Friday, April 15, 2016

Cheap & Cheerful Suppers for a birthday week, making it easy on the cook!

Friday

Stuffed bell peppers (stuffed with taco meat found in the freezer, topped with tomato puree and baked)
Brown rice
Celery sticks and bleu cheese dressing
Biscotti

Saturday (we've had such a string of glorious weather, that we brought out the patio chairs and fire ring to sit around, while eating dinner)

Homemade pizza, topped with leftover taco meat from Friday's stuffed peppers, the tops of those peppers, chopped, black olives, as well as marinara sauce from the freezer and mozzarella cheese
Apple wedges
Roasted marshmallows for dessert

Sunday

Mini pigs in blankets (Lil smokies wrapped in scratch biscuit dough)
Sweet potato fries (leftover in the freezer from Dollar Tree, my daughters's birthday dinner)
Apple wedges
Frozen green beans with toasted almond slivers
Brownies (daughters baked from scratch)

Monday

Meatloaf (from freezer), topped with leftover pizza sauce, the last green pepper, black olives, heated in oven
Mashed potatoes (last of the shriveled potatoes from November's stock-up, with cream cheese, onion powder, garlic powder, chicken fat, chives)
Cabbage, kale and celery slaw
Assortment of brownies, biscotti and toffee bars for dessert

Tuesday

Frozen bean burger patties
Leftover mashed potatoes, leftover rice or whole wheat bread
Kale sauteed in ham fat, with ham "cracklins" as topping
Oven-roasted sweet potato chunks
Shortbread cookies

Wednesday

Scrambled eggs with chopped ham from the freezer added
Carrot, raisin and peanut salad
French bread with rosemary, garlic olive oil drizzled over slices
Shortbread cookies

Thursday

French bread pizza (using extra bread from Wednesday's baking and frozen pizza sauce)
Cabbage, kale and celery slaw
Oven-roasted carrots



So, you may have noticed that this past weeks meals were less labor-intensive for me. (Or maybe that doesn't come through in my post -- trust me, much less labor-intensive.) This has been my gift to myself for the week. A week of easier meal-prep. You see, tomorrow is my birthday. A couple of weeks ago, I began preparing extras and freezing them, just for this week. It's been very nice to not have to cook as much this past week. Of course, by the end of the weekend, my freezer will be empty of pre-made meals, and I'll need to return to cooking fill meals daily, again. BTW, my birthday dinner is also all taken care of. I found some Mexican chicken soup in the freezer, as well as a casserole dish of chicken enchiladas! Both were good the first time around, so I'm sure they'll be delicious tomorrow! Happy birthday, me!

What was on your menu for the week? Was it a wintry menu (due to cold temps in your area) or a spring-like one? This time of year it seems that I can go either way with the menu. It's not hot enough to not want to use the stove, and not consistently cold enough to necessitate a hot soup to warm everyone up.

Have a great weekend!




38 comments:

  1. I've had to cook again this week but I feel like time wasn't always on my side. Monday we had baked chicken and rice turned into soft tacos. Tuesday was pizza that MIL brought. Wednesday was cheeseburger casserole and salad, Thursday was another round of soft tacos since we liked Monday's dinner very much. Tonight we going out for Chinese--a fare thing to go out but it gives hubby a time out of the house after being cooped up all week. Tomorrow may well be something on the grill since the weather is going to be wonderful. Sunday probably also something on the grill.

    Alice

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    1. Hi Alice,
      this must be such a difficult time for you, with taking care of so much around the house, looking after your husband as he recovers slowly, and going to work daily. You have my sympathy. Your meals sounded delicious, though! And a Chinese-restaurant meal sounds like it will be good for all!
      have a great weekend, Alice!

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    2. Oops! I forgot to wish you a very, very HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!
      Hugs!

      Alice

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  2. Happy Happy Birthday!

    Saryn

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  3. Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear Lili .... happy birthday to you! Consider yourself sung to. :)

    It's been a weird week for meals around here due to our schedules--we have been eating early (4:30). Heavy on pork products--pork loin, ham tetrazzini, pork chops. Maybe I'll do tacos tonight for a change of pace.

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    1. Thank you, Kris!
      Does your husband get home around 4:30? Dinner-time can really vary, depending on everyone's schedules, as well as what I've got going on for the day. We've had dinner as late as 8, and as early as 5:30. But it all works out, everyone gets fed, and we can manage the strangeness of eating super-late or super-early. A bit harder to do when your kids are really little.
      Tacos sound delicious!! Do you do hard or soft-shell tacos?

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    2. He gets home somewhere between 4:30 and 5:00 most nights. My son is taking a hunter's safety class this week, and the classes are from 5:30-9:00, so we've been having extra-early dinners so the guys can get out the door. We seem to have a lot of activities which require us to be out the door early--our usual supper time is 5:00. Meal schedules tend to reflect what stage of life you are in--I can only imagine how challenging it is to accommodate your family's work/school schedules.

      I keep a box of hard taco shells on hand--I don't have to find fridge/freezer space for them and I can whip together a quick dinner that is always a hit. We do like soft-shell tacos, as well. :)

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  4. Happy almost-birthday, Lili! Thank you for all the light you bring to our lives through your good information and good attitude. Your birthday dinner plan sounds delicious. Enjoy!

    Your Wednesday dinner sounded extra-yummy to me, for some reason. Isn't it interesting how sometimes those impromptu meal combinations just hit the spot??

    I've been cooking like a fiend this week due to last-minute guests Sunday and prepping a bunch of meals ahead for some busy weeks ahead.

    Interestingly, one of my favorite things I cooked this week was some meatloaf that (for some reason I can't explain) ended up sort of heavy but also wants to fall into chunks. I was really disappointed, until I started looking at the chunks and thinking that they would probably taste AWESOME heated up in a rich, peppery gravy! So now, I'm really looking forward to dragging that out of the freezer in a week or so for a quick, hot, comforting meal with mashed potatoes and a veggie. :)

    Enjoy your birthday weekend! Hugs-- Sara

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    1. Than you, Sara!
      I had to reread what we had on Wednesday, as nothing really stood out as something special this week, to me. Although, that was the day I bought carrots and raisins, so I was very happy to make carrot, raisin, peanut salad. And I, in particular, really enjoyed the French bread and olive oil.

      Good work getting all of that cooking done ahead for busy weeks to come. That really makes a difference, doesn't it?! And when you mentioned the chunks of meatloaf, I first thought, "mmm, perfect for a sauce!" So I think in a gravy with mashed potatoes will be delicious, and very warming, especially good if you have a cool-ish night, and after a day of heavy work. Your husband and son will likely love it, too (it sounds like the kind of meal the men in my family would dig into).

      have a great weekend, Sara!

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  5. Great minds think alike, evidently! LOL I knew YOU would appreciate my meatloaf "fix". I couldn't "re-build" the meatloaf neatly, the way you often can a cake that sticks/breaks; but I gathered all the bits (minus a couple that were too tempting not to snitch!) and wrapped them up together in a pseudo-loaf-shape. When I thaw it out, I have a feeling that the rest of it will fall into chunks, too. That ought to make it even easier to put my plan into action! LOL I'm expecting some hard-working days outdoors ahead, and I bet that WILL really hit the spot one of those evenings. I'm really quite geeked-out about the prospect! LOL

    Take care-- Sara

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    1. Ooops, hit the wrong "reply" button. My busy week must be catching up to me. (blush) LOL Sara

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  6. Happy Birthday to You, Lili! Have a lovely weekend!
    Mary

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    1. Thank you, Mary!
      I hope your weekend is wonderful, as well!

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  7. Hi Lili,
    Happy Birthday! I hope you have a lovely day.
    Jo Ann

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    1. Thank you, Jo Ann! It was lovely. I hope you had a very nice weekend!

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  8. Happy Birthday, Lili!! :)

    That's a wonderful idea, giving yourself a birthday week of lighter kitchen duties. Planning this for yourself is so self-affirming...good for you, Lili :)

    So serendipitous...I was thinking to do the same for myself. Not a birthday week, since mines is a few months away. But I just want a sabbatical from life's duties, not even crafting. I thought I would love to spend endless hours on it, but these past few weeks, I didn't care to work on anything. Think I'm just burned out trying. I was going nonstop during my work life, always busy fiddling on a craft project, but now that I'm retired, I just want to do nothing. Hope this is just a phase. I think I just need to step out like a free bird and smell the roses lol

    Some of my favorite dinners are frozen premade meals. Did your family notice any difference? I like to warm our frozen leftover pizza slices in the toaster oven for an extra crisp crust (we don't overbake our pizzas intending to reheat the leftovers), seems more delicious when I can snack on a slice or two, on a day when the pizza wasn't made.

    Have a wonderful weekend, and a special day tomorrow!!

    YHF



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    1. Hi YHF,
      Thank you!
      As for taking time off from the routines of life, I think changing things up keeps our lives feeling fresh. Maybe this is just a delayed fatigue, for you. You jumped right into busy retirement days, with crafting taking up many hours that you had been putting into your business. And now, it's all catching up? Maybe you just need time to figure out how you will want your new self to spend your days. It will all settle out for you, sooner or later. In the meantime, do smell those roses, savor a sunset or two and plan for the next time your grandkids can come stay for a while.

      I hope you had a great weekend, YHF!

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    2. Yes, maybe it is just that I need a change of scenery and routine lol...and I like how you coined it "new self". Lately, I've been having more sleep (a good 7-8 hours total, sleep 4 hours, then I'm up in bed for 2-3 hours, then fall back to sleep for 3-4 more hours.) So from 7pm to 7am, that's where I am...in bed lol If I keep this up, I'll not be able to do anything during the day, but take care of myself. Which is not a bad idea even if I do only that for the rest of my life. I decided recently I don't want to do anything more with myself (forget trying to be an artist, I'm too tired). I just want to live a simple lifestyle and be as self reliant as possible. I guess, that could be quite a lot of work too lol

      Lately, I have been spending a few hours in the garden(we're planting more vegetables). Mending and adjusting clothes that have sat for ages. Just no creative projects for now. All of a sudden I feel it is a waste of time and money...go figure.

      YHF

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  9. I'm glad that you're treating yourself for your birthday with less cooking. BTW, Hope you have a wonderful birthday, Lili.

    Are you going to have decent weather? We're supposed to have good weather this weekend and I'm really looking forward to it.

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    1. Thank you, live and learn!
      We are back into a warm spell, here, too. It makes all the difference to have nice weather, doesn't it? My birthday and rest of the weekend was very nice. but now I'm exhausted.
      I hope you had a restful weekend, and enjoyed some spring sunshine!

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  10. Happy Birthday Glad you are taking it easy you deserve it !
    Dee

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    1. Thank you, Dee! I hope you had a great weekend!

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  11. Happy Birthday, Lili! As always, a great idea to prep ahead for lighter work the birthday week. I will put that in the hopper for next January:) This week I made 2 crockpots full of chicken lentil soup. Soup weather will be disappearing here soon. (It's supposed to be 90 on Mon!) My big girls and I also prepped eight freezer meals for my niece and her family. I'm going to be a great aunt in few weeks! We still have more meals we'd like to make. Pork chops are on sale today only at a local store for $1.47/lb. I think I'll pick up some of those to make a couple of pork meals with for her. Melissa

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    1. Thank you, Melissa!
      What a wonderful thing you're doing for your niece! She and her husband will surely appreciate all of your work. And how exciting that you're becoming a great aunt! Life is full of blessings!
      I hope you had a great weekend!

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    2. Unfortunately dad's not in the picture. So, she's living with my sister & her husband. My niece is young (19), but I think she'll make a great mother. Melissa

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    3. A new baby is a blessing. I'm glad your niece has support from her parents.

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  12. Happiest of birthdays Lili. I enjoy your daily blog posts, thanks for sharing this life event with us��
    As I forced myself this evening, to finish a bag of hard working spinach into a salad, I often think of the suggestions you post on this blog. I reframe it into a LilI question/statement, " How would Lili make this leftover a new creation��?
    My eldest daughter who is a teacher ,was with me as I was creating supper. We had a great conversation about her job as a teacher which allows her to come home at a decent time and contribute to creating a meal from scratch.
    Have a great weekend with your family.

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    1. Thank you, Theresa!
      Your daughter has chosen a wonderful profession, in so many ways. And it's so nice that she can see some of the benefits gained by being a teacher. It sounds like you had a very nice conversation while you two put together dinner.

      I hope your weekend was wonderful, Theresa!

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  13. Happy Birthday Lili. I hope you have a wonderful day. I did not notice your meals looking easier. How amazing to cook ahead and have bit of a break.
    Have a wonderful birthday weekend.
    Patti

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    1. Hi Patti,
      Thank you! It was a wonderful day! I hope you had a lovely weekend, yourself!

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  14. Happy Birthday, Lili. I hope you have a wonderful day. Kudos to you for making it an easy meal week. I love weeks like that. I hope you have a terrific weekend. :)

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    1. Thank you, Belinda! We had a terrific weekend, here! I hope yours was also wonderful!

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    1. Thank you, Busy Bee! My birthday was wonderful! As you know, being with family is what makes birthdays special. I hope you had a great weekend!

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  16. Hi Lili,
    I hope you had a wonderful birthday!
    Rhonda

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    1. Thank you, Rhonda! I did have a wonderful birthday. I hope you had a great weekend!

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I'm so glad that you stopped by today. Please comment, and let me know what you're thinking.