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Thursday, July 23, 2015

Cheap & Cheerful Suppers for mid to late July

My daughters and I were not the only ones picking blackberries the other evening. There was a mom and her young son picking, as well. They filled an ice cream pail of fresh blackberries. My daughters and I picked 3 quarts before heading home for dinner. We had blackberry shortcake that night, and was it ever yummy! Something to repeat, for sure.

I've been putting more effort into our dinners, lately. Not fancy, but terrific meals, nonetheless. Here's what we had this past week:

black bean burgers topped with quickie ketchup
homestyle macaroni and cheese
sauteed kale in bacon fat
fresh blackberries w/ vanilla yogurt

baked chicken smothered in pesto
brown rice
yellow wax beans and diced tomatoes
cucumber-dill salad

chicken and black bean tostados, with lettuce, canned tomatoes, black olives, plain yogurt, cilantro, green onions
preserved figs

Sunday (son comes home after a week out of town)
homemade pizza
cucumber-dill salad

hamburgers on homemade buns
oven fries
large tossed salad with leafy greens, beets and cooked green and wax beans (all from garden -- whoopie!)
raspberries, blueberries and blackberries, topped with whipped cream

Tuesday (blackberry picking in evening with daughters)
refried beans and rice
sauteed garden greens in bacon fat (beet greens, Swiss chard, mustard greens, kale)
blackberry shortcake

ham sandwiches, with mustard, spiced fig jam and lettuce
creamy tomato-basil soup
blackberry-rhubarb crisp


  1. Did you do anything special with your waxed beans and tomatoes? Or were they just cooked together?

    1. Hi live and learn,
      I just steamed the beans, then tossed in some diced, canned tomatoes, some oil, plus a pinch of salt. there seemed to be enough flavor between the two veggies.

    2. That's what I do. I find tomatoes add a lot of flavor to many things.

  2. Lili,

    You must have had an extra-happy family this week! Those were GREAT meals!

    I love ham sandwiches with mustard and interesting jams (kind of like the impression of Monte Cristos, but not fried). And you lucky gal.... waxed bean season! I'm so jealous. No garden here this year. :(

    Great work! Have a good day! Sara

    1. Hi Sara,
      Thank you! We're eating well these days.

      Maybe next year will be a better year to put in a garden where you live.

      Have a great day!

  3. Effort does pay off in meal with most arts. It is possible to prepare wonderful meals using basic food ingredients, but it takes effort. That's what I see continually with the meals you prepare for your family.


    1. Hi YHF,
      This week, I felt compelled to make more family-favorties than I might usually. And you're right, it does take more effort, when using basic ingredients. But I think it tastes better, too.

  4. I'm not a big kale fan, but maybe bacon grease improves it. ;) My hubby planted some in a big pot and it is coming up strong so I guess kale will be on the menu soon.

    Doncha love fresh garden produce for dinner? We aren't having a great garden year but we have been able to eat a lot of salads from our lettuce, plus some Swiss chard and even a picking of beans the other night. Our raspberry bushes are doing fairly well--I can make fruit cups with the blueberries my hubby and kids picked the other day.

    1. Hi Kris,
      You could try combining broccoli and kale, to lessen the strong flavor of the kale in a dish. My approach when my kids were small and we were new to kale was to smother it in cheese sauce. that was always a hit, here. Tonight I've got kale in a quiche, also a good way to mask the strong flavor. But I do think the bacon fat is a real help, even better if there are bacon pieces in it (or ham).

      Lots of salads, chard, beans and raspberries and blueberries sounds really delicious! I love eating from the garden, everything is so fresh.

  5. Your menus are lovely, always an inspiration. It seems the summer is a busy time for me. This year we started with travelling. I had felt like I was just not getting the meals under control. Not just planning but I had been skimping on grocery shopping in order to gain more time:)
    Your menu plan jogged my memory of some of the food items we do have available. Thank-you:)

    1. Hi Teresa,
      Oh, I know what you mean about finding yourself busier than normal, but still needing to come up with meals everyday. It can be a challenge.

      Best of luck to you, coming up with new ways to use the foods that you have on hand!

      Sometimes, I just need to brainstorm with one of my kids. They usually have a different idea of what I could do. I was needing to come up with some cookies or treats to take to our church's coffee hour this week, and was feeling at a loss as to what to bake. One of them suggested gingersnaps, and I always have the ingredients for those on hand. So, gingersnaps it shall be.

    2. Speaking of potlucks . I had bought chocolates and candies after Christmas for 90% off. I have been bringing them to potlucks , showers, church fundraising dinners ( good best before dates and one set were sea shells, perfect for summer occasions).
      They have been a perfect plus on all these occasions for pennies out of pocket.


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