The $21 Challenge achieved …. well almost

red tick of approval

Recently I wrote about the  $21 Supermarket Challenge  whereby I challenged myself to clear out the pantry, refrigerator and freezer of all the ‘forgotten’ food and then spending only $21 per week to supplement what I ‘found’

Well, I have had mixed success.  One evening I thought I was going to be reheating a cooked meatloaf to find that it was in fact a frozen choc-orange cake.  I was glad that I had taken two items out of the freezer that morning to defrost otherwise that could have been a very ‘interesting’ dinner.

Here are just some dishes that I served up using some found items:

250720151923Found in freezer:   Bread and crusts

The bread and crusts were dried out in the oven whilst cooking another meal, and become breadcrumbs for a Chicken Schnitzel


260720151928Found in freezer:  a piece of cooked, boneless leg of Pork

This piece of leftover pork was neatly wrapped and dated at the bottom of the freezer. This became Thai Salad and I must admit it was   awesome!

satay sauceFound in pantry:  a partly used jar of Peanut Butter

This jar of peanut butter hadn’t been used up because there was a 1cm [1/2 inch] thick layer of peanut oil on top.  So I poured this oil into a  non-stick pan and used to fry chicken breast.

This added a deeper flavour when I added the chicken

The remaining peanut butter became a Satay Sauce for two Indonesian dishes:  Satay Chicken and then Gado Gado

Satay sauce photo sourced at  I admit that I have borrowed a professional photo for this one, as my photo didn’t make it look this appetising, but it tasted delicious!  Yum.  Grins all ‘round

Italian sausages

Found in freezer:  two Italian sausages

I squeezed the meat out of the artificial cases, stir-fried it and added to bottled pasta sauce [passata] and then stirred the lot through the cooked spaghetti. This was one of the quickest meals that I have ever made.


instant mashed potatoes


Found in pantry:  packet of Instant Potato Mash [ 3 years past its best before date].

Let me say I really hated this product. Hubby said he didn’t mind it, but I think the compost bin [worms] will prosper with the leftovers.

I can’t say that I spent $21 per week; it was more like $30 per week for the weeks that I did go shopping  [ but then I did miss two weeks ].  Considering ‘The $21 Challenge’ book was written in 2012, and the increase in the cost of living in the meantime, I still reckon I’m in front.

I still saved around $70 per week so I probably saved around $200 all up. I am still proud of this, plus I am now able to defrost the freezer.

This challenge has taught me to live a lot simpler, think outside the square when it comes to food preparation and look harder at what we already have on-hand before going to the shops. Now, all I have to do is put the leash on hubby-the-chef when he resumes dominion over the kitchen.

Have you tried this challenge yet?  What did you learn?

Until next time,



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Posted in food, kitchen
3 comments on “The $21 Challenge achieved …. well almost
  1. jncthedc says:

    Nutrition and quality food is an area I don’t reduce spending. That doesn’t mean I don’t budget. Living within one’s means reduces stress and provides the opportunity to increase personal creativity. Finding ways to satisfy recreational activities and other discretionary spending within a budget is challenging. If you succeed you increase self confidence. It feels good to have control of one’s life.

    Your $30 spending was a great success. Saving $200.00 was a big savings. Congratulations.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. […] I want to see whether I can get more aware and more appreciative of what I purchase next time; maybe I can try “the $21 challenge” I came across at… […]


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