The 7 Day Challenge: DAY 1 (WEDNESDAY)

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Welcome to the 7 Day Challenge. For 7 days, we are testing our Emergency Preparedness and Food Storage Plans. Each day will bring a NEW mock emergency, or situation that will test at least one of the reasons “WHY” we strive to be prepared! REMEMBER: No going to a store, or spending any money for the entire 7 days! And please feel free to adapt the scenarios to fit your own family and situation.

Oil prices have skyrocketed causing serious economic crisis and food shortage due to transportation costs. In many areas food is GONE from the shelves. If there is food available it is at ridiculous prices that you cannot afford. Luckily, you have been following our blog and have accumulated quite a bit of food storage. Today you get to USE it!
Goal: Have a PLAN for actual meals you can make from your food storage

Today’s Tasks:

  • Cook all your meals and snacks using only pantry foods
  • Make a complete meal plan for 7 days (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) using ONLY ingredients you already have in your storage
  • Do an inventory to determine how long your food supply will last you (use our 3 month supply and long term calculators to help
  • SHARING TIME: Take a picture of your meal plan (or type it up) and share it on our Facebook page or in the blog comments

Today’s Limitations:

  • For this day, and ALL days of the challenge: no spending money, no going to stores, and no restaurants
  • You cannot use any fridge or freezer food (assume it has been used up)
  • You cannot use fresh produce from your garden (pretend it’s winter)
  • You cannot use fresh eggs even if you have chickens (someone stole them)

Advanced Tasks:

  • Make a meal plan for 30 days instead of just 7
  • Add a dessert to your menu tonight as well
  • A huge thunderstorm also struck today and your power is out all day. Cook all meals without power!


Make sure your fill out today’s Report Card to see how well you did, to keep track of areas you can improve, to remember things you need to do, and things you need to buy. Use the data to make a game plan to take you to the next level of preparedness, whatever that may be.

  • sherry

    This exercise was easy for me this year. I recently became an empty-nester and have really been using my food storage a lot aanyway. (I have been wanting to make sure that everything is fresh and properly rotated) This has become much easier since living alone (nothing has been moved) I was already trying to focus on menus. But, I catch myself opening something easy. I really do need some work on it.

  • Sueann

    We started the challenge, but I ended up ill, so after lunch we were pretty much out of the loop. I am determined to make up my menu, though. I used to use one for our budget which helped tremendously, but I got out of the habit.

    On a different note, I had to break the no spending rule by mid-morning. My husband was developing a UTI, so I had to run to the store to get some cranberry juice. That is something I hadn’t even thought about putting in my food storage. I’m better prepared now 🙂

  • granny mae

    Well we had PBJ for breakfast. May seem weird to some but we like it. We don’t usually eat lunch but did have a few crackers with peanutbutter. Dinner tonight was potato soup. Had 6 potatoes left and had to cook them up so soup it was on the camp stove, the milk I used was canned milk and I had dried onions to use. Also made some pudding for desert also with canned milk and we were good to go !

  • This was an interesting exercise. I’ve been working on our food storage for about two months, both long term (sealed barrels) and short term (canned goods, dry goods, dehydrated foods). So this exercise was to use our short term storage. I have to eat gluten free so made some quinoa pasta (could see right away I need some more), mixed with canned corn, black beans, canned chili peppers, and canned diced tomatoes. Killed me since my garden is just loaded with produce right now, but I did it anyway!

    Added taco seasoning. Realized I was out of dehydrated onions, so that got added to my list. Heated it on our propane fueled stove, but if that wasn’t available I’d put it on the crockpot early in the day and hook that up to the solar backup system. The low wattage would make the crock pot the perfect way to cook I would think. Plus we have several other options (propane camp stove, wood stove, fire pit, hibachi and propane grill with two canisters of propane) for cooking.

    I felt very empowered and feel like we could do just fine on our short term storage for weeks before we’d have to break into the serious stuff. Helped me refine what we still have left to do (gotta get some seeds for sprouting so we have fresh greens in the winter!). We are putting up a greenhouse next month and I’ll be putting together our solar dehydrator this weekend. One foot in front of the other…

    • Bheki Naylor

      Hi. I live off-grid. Solar power only here. The crock pot is NOT an off-gridder’s friend. Sorry. Even 2 or 3 minutes of an 900 watt microwave will suck down some juice. You’d be surprised how quickly you can drain the system. Just a head’s up. Hope this helps.

  • Kelly Toledano

    I am so happy to have ordered the food storage made easy binder last week. I planned this week’s meals and posted a picture on facebook.I really enjoy reading what others are doing ad well. Good luck everybody!

  • We handled this one. So glad I had started canning meat and still had some. I really need to buy dried milk & eggs because we did miss bread. Just because I have food, doesn’t mean I have everything I need to make a meal, and not for over 7 days for sure.

  • Evie

    We did pretty good on day 1 of the challenge. I’ve been thinking about canning meat for months and now I know I need to get on that because most of our pantry-only options are high in carbs and I can’t have that many carbs at each meal (diabetic). We also missed cheese, so will be looking into pantry options for that as well. On to day two!!

  • Smiths grocery store has some case items for sale starting today.
    Thanks J&J for the challenge and specific scenarios. And with the report cards I’ll be better able to decide where to spend money first. We are always have financial goals so figuring out priorities is important. Glad to start off with scenario where I didn’t think, FAIL-quit now. LOL Though hubby was sick so I didn’t go ask him to go find the hose, pressure regulator and connector and cook with big propane tanks.
    No fridge/freezer-we’d be ok. We have quite a bit of pantry food plus lots of long term cannery items. Though some we are missing/low. Harvest time is when I look at my pantry inventory, as I prefer fresh food when it is available in the summer and I have a greater desire for soup when it is not 90 something outside-we live in Albuquerque and it just started to cool off.
    We’d done a cannery inventory this summer and recently a freezer inventory- partly because we need space to buy turkeys when on sale at thankgiving time and I didn’t want to be doing it when it is cold-soon, we smoke them and refreeze in food saver bags. And I hadn’t gotten to the pantry inventory.
    One of our 3 close Costcos marked down powdered egg to $5 a #10 can so we have like 8 months worth for our family of three so our imaginery stolen chickens weren’t a problem. Though we can have them in our urban city limits! In fact, my VT, ie church friend just invited my 3 year old to visit hers. We’ve a dog and animals are a big responsibility… What if you evacuate? No chicken friendly motel, too hot in car…
    We eat kind of simply, my menu would be like a grocery list, …pancakes, hamburgers on bread… I’ve PCOS was put on the South Beach Diet, when diligent I lost 80 pounds and finally got pregnant with my son. He arrived days before our 11th Anniversary and is now 39 months.
    So my menu is pick a grain, pick a protein, pick a fruit/veggie add milk x2 including breakfast. I was trying to think of things we make, helpful recipes. We do use wheat berries to make crepes, add fruit, whipped creme and diabetic syrup. We traveled a lot to Texas and loved frito pie and came up with a recipe to recreate the meat using the canned beef from Costco and make it heathier by putting it with rice instead. So I’ll try to post them later.
    We had pudding cups so I was going to do that after dinner for dessert. I’m not on the diet and we ate through bags of m&ms so I’ve been craving chocolate. The weather was unusually overcast so I even had hot cocoa.
    Instead I’ll share what I learned/thought:
    Our range oven is broken. We really only use it for pizza if we are eating South Beach ie health for me, and we have that weekly at Costco so we haven’t been in a hurry to replace it. We also use smoker, crock pot, bread maker. However, it means we can’t used it to bake the brownies in the pantry. Or use the new mickey mouse ear muffin molds, I got especially for nursery snack, toddler/preschooler age. I’m sure being a little fatter would be worth the comfort food to me. We lived on our storage for four months in 2004 when David finished his Masters and we were both unemployed. I-not for lack of available job-but because of family problem, a reason I hadn’t forseen. Anyway, we’d been so busy grabbing pbj sandwhiches but having foods beyond ramen and water, became VERY important psychologically. Before we didn’t have time to cook but we’d filled a freezer with meat on sale and we were so grateful to have that in addition to pantry/cannery items. We’d often just buy perishables. You have to have it before in case you can’t buy it or afford it. Along those lines, we are storying more comfort foods even though I shouldn’t have them. Your mental health depends on it.
    We do have a camp oven for the propane stove, again haven’t used it. And recently solar oven moved to top of my wish list after I saw Wendy Dewitt videos on You Tube. (Thinking of pressure canning meat too make it shelf stable after seeing her videos.)
    One of biggest challenges is we are hoarders and finding things is tough. We have a camp stove and small bottles of propane. We got two large propane cylinders and I even bought the hose, regulator, connector to hook it up but I left it to hubby and he agreed we’ll have to get it all together. Also we’ve bbq, charcoal… And we just bought a generator. Haven’t taken it out of the enclosed trailer. We haven’t filled the gas cans. But I have to learn to use it too. So maybe syphoning fuel out of the car if we thought it was a short term outage to save the food.
    When I’m better about avoiding simple sugars we don’t use white rice, potato flakes, white macaroni, or sugar but we decided that with the long shelf life maybe we’d rather have it to eat and be less healthy (PCOS- I’m insulin resistant, ie get fat) than hungry. We already started acquiring these items. Also most of my friends are mormons so sugar may be a better barter item than cigarettes, alcohol and liquor.
    We have unopened mayo in the pantry and you said the fridge was empty not unusable, unless you do the advanced no power thing but I thought how nice condiment packets would be. When we buy more I’m going to get some of those and smaller jars of mayo and salad dressing mayo type.
    We need more dairy ie cheese. We buy peanut butter that is best kept in fridge and I saw some jiff to go cups in Costco, if I see again woluld be great for 72 hr kits, picnics.
    I need more lima, soy, split peas and lentils. I bought some and now have containers to put them in. No baking mixes-again comfort food. Low on chocolate-stock up after Halloween. Few sugar deserts.
    Would love to have brick oven for bread making in the backyard-option if no power. Honestly, probably more the romantic/coolness of the idea. Though I would ask my hubby to make it;) Would like another pantry shelf, where would I put it though? Thinking of moving the #10 cans of powdered eggs and freeze dried strawberries off the shelf and into the closet so I could use the shelf for smaller items. And I need more drink pitchers so we can make powdered milk and drink mix like generic crystal lite and have enough so some could be dirty. And what if we had guests and had to make more?

  • Alli

    Kids and I were laid flat with a cold. Not up to cooking much so pantry worked great although we did miss the fresh veggies from our garden. Got to organize some of our longer term storage (wheat, oats, etc) and was surprised to see how much wheat we used this year. Makes me happy that we are going through it. Now time to restock.

  • The kids and I got out our never-used-before propane camp stove. We made Tuna helper with powdered milk and canned corn and peaches on the side. I was TERRIFIED! I have never used a propane camp stove before. At one point the fire shot out and started going up the line to the propane tank. I blew it out but nearly had a heart attack!!! I am so glad we did this, got some practice in now, while there is no emergency or anything. I feel confident that the next time I use the camp stove , I probably won’t blow myself up! 🙂
    BTW, I read the instruction about 10x’s before I even touched the stove. I have no idea why the fire shot out like that. It did not do it again.

  • I have two little kids, so this exercise helped me realize that I don’t have enough snacks that they like on hand! We also use cheese fairly often and I don’t have any kind of cheese in our food storage besides some Parmesan cheese.

    Day 1
    B-Pancakes w/ syrup & freeze-dried strawberries
    L –PB& J w/ homemade bread
    D –Sloppy Joe on Toast w/ freeze-dried peppers and onions
    Day 2
    B –Beans on toast w/ applesauce
    L –leftovers (we almost always eat leftovers for lunch)
    D –Pasta w/ meat sauce & canned green beans (or freeze-dried)
    Day 3
    B – Homemade Instant Oatmeal w/ raisins
    L –PB & J
    D –BBQ Chicken on bread w/ freeze dried green peas
    Day 4
    B – scrambled eggs (dehydrated) w/ TVP bacon & toast w/ canned peaches
    L –Tuna sandwiches or on crackers
    D – ABC soup mix w/ freeze-dried chicken and veggies
    Day 5
    B – Homemade instant oatmeal w/ dehydrated apples
    L – Leftovers
    D – Salmon Loaf using canned salmon
    Day 6
    B – Cold cereal with rice or almond milk (shelf stable)
    L – PB&J
    D – Black beans & rice w/ diced tomatoes
    Day 7
    B – 9 grain cracked cereal w/ maple syrup
    L – leftovers
    D – Chili & Cornbread

    • dkny

      Thanks for posting your meal plan. It absolutely helped me.

    • becky

      If you are supposed to pretend to not have electric how do you keep your leftovers till the next day?

  • NancyB

    I’m on vacation out of town, but I think this would be a no brainer. I set my own 30-day challenge of using only what I had in the house. We were on day 24 without buying groceries when we left on vacation. It was working great, but I was using stuff from the garden and the freezer as well. BTW, you might want to look up the just add water recipes Honeyville Grain sponsors. Do a web search for “meal in a jar” or “Chef Tess”. Everything I’ve tried so far is delicious, is made entirely of dried food storage, and makes a large quantity, enough for five or six people, stored in a sealed quart jar.

  • I didn’t get an e-mail. I got the e-mail stating it would be starting soon, but I didn’t know about the challenge starting until I checked my google reader. Aack!

  • Lynne

    One thing I forgot was that I have a solar oven but that would not work in a thunderstorm so I have my grill as a backup and I have a propane stove that has an oven as part of it. This is a real help in emergencies.

  • Lynne

    This is a bit of a streach for me to fix this much food for just the two of us but I can easily plan these meals and make all of them from my pantry. Family drops in so they would get a treat because we seldom have dessert. Knowing we have everything we need to make this kind of a menu is very comforting. I am working on the 30 day plan so that I get a feel for where I need to add an item or two. Thanks for doing this it has been a big help every year to point out my weaknesses in being ready.
    –Monday-Breakfast-Whole wheat pancakes made with powdered
    milk and powdered eggs. Peanut butter maple syrup.

    Lunch-Crunch Wraps with homemade tortillas either flour or

    Dinner- Spaghetti with meat sauce and corn

    Dessert-busy day cake with homemade lemon sauce

    –Tuesday-Breakfast-cold cereal with powdered milk

    Lunch-leftover spaghetti

    Dinner- Chili with crackers


    –Wednesday-Breakfast-French toast with strawberry jam

    Lunch-Bunny dip with crackers and canned fruit (bunny dip is
    a combination of cream cheese which I can make and grated carrots, green
    peppers and green onions which can be rehydrated)

    Dinner-Creamed Pea and Tuna over toast from homemade whole
    wheat bread

    Dessert-leftover cake with lemon sauce

    –Thursday-Breakfast-Oatmeal with powdered milk and brown
    sugar and cinnamon

    Lunch-tuna Sandwiches

    Dinner-Beef Taco Bake using homemade corn tortillas

    Dessert-cinnamon rolls

    –Friday-Breakfast-leftover cinnamon rolls with hot

    Lunch-Peanut butter Sandwiches

    Dinner-Busy Day casserole

    Dessert-Sugar and spice popcorn

    –Saturday-Breakfast-Cold Cereal with powdered milk

    Lunch-Leftover busy day casserole

    Dinner-Black Bean Soup


    Sunday-Breakfast-Hot Chocolate, Toast and bottled fruit

    Lunch-black bean and corn quesadillas using the drained
    leftover beans from the black bean soup-great flavor

    Dinner-Egg Drop soup, chicken and rice stir fry using rehydrated
    onions and green peppers

    For Dessert- crepes with cream filling and strawberry jam

  • After reading your response to Kaytee I
    feel a bit better. We have two very large freezers and two refrigerator
    freezers that are packed to the gills right now with stuff I’m starting to can,
    now that the weather has cooled off a bit. We have to make room for the pig we
    are raising which will be ready to butcher in October, and we still have pig
    from last year in there.

    My husband lost his job last November
    and I was laid off this past January, the food storage we had, allowed us to
    not worry about that at least. My husband is working again and I hope to be
    back at work next month but until then having a good supply of items in our
    pantry and freezer eases the stress a lot. We still have enough food in our
    pantry and freezer to last us more than a year, probably closer to two years of
    pantry items.

    We have dairy goats arriving on Saturday
    and we do have chickens, sheep, pigs and a garden along with a greenhouse. We
    take advantage of local U-Pick farms for fruit we don’t grow ourselves; it’s an
    inexpensive way to gather produce. We grow vegetables for our root cellar to
    get us through the winter including carrots, potatoes, cabbage, Brussels sprouts,
    onions, winter squash and pumpkins. I will be canning more meat soon too.

    Neither my husband nor I really eat
    breakfast but I’ve included breakfasts in my menu.

    Day Menu

    Day 1


    Oatmeal w/raisins cooked on our camp stove brown sugar and powdered
    milk, coffee made using our French press with water boiled in our tea kettle
    on the camp stove


    Canned meat spread on homemade bread with mustard – the bread I had
    just made and didn’t want to make any more as my recipe makes six loaves and
    there are only two of us. I could have
    baked this in our camp stove oven if I didn’t already have it.


    Spaghetti with home canned sauce – meatless but very good


    Peach Cobbler made in the camp stove oven using home canned peaches
    and Bisquick

    Day 2


    Pancakes (a just add water mix) with home canned jam


    Macaroni and cheese – I buy
    extra boxes when I shop


    Pumpkin soup – using canned pumpkin but in the winter I would use
    pumpkins from our root cellar


    Leftover peach cobbler from the night before

    Day 3


    Shredded Wheat w/brown sugar and powdered milk


    Tuna sandwich w/pickles on homemade bread


    Chili with corn muffins


    Cinnamon rolls – My bread recipe makes a lot so I usually make a
    couple of loaves of bread and use the rest to make the cinnamon rolls with
    canned apples.

    Day 4


    Belgian Waffles (a just add water mix) w/home canned fruit


    Ramen noodles cooked with canned shrimp and peas


    Slumgullion – My mom’s recipe – canned potatoes, canned sausage,
    carrots from the root cellar, onions from the pantry, canned white sauce and Velveeta
    cheese (the stuff in a block that I keep in the pantry)


    Leftover cinnamon rolls from the night before

    Day 5


    Cream of wheat w/honey and powdered milk


    Tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches made with the Velveeta


    Chicken and pasta casserole made with canned chicken and stored pasta
    (could make fresh too as I have all the stuff and the equipment)


    Apple & Quince pie using canned apples, quince jam and homemade
    pie crust (after making my own I’ll never by store bought again) If you don’t
    know what a Quince is it is sort of like a fuzzy apple but will pucker your
    face up if you try to eat it fresh. However fresh Quince in this pie, my own
    recipe by the way, is awesome!

    Day 6


    Corn meal mush w/powdered butter, salt and pepper (or if you prefer
    powdered milk)


    Chicken salad sandwich – using canned chicken and homemade bread – we
    keep extra mayo on the pantry shelf


    Stew – using items carrots, potatoes, cabbage and onions from the
    root cellar, canned beef and bouillon cubes


    Leftover Apple & Quince pie

    Day 7


    Scrambled eggs, we actually freeze beaten eggs in ice cube trays when
    we have extra as our chickens don’t lay during the winter (we don’t use
    lights on them), they make good scrambled eggs though, add bacon from our pig
    and homemade hash browns.


    Tomato soup and grilled Velveeta cheese sandwiches


    With all the pork in our freezer we could do a nice ham with mashed
    pumpkin and pickled beets


    My famous peanut butter toffee chip cookies

  • 7 Day Pantry Food Storage Meal Plan

    Wednesday: Breakfast: Germade

    Lunch Peanut
    butter sandwiches

    Dinner Rehydrated
    Broccoli/Cheese soup

    Thursday: Breakfast Homemade Instant Oatmeal

    Lunch Chili

    Dinner Bottled Chicken Haystacks

    Friday: Breakfast
    Pancakes (dried eggs)

    Lunch Canned Veggie Soup

    Dinner Freeze
    dried Roast over rice

    Saturday: Breakfast
    9 grain cereal

    Lunch Leftovers

    Dinner Corn Chowder

    Sunday: Breakfast Waffles (dried eggs)

    Lunch Tuna casserole

    Dinner Bottle Salsa/ Chicken

    Monday: Breakfast Bottled fruit/Toast with peanut

    Lunch chicken
    salad stuffed homemade

    Dinner Beefy noodle casserole

    Tuesday: Breakfast Cinnamon Raisin Biscuits

    Lunch Leftovers

    Dinner Orange Chicken/rice

    Isn’t this a great way to see where we are in our preparation. Love it!

  • Gayle M

    Breakfast – Hearty Hot Cakes cooked on propane griddle and canned fruit.
    Lunch – Was just heating up home canned chili on camp stove/oven combo and pudding cups.
    Dinner – Will be a ham and corn bake using canned ham and cooked in the camp stove/oven combo with cherry cobbler cooked in dutch oven over charcoal. This is fun! Almost like one of our camping trips. I have enough food in pantry to feed us for 6 months. Will be extending that soon as i am getting ready to can meats and meat based stews/soups. My challenge is to make sure I incorporate leftovers into the next meal.

  • Tried a breakfast of scrambled (Ova) eggs, bacon (canned) and waffles (easy to make) and coffee.
    For Lunch I made some potato soup from dried potatoes and cornbread. Dinner I haven’t decided yet but I did make out a 7 day menu and checked for supplies in my home. I believe I have almost a year’s worth of food including 4 or 5 months worth of things that we eat regularly and food for long term storage. There would be a time that we get bored… but it would be many months in the future.

  • Kaytee Sumida

    mmm… no garden, refrigerator or freezer food??? Sorry– not going to let things in there spoil, just to “play a game”. Gardening here is year-round; winter is when lettuce, peas and cruciform crops grow, for example.

    We’ve been using up stored foods this summer, just to rotate them, so I have no doubt I COULD make meals with just storage. And I really, really need to reduce the amount of frozen lemon juice we made– and not by canning more rather nasty tasting “lemon syrup”.

    • Kaytee, each day has new tasks and limitations, so you won’t need to worry about your food spoiling. We do it this way on purpose to have people actually practice doing it. It feels a lot different than just imagining. Hope that makes sense!

      • Kaytee Sumida

        OK– I had the impression that this was supposed to be for all 7 days.
        No problem re: only stored water– again, something we’re rotating right now anyway, as long as it’s just “household use”. I still have to water most of the garden by hose; rain barrels for watering have been long dry… except the one I filled with the hose last weekend, and most of that is gone, too.

  • rachel

    ugh… just went to the store yesterday and bought several pks of meat. guess i need to get them into the freezer…. along w some leftovers that are in the frig. wouldn’t want them to go bad while i’m not allowed to eat them!

  • NeomaDenise

    Breakfast today: oatmeal (water heated over an open fire) and tea.
    Lunch: hamburger/rice/tomato dish – heated water in AM over open fire – added rice, dehydrated hamburger and canned tomatoes, placed in thermos – should be ready to eat by lunch time.
    Supper – canned chicken, canned veggies and a fruit crisp all cooked in solar cooker (thankfully it’s a sunny day),

  • Does that mean that I get to test new recipes with the people I’m staying with?


  • Bellamotives

    Excited to have the Challenges start up again, sharing everything on FB to encourage others to think about what they’d do! Ironically, cereal was on sale this week & I did all my shopping Monday so we’ve got tons to eat 😉 I’ll pull out the SunOven to cook dinner/dessert tonight!

  • Anonymous

    Well, I had planned on going to the grocery store today, but I guess I’m staying home.
    I read the email about the start of the challenge, walked into my kitchen to get a cup of coffee and caught myself reaching for the refrigerated half n half. Old habits die hard! Used powdered creamer from the pantry instead.

  • Michael

    The email alert did not include “Today’s Limitations”, so I went about planning our meals based on what we actually have on hand including what’s in the fridge and freezer. We would have to change a few meals without milk or eggs, but not bad overall.

  • shawna Redmann

    I love this one. We have been planning this for a while. Family fun week. Even my 11 yr old daughter loves doing this and making a list on what we could have had that would make it easier and better for us.

  • Yay! Let the food pantry planning begin!

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