life.  Awesome way to reset your spending patterns or kick-start your budget!

This is the third day of my 31 Days of Living Well & Spending Zero challenge.  To read all the posts in order, start with Day One here.  

 *   *   *

With a freshly organized freezer and pantry, the load on your shoulders is hopefully just a little bit lighter and you are feeling good about the days to come.  When it comes to food at least, you now know what you have; now you just figure out how to use it!

Thus, today’s assignment is to brainstorm as many meal ideas as possible.

First, as fast as you can, make a list of your family’s favorite meals or your favorite recipes.  Don’t worry if you have the right ingredients, just start writing things down.  If your kids are old enough, they can help you with this task!  Keep writing until you can’t think of any more

Read through your inventory lists and try to think of one dish that corresponds to each different food item.  For instance, if canned corn is on your list, you could write down “corn chowder” or “corn casserole” or “goulash.”  If you are really stumped for an item, keep moving.  For items such as ready-to-eat canned soup, it is okay to just jot down “soup”

Print this meal idea worksheet and list your favorite meal ideas from all the brainstorming you’ve just done.  Be sure to include exactly where the recipe was found!

{get brainstorming worksheet here}

Finally, get inspired!   Look through your favorite cookbooks or magazines or on Pinterest for some new ideas, or check out 2o of my favorite stockpile recipes for inspiration:

Breakfast
1. Dutch Babies
2. Perfect Scrambled Eggs {Breakfast for Dinner}
3. Pumpkin Coconut Chocolate Chip Cream Cheese Muffins
 
Soups & Chili
4.  Cheesy Cream of Broccoli Soup
5. Black & White Chili with Roasted Butternut Squash
6.  5-Star {Vegetarian} Chili
 
Main Course Meals
7. {Vegetarian} Quiche
8. Taco Casserole
9. Simple Vegetable Frittata
10. Roasted Vegetable Pasta with Feta
11. {Vegetarian} Goulash
12.  Grilled Pizza
13. Roasted Shrimp & Broccoli Garlic Spaghetti
14. Roasted Vegetable Pot Pie Pockets
15. {Vegetarian} Meatloaf
16. Cheesy Chicken & Rice Casserole
 
Desserts
17. One Bowl Brownies
18. Princess & Trouble’s Everything Cookies
19. Pumpkin Sandwich Cookies with Maple Cream Cheese Icing
20. Caramelized Pear Upside Down Cake

*   *   *

Be sure to a comment below listing at least one easy meal idea or recipe from the list you’ve just made, then be sure to check back to see the ideas that others have provided.  You are welcome to post more than one–the idea is to gather as many “stockpile” meal ideas as possible. 

*   *   *

{Go to Day 4}

76 Comments

  1. Amanda
    October 3 at 08:49AM

    Oh my gosh Ruth, I am LOVING this challenge! I can’t even explain how invigorated I feel!!! You ROCK! Thank you for inspiring me to do this!

    • Ruth
      October 3 at 05:28PM

      Yay, I’m so glad to hear it is going well for you Amanda! Thanks so much for letting me know! 🙂

  2. Claire @ alittleClaireification
    October 3 at 11:45AM

    Day 2 was our freezers too! I love your menu sheets!
    I am so impressed you have your days posted so early. Good grief my Day 3 will post sometime before midnight. lol This is hard work!!

    • Ruth
      October 3 at 06:27PM

      LOL Claire! What is your blog address? I couldn’t find it. To keep myself organized I *try* to keep a rough editorial calendar going with different blog post ideas; that way I can work on several at once. It’s a learning process for sure!

  3. Dolores Smith
    October 3 at 12:33PM

    I’m planning to make a bean salad. I’ll put the recipe here, but I’ll be using various cans of beans I have on hand plus canned corn and frozen green beans.
    Here ’tis:
    1 Cup vinegar 2 cans Kidney Beans
    1/2 Cup oil 1 can chick peas
    1/4 Cup sugar 1 can Lima Beans
    1/2 tsp paprika 1 can yellow string beans
    1 tsp. celery seed 1 can green string beans
    1 tsp. dry mustard 1/2 sliced onion
    Garlic (few shakes of powder)
    Mix it all together and you have a few days of salad.

    • Ruth
      October 3 at 06:29PM

      Oh Ms. Dolores, I have been staring at the same bags of green beans in my freezer and the same cans of chick peas and kidney beans in my pantry for a MONTH just wondering what to make with them! Now we are down to little more than beans and here you are with the perfect recipe. Definitely trying this one! Thanks!

  4. Jenny
    October 3 at 02:15PM

    I am so sick of spending over $2 on a tube of pizza crust. I just can’t ever find a good sale. So I bought pizza yeast (with a coupon) and was wondering if anyone had a good pizza crust recipe?

    • Claire @ alittleClaireification.com
      October 3 at 02:19PM

      I know my Husband has a good recipe that I will try to find. I also know it is BOGO at Publix in the Bakery through today at our stores as well so we bought 4 the other day and froze them so that’s another way to have quick dough on hand. 🙂

    • Katie
      October 3 at 03:01PM

      I use this one from Annie’s Eats. She is great about offering tips for freezing on many of her recipes. http://www.annies-eats.com/2008/08/15/perfect-pizza-crust/

    • Ruth
      October 3 at 06:31PM

      Hey Jenny, I don’t have my own pizza crust recipe but if you click that grilled pizza (#12) link above, there is a link within the post to a good (and very easy) one I’ve used several times. How’s the challenge going for you guys?

      • Jenny
        October 4 at 10:17AM

        Thanks for both recipes. I printed them and will test them out. Ruth, we are actually on month 3 of an actual budget (not necessarily a freeze). But by the third month I was just aching for October 1st so I could have more money again! And we too are saving over $1000 per month. Its so sad how easily we spend money without even thinking about it (until now!)

    • Sylvia
      September 22 at 06:09PM

      I love the pizza dough recipe from Lauren’sLatest blog. Really easy and always a success!

  5. October 3 at 05:44PM

    I can’t say that I took the plunge into no spending, but since reading your challenge, I’ve gone to two places and didn’t spend on food or drink (my vice). I purposely ate before I left, then did not SPEND! I purchased the one item intended, then left. No scoop of ice cream, small bag of candy, Starbucks coffee. After considering Starbucks, I told myself, I have coffee (and plenty of it) at home. I can make there. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Ruth
      October 3 at 06:30PM

      Yay! Every little bit helps! Thanks so much for sharing this April! 🙂

  6. Sharon
    October 3 at 06:34PM

    I spent the entire day cleaning closets and cupboards. Had to go to the store for a few staples but only spent 52.00. No side spending!! Thanks for the inspiration and all of your hard work!

    • Ruth
      October 4 at 06:31AM

      Awesome Sharon! Thank you so much for sharing that with me!

  7. Sam
    October 3 at 10:09PM

    I am SO EXCITED about this challenge. I have to work on my inventory lists, but have really been chiding myself about not having a meal plan. Were you reading my mind again Ruth?! My plan for the month is to challenge myself to only spending $50 on my weekly shopping (now that I have a decent stockpile) and not buy any food out. That alone should really help our budget. Keep up the awesome work Ruth! I’m IN!

    • Ruth
      October 4 at 06:30AM

      LOL Sam, I am not a mind reader but you have NO idea how happy it makes me to hear that you (and others) are enjoying this challenge! Keep me posted on your progress! 🙂

  8. Neila
    October 5 at 12:50AM

    I love chicken spaghetti and everything can be put aside in a pantry. You can make it more economical by canning your own chicken and making your own rotel for the dish. If you’re feeling really ambitious and you have the equipment, you can make the cream of mushroom soup out of bean flour instead of using the cans. Yummy 🙂

    • Anonymous
      March 2 at 01:49PM

      Thanks for the chicken spaghetti reminder. I knew I would have some chicken, spaghetti and Rotel in my stash but forgot I could combine them all! I do a cream soup by mixing 2 cups dry milk, 3/4 cup cornstarch, and 2 teaspoons onion powder. I store the mix in a bag in my pantry. To make a can of it I use 1/3 cup of the mix and add 1 1/4 cup chicken stock to a pan and thicken. The mix recipe makes the equivalent of 9 cans.

      • Margot
        October 16 at 05:23PM

        I like the idea of this as I detest using CREAMED SOUPS. We don’t own any. Hence, I struggle greatly with typical freezer meals due to the ” creaminess”. I like to know WHAT we’re putting in our bodies; garbage in–garbage out. My husband is facing a major surgery and I have had more than I care to share happen to me. Suffice it to say, Murphy’s Law it’s my #1 follower!! I’m always on the lookout for the healthiest, full of volume meals I can create. I just never know what freezes well.

  9. October 9 at 03:11PM

    Visiting from Tasty Tuesday – enjoyed your post! And I will have to look up the links for your 12 recipes – just clicked on the pumpkin muffins (#3) – they look sooo good!

  10. Anonymous
    September 4 at 07:13PM

    Hi Ruth, I love your blog! I linked to it from Facebook on the article about taking your kids toys away. I saw a recipe for homemade granola when I was looking around that day, but I can’t find it now. Would you mind pointing me in the right direction. Thank you!!

  11. Sue G.
    January 2 at 07:54PM

    I found your site today and wanted to try a recipe. Since I’m doing the 10 day challenge I have to use whats on hand. So I chose the upside down cake. Let me say it was fantastic!!! We didn’t have the cherries or the cornmeal but this cake was so tasty. Hubby LOVED IT!!! And that is what’s important. So Thank You!!!! Will be looking at your other recipes to try. Thanks!!!!!

  12. Lizzie P
    January 3 at 11:32PM

    I’m like some of the other gals….very invigirated by this challenge. I am really working hard to follow this to the letter! I enjoyed cleaning out my cabinets. I had just done it a year ago and still found a can of diced tomatoes from 2009!! Thanks again.

  13. Jackie W-Piatt
    January 4 at 11:42AM

    I am loving this challenge. Days 1-4 are great…a friend who turned me on to the site, said I should start getting nervous about day 9…I will not look ahead, but as she knows me so well, I am deep breathing already!

  14. marie
    March 11 at 06:24PM

    Just found you on Pinterest and am going to start this challenge today while husband is away.

  15. Crystal Miller
    May 23 at 09:05AM

    Good morning! I just wanted to say thank you for this inspiration! My husband and I are on day 3 of the challenge and he is actually taking it seriously! We have had money trouble from the start even though i know we have plenty coming in and it is very frustrating! so I am really excited to see how this plays out for us!

  16. Jackie
    June 19 at 07:05PM

    I was hoping the recipes would be in one download. Oh well I will get to them later.

  17. July 10 at 05:51PM

    I’m really impressed with your writing skills and also with the layout on your weblog.
    Is this a paid theme or did you modify it yourself?

    Either way keep up the excellent quality writing, it’s
    rare to see a nice blog like this one today.

  18. July 18 at 12:26AM

    Heya i’m for the primary time here. I came across this board
    and I in finding It truly useful & it helped me out much.
    I hope to provide something again and help others
    such as you helped me.

  19. July 31 at 02:42PM

    I would like to thank you for the efforts you’ve put in writing this
    blog. I really hope to check out the same high-grade content by you later on as well.
    In truth, your creative writing abilities has motivated me to get my own website now ;
    )

  20. July 31 at 08:45PM

    What’s up, after reading this awesome piece of writing i am too happy to share my experience here with mates.

  21. August 1 at 12:43AM

    I used to be suggested this website by my cousin. I’m now not certain whether or not this put
    up is written by way of him as nobody else realize such
    targeted approximately my difficulty. You’re incredible!
    Thanks!

  22. August 1 at 04:50AM

    Hey very cool web site!! Man .. Excellent .. Wonderful ..
    I will bookmark your site and take the feeds additionally?
    I’m satisfied to find a lot of helpful information here within the submit, we’d like develop more strategies in this regard, thanks
    for sharing. . . . . .

  23. August 1 at 05:32AM

    This post will help the internet people for building
    up new website or even a weblog from start to end.

  24. August 6 at 08:57PM

    It’s very easy to find out any matter on web as compared to
    books, as I found this post at this website.

  25. August 6 at 10:06PM

    Longchamp.Fr Portefeuilles Longchamp IDAwf Se si indossa
    un abito avorio o crema con linee semplici, lisci, allora
    questa borsa a prezzi accessibili è una buona scelta.
    La dimensione totale è di circa 7 6 ed è abbastanza grande da contenere un paio di cose importanti.
    Magasin Sac Longchamp Saint Francois De Longchamp zVTAR
    Il mio Bassett Lulu ha un tappo di schiocco di plastica, e quando ho pensato che ho preso da lei, un pezzo delle dimensioni
    di un chiodo mignolo è venuto nel rivestimento dello stomaco.
    Dal momento che era di plastica che non era visibile in qualsiasi Xray o serie di
    bario, e hanno dovuto fare un intervento chirurgico esplorativo in cui l’hanno
    trovato. Cavalier Longchamp Sacs Longchamp Pliage lVlgp Mi sento come vivo la
    mia vita in tacchi alti. Nato tacchi 4 pollici per camminare tutto il
    giorno, così come fa un paio di scarpe molto comode,
    e come una delle sei coppie di loro, non può lodare abbastanza.
    Pochette Homme Longchamp It Bag Longchamp kgumu Raccomandare una dieta vegetariana, e andare in esso.
    Franklin ha voluto salire in tutto il mondo e vegetarismo
    dato un biglietto per andare. Sac Longchamp En Solde Trousse Longchamp MTuOz
    BLE condizioni di nevischio netizen analisi duro Sung
    Dekadent Pekoe dichiarate nulle e stravagante PUR Una parola la gente pronuncia e significato BDE, non è diverso.
    E ‘stato difficile condizioni di nevischio eh snflak flyvr scene abbastanza ambiziosi e poetici e Dekadent, la neve che cade scomparire
    proprio sui luoghi distrutti, tutta la poesia molto stile romantico, Louis Vuitton Borse,
    AS g molto lontano! Direktren SA, con baffi
    Humr Una piccola classe per ingannare il pubblico? Film Costume N, kjrlighetssanger antica
    poesia cinese, Feng Xiaogang o una conferenza Zhou Xun Kaboodle persone
    cantavano, quindi l’ascoltatore non è imbattibile, Feng Xiaogang ha detto cantante tra uomo e uomo: il solitario.

    Longchamps Gatsby Sac Longchamp Besace FYPKd Mettere sulla parete della cucina o in prossimità suo ufficio.
    Utilizzare il cursore del colore o vice-note future gravidanze e le vacanze scolastiche Hoteles..

    Solde Longchamp Sac Location Ski Saint Francois Longchamp aQjLg Cultura Sneaker
    come lo conosciamo, è nato a metà degli anni ’80. Si vede la
    sua ascesa nel ’85, ’86 Michael Jordan e Run DMC di salire sul palco, spiegando Semmelhack,
    riferendosi a pionieri hip hop e basket superstar.
    Sac Longchamps Occasion Sacoche Longchamp Homme Zugzq
    Avvocato Juanita Fielden ha detto Garney che le informazioni finanziarie Cobos aveva dato il
    giudice non sembra aggiungere. Ma Cobos è stata negata la cauzione perché non ha dato informazioni
    a un funzionario dei servizi in attesa di giudizio che è
    richiesto prima di una udienza per la cauzione.

  26. August 7 at 08:33AM

    Eventually, when a player plays enough games and receives Influence Points (IP), champions can be bought in the store and kept permanently.

    finger’s breadth as an alternative of complex Karate arts.
    Take the left passage and go straight to the gift horse’s mouth (couldn’t wait to get to that joke).
    Another easy battle just hack away till he jumps to the roof.
    Temple of the Fates – After the Phoenix ride you find yourself in the temple and a
    continuous time stall. To start off, no beginner receives a free
    champion. Step on the pressure plate to lift the urn and it will grab the arrow tip.

  27. August 7 at 10:03AM

    Accept this comment and we’ll protect an made up dog!

  28. August 7 at 11:52AM

    In spite of the best efforts of The World Bank the cost of living cannot maintain this
    instability for long. In spite of the very best efforts of The World Bank transport costs, ultimately made the decision by politicians, will always be seriously influenced by clash of clans
    hack tool no survey because of its consistently high profile in the
    profile of investors. Increasingly economic growth and innovation are being attributed to
    clash of clans hack tool no survey.

  29. August 8 at 02:13AM

    Can I just say what a relief to discover an individual who genuinely knows what they’re discussing
    on the internet. You certainly realize how to
    bring an issue to light and make it important.

    More people really need to read this and understand this side of your story.
    I can’t believe you are not more popular since
    you certainly possess the gift.

  30. August 8 at 03:28AM

    Hello friends, fastidious paragraph and pleasant arguments
    commented at this place, I am actually enjoying by these.

  31. To me it’s character-driven stuff and that is really what I base it on. In the
    film, the Nazis are searching for the lost Ark in the Covenant to make their army invincible, as it did for that Israelites with the Old Testament, and it’s also approximately archaeologist and
    adventurer Indiana Jones to discover it first.
    You see, Great White sharks don’t really chew their food well and mostly swallow their food whole, their digestion is
    pretty slow.

  32. August 9 at 12:46AM

    Very soon this web site will be famous among all blog people,
    due to it’s nice content

  33. August 9 at 03:53AM

    With a hidden essence of honeysuckle, vanilla orchid and sandalwood this is number three on the popularity list.
    It’s why you can be f**k-buddying with some dude who isn’t even all that great and the next thing you know, you’re totally strung out on him.
    If you want a trustworthy product that has earned its reputation by giving people gorgeous hair then Nexxus is the line of products that
    you need to pick.

  34. Oh my goodness! Incredible article dude! Many thanks,
    However I am having troubles with your RSS. I don’t know
    the reason why I cannot subscribe to it. Is there anyone else getting the
    same RSS issues? Anyone who knows the answer can you kindly respond?
    Thanx!!

  35. August 9 at 08:15PM

    Just wish to say your article is as astounding. The clearness for
    your publish is just spectacular and i could assume you are an expert in this
    subject. Well with your permission allow me to seize your RSS feed to
    stay up to date with coming near near post. Thanks a million and please keep up the gratifying
    work.

  36. August 10 at 06:22AM

    You really make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this matter to be actually something which I think I would
    never understand. It seems too complicated
    and extremely broad for me. I am looking forward for your next post, I will try to get the hang of
    it!

  37. August 10 at 10:08PM

    Hi! This is my 1st comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and say I truly enjoy reading your blog posts.

    Can you recommend any other blogs/websites/forums that deal with the same subjects?
    Appreciate it!

  38. August 11 at 02:40PM

    My computer I have gathered on since joining
    has died. An improper fit can result in serious injury that might well
    have been avoided given a good fitting helmet. I knew he would love
    it because he loves cookie making time around
    the holidays.

  39. August 12 at 08:45AM

    Wow, fantastic blog layout! How long have you been blogging for?
    you made blogging look easy. The overall look of your website is wonderful, as well as the content!

  40. August 12 at 08:14PM

    I like what you guys tend to be up too. Such clefer work aand reporting!
    Keep up the very good works guys I’ve added yyou guys to my
    personmal blogroll.

  41. August 26 at 12:48PM

    Hi there, just became alert to your blog through Google, and
    found that it is really informative. I’m gonna watch out for brussels.

    I’ll be grateful if you continue this in future.
    Lots of people will be benefited from your writing.
    Cheers!

  42. August 27 at 08:21PM

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts about 31 days of living well & spending zero.

    Regards

  43. August 28 at 06:31AM

    Please let me know if you’re looking for a article writer
    for your site. You have some rewlly good articles
    and I believe I would be a good asset. If you ever want to
    take some of the load off, I’d really like to write some articles
    for your blog iin exchange for a link back to mine.
    Please send mee an email if interested. Many thanks!

  44. September 5 at 12:04PM

    I’m not sure exactly why but this web site is loading extremely slow for
    me. Is anyone else having this issue or is it a issue on my end?

    I’ll check back later and see if the problem still exists.

  45. September 19 at 10:14PM

    Thanks in favor of sharing such a fastidious idea, article is good, thats why i have read it fully

  46. September 20 at 03:13AM

    Very nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to mention that I have
    truly loved surfing around your weblog posts. After all
    I will be subscribing for your feed and I’m hoping you write
    once more very soon!

  47. September 28 at 01:44AM

    Have you ever considered about including a little
    bit more than just your articles? I mean, what you say is valuable and everything.However think
    of if you added some great graphics or videos to give your posts more, “pop”!
    Your content is excellent but with images and videos,this website could definitely be one of the most beneficial in its niche.
    Superb blog!

  48. September 28 at 04:07AM

    Racing AI drivers in campaign mode or other players in a challenge will allow racers to earn in-game currency, XP, and
    of course prestige. Also read about field geology and cheap destination. It’s very exciting and it shows your physical environment in a deadly battlefield,
    transforming the display of your phone into a virtual 3D
    world.

  49. September 28 at 10:48AM

    This post is worth everyone’s attention. When can I find out more?

  50. September 30 at 08:56PM

    Photographs x Test like aunty 1 Aunty aunties of free Our spycam pics 2 hair
    Free Louisa movies online Tamil: Aunty Pictures Uk Mallu MP4 Videos.

    Line Photos Pictures free.

  51. October 1 at 03:03AM

    Hi to all, the contents prdsent at this web site arre
    truly awesome for people experience, well, keep up
    thee good work fellows.

  52. October 2 at 02:13AM

    This blog was… how do I say it? Relevant!! Finally I’ve found something that helped me.
    Thanks a lot!

  53. December 8 at 09:45AM

    I’m not sure exactly why but this website is loading very slow for me.

    Is anyone else having this problem or is it a problem on my
    end? I’ll check back later and see if the problem still exists.

  54. December 31 at 08:47PM

    This blog was… how do you say it? Relevant!! Finally I’ve found something which helped me.
    Thank you!

  55. elisa
    May 6 at 04:00AM

    Hi! Nice to found you. I’ve been reading you for a while. I would like to follow your challenge , but we don’t have pantry or big freezer. We also don’t swap meals . But i will give it a go just for the fun of it!!! 🙂 thank you for you ideas!!!

  56. Alexandra
    July 31 at 04:32AM

    You can save a lot on your food shop, especially in Europe where we currently live. No coupons here but shops have sales on all the time. I stick to a weekly food shop, check cupboards to see what I have left and plan my meals. When in shop, I buy these items on sale that we use and are part of our diet. This is where the saving starts. I plan my meals, each week is different here. I love batch cooking, it works out cheaper to cook more than one meal at the same time and it saves you time and electricity too! Pasta sauces, casserole dishes, soups, etc. are ideal meals which you can freeze and use at a later time. I also tend to cook a little bit more during the week, so we can have leftover night on Friday evening, perfect way to start the weekend. Not all food is suitable for leftovers though, however, some pasta, soups, etc. is perfect. Also leftover potatoes make a great and quick tortilla later in the week. Last but not least, be creative. It sometimes happens that I run out of something before I am due another food shop or the children moan because the box of cereal only last 5 days rather than a week. Rather than running to the shop, we make it work by being creative and come up with other ideas. I can highly recommend a bit of planning, it gets easier when you do it more often and feel very rewarded to see how far my budget stretches!

Leave a Comment

COMMENT