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Wednesday, April 8, 2015

6 Cheap & Cheerful Suppers, 1 not-so-cheap Easter dinner

Wednesday (about $1.80 for 5)
minestrone soup (using lots of leftovers from the fridge and freezer)
scratch cornbread squares topped with melted cheddar
scratch chocolate cake (from freezer) topped with blackberry coulis (frozen blackberries pureed with some blackberry jam, and other fruity liquids from the fridge and freezer, such as leftover cranberry sauce from previous week).

I have to give credit to Kris, here, on the cake. She made mention of serving cake with just a bit of topping, and not full-blown frosting between layers and all around. That inspired me to do a much simpler topping for this cake, for a weekday dinner dessert.

Thursday (about $2.15 for 5)
turkey in gravy over
brown rice
mustard glazed carrots
cabbage slaw

Friday (about $1.85 for 5)
kale frittata
leftover Yorkshire pudding and brown rice (need to use those up)
chunky marinara sauce and cheese over frittata, and Yorkshire pud/rice
sauteed onions and peppers

Saturday (about $1.65 for 5 -- I was cooking all day in preparation for Easter, so dinner was a hodgepodge of stuff)
garbanzo bean salad in a mustard vinaigrette, with chopped carrots, celery, asparagus and shallots
deviled eggs
potato casserole (part of Sunday's casserole, baked up in a small baker)
watermelon pickles
rhubarb sauce (I cut too much rhubarb for Sunday's pies, so made sauce with the extra)

Sunday (about $13.00 for 9)
Savory Spiced Peanuts
cheesy potato casserole
cold marinated asparagus and celery salad
dinner rolls (brought by friends)
tossed salad (brought by friends)
watermelon pickles, carrot sticks and deviled eggs
scratch rhubarb custard pie
bought vanilla ice cream

Monday (about $3.45 for 5)
Denver omelettes (ham, green pepper, onion, cheddar-jack cheese filling)
brown rice, all topped with food processor salsa
leftover rhubarb pie

Tuesday (about $1.50 for 5)
rice and beans (cooked in turkey fat/oil and with spices, onions, garlic and canned tomatoes)
topped with food processor salsa and cheddar-jack cheese
cabbage and celery slaw
slivers of pie drizzled with homemade blackberry syrup

*none of the estimated costs include beverages, usually milk for 3, water for 2. Tack on another 30 to 40 cents per night for the milk. And with Easter dinner, we also drank 2 bottles of Martinelli's sparkling cider, at $1.99 per bottle, making Sunday's Easter dinner cost about $17 including beverages.



  1. Lots of variety!! Meat protein really ups the cost of the meals, while beans and eggs are cheaper sources. By having a nice dessert with every meal, perhaps no one misses having meat more often :) We don't eat meat often either...and if we do, we use so little in soups or one pot cooking. We have fish (scraps) more often: canned salmon (just tossed from the can with tomatoes, onion, green onion, salt), the "bones and tails" of fresh salmon (sauteed in butter), fishcake (very expensive but we buy it "reduced" from the store that sells the salmon) and use that in lieu of ground meat.


    1. Hi YHF,
      In looking over my week, I found that adding both cheese and meat to the same meal really upped the price. Ouch!! Sometimes, doubling the price over what a beans/grain meal cost. I was very careful with the cheese use on last night's beans and rice dinner, and I think that mattered, for keeping the cost down, after a couple of nights of more expensive dinners. (Probably was good for our heart-health and waistlines as well!)

      But it's nice to throw in a meal with a little extra of both meat and cheese, once or twice per week. That keeps us from feeling deprived, I think.

      Do you find that fish can be competitively priced with other meats, there? I would guess some fish is just expensive where ever you go, but I'm wondering is there are varieties or as you put it, scraps of some fish, that are well-priced for your area?

    2. We hardly eat fresh fish whole, and the better local varieties are upward $20+ for a nice sized fish. Other than salmon, we sometimes eat pollock fillets (white meat fish), which is also quite inexpensive and versatile. The Koreans like to serve this fish in egg/flour batter (fish jun), sometimes my husband will stir fry the fillets with Chinese vegetables in a black bean sauce. We buy this fish in oriental markets for around $2-3 a pound (it used to be $1.50 for so many years.) The salmon scraps sell for 99c a pound, can't beat that and a pound serves dinner for two of us.


    3. You've found a couple of real deals on fish!

  2. Last night was scalloped potatoes with ham leftover from Sunday. I also strained the ham bone broth and picked off the remaining meat and put both in the freezer (in separate containers) and they will probably become pea soup in the next week or so. Also a little alfredo sauce and shells were made for a meal for someone this week. Made a peach jello with vanilla pudding topping for a side for a meal this week whenever someone eats. Stale bread was made into French toast this morning. A little leftover sponge cake and strawberries for someone this week. And now the fridge is pretty empty as most of these make-ahead items have been made for whomever needs to eat before heading out the door this week.

    I'm making my way through the kitchen freezer trying to use the small amounts of things in there--blueberries, diced peaches, tilapia, two chicken breasts, and a bunch of other items that are too small for meals but just enough to make something to accompany a meal.

    It is mostly going to be freezer foods the rest of the month since the grocery money more than half gone and we are only the 8th of April! Yikes.


    1. Hi Alice,
      I can relate about the grocery money for the month being about gone and it's so early in April still. I'm in the same boat. But, that's in large part to the sales available for the holiday. It made sense to stock up on the loss leaders, when they were available. And as it works out in my area, at least, there's not much that's a great deal this week to buy, anyway.

      Your scalloped potatoes and ham sounds tasty! And the split pea soup will be a nice treat with good ham broth and meat. I'll be taking care of the ham bone today. It does make great stock for soups! You're a step ahead of me this week!

  3. Looking at your meal costs reminds me of something we used to do. When the kids were younger, we'd figure out the cost of a cheap meal out and use that as our standard. Then we'd figure out the cost of each meal we'd eat at home and we'd put the difference in our vacation fund. The boys were very much a part of the planning, so they learned about which foods would give a good meal for less.
    It was a good lesson for everyone to see how much or how little you could eat for and saving for a common goal.

    1. Hi live and learn,
      What a great way to teach the costs of very basic foods to your sons. And you'd wind up with vacation money to boot! Win-win!

      Did your family have a favorite low-cost dinner they enjoyed more than others?

    2. I don't remember a favorite one, but we did have a lot of beans after the boys figured out how cheap they were.


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