Friday, March 24, 2017

Cheap & Cheerful Suppers for the Birthday Week

a birthday celebration
  • takeout from a Chinese restaurant
  • a salad that I made with cabbage, tangerines, and a dressing of soy sauce, oil, ginger and vinegar
  • homemade birthday cake, and ice cream (which was hidden in the back of the freezer for a couple of months)
husband cooks
  • lentils and rice
  • carrot sticks and ranch dressing
  • leftover cake
husband cooks
  • lentils in a peanut butter sauce, over
  • rice
  • canned peas
  • olives
  • leftover cake
  • ham slices from the freezer
  • baked potatoes with butter and cream cheese
  • vegetable medley of frozen spinach, onions, garlic and canned tomatoes
  • cucumber, lettuce and parsley salad (cucumber gifted to us)
  • baked chicken breasts (baked with the potatoes on Monday, then sliced and heated today), made into Inside-out Chicken Cordon Bleu
  • leftover baked potatoes
  • sauteed cabbage, onions and garlic (made Monday in same pan as veg medley, then saved to reheat)
  • vegetarian chili from the freezer
  • carrot sticks
  • blackberry bread pudding
  • ham and egg fried rice, from the freezer
  • canned pineapple

With the kids' birthdays we alternate going out to dinner with having a dinner served at home, from year to year. This was a year to have a restaurant meal for my daughters. We chose Chinese takeout, as it was a Friday night; with everyone coming home at a later hour than weekends, bringing takeout in saved us all from a very late night, and it allowed my daughters to work on school-related projects at an earlier hour. The expense for the restaurant meal comes out of a different budget than groceries. We have a budget specifically for holidays and celebrations.

When we have a birthday meal out, we try to keep the spending to about $45, which is incredibly hard to do for a family of six, if eating at a table service restaurant. My son's and his fiancee's birthday celebration was in November (also a joint celebration as they have birthdays 3 days apart). For that celebration, we chose a lunch meal, going to a local Greek restaurant which is part table service, part order at the counter, bringing the total bill down somewhat. I think we spent somewhere in the neighborhood of $65 for that meal.

Restaurant dining for our family is very expensive in the Seattle area, even when we're trying to keep the bill low. So, for my daughters, I knew we had to come in under budget, to help offset the overage from our fall celebration. I spent just under $35 for the Chinese takeout, which means we are only $10 over from the overall celebration budget. I made up that money with a cheap, at home Valentine's dinner this year. And most importantly, my daughters had a wonderful birthday, and were super duper excited that I got Chinese takeout for dinner that night! I love it when relatively small things make a big splash with my family.

The rest of the week was filled with simple, humble meals. I tried to cook extra whenever I had a chance. As well, I continue to use up items from the freezer. There is always something there to use up.

I've been feeling very blah about the foods that I've been cooking, lately. I'm eating simply because it's there. Oh well. Maybe soon I'll get back to cooking more interesting dishes.

How has the week been at your place? Anything particularly interesting on the menu? Anything seasonal yet? Have a great weekend!