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Friday, August 26, 2016

Cheap and Cheerful Suppers for late August (plus our budget hot dog and marshmallow roasting skewers)


Egg fried rice, with garden cabbage, green beans, kale
Fruit salad of blueberries, nectarines, apples

Saturday (cook-out by the fire ring)

Hot dogs in homemade buns
Corn on cob
Green beans
Chips (son's girlfriend brought chips, Oreos and watermelon punch)
s'mOreos (s'mOreos are s'mores using chocolate cream Oreos, and a toasted marshmallow in between)
Punch and pink lemonade


Black beans and rice, avocado and cheddar burritos in homemade tortillas
Fruit salad of apple, cantaloupe, blueberries and nectarines


Garden potatoes, cottage cheese and cheddar casserole
Green salad with avocado, homemade vinaigrette
Apple wedges


Meatballs, pasta sauce from freezer and spaghetti
Garden green beans


Rice and black bean tostadas, on pan-fried corn tortillas, with garden lettuce, chopped canned tomatoes, cheese, olives, spicy 1000 Island dressing, and the crumbs from an almost empty bag of chips in the pantry (they were Mango Habanero -- very spicy, so great on these tostadas)
Apple wedges


Egg, cheddar, green pepper (from the garden), shallot (garden) and potato (also from the garden) casserole
Sauteed beet greens and Swiss chard (from garden)
Pickled beets
Apple salad

If wood-fires are allowed in your area, cook-outs have got to be one of the top frugal summer activities. You have to make dinner anyways. You can cook a number of foods over an open fire. Sausages/hot dogs just happen to be one of the simplest to do.

No long roasting skewers? Short skewers can be adapted to using over an open fire.

20 years ago, we were given a set of 6 short skewers, designed for making kabobs on the grill. The handle is too short to comfortably hold over a fire by hand for very long (which is what you do when you're roasting a hot dog or a marshmallow, right?). Several years ago, my son and husband adapted these short skewers into long-handled ones, using 30-inch long sticks from the yard, and strong string. (First attempt was with duct tape, but duct tape softens and loosens with heat, so next try was the string, and it has held very well.) We wash and store the skewers as they are (we don't undo them every time), and they have lasted remarkably well, with occasional fixing, as needed.


  1. It has been another busy week. I haven't felt well with dizziness with a headache for a few days.

    Sun. Hotdogs and bratwurst
    Mon. leftovers
    Tues. beans and new potatoes
    Wed. mac and cheese and fish
    Thurs. chicken cutlet sandwiches
    Fri. maybe a date night tonight


    1. Hi Alice,
      take care of yourself. You've had a lot to deal with in this past year. I hope a date night works out and make for an easy evening, for you. I'll say a prayer for you. Sending hugs

  2. Hi, Lili--

    We had fried rice this week, too. Always a fast, tasty, cheap option. We're doing a lot of fast and easy right now.

    Our fanciest meal was some wahoo a friend gave us, which we baked in parchment with a zesty mayonnaise sauce. That was actually easy with little clean-up, so a nice treat.

    Our most unusual meal was when I forgot I'd thawed some home-made tamale sauce until we'd used up what I wanted to put it on. Ooops! So, we heated it up with diced Spam, diced onion, and some frozen petite peas, and poured it over white rice. I ate the leftovers without rice the next night, and that was really tasty, too. :) And hey, waste not, want not!

    Your cookout sounded lovely (and I'll have to suggest your s'mOreos to my husband and sis.) Have a lovely weekend, Lili. Sara :D

    1. I had to Google wahoo. :)

      We camped for a few days earlier this week, so all of our meals were cooked outdoors. We used either a campstove or charcoal with a Dutch oven and enjoyed some delicious meals--pork loin/potatoes, lasagna, and foil dinners (with hamburger, potatoes, onion, and green beans) were our evening meals. I think I'm hungrier when we eat outdoors. :)

    2. Hi, Kris --

      I'd never had wahoo until our friend gave us this. It was a little fishier than other fresh tuna I've had. The chunks we have are about enough to feed 4-5 people (since we're not big fish people); so two of us had a nice supper of it Wednesday night, and today made delicious tuna melts!

      Outdoor cooking is always a treat. You guys sound like good campers. :)

      Sara :)

    3. Or should I saw "tuna-type fish"? I'm not sure it's quite the same thing. It didn't taste fishy at all leftover, though. Sara

    4. Hi sara,
      Count me as another who had to look up wahoo! Although, oddly, it's also known as ono, and I did know what that was (I think ono is the Hawaiian name for wahoo).

      Good job on making use of the thawed and forgotten tamale sauce. I had something similar happen with thawed enchilada sauce. I had intended to use it in something, but forgot. then found it in the fridge, so added poured it over some leftovers.

      My son's GF introduced us to s'mOreos. They were a fun change from traditional s'mores.

      Have a wonderful weekend, yourself, Sara!

    5. Hi Kris,
      I'm with Sara -- your camping meals sound wonderful! Can I ask about the foil meals with ground beef -- did you make hamburger patties, add raw potatoes, raw onion and raw green beans, all to the same packet? And were these cooked over charcoal? I'm just thinking these could be fun possibilities this winter, should we lose power and I need to cook dinner still.

      And I agree, hunger increases when you've been outdoors all day!

    6. We add everything raw to the foil packet. (We call them silver turtles.) We usually have a variety of things to add and let everyone make their own. That way everyone can customize them however they want. While they are great outdoors you can also bake them in the oven.

    7. Hi live and learn,
      thanks. I remember something like these from Girl Scouts. But I didn't know if everything was added raw, including meat. I'm wondering if these could be added to a wood fire, like in a fire ring. Hmmm. they'd be a fun alternative to hot dogs around the campfire.

    8. Hi Lili--

      Yes, it's raw meat--actually, I pulled it apart instead of leaving it in patty form. We used charcoal but you could let your firewood burn down to coals and cook it that way--half an hour did it for us--actually, it was a little bit too long. Really dense veggies (potatoes, carrots ... ) should be chopped very small so they cook at the same time as the hamburger. Like L&L says, you can use a variety of items--we just went with what we had on hand.

      If you happen to have a cast iron Dutch oven, there are tons of things you could cook in that. We have never tried using wood coals--we use charcoal instead--but that's the way our ancestors cooked. :)

  3. Your husband did a great job on the skewers. Necessity is the mother of invention you know.

    We've been enjoying 15 bean Cajun soup yesterday and will have it again for dinner today. It's the Hurst brand. It's spicy, but my daughter loves them.

    I like the way you used the crumbs from the chips on your tostadas Wednesday night. Once when we were little, I watched as my cousin threw out a bag of chips which still had a good portion of crumbs left. I was horrified even at my young age. We never did anything like that in our house. We always used everything up. It's a good way to stretch your food budget.

    I hope you have a great weekend! :)

    1. Hi Belinda,
      Your 15 bean Cajun soup sounds delicious. I've never made a multi-bean soup before. Can I ask, do all of the beans cook pretty much evenly, even though some are small beans and others are larger? I've always wondered about that.

      Oh, yes, of course! LOL I think this is a particular frugal-living trait, that we save things like the crumbs in the bottom of a bag of chips or box of crackers. With you cousin and the bag of chip-crumbs, I'm sure I'd be fighting the impulse to ask for those crumbs! Food is food, whether its at the top of the package or the bottom of the package.

      Have a great weekend, yourself, Belinda!

    2. The beans do cook evenly, Lili. That was a great question. I never thought of that before. :)

    3. Thanks for answering my question, Belinda!

  4. Our meals the last couple of weeks have been simple, simple, simple. Lots of egg salad sandwiches, quiches, etc. Our hens are really laying. I've been neck deep in canning, house decluttering and homeschool planning. I'm hoping to catch a little bit of a breather this week before the fall storm of activities hits. I'm looking for some frugal & family friendly ideas for celebrating our oldest daughter's 21st birthday in a week. Anyone have any tips they'd like to share? Her Daddy & I want to make the day special for her. Melissa

    1. Hi Melissa,
      It sounds like you are super busy! Oh yes, I hope for you that you get a chance to rest before fall, too! Simple meals serve a function in busy times.
      How exciting your daughter will be 21. Whatever you choose to do, I'm sure it will be memorable for her. Wishing her a happy birthday and blessed year to come!

  5. We eat the same meals every other week it seems. Again, wonton mein and Japanese root stew, an eggplant sir fry and more cucumber/watermelon rind kim chee.

    I am going to pay closer attention to our nutritional intake since we don't have good variety in our diet. We may be lacking a particular nutrient and not know it.

    Your fire pit cooked meal sounds like fun. I bet those skewers were a good talking point going down memory lane. I like to talk about our children's small kid time adventures to our grandkids. They get a kick out of knowing.

    One day we should barbecue, but we're not meat eaters so we usually talk ourselves out.

    Have a great weekend!!


    1. HI YHF,
      When I'm in a busy-mode, we do tend to eat the same meals week after week. We've had a very egg heavy summer, with kale frittata nearly every week. And recently, a lot of potato casseroles. Part of that has to do with what's been a bargain in recent months. But the other part is just simplicity in planning/cooking. My mind can quickly grab a recent idea and run with it.

      I know, I sometimes am concerned about nutrient balance, too. I just aim for a variety in color of our dishes, and hope that I'm hitting all of the nutrients. I have some basic knowledge of what the main vitamins/minerals are in just about each food we eat, so I can quickly assess if we're doing well or not, with nutrients. But then again, the human diet can also balance over the course of days or even weeks, and still maintain good health. In autumn, we eat more orange veggies, in spring more leafy greens. Even where you live there must be some seasonal variances, reflected in what is in abundance at the farmer's market, or what is doing spectacularly in your garden. It's good, though, to every once in a while take a closer look at our diets.

      Anyways, have a great weekend! Enjoy those tropical sunsets, for me. We did have a beautiful sunset last night, here. So, I'm not complaining.


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