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Thursday, November 14, 2013

November meals -- easy for me, but still bargain basement cheap

Over these last few weeks, I've had some days where making dinner was all I could get done. I found that if I got a start before noon, chopping vegetables, making rice, or getting the dry ingredients for baking thrown together, then I could pace myself throughout the afternoon.

I managed to get a home-cooked meal onto the table every day, with weekend help from my kids. But I did find that I really needed to simplify meals. You'll notice some meals are very basic, or are merely leftovers from earlier in the week. And there are numerous repeats. If I found something super easy to put together, then we had that a couple of times. But we all survived!

Here's a sampling of what the 5 of us have been eating, and sticking to our budget of $170/month.


Lentil-vegetable soup (lentils cook up so quickly that even if I'm getting a late start making dinner, I can still pull it all together in under an hour)


Turkey burritos, with beans, onions and peppers, in homemade tortillas
sweet potato fries


Vegetarian tamale pie
stewed pumpkin
steamed broccoli

Thursday (easy dinner, babysitting day)

turkey and dumplings, with frozen turkey in gravy, carrots, potatoes and chard


leftover tamale pie
garden vegetable medley (last of zucchini, tomatoes, Swiss chard, onions and garlic)

Saturday (family outing to fro-yo place after dinner)



hot dogs (homemade buns in freezer),
baked beans from freezer,
carrot sticks and dip


lentil-vegetable chili
avocado and pomegranate salad
pumpkin donuts


homemade pizza (make 2), with green and red peppers, pepperoni
carrot sticks and dip


Turkey and gravy from freezer
roasted potatoes and carrots
leftover baked beans


leftover chili
caramel apples


turkey teriyaki
rice sauteed with kale, broccoli and carrots


turkey-lentil burritos
winter squash
sauteed onions and peppers


hot dogs wrapped in biscuit dough
cole slaw
roasted carrots


turkey and dumplings
winter squash


vegetarian chili
toasted cheddar sandwiches with apple slices
cole slaw


kale and onion frittata
brown rice
sweet potato fries

Thursday (easy dinner)\

pizza from freezer
apple wedges
leftover chili


bean burgers, topped with avocados and salsa
rice with canned tomato dices


turkey burritos
carrot sticks and dip


hot dogs in biscuit dough
winter squash

My main goals these last few weeks have been to clear enough room in the freezer for frozen turkeys and hams, as well as use veggies from the garden, and the fresh produce that we have in store. I am saving the frozen fruits and vegetables for mid-winter meals. One of my favorite items that we've been enjoying is sweet potato fries. Yes, I do them the not-so-healthy way, in oil. And are they ever yummy! Thin and crisp is how I like them. With a sprinkling of salt! Oh not at all healthy, but one has to live a little, right? The other really delicious item we made were caramel apples. I made the caramel from scratch. It came out curdled looking, but nobody complained. I'll keep working on making good caramel.


Live and Learn said...

It would be a treat to eat at your house every day with such varied and good food. Once again, your family is lucky to have you.

Kris said...

Glad to see you back! Honestly, most of my meals fall into the simple-and-quick-to-prepare category. Occasionally I enjoy doing something more complex but day to day? Simplicity reigns.

I tried making homemade caramel in the microwave--I didn't cook it long enough so it didn't caramelize like it should have (our light in our micro doesn't work anymore so I can't watch it while it cooks and I was afraid of burning it) and, like your family, no one seemed to complain. :)

Katie @ Life Lived Intentionally said...

Mmm. I want to make homemade tortillas next week. I found a recipe on pinterest that looks better than my old one. We'll see! If they turn out well, I'll start making them from scratch again. I used to make them, but I never really stored them that well, so they would get cracked after the second day. We eat a LOT of tortillas, so it would be nice to be able to cut that cost down.

Your meals look delicious and full! I agree with Live and Learn.

Liz @ Economies of Kale said...

Yum, everything sounds good :)

Lili said...

Thank you, live and learn!

Lili said...

Hi Kris,
Ha! My family raved about the caramel, but it sure was homely looking! All curdled and lumpy!
What you made was caramel sauce -- it's not a "mistake" if nobody notices! But, I'd like to try a microwave version sometime. A friend of mine made caramels for Christmas one year. I'm not there yet, but I'll keep trying (hard work, I know, but somebody has to make the sacrifice!)

Lili said...

Hi Katie,
My tortillas also become brittle the next day. I can remedy that enough to satisfy me for a quick burrito at lunch, though, by microwaving for 9-10 seconds. It would be nice to be able to make some that had keeping qualities.

Lili said...

Thanks, Liz!

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