Some of you may recall that in years past, I’ve undertaken some form of freezer and pantry challenge during November and/or December, in order to slow down our grocery bill at a time of year when we could use the extra cash for holiday gifts. I’d love to say that I’m doing that again this year, but I’m not, not exactly…

I just can’t do a real pantry challenge this year. Every part of my life is so jam-packed in December that I need to know exactly what’s happening with dinner each night, or I just absolutely will not be able to function. Fortunately, I’ve spent so much of the fall doubling recipes and freezing extras that I have the makings of a very decent pantry challenge ready to go — I just need to plan when I’ll use everything. So I’m sprinkling freezer meals in among nights when I can cook from scratch, all month long. That way I can keep the grocery bill down, my spirits up, my sanity intact, and our bellies full. What a wonderful time of the year.


Tuesday, 12/1: Shrimp scampi with spinach
Wednesday, 12/2: Pulled turkey soft tacos
Thursday, 12/3: Teriyaki pork chops, rice and stir-fried vegetables
Friday, 12/4: Freezer meal — Lasagna and salad
Saturday, 12/5: Buffalo turkey burgers and fruit
Sunday, 12/6: Chicken cutlets, squash and broccoli
Monday, 12/7: Loaded potato soup


Tuesday, 12/8: Spoon roast and vegetables
Wednesday, 12/9: Freezer meal — Mom’s old-school goulash
Thursday, 12/10: Out to dinner after an evening appointment
Friday, 12/11: I have rehearsal, so I’ll leave chicken caesar wraps for everyone
Saturday, 12/12: I’m performing tonight, and J. and the boys will eat with family
Sunday, 12/13: Freezer meal — baked ham and macaroni and cheese casserole with broccoli
Monday, 12/14: Freezer meal — chili cheese burritos, salad


Tuesday, 12/15: No-fuss chicken and vegetables
Wednesday, 12/16: Turkey stew and bread
Thursday, 12/17: Spaghetti marinara and salad
Friday, 12/18: Pumpkin soup
Saturday, 12/19: A family party, so no cooking for me!
Sunday, 12/20: Illegal lamb, roast potatoes and vegetables
Monday, 12/21: Freezer meal — chicken parmigiana and salad

Tuesday, 12/22: Leftovers to get the fridge cleaned out in preparation for the holidays!
Wednesday, 12/23-Sunday, 12/27: Celebrating with family
Monday, 12/28: Chicken and broccoli alfredo

Tuesday, 12/29: Burgers and sweet potato fries
Wednesday, 12/30: Breakfast for dinner
Thursday, 12/31: Our annual New Year’s Eve tradition! We’ll make a “fancy restaurant” for the kids and wait on them, then after they’ve gone to bed, J. and I will have a feast of appetizers and desserts to ring in the New Year.