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Friday, September 6, 2019

Cheap & Cheerful Suppers for Early September

Another week of simple meals. We had two dinners where time and energy were a factor in choosing the menu (Friday and Wednesday). Even in a time-crunch, something as simple as pancakes or scrambled eggs can make a tasty meal. Both of these meals require no advance preparation, but still get dinner for 4 on the table in 15 to 20 minutes. 

When we have more time and energy, we can create more elaborate meals. I think that's part of my basic philosophy for frugal meal planning and prep -- when I can, I do more. When I can't, I don't sweat it. There is enough variety in the simple, scratch-prepared foods, like eggs, pancakes, and sandwiches, that I don't need to buy a lot of convenience foods or take-out.

Here's our week's menus:


Friday (I didn't feel well -- pancakes are easy to make)
pancakes and blackberry syrup

Saturday
rice and lentils
green salad
blackberries


Sunday -- cookout
hot dogs in homemade buns
homemade sauerkraut
tossed garden salad (lettuce, kale, tomatoes, cucumber)
spring rolls (brought by guests)
blackberry cobbler
s'mores


Monday
homemade cheese pizza
cole slaw ( 18 cent/lb cabbage and garden kale in homemade dressing)
fresh blackberries with honey

Tuesday
chicken salad over lettuce
crackers (bought by daughter)


Wednesday
scrambled eggs topped with salsa
toasted corn tortillas
steamed broccoli stems
leftover brown rice




Thursday
spaghetti in meat sauce (leftover pizza sauce from Monday with added ground beef)
garden green beans
marinated beets 
blackberry cobbler


What was on your menu this past week?
What are your go-to, easy-to-fix, basic foods that you prepare when you don't have time or energy?

15 comments:

Kris said...

And I bet breakfast-for-dinner are some of your family's favorite meals! I know they are in my house.

Hmm, easy and quick dinner kinda fall into two categories for me ..... I pull out my crockpot chicken in soy sauce and honey if I'm only gone a few hours (takes 4 hours to cook) and have time to pull it together mid-day. Then all I have to do is cook rice and heat up a vegetable for sides. I have a few quick meals I pull together in the evening right before we eat--sloppy joes, tacos, spaghetti with jarred sauce .... I tend to do pancakes for dinner if it's just the kids and me.

I just got home from a seminar at work and had planned to make dinner, but my husband was afraid I'd be late (he and my son are busy this evening and need to get out the door) so he was working on dinner when I got home. What a nice surprise!

live and learn said...

A few quick things we do for dinner--Tuna melts are easy and filling and we almost always have tuna in the pantry. Spaghetti from homemade sauce from the freezer or jar sauce with pasta is also quick. Sometimes we add ground meat and sometimes we add veggies to the sauce. And breakfast for dinner is also a favorite as Kris said. And occasionally everyone says that want cereal and fruit.

Shirley said...

Thanks again, Lili, for some good ideas. I am going to make pizza tonight using a lone piece of Naan bread in the freezer along with jar spaghetti sauce and last of the cheese along with green beans from freezer. Sunday will be the scrambled eggs with salsa and l/o green beans. Monday will be spaghetti & (from freezer) meatballs. Since it's just me, I'll have one or two l/o meals, too. My really easy supper is soup or poached egg on toast. BTW where did you find cabbage for such a low price?

Alice said...

No meal prep for me yet--going on 2 weeks. Still in the hospital with hubby in Los Angeles. I walked to the store last week and got some fruit and snacks. That is now gone except for a few breakfast bars. We might go home Monday if all goes well. I did buy a pizza and divided it up for three days. it is not my go-to type of food but I get what I can.

I am so ready to get back to my own kitchen and to eat some healthy food. I am going to probably do a bit more breakfast for dinner meals while hubby is recovering. Tuna melt sounds really good but we can't have tuna so I think I'll use chicken in a can and I'm sure that will be really good!

Alice

Shirley said...

Alice, I am so sorry this has happened. Having a loved one in the hospital is difficult enough without being away from home too. You're doing the best you can under the circumstances. Prayers for your hubby and you. Shirley in PNW

live and learn said...

Two weeks is a really long time to be in the hospital whether you're patient or the family, Alice. I hope you both get to go home soon. Chicken melt sounds good, also. I'll try to remember that.

Lili said...

What a wonderful surprise to some home to, Kris! I love your quick and easy dinner ideas. With the crockpot chicken with soy sauce and honey, is there anything else that you add before cooking? That does sound yummy and easy. I'll remember that. Thank you.

Lili said...

Hi live and learn,
About your cereal for dinner -- if I'm really tired or not well, I make oatmeal for dinner. I know that not everyone is filled up by this, but it's better than nothing. And then we can all fix ourselves snacks afterwards. I love the tuna melt idea. I'll be using that soon, I'm sure. Thank you.

Lili said...

Hi Shirley,
Oh yes, an egg on toast. That's a good and quick meal. I also like the idea to turn a piece of naan bread (could also work with other breads) into pizza.
On the cabbage -- there's an ethnic market in Lynnwood -- JD's Market. It's in the parking lot where Grocery Outlet Lynnwood is located, about 2 blocks from the Lynnwood Transit Center. Anyway, the "specials" there are fantastic, regular prices just so-so. Also, Country Farms produce stand on Highway 99 in Edmonds will have cabbage on sale in September and early October for very cheap. They will usually call it kraut cabbage, as they're the really big heads. I'm not sure what part of the Puget Sound area you're in, but check your ethnic markets. I find some of the best deals on produce in those. At JD's Market, the cabbage was priced per head at $1, but the heads were huge, weighing 6 lbs. Choosing only the biggest heads yielded that great price.
I hope you had a wonderful weekend, Shirley.

Lili said...

Hi Alice,
I've been thinking about and praying for you. I hope your husband is recovering well from his surgery. Being away from home for so long must be taking a toll on you. You'll be home soon. You've managed extraordinarily well while staying in the hospital with your husband. When you get back home, please take some time for yourself. (I feel worried for you, in case you didn't guess.) I know you must be emotionally exhausted. I'll continue to pray for you and your husband. Take care, Alice.

Kris said...

Hi Lili--

I have probably mentioned this before, but I combine a 1/2 cup of honey and 1/4 cup of soy sauce and place 4-5 chicken thighs (or whatever you find inexpensively) in the crockpot for about 4 hours. That's it. I make sure the chicken is coated well in the sauce. It's one of the "beginning" recipes I have taught my kids. The original recipe calls for sprinkling the chicken with sesame seeds when you are done but I don't bother with that.

Speaking of quick and easy, I made a recipe that Live and Learn posted awhile ago--peanut butter and pumpkin soup. I enjoyed it and it was a good way to use up an odd amount of canned pumpkin that I had sitting around.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I forgot--I put the crockpot on low heat.

Shirley said...

Thanks, Lili for filling me in about the cabbage. I live in Bellevue and as I'm sure you know we are getting priced out and squeezes out of housing and grocery markets. I'm only taking care of myself on a low income - I'd not want to be raising a family. I ride the Access bus and try to maximize my trips, i.e. one stop for Dollar Tree, Grocery Outlet, Bartell's with post office, Ace Hardware and, of course, Starbucks (only when I have a gc.) Or, Target and Walmart in Factoria. I'm going to check out locations of some ethnic markets. BTW my pizza was really good - I liked the bread idea,

Lili said...

Kris said...
. . . I combine a 1/2 cup of honey and 1/4 cup of soy sauce and place 4-5 chicken thighs (or whatever you find inexpensively) in the crockpot for about 4 hours. That's it. I make sure the chicken is coated well in the sauce. It's one of the "beginning" recipes I have taught my kids. The original recipe calls for sprinkling the chicken with sesame seeds when you are done but I don't bother with that.

Speaking of quick and easy, I made a recipe that Live and Learn posted awhile ago--peanut butter and pumpkin soup. I enjoyed it and it was a good way to use up an odd amount of canned pumpkin that I had sitting around.


Thank you, Kris! This sounds very easy. The honey is kind of expensive for me right now, but maybe I can find a substitute for part of the honey, or just use less.
I've made live and learn's peanut butter and pumpkin soup, too, and we really enjoy that. You're right, a very easy, quick and filling dinner. I'll remember to make this later this fall.

Lili said...

Wishing you well in finding a couple of good ethnic or produce markets in your area, Shirley. I've heard about the escalating costs on the Eastside. I hope you find more alternatives for your grocery shopping. Although, Walmart and Grocery Outlet can both yield some great deals.

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