Pantry Stocker Bridal Shower Basket

I graduated from a Christian college. Cue the looks, laughs, jokes, and eye rolling.

Miraculously, I made it all of the way through 4 ½ years of Christian college without going to a single wedding. True story. This also means that now everyone is finally getting married and that also means bridal shower gifts.

As per usual, the dishes, the linens, the crock pots, the door mats, the silver ware, and cups all go on the registry. Couples sign up for all of the stuff to stock their homes and it’s lovely. But then they actually get their homes. They move in. And there’s nothing to put on those beautiful new plates. And, the bathroom needs cleaned before anyone will use it. Heaven forbid someone cuts a finger and you have to rummage through boxes, hoping SOMEWHERE there is a band-aide.

First shopping trips are expensive. On top of regular groceries, you have to stock your cabinets. There’s the medicine cabinet, the pantry, the cleaning shelf…..It doesn’t seem like a lot but it adds up very quickly. More often than not, families get a lot of the stuff. It’s useful; don’t get me wrong. When I have my shower one day, I will love those pots and pans like there’s no tomorrow. The “stuff” is needed and practical. But so often, things are double bought, or you realize after you get something that it’s not as needed as you once thought and you end up exchanging, returning, or regifting. It happens to everyone.

In recent months, my friends and I have had conversations with statements like:

“Can someone buy my pantry? I love everything on my registry, but really, I don’t need 6 sets of sheets. That grocery bill is going to be killer.”

“Why do people not buy things like Advil for bridal showers? They do it at baby showers. That should be a thing.”

My friend Liv and I went in together to help stock our friend Katie’s pantry for her bridal shower.

What we got:

Flour

Granulated sugar

Brown Sugar

Powdered Sugar

Cookie Mix

Brownie Mix

Bisquick

Minute Rice

Mac n Cheese

Pronto Pasta

Baking Soda

Baking Powder

Salt

Pepper

Peanut Butter

Jelly

Cooking Spray

Vegetable Oil

Chocolate chips

Basket

Using LOTS of coupons, we were able to make this super useful basket for under $50. We got the groceries from Target (we have a problem, we openly admit it), and the basket from JoAnn Fabrics. I had a wicked good coupon. Using LOTS of coupons, we were able to make basket for under $50. I simply wrapped each piece with tissue paper and stuffed a few extra in to help cover some tops and give it some style.

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Not Baked Zitti But Not Chicken Parm

I find that I come up with my best recipes when there is nothing in the house. Eric goes shopping about once a month, loads up like a crazy person and doesn’t have to see a grocery store for about 3 weeks. Which is awesome because we hate grocery shopping. It absolutely sucks when it’s the end of those 3 weeks and I am scraping food from the bottom of the barrel so to speak. The new running joke of course is that if worse comes to worse we can always eat the chickens. -_-

Ingredients:

3-5 boneless, skinless chicken breast

1/2 box elbow macaroni

2 jars of  homemade tomato sauce

1/2 cup shredded mozzarella

1/2 grated Parmesan cheese

I finally finished my last two jars of sauce from last summer, JUST in time to prepare to make some more over the next few months.

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Usually when I am seasoning my sauce I throw in a crushed clove of garlic and about 2 tablespoons of minced onion. We were out of both so I used the good ole’ store bought dried stuff. I also threw in basil, oregano, and parsley, with the garlic powder and dried minced onion.

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Pre-heat the oven to 425

I keep the sauce on medium-low for about an hour. This helps thicken the homemade sauce and marries the yummy flavors in with the sauce.

I thawed and mostly cooked the chicken breast through before cutting it up into larger chunks with kitchen scissors.

I pre baked the elbow macaroni until they were aldente.

Put the chicken chunks, macaroni, and sauce in a large casserole dish. Cover with cheese and cook for 20-30 minutes. Everything is already cooked and hot. This is just to make sure the chicken is definitely cooked through and allows the sauce to cook into the noodles just a bit.  Of course the cheese needs time to get ooey and gooey.

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Not too bad for a “there’s literally nothing in the kitchen” dinner. Yes, this definitely makes a lot BUT it’s enough for Eric to take for lunch a few days and his roommate to stuff his face a few times as well. If the chicken is thawed, this takes 30 minutes of “hard-work” prep and another 30 letting the sauce simmer.  I asked Eric if this was worth making again even when we have food back in the kitchen and he gave me the thumbs up! 🙂 Obviously not baked ziti, or chicken parm but something almost akin to the two? Like a long lost distant cousin twice removed maybe?