Dine-In Challenge, An Update

by Katy on February 23, 2010 · 18 comments

Today is day two of the Dine-In Week Challenge, and already it’s affecting me.

Yesterday I worked, which made things pretty easy. I get a half-hour lunch break, and although other nurses do it, I don’t like to use up a huge chunk of my too short break grabbing food from the cafeteria. I bring simple food from home which always feels right, as a big lunch weighs me down and makes me feel sluggish for the rest of my shift.

Both my husband and I were kind of dragging come dinner time, so I asked him to repeat a meal he’d made just the night before. It was some sort of spicy chicken dish mixed with whole wheat spaghetti noodles that had been a huge hit with the four of us. (There had even been conflict about who would get the leftovers in their school lunch the next day!) When I asked him if we still had the ingredients on hand for a repeat performance, my husband laughed and replied that we always have the ingredients!

We later walked over to the Fred Meyer grocery store, as the unusual sunny weather was just too good to pass up, plus we needed to pick up lettuce for a salad. Whole roaster chickens were on sale for 69ยข a pound, so I bought one for tonight. I don’t often buy whole chickens as I have a nasty habit of meaning to make soup with the leftovers and then not getting around to it. (A large component of decreasing my food waste has been to recognize what foods I’m wasting, and then making changes based on that self-awareness.)

So tonight’s dinner will be roasted chicken with new potatoes. (Someone left the potatoes at one of my mother’s guest cottages, and I am the primo #1 gleaner of these rentals.)

Here’s how the Dine-In-Challenge has affected me so far. My husband and I went for a longish walk this morning, and passed a really nice coffee shop along the way. Normally I would have suggested that we go in for a treat, but today we just kept walking. Saved me both money and the empty calories I would have consumed.

Are you participating in the Dine-In Week Challenge, and if so, what’s for dinner tonight? Please share your yummy thoughts in the comments section below.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

P.S. Interesting in learning more about food waste? Make sure to take a look through Jonathan Bloom’s terrific wastedfood.com blog!

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Elizabeth L. February 23, 2010 at 2:53 pm

I am participating in the Dine-In Challenge, even though I forgot to comment the other day and say so. Things are going well so far, but then again, I haven’t been out of the house at meal times yet. I start a new, part-time job tomorrow and am a little unsure about lunch. On one had, I would love to bring my lunch and eat it at work, but on the other, it’s the first day and is mostly an orientation, so I don’t know if we are all supposed to go out to lunch together or eat in the cafeteria. I don’t know what to do about that.

What’s for dinner tonight? Homemade pizza!


Robyn J. February 23, 2010 at 3:27 pm

I love the Dine-In challenge! This should actually be relatively easy for us since we live 60 miles round trip from any fast food joints or tempting restuarants. That said, there is Hot Stuff Pizza, the grocery store, the VFW and a few other local eating establishments where we could indulge.

My goal, thanks to your inspiring posts is to be more consistent and creative concerning leftovers. Last night, though I was tired, my husband offered to order a pizza. I graciously declined and suggested that instead we mix the wild rice with broccoli and cauliflower that he’d steamed the other night. I added a few favorite spices and dashed on some Braggs Liquid Aminos and enjoyed a delicious, simple fast meal.

Tonight, we’ll be diving back into the fridge to see what other masterful menus we can create. I was really putting off cleaning the fridge because it was stuffed. However, as we go through the leftovers, I see more space appears….voila!

My kids are requesting applesauce, leftover french toast and sausage. Sweet. I think I’ll whip up an omlet and jazz it up with assorted veggies. Thanks for the encouragement. Loving it!


Lisa February 23, 2010 at 3:44 pm

Last night was homemade chicken with egg noodles in white sauce. Tonight we had meatloaf and freshly cooked northern beans.


foo February 23, 2010 at 4:07 pm

Every week is dine-in-week when you’re unemployed! ๐Ÿ™‚ I found some delicious rotini on sale, so am making a series of pasta dishes this week for dinner. Whatever veggie the produce stand has on sale, in it goes! Whatever meat the butcher sells me for cheap, in it goes! (He remembers when I was *very* gainfully employed and bought top-of-the-line stuff from him almost daily, so he cuts me a break now, knowing I’ll ramp it back up when I’m employed) Fun and always different. ๐Ÿ™‚ Luckily The Man will eat whatever is put in front of him as long as he didnt’ cook, and the cat gets a few tidbits in her bowl while we eat, so the whole house is happy.


puppyluv February 23, 2010 at 5:37 pm

Hmm, I guess we’ve been having…dine-in..year? I dunno, I can’t remember the last time we didn’t have a regular, made-at-home dinner. Or plain PB&J sandwich lunch. But good luck to all of you who will have more of a struggle, lol!



Tara Morrison February 23, 2010 at 5:59 pm

I guess we have to decline participation because we eat at our church on Wednesday night and do have to pay( a max of 15 $ per family) for our family of six. We do this every week and follow up participating in some sort of activity( my husband a bible study, me yoga and the kids in there appointed programs). Other than this we don’t really eat out much as it is soooo painful to do with 4 kids 5 and under! On occasion we do splurge on Chinese takeout but that is usually about twice a month.

Our menu thus far has been last night-oven fried chicken with mashed potatoes and sauteed cabbage tonight- vegetable fritata and puffy apple pancake.


Katy February 23, 2010 at 6:28 pm


That’s hardly a four star expensive restaurant. You’re still in. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Katy Wolk-Stanley
The Non-Consumer Advoctae


Sense of Home February 23, 2010 at 7:45 pm

Again today I used the crock pot. Tonight it was a pot roast with potatoes and carrots. The potatoes were the last from our garden as was the corn I served with the meal. I will miss both in the next few months, until my garden starts producing again.



Melissa February 23, 2010 at 8:06 pm

We don’t usually eat out anymore, but this week we have company in town and that usually involves a few meals out. However, I really want to know the spicy chicken recipe!!!!


namastemama February 23, 2010 at 8:16 pm

Managed tonight ok. Although my blood sugar was low so asked the hubby to bring me a chicken wrap from home. Did get a granola bar from the machine. It cost a dollar. ouch. but better than drive thru.


Amy February 24, 2010 at 5:41 am

I just did a painting for an art show. The theme was “A Taste of Spring.” so painted a standing asparagus bunch rather quickly! and last night we ate the asparagus. Maybe the painting will sell and I will have covered cost of asparagus many times over.


Shannon February 24, 2010 at 8:10 am

We’ve been eating out way too much lately, so this is great. We are de facto participating because one by one, everyone in the family has caught some kind of viral tummy thing. Dinner so far this week has consisted of the BRAT diet for whoever’s sick at the moment (that’s Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, Toast,) and assorted leftovers for those on the mend. Tonight I’m making fried rice out of the leftover beef roast, brown rice and veggies we had Sunday.


Beth February 24, 2010 at 8:35 am

This is the one week this quarter we’re traveling, so we’ll be eating out, but home cooking is the norm.

This week: garlic potato soup, homemade pizza, sesame chicken with leek over rice noodles.


Aly R. February 24, 2010 at 5:01 pm

Hmm, I see that I am not the only one that would really like to see a recipe for the spicy chicken thing that caused a bit of a fracas over who would get the leftovers! Sounds good! ๐Ÿ™‚ I love spicy things. Spicy frugal dine-in things makes the deal even sweeter…


Katy February 25, 2010 at 12:23 am

Aly R.,

The beauty of a meal cooked by my husband is that I have no idea how it was assembled. I’m good with that. REALLY good.

Also, if I learned the dish, then I could no longer delegate that meal away.

Katy Wolk-Stanley
The Non-Consumer Advocate


Aly R. February 26, 2010 at 5:12 am

Ha! Fully understood.

Following along with the challenge and the lemming for spiciness, I made a spicy chickpea, tomato and green pepper concoction over rice for last night. Bonus was that the tomatoes and peppers were free (from the “employee box” where I work– spotted veggies get saved for us and there was a glut of overripe tomatoes this week)!


WilliamB February 24, 2010 at 6:04 pm

I failed – went to a new, local pizza place with friends and their small children. Much fun was had by all.


Nienke February 25, 2010 at 8:13 am

As a student I notice I spend most of my budget on food. This is why initially I wanted to join this challenge. I found out I just can’t.
I live in a students home with 9 other people and we try to eat together in different groups. We always shop last minute (you never know who’ll you be dining with in advance) which means regular food waste and sometimes take-away. However, it is a lot of fun and I don’t want to miss out on it.
On the other hand, I guess I’m already living quite a frugal life; I live on 100 square feet and I don’t have a car. Sorry, neglected leftovers!


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