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Friday, January 29, 2016

Cheap & Cheerful Suppers for late January

meatloaf (from the freezer), topped with
gravy (from the freezer)
oven-roasted pumpkin chunks
pasta, tossed with canned tomatoes, garlic, onion powder and herbs
baked apples (the last apples from our orchard)

black beans and rice, cooked with canned tomatoes and Mexi spices
oven-roasted pumpkin chunks (this has become my favorite way to eat pumpkin this year)

pumpkin pancakes
breakfast sausage

black bean burgers, topped with
onions sauteed in bacon fat
seasoned oven-roasted potato wedges
frozen peas
watermelon pickles

kale, onion and olive frittata, topped with a quick sauce of canned tomato paste, garlic, onion powder and basil
French bread
carrot sticks
creamy pear jello (using the last pears from the orchard)

shepherd's pie from the freezer (yes, that shepherd's pie!) *or* for the one person not wanting shepherd's pie ;-), a leftover black bean burger, topped with grilled onions
pumpkin muffins
salad of orange segments and dried cranberries

French bread pizza (using up the other loaf of French bread, a quick pizza sauce of tomato paste, garlic powder, onion powder, dried herbs, liquid from draining olives, and some of the salty crumbs from the bottom of a bag of pretzels, also topped with caramelized onions from Monday, and sliced olives)
frozen green beans
pumpkin pie

On Wednesday, I had hopes that I would be able to eat the shepherd's pie, as I was just heating it from the freezer that night. I went to taste a tiny bit and told my family that it tasted like dog food. One daughter said, "yes, it does taste like dog food, but I still like it". Okay, then, I can stop shopping in the people food aisle for groceries and stock up on Alpo! JK

That's what we ate this week. My favorite meal was on Monday, the black bean burgers, topped with caramelized onions -- yum, those were good!

What was on your menu this week? And what did you particularly enjoy?


  1. That sounds like a lovely, frugal and healthful menu, Lili -- well done...!

    This was my menu this week (for my husband and me):

    Sunday: "Russian Potato Sauerkraut Soup" (using my homemade sauerkraut, frozen garden green beans, and my homemade yogurt as a sour cream substitute, plus dill harvested from my herb garden last fall. Served with homemade bread (the liquid for which was the water I cooked a batch of potatoes in and saved.) Dessert: Lemon Poppyseed Loaf

    Monday: Rueben Sandwiches (using my homemade sauerkraut, plus a homemade 1000 Island dressing that I improvised. Served with Roasted Beets I harvested late last fall and have stored in a container of sand in my basement)

    Tuesday: Black Bean Chili (lots of frozen garden produce) over Savory Cornmeal Pancakes (which contained frozen garden corn and shredded zucchini). Served with fresh turnip slices (stored in sand) and homemade Hummus.

    Wednesday: "One Pot Lo Mein Noodles" (with garden red cabbage, plus frozen garden peppers, beet greens, and zucchini). Leftover roasted garden beets.

    Thursday: Moroccan "Couscous with Seven Vegetables" Stew (garden carrots and turnips stored in sand, garden butternut squash, frozen garden zucchini and peppers.) Dessert: Oatmeal Apple Butter Bars (from homemade applesauce I processed last fall from local orchard culls)

    Tonight: Good question! (I'm thinking Tacos using leftover Black Bean Chili, served with a chili/lime Slaw from garden green cabbage ;-) )

    *Now here's hoping this doesn't "double post" on me here as I press Publish -- but it probably will (it always seems to for some reason, and sorry about that....!)

    1. Hi Patience,
      Thank you. Your menu sounds very delicious (and very frugal)! Can I ask -- what seasonings do you use in the Moroccan stew? Do you serve this over couscous, not couscous in the stew? It sounds delicious and a good way to change up the flavors of some common veggies. Do you think chunks of pumpkin would work in it?

      Don't worry about the double post. Blogger does that to me, too. I just take them out from the admin page. It's not a problem.

    2. Greetings again, Lili -- indeed, this is a traditional Moroccan Stew, for which you can find recipes all over the internet. The seven vegetables vary slightly -- but usually it involves some combo (counting up to 7 -- very important!) of onion, zucchini or summer squash, carrots, winter squash (so yes, pumpkin would absolutely work...!) or sweet potatoes, red bell peppers, green beans, turnips (or regular potatoes), and always in a tomato-based sauce. Chickpeas are also a very traditional ingredient (especially if you one is not adding meat (traditionally lamb) which I never do), and which also counts as one of the 7 Veggies. The traditional seasonings are turmeric and cinnamon. Saffron too of course (but I never have that expensiveness on hand and so always go without :-) ). I've also seen paprika, cumin and ginger used. And it's all cooked to a nice, stew-y consistency using plain tomato sauce.

      The traditional way to serve it is really lovely -- by mounding up the plain, cooked couscous upon a large oval serving platter, making a nice deep 'well' in the center of the couscous and spooning the stew into this middle 'well', and creatively arranging veggies . I've seen this before in restaurants and it's a lovely and dramatic presentation (cut and paste the link below for pics).... but I myself just keep things simple by leaving the stew and the couscous separate (spooning a helping of stew over a helping of couscous on our plates :-) )...

      "Moroccan Couscous with Seven Vegetable Stew" Pics:

  2. As you know I love bean patties, so I had a big smile when you wrote that Monday dinner was your favorite meal!! I enjoy the light taste and texture of beans compared to beef. Since eating those bean patties, I think our craving for meat is almost nil. I pass the meat counter and shudder.

    Although I am repulsed at the sight of meat, I thawed a huge chunk of pork shoulder which I bought last year, threw it in a large pot, boiled it, sectioned it for future meals and refreezed most of it. We needed some meat for our luau leaves (bought this week from the farmer's market and processed for the freezer to serve another time since the pork was still frozen). This week, having some cooked pork at hand, I added konbu, shiitake mushrooms, takenoko (bamboo shoots), carrots and potato in a slow cooker and made a very simple "nishime", which we had for two dinners so far and still have some left for tonight, served with a very simple sliced cucumber/cabbage salad tossed with homemade oriental salad dressing. Another bounty offering this week at the farmer's market was cucumbers, so I made namasu (japanese cucumber salad with konbu) on Monday. My husband made miso soup (miso, cabbage, somen, konbu, shiitake mushrooms and egg drop). We ate that for almost 3 lunch/dinners. We were completely out of konbu for so long, when a sale popped up we were dying to eat some...that's why this week's menu revolved around that seaweed.


    1. Lili, I have never tried making black bean burgers. Black beans are more expensive than pinto beans. Is there a taste difference when served as a patty?

      Have a wonderful, restful weekend, especially a day off from the kitchen on Sunday :)


    2. Hi YHF,
      Black beans have only a minor flavor difference from pintos, I think. I like them, though, as they cook up faster than pintos. They also have slightly fewer carbs and slightly more protein, per cup cooked.

      Your menu sounds interesting. I'm going to have to look up nishime. Miso soup is my go-to food when I'm sick, but I'm afraid I've only ever had the little packets. Your husband's version sounds very good.

      Have a great weekend, YHF!

    3. Ingredients for the Japanese root stew, nishime, can vary from a few cheap ingredients the way I prepared it, to the expensive with hasu (lotus root), gobo (Burdick root), konnyaku (potato jelly), aburage (fried tofu), daikon, satoimo (taro root), and buying good quality can also up the cost. For us, I don't care so much for these extra ingredients. I make nishime for the taste of meat (chicken, pork or beef) simmered in konbu/shiitake mushrooms with soyu/sugar/dashi or broth, to me anything else is just extra. I don't even use the correct nishime konbu, but the cheaper and thinner Korean seaweed.

      We use a soybean paste for miso, you will love that I'm sure if you like the packets.


  3. Trying to remember our meals from this past week is like completing a memory test! :) Let's see ... Sunday the hubby made pea soup and cornbread. Monday, hmm, I'm drawing a blank. Tuesday was chili, salad, and cornbread. Wednesday was chocolate pancakes with cherry sauce and sausage (hubby was out of town and I made a fun meal), Thursday hubby was still out of town so I made baked eggs, English muffins, and applesauce (it was youth group night so my son also had pizza later ... ). Tonight I have a craving for burgers but it's too cold to grill, so I will broil them. If I'm extra ambitious, I'll make homemade potato chips in the microwave. Salad and peaches from the freezer. I still can't remember Monday's dinner. #Losingmymind.

    1. Oh, it came to me ... chicken tenders, couscous, and California mix veggies with strawberries from the freezer for dessert.

    2. That all sounds delicious, Kris!

  4. Hi, Lili--

    My favorite meal is going to be right now. I was cooking a big family dinner for tonight, when our best friend came in unexpectedly from out of town. Imagine my joy to realize that I had a bunch of tamales in the freezer. So, I'm steaming those and simmering some fresh sauce while I continue with my other meal preps.

    A hearty impromptu lunch for five, with less than five minutes actual prep time... all while staying on track with my other meal preps and even having a little time to chat.

    Now that's just about perfect! :)


    1. Hi Sara,
      Good company + good food = the best of times!

  5. This week, we also had black bean burgers with white beans added. (Not enough of the black); deviled eggs; potato chips
    Homemade quiche; mushroom, onion and kale i got from my friend last Summer and dried; salad
    Mac and cheese i'd made months ago, adding a salad and green vegetable (steamed broccoli)
    Interspersed, we had leftover minestone soup, twice i think, with homemade cheese bread
    That's all i can think of. Sometimes i write our meals down; not so this week…I should add that my husband had brownies before or after every meal; sometimes before AND after. Otherwise, no desserts.
    I like seeing what everyone cooks up; it helps with my "what am i going to cook" brain fog.

    1. Hi momsav,
      I agree. I find a lot of ideas for future meal plans when others post what they've been cooking. Yours sounds delicious!

  6. Mon-Homemade falafels with rice and homemade humus on a bed of spinach yum. Tue-Turkey veg soup with frozen turkey from
    Thanksgiving and used up some veggies from the crisper. Wed-Turkey taco Salad with black beans and homemade dressing. Thur-Left overs, Fruit salad, yogurt,cheese. Fri-Tacos with black beans.
    I still can't eat Shepards pie I made a new one from All recipes with lentils to make the ground beef go farther.
    It had great reviews. I made it we had one serving and that was it. We can't stand the thought of it. I don't if we will ever eat it again. This was a huge frugal fail. Oh
    well at least your family will eat it.
    Your menu looks great.:) Have a great weekend.

    1. Hi Patti,
      Oh yum -- taco salad sounds very tempting right now. When my lettuce is bigger, that will go on the menu!

  7. The oven-roasted pumpkin chunks sound delicious, Lili. I'm a big fan of pumpkin, so those would probably go over big with me. I am thinking of putting some in our garden this year. I've been getting seed catalogs in the mail this week and they look tempting. The rest of your menus look so good and frugal. I like the idea of the pumpkin pancakes too. I may just have to make some of those this weekend. :)

    1. Hi Belinda,
      I would guess that pumpkin would do very well in your garden, as you must have a much longer growing season than we do, here. Time is the biggest culprit for many of our veggies in the garden, just not enough time.
      It's fun to read seed catalogs and start imagining the possibilities!

  8. We had Sheppard's Pie this week also and it was good. We were out of potatoes so I put biscuits on top. It's hard to wrong with biscuits--at least where I'm concerned. :)

    1. Hi live and learn,
      Biscuits are a big favorite with us, as well. I've never met a biscuit I didn't like! Sounds good on a shepherd's pie, too!

  9. Yum! your menus are mouth watering! We continue to focus on what's on hand, reducing foods stores and eliminating what few saltier items we have due to my medically recommended DASH diet. Mon: Kids had leftover clam-corn chowder, I had the leftover baked beand, a large salad
    Tues: a French-Canadian version of Sheppard's pie, salad
    Wed: more of the same
    Th: a Crock pot beef stew (used up 2 fzn pieces of leftover pot roast in the process, l/o home made gravies (again from freezer-a blend of pork, beef, some with onion, some with onion and mushroom-we first had this blended gravy on Sunday with mashed potatoes and an eye of the round roast-yummy!), potatoes, Butternut squash, carrots, leeks, celery, canned mushrooms.
    Fri-planned treat: take out pizza and salad w/ DD

    1. Hi Carol,
      Your meals sound delicious and very thrifty, taking good advantage of your frozen stores!


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