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Thursday, March 31, 2016

Cheap & Cheerful Suppers beginning with an Easter ham

the bench on my front porch

Sunday lunch (we did our Easter family meal at lunch and scrambled for ourselves for dinner that night)

Baked ham
Homemade dinner rolls, using an overnight, refrigerator roll dough recipe
Marinated asparagus salad, with deiced roasted red peppers and celery (the only food item I bought especially for Easter was the asparagus)
Carrot sticks and celery sticks w/ bottled creamy Italian salad dressing (clearance rack) for a dip
Deviled eggs, olives, watermelon pickles
Pretzels and crackers w/ cream cheese, Craisin, pecan spread
Apple slices
Pecan pie
Rhubarb pie


Baked potatoes, topped w/
Sauteed kale, onions, ham dices, and smothered in
Cheddar cheese sauce
Steamed carrot chunks
Choice of leftover pie


Potato, egg, cheese, ham, kale and onion casserole, (made Monday as I made that night's dinner)
Fruit salad of bananas, apples, dried cranberries and almond slices
Last of the leftover pie


Ham and bean soup
Dinner rolls (using last of the refrigerator roll dough)
Cabbage, carrot and kale slaw
Rhubarb-blackberry sauce


Kale and onion baked frittata
Oven-roasted sweet potato chunks
Brown rice with peas
Toffee bars

Just a short week this week. I didn't record the various menus from last week. Although I recall a batch of chicken enchiladas on evening, an easy rice bake another evening, and a ramen soup, made with 2 Cup of Noodles, some beaten eggs, frozen peas, shredded cabbage, onion powder, garlic powder and soy sauce made in minutes when we walked in the door returning from our trip. It was about 8 PM and my husband hadn't eaten yet. So, I made a pot of soup for the 4 of us and called it dinner.

When I make ham stock, I roast the bone first, then simmer in water. roasting improves the overall flavor. With this ham bone, I actually roasted and simmered it twice. After the first time, I picked off as much meat as possible. But a fair amount of fat remained attached to the bone. So I roasted it again, refrigerated overnight, and simmered in water the next day. I didn't get any more meat the second roasting/simmering. But I was able to make some pretty decent stock with the second round. And it rendered just enough fat to leave in the roasting pan for my oven-roasted sweet potatoes on Thursday evening. The second batch of ham stock is now in the freezer to use as a soup base for the next pot of bean soup.

Since returning from my trip, I've been trying to cook double batches as much as possible. My instinct is to cook just enough for one meal at a time. So this is mental work to overcome that instinct. But the end result is worth it, as I am gaining additional afternoon work time, on almost half of my days, for gardening. And now I have a few extra main dishes in the freezer to pull out on very busy nights. You may have noticed, Tuesday's casserole used very similar ingredients to Monday's main dish. I have baked extra potatoes, and sauteed extra kale, onion and ham. For the casserole, I sliced up some of the baked potatoes, and layered with the kale, onion and ham mixture. Then I poured milk and eggs over the top and some grated cheese. It was very hearty.

Tell me, what was on your menu this past week? Did you do an Easter ham, or do you have other Easter menu traditions at your house? We had pie for dessert on Easter. Does your family have a traditional Easter dessert?


  1. We've had a cabbage and beef smoked sausage skillet dinner, homemade pizza, homemade nachos, and I don't remember what else. Easter dinner was filet mignon and baked mashed sweet potatoes. Sounds extravagant but these were the filets from our yearly side of beef and cost less than going out and buying a ham, which I normally do. We will have ham again sometime soon, though.

    1. Hi Cat,
      That's wonderful! Filet mignon, but at a good price, can't beat that! I think it's been 30 years since I had filet mignon. I'll try not to be too envious!!! But I'm happy for you! the rest of your meals sound very tasty, too. I'm doing pizza tonight.

  2. Hi Lili,
    Your week of meals look awesome just like always.

    Sunday we had some leftover ham from Christmas that I had frozen. We mashed some potatoes and then made a cauliflower side. Dessert was cream puffs. It was a very easy dinner with no guests since we were prepping for surgery. Monday was spaghetti made with two half jars of spaghetti sauce and ground pork. Tuesday was surgery day so I brought my own sandwich for lunch and at dinner I was home quite late and ate two apple chicken sausages. Wed. was the chicken and rice made at 7 am and ready for anyone to warm up. Thursday hubby came home and his mom brought a rotisserie chicken with potato salad and watermelon. She told me not to mess with the chicken bones for broth but I just couldn't throw it away so I set it to cook right away. I don't know what we'll have today since I let my husband tell me if he's hungry and what sounds good. I am so glad no one suggested we go to the hospital cafeteria to eat. Money wasted and the food is not so good. Hubby is having a rough time at home getting around with a walker as the hallways and rooms are so small. He hurts a lot but each day hopefully will get better.


    1. Hi Alice,
      Ouch! What your husband is going through sounds painful. I pray he has a lot of improvement very soon. Doorways into rooms can be tight. I've thought about that with our own house. I don't think a wheelchair could pass through some of the bedroom and bathroom doors.

      That was kind of you MIL to bring a roasted chicken. AT least for that night you didn't ave to bother with cooking. I would be like you and have a hard time throwing out the bones. What I do in that circumstance is wrap the bones in a plastic bag and toss them in the freezer, to boil for soup of chicken and dumplings another day.

      The hospital where my mom stayed a lot had a vey reasonably priced menu in the cafeteria. And the food wasn't too bad. But the 2 hospitals that I've been in my current area are outrageously overpriced, several dollars for a mediocre egg salad sandwich is just too much, I think. I know, you're paying for labor. But I think it was something like $10 for a banana and a sandwich, several years back. So I guess price and quality really varies. And actually, when you were stressed, waiting for results from the surgery, maybe it was better to just nibble on your own cooking.

      Your meals, even for a very eventful week with surgery for your husband, sounded delicious.

    2. When I made the chicken broth, I did not add onion, carrots or celery and no salt. It made a delicious broth. One of my cats has a cold so I gave her a couple of tablespoons of broth slightly warmed up. I also brought her to the vet to make sure she isn't contagious to my husband. She's not but she is still on antibiotics. I told the vet I give my cats chicken broth from a chicken carcass and she said that was a very good idea and was going to suggest that.

  3. We were with my Mother for Easter and had roasted turkey with scalloped potatoes from the cafeteria. It was very good. People from town often go to the hospital cafeteria for Sunday dinner. The cooks bring recipes in from home and they serve good country cooking.

    I have never roasted a ham bone before boiling. Do you roast it for very long?

    1. Hi live and learn,
      I roast it at about 375 F, for 25 to 30 minutes, until the meat remaining just begins to brown on the edges.

      Your Easter dinner with your mom sounds lovely. I'm glad you had that time with her. Is she very far from where you live?

  4. I'm an outlier on this one...we don't celebrate holidays per se, especially not on the day. Occasionally we get together at a restaurant closer to town, usually the day before Mother's Day for my MIL, but she is slowing down so much I don't think we can take her out again this year. We used to dine out as a family more often in the past, several times a year, but our kids are so busy working these days (each having a full and part time job) it is hard to ask more from them. So, my way of keeping in contact is watching our grandkids as often as they want to come over, especially now that we are retired, we can make the long drive to pick them up.

    So...this week was our week of leftovers from cooking for the kids the week before. We found a good deal on bargain Chinese peas, so we made wonton soup to go with it. Again, azuki mochi rice (sekihan) and kim chee pancakes (I love to eat this together)....we eat the same things over and over.

    Thanks for your tip about roasting the ham bone before making soap. I'll tell my husband about this, since we have three more ham shoulder roasts in the freezer. Not as good as the leg bone, but I'm sure bone is bone ack.


    1. I should proofread...not soap but soup. And "three more" sounds awkward...


    2. Hi YHF,
      I think what you do to take care of your grandkids is wonderful. not only are you giving your kids a break, but you have this opportunity to really get to know your own grands. These are times that your grandkids will treasure for the rest of their lives.

      Making "soap" from the ham bone. We opened the last bar of soap the other day and I was joking that if I didn't get to Dollar Tree soon, I'd be making soap from all of the turkey, ham, chicken and beef fat in the freezer! That got a resounding "Eeeeew!"

  5. Thanks for your understanding...always a bit nervous for the peculiar way I am. Not just the memories for us to have when they are grown up and can't visit us as often, but the grandkids really enjoy themselves talking and laughing together (not always so, a few years ago, there were some disagreements and crying.) When they grow up, my hope is they will be "favorite" cousins forever and remember how much fun they had together. I certainly remember my favorite cousin and he introduced me to his wife as his favorite, so I know the feelings are mutual. We don't have much in common any more, but the regard is there and still very special.

    That is indeed funny...soap fat from soup lol I read on Hip2save that there is a 50 percent clearance sale at Dollar only, also online too. Wish I was in the mainland to see the bargains.


    1. Sorry I read wrong , not Dollar Tree but Dollar General. Everything at Dollar Tree is $1, so I was quick to think what a terrific discount. Goes to show I sometimes think what I want to think lol


    2. YHF, I think we're all "peculiar" in one way or another. That's what makes life interesting!! I love being able to see the world slightly differently, because of someone else's viewpoint, which is different from mine.

      Those are wonderful memories you have of time with your favorite cousin growing up. I feel badly that my own kids don't know their cousins at all. One of my nephews is getting married in the next year, and my kids hardly know this young man. I think that's sad. But we live so far away from family. You are doing a really great thing for your grands, with their relationships with one another.

      No problem on Dollar Tree/ Dollar General. I went to hip2save, and saw it was DG, and was about to post something, but you had already. Beat me to it!

      Have a great day!


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