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Friday, May 27, 2016

Cheap & Cheerful Suppers for late May

Chicken in curried peanut sauce


Chicken in curried peanut sauce, with radish greens and celery
Brown rice
Green salad, with mock bleu cheese dressing
Rhubarb custard pie


Assorted sandwiches (freebie today)
Fresh grapes and cherry tomatoes (freebie today)
Cole slaw (freebie today, extended with extra cabbage)
mushrooms sauteed in butter (freebie today)
Layer cake (freebie today)

Green salad with dried cranberries, with Rhubarb dressing, from Tuesday


Ham and cheddar green quiche
Brown rice
Honey-mustard glazed carrots
Leftover cake

Tomato-Florentine soup


Tomato-florentine soup
Toasted cheese sandwiches
Green salad
Leftover cake

Meatballs, mushrooms and celery in gravy over rice


Meatballs, mushrooms, and celery in gravy, over
Brown rice
Sauteed Swiss chard
Green salad with rhubarb dressing

Wednesday's hot dog wrap, with potato and garden greens hash


Hot dogs in bread wraps
Hashed potatoes and garden greens in bacon fat

having-a-bad-day brownies -- see one is missing already

Refried bean, rice and cheese tacos
Oven-roasted carrots
Green salad with rhubarb dressing
Leftover brownies

We had so many delicious items on this week's menu. Starting at the top, the chicken and radish greens in curried peanut sauce. This meal came about as a way to disguise a huge pile of radish greens (they cooked down quite a bit, so they don't look like a huge pile, here). A garlicky, curried peanut butter sauce completely camouflaged the sharp flavor of the radish greens.

Next favorite would have to be the meatballs and celery in gravy over rice. I love meatballs. I feel like I get a much more beefy flavor and texture by making meatballs, as opposed to just frying ground beef into crumbles. The mushrooms were given to us last weekend. I made a fantastic cream of mushroom soup, for Sunday's lunch, with about half of the mushrooms. With the other half, I sauteed some for Saturday's dinner, and then used the last in the gravy for these meatballs.

Also that night, I made a batch of this rhubarb salad dressing to top a simple salad of green leaf lettuce and dried cranberries. Very delicious. This particular salad has been repeated in lunches a couple of times this week.

The night that I made the hot dog wraps I was in a bit of a conundrum as to how to prepare a mixture of radish greens and the last of the fall Swiss chard. I thought of hashing them along with potatoes, in bacon fat. Very yummy. First I cooked the potato cubes in the bacon fat, until well-browned, then added the shredded garden greens. I added a bit of onion powder and salt towards the end of cooking. Completely masked the green-y taste of all of those greens.

And those brownies -- well, I had quite a day on Wednesday, complete with over-flowing washing machine, and a clogged shower drain to unclog. It just wasn't my day. So, I did the most logical next thing. I took a batch of brownies out of the freezer, and topped them with a really decadent mint-chocolate frosting, combining a cocoa buttercream with peppermint melting wafers (leftover from Christmas clearance). The end frosting is more like a ganache, firm, but not hard. Like a piece of fudge, but with a brownie attached. I'd say that's a Win. Win!

Have a great weekend!


  1. Just amazing how you are able to put together ingredients to help use up something, and the result is simply gourmet!! When we have a vegetable or meat item to use up, we go back to the same recipes in our head, maybe only a slight modification, but basically eating the same thing.

    This week we had, again, tomato basil soup with basil pesto pizza (the crust was fabulous). We make three 12" pizzas, slice and freeze in the pan to toast individually as we need them. The soup lasted about three meals (days), and we toasted three pizza slices at each meal. Still have a lot of pizza left for future meals. My husband made kimchee fried rice with some leftover frozen rice. We also had leftover chicken soup from last week and froze half of the homemade noodles which we will use today for our cream of tuna dish. We also made another batch of bean patties yesterday, he makes the bean mixture and I form the patties and pan fry (with no oil in the pan). Then we will IQF the patties for my father (this seems to be his only "meat" since he doesn't have teeth), and to eat in salads, soft tacos, and wherever...we seriously need new menu ideas. Also I now have a new morning routine, making coffee gelatin after serving ourselves coffee in the morning. My husband says he looks forward to eating a little dessert after lunch and dinner, so I will now make a batch of four 4oz serving cups every morning and serve with some bought whipped cream (not sure I can make my own).

    We didn't have time to experiment making our own soy milk, but we found a cheaper source for the soybeans ($1.30/lb) at a small oriental wholesale outlet 30 miles into town. If we do this well enough, we will save on paying about that price per quart. I think we can make more than 1 quart of soymilk per pound of beans. Plus the okara will be a plus to have in our diet. We spinned by the tofu factory that sold us beans and tofu coagulant over 20 years ago, they no longer do this but were sellling okara for $1.30/lb (or $1.39), soymilk and all kinds of okara desserts. We are way ahead making our own if my husband gives the milk a thumbs up.

    Have a nice Memorial Day weekend!!


    1. Hi YHF,
      To give you an idea of the yield on my soy milk from beans. I used about 1/2 cup of dried beans and made 3 cups of milk. That 1/2 cup probably weighed just under 1/4 pound (just guessing). For me, I think I should be able to make 3 or 4 quarts of soy milk with 1 lb of soy beans. At $1.30/lb for beans, making 3 or 4 qts, that's a substantial savings by doing it yourself.

      If you use a soy milk maker, you will extract even more from the beans. Maybe making 5 qts per pound?

      I want to tell you, I made soy patties yesterday with the okara. These are soooo good. Better than bean burgers. More like falafel. I added some ground sesame seeds, and used soy sauce, garlic powder, cumin and onion powder. I fried them in oil and they were crispy on the outside, like some good falafel that I've had. I microwaved the okara first, for about 3 or 4 minutes on high.

      Your basil pizza sounds delicious. We're out of mozzarella for the time being. I may make cheddar pizza later this week. It's still too early for basil, here, though. It's been too cool for the last couple of weeks. The basil plants have just sat there and done nothing.

      Anyway -- Have a great day!

  2. sorry about your crazy Wednesday ... but hooray for brownies, with or without frosting! Sometimes ya just gotta have a sugar buzz ...

    1. Hi Kris,
      Chocolate to the rescue! I was reading up on the nutrients in chocolate the other day. It's rich in magnesium, calcium, iron, zinc, copper, potassium and manganese. At least I'm not just eating "empty" calories.

  3. Yummy what a wonderful menu you had this week. I think chocolate makes everything better.

    1. Hi Patti,
      I totally agree! Chocolate or whipping cream makes any bad day better!

  4. Everything looks great, Lili. Especially those brownies! YUM

    1. Thank you, Belinda!
      The brownies disappeared quickly this last week! Time for another batch.

  5. Lili, how did you season your mushroom soup? Sounds great! Bonnie

    1. Hi Bonnie,
      I used nearly a pound of mushrooms (I was given 2 pounds). I sauteed them in butter, seasoned with onion powder (a fair amount of onion powder), a bit of garlic, a bit of thyme, some salt. I added soy milk, chicken stock and water, then pureed with an immersion blender. I think I thickened it with a flour/water slurry. I topped each bowl with pulled apart chive blossoms.

      It was the mass of mushrooms, combined with the onion powder that gave it most of its flavor. If I had sherry in the house, I would have added a bit of sherry, as well.

      It was good, and so much more flavorful than canned cream of mushroom soup.


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