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Friday, May 6, 2016

Cheap & Cheerful Suppers for early May

shoestring sweet potato fries, my new obsession


Bean and chicken burritos, using leftover refried beans, cheddar cheese and chicken enchilada filling from freezer
Leftover brown rice, topped with enchilada sauce from freezer
Carrot and celery sticks
Rhubarb-blackberry sauce


Clean-out-the-fridge-and-freezer soup (using liquid from thawed frozen spinach, olive juice, mushrooms past their prime, bottom of celery bunch, 1 cup of Mexican chicken soup found in the freezer, rinsings from the skillet that I fried hamburgers in, (after I drained the fat I rinse the skillet with water and froze that flavored water), last 2 carrots, 1 potato, tomato paste, herbs, some Swiss chard from garden)
Sweet potato shoestring fries (oh my, homemade and fresh out of the hot oil, these are soooo good)
Apple wedges


Little smokies in homemade barbeque sauce
Rye bread and butter
Green salad
Pumpkin chiffon pie


Teriyaki chicken and vegetables (Swiss chard, celery cores, frozen peas and chive blossoms)
Brown rice
Green salad
Leftover pumpkin pie


Homemade chicken soup, using simmered chicken bones from night before, radish leaves, pumpkin, barley, onion powder, garlic granules, garden sage, canned green beans and broken spaghetti noodles
Garlic toast
Garden salad of lettuce, radish and chive blossoms


Leftover soup form night before
Three bean salad (I had canned green beans, pinto beans and garbanzo beans ready)
Cheese toast


Swiss chard and cheddar quiche (Swiss chard in the garden will bolt soon, so that's on my list to use, plus I added the leaves of the radishes from the salad)
Garden salad of lettuce and radishes
French bread (need bread for Friday's lunches, so baking French bread, Thursday afternoon killed two birds)
Scratch brownies (we needed a treat around here, and I'd just bought more sugar. Yep, we were completely and totally out of sugar until Thursday)

Nothing fancy this past week (like there's ever anything fancy around here, ha ha). Just a lot of basic, humble meals.

Cinco de Mayo's dinner was anything but Mexican. Oh well. Did anyone here do anything especially festive for Cinco e Mayo?

And speaking of holiday feasts, etc -- what are everyone's Mother's Day plans? We're planning a cook-out for dinner, with hotdogs (bought cheap with Senior Discount this week), buns that I have in the freezer, a fruited gelatin salad, a garden salad, and s'mores for dessert. I told the kids I just wanted a casual afternoon, maybe get out the croquet set, and hang out in the backyard, weather permitting.

I hope you enjoy Mother's Day. Have a great weekend!


  1. You never fail to amaze me with your creativity with meals! You should be on the show, "Chopped". Bet you'd come up with something neat. :)

    I've been reading but unable to comment due to computer issues, so was delighted that everything worked properly this morning.

    1. Hi Cat,
      I sure do hope your computer issues are behind you now. We've had internet problems this month, so I can understand the frustration.

      Forgive my ignorance, but I didn't know what Chopped was, when I read your comment. I gather that contestants are given ingredients and directed to cook something with it? I watched a PBS baking show like that a while back.

      Have a happy Mother's Day, Cat!

  2. Now wouldn't that be fun to be on "Chopped"! I think that would be so much fun. I have often wanted to do something like this at home by having the kids buy ingredients and then we make something. Not really a competition but just for fun. Hey, that's exactly what I do already every single day! I find something in the freezer/fridge and make something edible!

    I can't even remember what we ate each day but we had fried rice and hotdogs one day, sloppy joes, another day of fried rice and fettuccini alfredo with broccoli and grilled chicken,leftovers another night. We ate just fine all week though nothing fancy.


    1. That's the spirit, Alice. Bet you and Lili could run circles around the Chopped champs. You have a lot more at stake and a lot more important inspiration. Best-- Sara

    2. Hi Alice,
      When we were moving from one state to another, 20-some years ago, the mover told us to stop buying groceries (I had a stockpile even back then). By the week before moving day, I was down to some pretty odd combinations of ingredients to use. Necessity is really and truly the mother of invention. Some of the things I made were quite good, others were more of flops.

      How you and I cook is how I think people always cooked, up until about 75 years ago. People looked at what they had and tried to make something with it. We have the benefit of inspiration for ideas from restaurants, cooking shows and cookbooks that our great-grandmothers didn't.

      Your fettuccine with broccoli sounds wonderful. As do the rest of your meals. Even though they sound like nothing fancy to you, I'm sure they were very much appreciated by your family.

      Have a happy Mother's Day, Alice!

  3. Hi, Lili--
    Your Sunday dinner last week sounded extra-yummy, and I like your idea for Mothers' Day, too. :) I was glad to hear last week that your husband's birthday dinner went well. Your version of cod cakes sounded delicious. :)

    We didn't do anything special for Cinco de Mayo, but happened to have two leftover tamales in the freezer, so had those. I did use that crumbly meatloaf a couple of weeks ago as planned. I found some sausage stuffing in the freezer from our last turkey dinner, and had mashed potato flakes and a few slices left of homemade bread. So, I cooked up some herb-and-pepper gravy, sliced the meatloaf as best I could, threw all the slices and bits into the gravy, heated it all up, and poured it over the rest of the stuff for hot meatloaf-bit sandwiches. Delicious, and a big hit with tired, hungry men after a busy day. :)

    Take good care and have a wonderful Mothers' Day! Sara

    1. Hi Sara,
      I was thinking about you the other day, and wondering if/what you'd be doing for Cinco de Mayo. Tamales is way more Mexican that what I fixed!!

      Yes, the cod cakes were pretty good. I still have some cod in the freezer (this stuff just will not go away! ha ha). So I will have to make another meal of fish soon.

      Your meatloaf rescue sounds like the perfect manly-man meal. Those TV dinners, Hungry Man, can't compete with something like what you came up with. I bet it was wolfed down by the men in your house. Good job!

      Have a happy Mother's Day, Sara!

  4. I'm not familiar with Chopped, either, Lili.

    I made tacos for Cinco de Mayo ... it was my birthday and we were helping with my son's youth group, so I needed a quick dinner to get us out the door. I was able to be festive and fast with my meal plan. :)

    Happy Mother's Day a little early. We are going camping--time with my family is the best gift you could give me.

    1. Happy belated birthday, Kris! I hope you'll have a double celebration on Sunday, for both Mother's Day and your birthday! Enjoy the camping.

      Have a great weekend, Kris!

  5. Your meals sound nice, Lili. We didn't have Mexican food yesterday, although we do enjoy it.
    We do go out to eat on Mother's Day, I think this year back to the same small, local restaurant for lunch that we went to last Mother's Day. Other than that, a hike in a nearby park or enjoying our backyard is what we usually do.
    Have a happy Mother's Day!

    1. Hi Mary,
      I love patronizing small, locally owned restaurants. The food doesn't have that "institutional" taste, and the service always feels more "genuine", compared to the chain restaurants.

  6. Love your menu and the combinations. Yum��

  7. Happy Mother's Day, Lili and everyone!!

    I lost my earlier comment, as I'm doing quite often. I am so impressed with how you can make a meal from residuals, which most people don't think to save. But I'm learning to not throw out so much. I guess soups and gravies are a good way to use up. We started to save the flour left from rolling out tortillas, store it in frozen, then toss it into our next bread making.

    Have a nice weekend too!!


    1. Hi YHF,
      Oh yes, soups are perfect for using up those odd bits or liquids that most folks toss. Good job on saving the flour from tortilla making! It's probably not that doing these things will save a bundle of money, but more it's the attitude of not being wasteful that carries over to many other areas of our lives that winds up saving money and resources.

  8. What yummy meals :) I am trying to be better at using all leftovers and turn them into planned overs. We rosemary lemon chicken over mashed potatoes. The last of the potatoes
    they were from Costco and a lot of them had bad spots. I will talk to them about replacing them. My daughter got me
    a membership. think it was a living social deal. She got two $20 dollar gift cards to Costco and some other free things that we use that paid for the membership. We do not
    get a membership often because it is pricey. We were almost out of trash bags and thats the strange thing I prefer their brand. They do have some other things I really like. I discovered that we have a bunch of giant rosemary bushes at my complex. We are having in diffrent things and really enjoying it. I also am trying to root some cuttings. I think these would be great Christmas gifts. We had what my daughter thought Morrocan food would
    taste like last night. I made rice with chopped carrots,potatoes,corn,peas,chicken broth,Turmeric,onion and a little chili powder. We topped it with some tiny slices of London broil. I think that was my favorit meal of the week. We also had chicken,onion,Zucks over rice. I made some gluten free pasta tossed in butter and garlic topped with red sauce and the rest of the chicken and veggies. We had smoothies for desserts, We have a lot of frozen fruit in the freezer. Lili I am going to make those
    single serve tea bags with coffee in them for my brother.
    Thank you for the idea.
    Happy Mothers Day.

    1. Hi Patti,
      Rosemary-lemon chicken sounds so delicious right now! And how wonderful that your complex has those rosemary bushes right there, on site. I sometimes snip a few sprigs at our church. There are several rosemary bushes outside the kitchen door there, and I've been known to break off a tiny piece to take home after working in the kitchen at church. Good luck rooting the cuttings. Wouldn't that be great if you could propagate a cutting into a whole potted bush for your patio?!
      Patti, I hope you had a lovely Mother's Day!

  9. Your meals sound lovely ! I have been going out to the garden and cutting onion tops instead of buying onions, I missed a couple last fall when I was digging them up. I had a two year old and three year old helping so don't know how that happened.
    My husband may have to work Mothers Day and he is salary so... but he said he will barbeque some pork chops I purchased for .99 #. Just being together will be a treat.
    Happy Mothers Day to all.
    Dee D

    1. Hi Dee,
      This is the time of year that I run out of whole onions, so I switch over to using chives and the green tops from shallots growing in the garden. How fortunate for you that a few onions got "missed" last fall, and now you can cut the tops! Gee, your helpers were a toddler and a preschooler, hmm I don't know how it didn't go perfectly. . .
      Your Mother's Day menu sounds just about perfect, with your husband grilling some pork chops!

  10. Great minds think alike:) I bought some beef hot dogs @ Costco this week, an 80 cent pkg of buns from the bread outlet & a box of store brand graham crackers from Walmart. I already have marshmellows as well as a bunch of Hershey bars (got those on a killer deal last Fall and I have been saving them). We plan on having a picnic dinner @ a local state park--free state park day tomorrow--just perfect for Mother's Day! Happy Mother's Day, Lili! Melissa

    1. Hi Melissa,
      I hope your plans all turned out for your cook-out and s'mores. It sounds like the perfect way to celebrate Mother's Day with a large family of children! No clean-up! Just perfect.

  11. Your sweet potato fries look great, Lili.

    We did not do anything special for Cinco de Mayo, but we eat Mexican here about every week. We love it. lol

    No plans that I know of for Mother's Day, but my daughter is planning something. I will have to let you know. lol

    I hope you have a wonderful MOther's Day, Lili.

    1. Hi Belinda,
      I'm sure your daughter did something very special for you! I am betting that you had a very nice Mother's Day!

      I love Mexican meals, as well. Always very flavorful!

  12. Happy Mother's Day!

    I was thinking of you yesterday when I pulled out my last container of rhubarb from last year and made your rhubarb muffin recipe. The rhubarb was a little icy, but the muffins still tasted great. I felt good about not throwing out something that I had been so diligent to freeze last year.

    1. Hi Jen,
      I saw you made rhubarb muffins! I use frozen rhubarb in pies, as well. Frozen then thawed rhubarb is more watery, so I add a little more flour to the fruit, but it still makes a good pie.


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