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Friday, January 22, 2016

Cheap & Cheerful Suppers using what I have on hand

scrambled eggs
leftover mashed potatoes, reheated in bacon fat
pumpkin souffle
green beans with almond slices
leftover apple cobbler

(My two daughters served at the reception for a memorial service in the afternoon. They brought home a veggie tray and some sandwiches, which I added to dinner.)
veggie tray
cheese quesadilla on homemade flour tortillas (from freezer)
deviled eggs

hamburgers (patties, cooked and frozen a week ago, thawed in the fridge for the day, sprinkled with some water and heated in the microwave -- thanks Kris for this idea to freeze cooked burgers!)
home-made buns from the freezer
seasoned, oven-roasted potato wedges (seasoned with garlic powder, paprika, onion powder, chili powder and salt)
frozen peas

quiche from the freezer
mashed potatoes
celery and carrot sticks plus dip
pumpkin cake with cream cheese icing

black bean soup
orange segments
leftover cake

pumpkin-ham soup (from freezer -- the "label" said rosemary-turkey, oh well!)
leftover cornbread
orange segments
carrot sticks
watermelon pickles
leftover cake

turkey and vegetables in gravy (from freezer), over
mashed potatoes
oven-roasted pumpkin chunks
stewed plums (from the freezer)

Last Friday's dinner, all homemade, all from humble foods. Cooking from the basics saves a ton of money at the grocery store. The eggs, were just eggs, obviously. Mashed potatoes were made from whole potatoes, butter, milk and cream cheese. The pumpkin souffle was made from a baked pumpkin, pureed, with an egg, sugar, cream, butter, nutmeg and salt whipped in, then baked. The green beans were from frozen beans, with butter and toasted almond slices that I added. And the apple cobbler was made from apple slices that I froze in the fall, and topped with a scratch, sweet biscuit dough. Only four of us for dinner on Friday. The cost to feed us was under $2, total.


  1. Yum, yum, yum, and as you and I were discussing, one more example of the abundant options you might have on-hand, if you stock basics, freeze leftovers, and try to stay flexible and creative! What an inspiring week's menu! :) Have a great day and weekend! Sara

    1. Hi Sara,
      Thank you! Good, hearty food. It seems to satisfy.

      Have a great weekend!

  2. I agree with Sara😃
    I have become vigilant about freezing leftovers or using them up.
    Then like yesterday when life throws a curve ball there is an abundance and selection . Dare I say I think sometimes when a meal is enjoyed,I freeze the leftovers . A few weeks later when they are brought out ,they are eaten with the same gusto as the initial meal.Frequently now I could have everyone or only a couple of us. Those freezer meals are great for the days with less people.

    1. Hi Teresa,
      Good work on taking care of those leftovers so efficiently!

      Have a great weekend, Teresa!

  3. Lili,
    Your meals look soooooo! good. I think will make something
    pumpkin.I still have 2 to bake.You are so creative with your menu. Have a wonderful weekend.

    1. Hi Patti,
      Yum, something pumpkin-y is always a hit with me! What will you make?

      Have a great weekend, Patti!

  4. You and I are borrowing ideas for meals from each other! I hope the burgers turned out well for you. I went ahead and made oven fries to serve with sloppy joes last week. Mmm. But now you are making me crave burgers ...

    1. Hi Kris,
      Again, thanks for the idea! I sprinkled the patties with a bit of water before microwaving them, and they turned out great, really juicy, and not at all freezer tasting! And it just made the burger cooking so much more efficient.

      Enjoy your weekend!

  5. Good for you that you were able to make so many meals from the freezer!!

    Our freezer is fast becoming our favorite household appliance. We bought our very first chest freezer in our 40+ years of marriage last year from Best Buy. It is so convenient to use. We literally look in the freezer now for what to eat everyday lol


    1. Hi, YHF--

      We feel the same! I just reorganized ours the other day, so I can fit more stuff in it! :)

      I love my freezer "convenience" foods! I was shopping a week ago for some family meals coming up, and looked at some appetizers (cheap at the local restaurant supply). But I realized I could make the same thing tastier, healthier, and cheaper. I came home and made a five-pound bag of potatoes into enough twice-baked potato appetizers to feed a crowd once or twice, or a smaller number of us lots of times. Can't wait to thaw some out tomorrow!

      Take good care! Sara

    2. Hi Sara:)

      My thoughts exactly. We just came home from Costco...and all the convenience foods there looked so good, and many were sold fairly cheaply with a manufacturer's discount. But instead of figuring out what's a good buy, I decided that we can make everything we saw cheaper and more nutritious from scratch.

      My recent favorite kitchen activity is freezing bargain produce, bought cheaply of course and in bulk. It takes some work, but the trade off is a wider variety of frozen fruits and veggies than are normally sold in stores. I love to buy apple bananas for about the same price as regular bananas and IQF the slices, nice and ready to top my morning cereal. Same with papayas. I cut and freeze cubes for the morning, how convenient not to go through the seeding and slicing at that hour. I don't see frozen papayas and bananas at the grocery stores, only berries mostly. The frozen bananas are very temperature sensitive and can't afford a slight thaw or it will turn limp and browned, but eaten frozen is absolutely yummy, a treat tasty as frozen fruit bars.

      Your twice baked potato appetizers sound absolutely divine. Another plus with freezer foods is you get to enjoy it on a day when you didn't slave all that day to make it:)

      Take care, yourself, and have a wonderful weekend!!


    3. YHF--

      It's true, there's not a lot of variety in commercial frozen fruit most places; and frankly, I trust my own better, anyway. Do you ever use your frozen fruit in smoothies or milkshakes? If we end up with a windfall of bananas, we often freeze slices, and then use them instead of ice for frosty drinks in the blender. Then you never see them thawed, and the flavor is so fresh and rich!

      I love having home-made things I can just pull out and heat on a busy day, for unexpected extra folks to feed, or a change of plans. I always figure that you might as well cook big, when you're cooking anyway; and if you get into the habit, the time to package it for future servings really isn't that big a deal. Well worth the time savings at the other end! :) Sara

    4. Interesting that you mentioned using frozen bananas in place of ice. That's the reason I prefer frozen fruits in my morning cereal. It keeps the milk with cereal extra cold.

      I don't usually make smoothies, but now that may change. Especially in our hot, humid summer's when I've crushed ice in our blender and poured juices and fruits over a bowl of ice (like a healthier version of "Hawaiian shaved ice". I'm pretty lazy, with plain ice I don't have to wash any blender parts.


  6. Looks delicious again. It's interesting that you use the word humble a lot when describing your food. It is a subjective word, so I wondered what you considered the definition of it. It would not be the first word to come to mind for me for your varied menu that often takes the extra step to make things tasty like adding both butter and cream cheese to your potatoes or adding almonds to your green beans.

    1. Hi live and learn,
      Thank you. When I think of my own cooking, I think of it as humble because of the simplicity of the ingredients, as well as the cooking process. I keep basic ingredients in stock. I do use fancy sauces or gourmet packaged items. I do sometimes make my own "fancy sauce", like Chinese plum sauce, from plum jam and a few spices. Even the dishes that may sound a tad fancy, like pumpkin souffle, are really fairly simple to make, using the food processor, while its out from pureeing the cooked pumpkin. (Pumpkin souffle, BTW, is just pureed pumpkin with egg, cream/milk, pinch sugar, salt and nutmeg, some soft butter, then baked in a deep casserole dish -- it gets a bit puffy, but not as you'd picture a French souffle). I try to make meals delicious with using just basic ingredients. I guess that is my definition of humble. ;-)
      Good thoughts. I think these subjective words sometimes need personal defining.

  7. Such great looking meals and so affordable! My daughter has been wanting potato cakes made from leftover mashed potatoes. My only problem is they eat the leftover mashed potatoes before I can make them. lol

    1. Hi Belinda,
      Thank you. I know what you mean. It is hard to make "extra" potatoes. I've been adding an extra potato or two when doing oven-roasted fries, thinking there would be leftovers for the next day for lunch. Nope! Every single one gone by the end of dinner.


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