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Friday, November 13, 2015

Cheap & Cheerful suppers for a week with sickness in the house

(another busy day, mostly before noon, so dinner was again, easier)
*turkey minestrone soup (using frozen turkey in stock, garden kale and garden garlic, onions, carrots, canned tomatoes, frozen green beans, garbanzo beans and macaroni), topped with cheese
leftover French bread
*apple pie from the freezer

*leftover turkey minestrone
sandwiches from an event I worked earlier this day
*salad with lettuce and cucumbers given to us, and tomatoes from our garden
fresh watermelon and blueberries, given to us

Sunday (catching a cold, not feeling like any sort of big production for a Sunday supper, used up some leftovers, and made an easy dinner)
scrambled eggs with onions and peppers (I cooked the onion and peppers to go into burritos for the next day's lunches, and made extra to fold into the eggs)
*oven roasted blue and white potatoes
*fresh pear slices
*salad of lettuce, cucumbers and garden tomatoes

Monday (my son had dinner at a friend's house on Sunday, and brought home some leftovers for us. The pork, cabbage and some of the potatoes were the leftovers.)
pork roast
red cabbage and apples
potatoes (I added a few more, to stretch this for the whole family)
Delicata squash
vanilla pudding for dessert

Tuesday (still feeling cruddy, thankfully I had a large container of beef chili in the freezer, and a watermelon given to us on Saturday)
beef chili
watermelon slices
French bread

Wednesday (no leftovers or frozen meals, so I had to cook from scratch, but feeing a bit better, so I was okay with this.)
roasted chicken leg quarters -- pulled the meat off bones, then tossed in herbs, garlic powder, onion powder, salt/pepper and some chicken broth -- very delicious for a quick and easy chicken dinner
*mashed purple potatoes, topped with gravy from the freezer
baked squash
*kale and onions sauteed in bacon fat (had bacon for breakfast, poured most of the fat into container for the freezer, then saved the pan for tonight's dinner for the kale)

chicken soup
leftover apple muffins and French bread
*applesauce from freezer

Have you heard this? I don't remember where I read this, but when making large pots of soup containing noodles, with the intention of having leftovers, or holding some of the soup until later, to cook the noodles separately. Add the noodles to each bowl, just before serving. And save any leftover noodles in a separate container in the fridge. The noodles won't suck up the liquid in your soup, and get soggy.

I feel so thankful for friends who give leftovers, for the lady who coordinates teas and luncheons who offers things like watermelons and English cucumbers for us to take home, and for a freezer, which held some leftover entrees for us to eat, on those nights I was too wiped out to cook. I was able to put together dinners each night, which met nutritional needs for my one daughter who is working hard to keep her weight up. I'm just thankful, today.

Our weather has turned practically balmy this week, with daytime highs in the 50s, nearing 60 on some days. This has kept the fall garden doing well. I picked garden greens a few times this past week, to add to soups, or saute, as is. This is an "el nino" year, which means warmer than usual temperatures for us (also means a whole lot more rain, but I can live with that). Our "fall garden" could last well into winter. More kale, chard, radish, mustard greens and cabbage. Again, just feeling blessed and watched out for, right now.

So, tell me, what's been the most colorful dinner you've had this past week?


  1. It has been a very busy week for me. A full day trip with my parents and brother to Chicago for a Dr. appt. for mom, a church event another evening, an ER trip with mom, and vounteering for a food pantry has taken up my evenings this week. Leftovers or quickie suppers were had all but last night when suddenly there was nothing left and no time to cook. It was a box of stuffing, apple chicken sausages and a small salad. I'll need to get groceries and a plan for meals for the next week as I didn't love the scrambling I did this week. Hubby and daughter couldn't help since they were gone just as much as I was the whole week!

    Glad you're feeling better, Lili. My daughter has had a cold for 5 weeks now and since it was vocal cords it takes a lot longer to heal because we speak (and she's a teacher!) every day.


    1. Hi Alice,
      I hope your mom is okay. It sounds like a very busy, and stressful week for you.
      Your scrambled meal, last night, sounds very delicious. I understand how the need to make a plan feels strong, after a very busy week. I'm feeling the same way, like I just want to have a bunch of stuff ready to go for the next week or two.
      I hope your daughter gets better very soon. 5 weeks is a long time to struggle with a cold and it's after-effects. For me, it's the fatigue that's been horrible. It's given me deja vu of when I first developed CFS.
      Have a great weekend!

  2. I often do the same about keeping noodles separate. Works out better that way.

    This week has felt so busy here, thought there were only a couple of out-of-the-ordinary happenings. Both were Tuesday, though, which made Tuesday a bit hectic. We had a dr's appointment for my husband at the VA clinic in OKC, which means a 90+ mile drive each way. He asked me to go with him to this one, so I prepped the night before by thawing a chuck roast, then put that in the slow cooker in the morning with potatoes, carrots, onions, and radishes (these are a low-carb sub for potatoes and cook up quite nicely in the broth with a roast). We arrived home just in time to pick up the kids from school, after which I had to immediately take youngest daughter to clogging (not her usual day-teacher had a conflict this week). While she was at clogging, I did our Aldi grocery shopping, then ran back to pick her up with one minute to spare, lol. Went home to put away groceries, eat the pot roast dinner, then took the older girls to our scouting meeting. I kept reminding myself that I was glad I'd prepped that roast. Saved money over grabbing something out for sure, plus now with avoiding gluten it's harder to get something inexpensive out.

    Most colorful meal? Maybe last night's supper--copycat Zuppa Toscana soup made with beef smoked sausage and pink-ribbed Swiss chard from our garden. Served with homemade biscuits for the gluten-eaters.

    1. Hi Cat,
      Between you and Alice, when you live somewhat rural from major cities, getting to major medical centers can be quite the drive, eh? You drove 3 hours just for the dr's appt, that day! I hope your husband is doing okay.

      I hadn't heard of adding radishes to pot roasts before. Are the texture is good? Planning ahead was a real life-saver, it sounds like, that day. Not only a lot cheaper than take-out GF meals, but probably just better overall. More and more, home-cooking just tastes better, feels better in my tummy, and keeps my body feeling better for the rest of the day, than anything I can buy, ready-made.

      The Zuppa Toscana sounds delicious!

  3. Glad you are feeling better! I'm surrounded by nasty colds at my office. Two out sick today, after both were at work yesterday and feeling miserable. One is here and miserable today, and trying to get into a doctor. I guess these colds are accompanied by painful sore throats. I'm taking extra Vitamin C and washing my hands very often.

    Your meals sound yummy.

    Let's see, our week...
    Monday: Beef stew (w/potatoes, corn, carrots, onion, tomatoes and jalapenos), Homemade French Bread
    Tuesday: Chicken Alfredo, Leftover French Bread, Salad (w/lettuce, grated carrots, broccoli florets, dried cranberries and a bit of shredded cheese) and Homemade dressing (Olive Oil, Apple Cider Vinegar, Ground Mustard, a little sugar)
    Wednesday: Beef Chili, Homemade cornbread
    Thursday: Pulled pork (frozen from a previous meal), Buns (cheated...bought these at on sale at Kroger for $1), BBQ sauce, Salad (w/broccoli florets, cabbage, red onion, grated carrots, dry roasted peanuts, dried cranberries, a bit of shredded cheese), Homemade dressing (same as Tuesday)

    I would have to say the most colorful dishes for me all week have been the salads with the tangy dressing. I don't know what has gotten into me! I've always had a huge sweet tooth. I have made myself limit sweets and eat veggies and fruits to stay healthy and keep an ideal weight, but the sweet cravings were horrible. Suddenly, the past few weeks I have craved greens and crunchy salads and homemade dressing with olive oil and vinegar. I have been taking the leftover salads and dressing to work for lunches. One day I brought a big bowl of broccoli florets, shredded carrots, peanuts and dried cranberries to work and ate with the tangy homemade dressing. I can't get enough of it. I'm not thinking about sweets and chocolate so much anymore. It's odd.

    We are having the warmer weather here in Ohio also. Our temperatures have been in the 50's with a lot of days reaching near 60's. It's nice compared to the last couple of falls/winters where we had extremely cold temps by this time and the snow started and didn't let up until March. They are predicting a very mild winter for us with below average precipitation. That will be nice for a change. We have only had to turn our heat on a little, mainly in the evenings, so I'm hoping we see much lower heating costs this winter.


    1. Hi Angie,
      Oh, I hope you don't catch the cold that's going around your office!
      Your meals this week sound delicious, and very healthy with all the fruits/veggies/salads. You've given me some thought to a possible slaw this evening, with cabbage, dried cranberries, shredded carrot and maybe a honey-mustard dressing.

      Have a great weekend!

  4. Hi Lili,
    Glad you are on the mend.
    As usual your dinners sound yummy!
    I did not do a lot of cooking this week & no reason really. We had some of the chili I had in the freezer form a couple weeks ago. Some boneless chicken in the crock pot with cream of celery soup & we had leftovers from that. We went out to a new place near our house last night, was so good.
    Hope you have a good weekend!

    1. Hi Rhonda,
      Thank you. You know how it is. It never feels like you get all the way well, fast enough.
      Sounds like simplified cooking at your house, this week.
      Have a great weekend, Rhonda!

  5. Happy to hear you're feeling better, Lili. Earlier in the week I cooked a chuck roast in the slow cooker with onions, potatoes, carrots, and seasoning, and we ate that for several meals. That tends to be the way we eat lately-one thing for two or three dinners in a row. Luckily my family doesn't complain.

    1. Hi Mary,
      Thank you.
      You know, I've been watching beef roast prices. I've been so hungry for pot roast! Yours sounds very delicious and minimal fuss.
      I think my family would also be fairly content to eat the same thing several nights in a row. I just never manage to cook enough for lots of leftovers! I'll have to work on that!
      Have a great weekend, Mary!

    2. Hi Lili,
      I got the pot roast at Winco. When yours opens, I think it will be a favorite place to shop. There are just 3 of us with our daughter away at college, so the meals I make stretch further. I hope your weekend has been good as well!

    3. Mary, the Winco nearest us is now having their grand opening! I can't wait to get down there (it's not convenient to most of my errands, but I'll make a point of going down there in the next week). I'm looking forward to checking out their bulk bins.

  6. I bet you were also thankful to have some easy items to pull from the freezer for dinner last week. It's a gift you gave yourself. :)

    I'm trying to remember what we ate for dinner this past week! My mind is blank. We are having friends for dinner tonight and I'm trying something new--a baked potato bar. They have small kids so I like to do meals where the kids can pick and choose so the parents don't feel they have to make their kids eat food they don't want to eat. These friends are gracious and will eat anything I serve. I need to go bake a pie for dessert now.

    1. Hi Kris,
      Definitely! And I got right back to it Friday, getting things made for the freezer.
      Your baked potato bar sounds like it would be just right for your get-together with friends. What all did you put on it?
      Have a great rest of the weekend, Kris!

  7. Glad you are feeling better...and that the convenience freezer foods made your recovery easier. Your dinners were so colorful, almost too pretty to eat!!

    We too had a pot of chili, using some hamburger from the freezer that needed using up. Two expired cans of diced canned tomatoes escaped my notice earlier this year (expired May!!). I think I'll extend the chili today by adding some macaroni.


    1. Hi YHF,
      Oh yum, chili mac, a favorite of mine, especially when topped with lots of cheddar. Thanks for the reminder. I could have gotten a couple of servings out of the leftovers that way. Just didn't think of it!

  8. I hope your household is about done with this round of colds, although I don't remember you mentioning if your husband had had it yet. My mother taught me to cook noodles that way for soup, but I don't always do it that way just because it is an extra step and I don't mind soggy noodles.

    1. Hi live and learn,
      somehow my husband missed this cold, and one daughter still hasn't come down with the full set of symptoms.
      Your mother must have been an amazing scratch cook. And you were the lucky beneficiary of her teaching!

  9. That's a great tip about the noodles! I always love these posts - somehow you seem to inspire me and take the pressure off all at the same time. Why I should feel pressure about cooking for one is beyond me, but I still do.

    Anyhow, I roasted a chicken earlier this week and I'll be making another round of soup soon. Potatoes were on sale, and there were eggplants in the bargain bin, so I roasted the chicken on a bed of cut potato wedges, eggplant chunks, onions, and some garden tomatoes & peppers that were less than pretty. Turned out colorful and yummy!

    1. Hi Cat,
      your roast chicken with potatoes, eggplants, tomatoes and peppers sounds very delicious!

      When I was single, I really didn't cook much for myself. All of the cooking that you do, when it's often just you eating, is quite amazing, I think.


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