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Friday, October 4, 2019

Cheap & Cheerful Suppers for Early October

Cheap & Cheerful posts show, week by week, how a budget of $135/month for groceries works out for our family of 4

Brrr, it's been a cold week here. Our furnace needed a repair, which didn't get done until yesterday morning. We are so grateful to have heat once again. Since our wall oven is very near to the kitchen table, I tried to time any baking for the day with the dinner hour. I would leave the oven door open while it cooled to add a bit of heat to the eating area. 


Here are our dinners for the week.



Friday
tabbouli -- cracked wheat, quinoa, lentils, onion, parsley, garlic, cumin, mint, oregano, julienne carrot, chopped tomatoes, diced cucumber, lemon juice, vinegar, oil, salt, served over lettuce (followed seasonings from this list to achieve the right flavor)
freshly baked French bread with olive oil for dipping
blackberry pie using some of those frozen blackberries from foraging this summer


Saturday
baked beans
garden potatoes
steamed carrots
leftover blackberry pie


Sunday
chicken, rice, and cheese casserole topped with homemade salsa
garden salad


Monday (switched the table settings/cloth for fall today)
garden vegetable, chicken, and lentil soup, using beets, carrots, potatoes, chard, sorrel, onion, garlic, tomatoes, sage, nutmeg (beets, potatoes, chard, sorrel, garlic, tomatoes, and sage from our garden)
rosemary and olive oil biscuit loaf
pear and rhubarb sauce


Tuesday
pasta in peanut sauce
cabbage side dish


Wednesday (my daughter brought home 2 large pizzas today, so we'll have pizza 2 nights in a row)
pizza
cole slaw (made with some of the 18 cents/lb cabbage from last month)


Thursday
more leftover pizza
garden salad with lettuce, tomato, cucumber, and purchased avocado


Tonight? Mediterranean chicken leg quarters, rice pilaf, and a garden salad.

Our meals are very basic ones, using humble and ordinary ingredients. You'll notice that I really don't try a lot of new recipes, but instead recycle the old ones, altering ingredients according to what we happen to have on hand. I rarely ever make a special trip to the store to pick up a specific ingredient for a particular recipe. Instead, I find an adequate substitute, sometimes using my own reasoning and other times turning to the internet or a cookbook. Family meals don't need to be perfect to be enjoyable.

Procuring Food
I did a major portion of our grocery shopping for the month of October earlier this week. In addition to the items on my October shopping list, I also bought 25 cents worth of celery salt, 2 family packs of chicken leg quarters (slightly better quality than Walmart, and slightly less expensive), and 6 avocados, marked down to 3/$1. So far for the month, I've spent $118.50.

I continue to harvest from our garden on a daily basis. Our lettuce, kale, radish greens, and Swiss chard are doing well. We're focusing on using the lettuce and Swiss chard right now and allowing the kale and radish greens to put on new growth, if possible. We have ever-bearing raspberries in addition to July-bearing. Ever-bearing has an early crop in summer and then a later crop in early fall. I pick a handful every 3 days or so. We also have rhubarb still growing. Keeping a vegetable garden is one of the tactics we use to keep our grocery bill low. There is some labor involved. However, we look upon vegetable gardening as a hobby that provides substantial benefits.


How was your week? If you keep a garden, are you still harvesting from it, or has the season ended for you? And that burning question -- what was on your menu this past week? I get so many great ideas and inspiration from all of your meals.



17 comments:

Kris said...

I hope your furnace is back in working order! I just turned ours on a few minutes ago for the first time this season. Smart of you to coordinate your oven usage with the dinner hour to make that time more enjoyable.

I have a variety of meals that I cycle through--I sometimes make myself try a new recipe but overall, I know what we like and base my meal planning on that. I bet that's the approach that most people take. Your meals sound tasty--if it works, why mess with success? :)

Lili said...

Hi Kris,
Yes, thank you, we have heat once again! Our furnace is getting old. The repair guy reminded me that furnaces don't usually last as long as ours had. So, we'll be saving for a replacement. But for now, all is good.

I think you're right that when you have something that works, and you don't have the time or energy to change the routine, then it really doesn't need changing. But I do like to keep my eyes open for new ways to do things, in case there's an opportunity to save time, energy, or money.

Have a great weekend, Kris!

ruthie said...

It's getting cold here as well - I'm not ready for it, but Utah does have beautiful fall.

There are usually only two and maybe three of us now so dinner can be cheaper and I lack the motivation occasionally :) We had marinated grilled chicken legs, rice and salad; a sauteed southern cabbage with sausage, tomatoes and pumpkin snack cake; chili beef mac and cheese, salad and leftover cake. For one meal that I had to grab on my way home from being a docent at a historic home, I picked up two children's meals from Costa Vida. They have $2 discount coupons on the receipts and the kids' meals are $4, so each meal cost me a little over $2. The meal includes a grilled chicken taco with cheese, rice and beans, pico, and my favorite - a cinnamon and sugar flour tortilla. Quite a lot for $2 I think!
For breakfast I typically have homemade yogurt with homemade granola. I'm going to try your pumpkin granola this weekend. Trying to use up my frozen pumpkin before freezing this years' harvest.

Have a good, warm weekend!

Lili said...

Hi Ruthie,
I became hungry just reading your comment! Everything sounds yummy at your place. We don't have Costa Vida near us, but that was an awesome deal that you got. When we order food from take-out places, I do check the kids meals. A lot of the time, I'm just not hungry enough for an adult portion and the kids meals often come with more variety, plus a beverage, and all so much less expensive.
What a fun job to be a docent in a historic home!

Enjoy the granola recipe, Ruthie, and have a great weekend.

Sheri said...

It's been chilly here, too. We've been using our wood stove every evening.
Meals We had some sort of soup or chili 4 nights this past week. I made 3 different soups over the weekend, beef and vegetable soup, beef and bean chili, and chicken noodle soup. We had enough leftovers for both my husband and I to take soup in for lunch every day. I also made tacos one night and spaghetti (from a jar) another night.
I love reading your menus. The pictures always make my stomach rumble, in a good way.
Cheers!

Frances Moseley said...

Hi Lili,
Your menus always sound and look so good. I get ideas for myself from your posts, so thank you. I won't have to buy much meat this month, lucky me. The school where I teach held a chicken dinner plate fundraiser last week--smoked chicken and sides. Those of us who helped were offered leftover smoked chicken to bring home. I now have 7-8 bags of breast meat in my freezer. Since I live alone, that meat will go a long way.

Lili said...

Sheri said...
It's been chilly here, too. We've been using our wood stove every evening.
Meals We had some sort of soup or chili 4 nights this past week. I made 3 different soups over the weekend, beef and vegetable soup, beef and bean chili, and chicken noodle soup. We had enough leftovers for both my husband and I to take soup in for lunch every day. I also made tacos one night and spaghetti (from a jar) another night.
I love reading your menus. The pictures always make my stomach rumble, in a good way.
Cheers!


Thank you, Sheri. Your soups and meals sound delicious, too. I'm a big fan of chili. I'll have to make that soon, too.
Have a great weekend!

Lili said...

Frances Moseley said...
Hi Lili,
Your menus always sound and look so good. I get ideas for myself from your posts, so thank you. I won't have to buy much meat this month, lucky me. The school where I teach held a chicken dinner plate fundraiser last week--smoked chicken and sides. Those of us who helped were offered leftover smoked chicken to bring home. I now have 7-8 bags of breast meat in my freezer. Since I live alone, that meat will go a long way.


Hi Frances,
Thank you for the kind words.
What a wonderful opportunity you had, serving at the school fundraiser. And that was so great that you were given the leftovers. Yum -- smoked chicken! That's a lot of meat and will last a long time, I'd imagine.
Enjoy your weekend, Frances, and thanks again for the kind words.

LindaJimLevitt said...

hello Lili
So frustrated, I just lost my comment. I'll try again.
The colors of your meals are so vibrant. Have you ever shared your tabbouli recipe? Is there a link where I can find it? It looks absolutely delish.
This week we ate at home 4 of the 5 nights. Thursday night, there was a corporate dinner for my husband's office, and spouses were invited. So we enjoyed a delectable 4-course meal at no cost to ourselves. The other nights were stir fry, roast chicken and vegetables, a rice and chicken casserole with the leftover chicken and vegetables, and eggs on toast. Our youngest two just left for university. With only my husband and I at home, dinners are simpler.
I love your blog.
Linda

LindaJimLevitt said...

I forgot to ask, what is a biscuit loaf? Is it like Irish soda bread?
Linda

Live and Learn said...

My son just made a huge pot of cabbage, ham, and potato stew. It's delicious and there will be plenty to freeze. The best kind of meals.

Belinda said...

No garden here this year, but I did make a vegetable soup last Sunday for lunches all week. I'm going to do that again today. Your menus sound so good to me, even if they are basic, that's what I like as well, Lili. And your pie turned out beautiful! I'm making a chicken pot pie for dinner today and will serve that with a salad. I hope you have a terrific week!

Alice said...

It's soup weather here and I made a butternut/apple soup last week which was good. For Sunday dinner I made two soups--one for hubby with no chunky veggies and that was chicken/orzo but the broth was made from the chicken carcass with an onion, carrots and celery then strained for broth only. That was a very good soup. The second was a low carb taco soup as a second option. That will be my lunch all week. So my meal planning for lunches is done.

Both my daughters sent pictures of their meal planning for the week. My oldest made a big pan of fajita fixings for her lunches this week and the other daughter made some kind of quinoa, corn, black bean, red onion, red pepper, lime juice with an avocado cilantro greek yogurt dressing for lunches. She also made a big pot roast with carrots, tomatoes, potatoes and onions for her husband and family for dinner. My son has made all his tortilla wrap sandwiches and breakfast foods all prepared and frozen for his meals for the next 3 weeks. Wow! Seems like they learned a few lessons from their mama!

Alice

Lili said...

Linda said...
, , , Have you ever shared your tabbouli recipe? Is there a link where I can find it? It looks absolutely delish.
This week we ate at home 4 of the 5 nights. Thursday night, there was a corporate dinner for my husband's office, and spouses were invited. So we enjoyed a delectable 4-course meal at no cost to ourselves. The other nights were stir fry, roast chicken and vegetables, a rice and chicken casserole with the leftover chicken and vegetables, and eggs on toast. Our youngest two just left for university. With only my husband and I at home, dinners are simpler.


Hi Linda,
Your meals sound very tasty. I can imagine how cooking for 2 is less complicated. Although, I'm sure it has it's own difficulties. How nice that you and your husband could enjoy a free dinner out!

I haven't posted how I make tabbouli, but basically, I use a cooke grain (this time was combination of cracked wheat and quinoa), a cooked legume (used lentils here), a garlic, oregano, and mint vinaigrette with lemon juice for half of acid, and fresh, raw vegetables. HTH. And yes, the biscuit loaf is a lot like soda bread. I made a biscuit dough and patted it out into a mound and baked whole. It takes longer to actually bake than biscuits, but saves time in dropping or cutting dough. It also reheated really well the next day and beyond.

Thanks for your kind words, Linda!

Lili said...

Live and Learn said...
My son just made a huge pot of cabbage, ham, and potato stew. It's delicious and there will be plenty to freeze. The best kind of meals.


Now that sounds very warming and delicious, live and learn. And lots of leftovers to boot! Win-win all around.

Lili said...

Belinda said...
No garden here this year, but I did make a vegetable soup last Sunday for lunches all week. I'm going to do that again today. Your menus sound so good to me, even if they are basic, that's what I like as well, Lili. And your pie turned out beautiful! I'm making a chicken pot pie for dinner today and will serve that with a salad. I hope you have a terrific week!


Hi Belinda,
Chicken pot pie is one of my all-time favorite meals! I'm sure yours turned out yummy. More and more, I try to make lots extra when cooking dinners, so that there is always something quick to grab for lunches. Soup seems to be an easy food of which to make extras. Your vegetable soup lasting for the week's lunches sounded very tasty, hearty, and nutritious. Good job!
Thank you, Belinda. I hope your week is great, too!

Lili said...

Alice said...
It's soup weather here and I made a butternut/apple soup last week which was good. For Sunday dinner I made two soups--one for hubby with no chunky veggies and that was chicken/orzo but the broth was made from the chicken carcass with an onion, carrots and celery then strained for broth only. That was a very good soup. The second was a low carb taco soup as a second option. That will be my lunch all week. So my meal planning for lunches is done.

Both my daughters sent pictures of their meal planning for the week. My oldest made a big pan of fajita fixings for her lunches this week and the other daughter made some kind of quinoa, corn, black bean, red onion, red pepper, lime juice with an avocado cilantro greek yogurt dressing for lunches. She also made a big pot roast with carrots, tomatoes, potatoes and onions for her husband and family for dinner. My son has made all his tortilla wrap sandwiches and breakfast foods all prepared and frozen for his meals for the next 3 weeks. Wow! Seems like they learned a few lessons from their mama!


Hi Alice,
Wow! What a prepared family you all are!! Everyone's got their lunches all done in advance. You've done well teaching your kids how to take care of themselves. Your soups sounds delicious.
I hope your husband is continuing in his recovery and that you are getting the rest that you've needed, too. It sounds like you're looking after your diabetes well. You've had a lot on your plate. Wishing you well, Alice.

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