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Friday, October 7, 2016

Cheap & Cheerful Suppers for the first week of October

Most of the garden beet roots are a good size for salad, right now. And the greens are usable for a leafy green vegetable. I love that about beets.
  • Leftover turkey, gravy and mashed potatoes
  • Cucumbers marinated in olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and oregano
  • Beet salad
  • Apple wedges
  • Leftover pumpkin cake

I was out running errands and winter squash was calling  my name. I was so extremely hungry for butternut squash that I was willing to spend 79 cents per pound, even though I know I could get it in another part of town for about 59 cents per pound.
  • More leftover turkey and gravy
  • Brown rice
  • Butternut squash
  • Apple wedges

I was pulling apart the turkey, after it simmered all afternoon, while deciding on dinner. Turkey soup of some sort was a natural. I had some canned green beans and tomatoes, plus onions, garlic, pasta, cooked beans and herbs to add to the turkey and stock. In addition to the pot of soup for supper, I froze enough turkey and stock for several more meals. The garlic bread was half of a loaf of French bread, split and spread with some take-out garlic spread from this summer's freebie pizza. And the applesauce was made the night before, with some shriveling apples. Some of the earlier picked apples are now going soft, so I'll be making lots of applesauce over the next couple of weeks.
  • Turkey minestrone
  • Garlic bread
  • Applesauce

I got another deal on ground beef last week, 10 lbs for $18.80. With some of it, I decided to make a huge pot of chili, to last for a few evenings.
  • Big pot chili
  • Apple wedges
  • Fresh-baked whole wheat bread

I bought unfiltered apple cider at the store today. I was feeling very autumnal and wanting hot, spiced apple cider. I knew my family would love it, too. Here, in Washington state, we're awfully proud of our apples.
  • More chili
  • Corn tortillas with melted cheese
  • Spiced apple cider

I am loving my new cooking style. I have so much more time for other things, and I can pace myself and my energy better for the afternoon. I think I'll make a batch of banana bread.
  • More chili
  • Banana bread
  • Tomato and cucumber salad

I have to actually make a full dinner, tonight. It's Thursday morning, and I'm brainstorming what might sound good, be easy, can be done ahead, and is re-heatable by those in the family who come home late. Preferably an egg-based entree. I think I'll do an oven-baked frittata. Those don't require as much watching, and reheat well enough. We're running over with ripe tomatoes this week. I eat them for lunch everyday, and then add a few to dinner some nights, too.
  • Tomato and onion frittata
  • Butternut squash
  • Oven-roasted potatoes with rosemary and garlic
  • Applesauce

Thoughts about the week -- I made so much chili that I had to freeze 2 night's worth. I completely overestimated how much we could eat. But that's a good problem.

When I went shopping on Tuesday, I was pulled towards the autumnal foods, like butternut squash, apple cider, pumpkin, and nuts. It all sounded so comforting, the squash, especially. I bought 3 butternut squash on Tuesday, to use in the next couple of weeks. I'm eating the leftover squash in my lunches, daily. My appetite disappeared during the summer. but it seems to be back, and is letting itself be known! 

What was on your menu this past week? Anything particularly autumnal?
Have a wonderful weekend! Those of you in Canada -- Happy Thanksgiving!


  1. Lili,
    I wished you lived closer...I would get some of the 100 butternut squash in his garden and give you a bunch of them! I can get whatever I want and will get some more to cook and freezer. We love it just mashed like a potato. We also use it in soup, muffins, bars.

    Your tomatoes look yummy. Tomatoes are about done in dad's garden but we received a bunch of them to freeze with onions and peppers, ready to become spaghetti sauce.

    Chili sounds good but it's not the favorite in the family. Glad you could have several meals from that one pot. Applesauce--apples are cheap here in Michigan right now and the supply is good so the prices aren't so bad. I made some applesauce early this week to freeze and I'll make some more probably tonight for fresh eating.

    I really want to try turkey again though it's not our favorite meat. Kind of stringy. A local store always seems to have legs, breasts, and other parts all packaged cut up and at super discounted prices. I think I'll try pressure cooking it. I ordered and instant pot even though I told myself not to. I'm going to use my Christmas bonus to pay for it (now I hope I get a Christmas bonus!) I still really want the turkey roast and gravy so that is on my agenda to try to make.

    Have a good weekend, Lili, and everyone else!


    1. Hi Alice,
      Oh wow! All of that butternut squash. I can hardly imagine what your dad's garden looks like! I've been enjoying it just baked, and scooped out of the shell, plain, with salt, and nothing else. It's become my favorite food of the week. My tomatoes are also done. I need to pick the tiny ones to make into relish. the rest are in a box in the pantry and fridge. I'll be out of fresh tomatoes in about 3 weeks.

      What's an instant pot? This last turkey turned out very well. I made sure not to overcook it (my big problem with meat), so the breast was just barely, barely pink, but had reached the right temp inside.

      Have a great weekend, Alice!

    2. Instant Pot is an electric pressure cooker. It's the RAVE right now. Safe to use, apparently, very good tasty foods are a result, quick, does a lot of things.
      Frankly, I'm sick of cooking, nothing tastes good to me, I'm unable to plan for tonight's meal. I'm home alone each night so why cook? Wrong, I need healthy food to serve to myself and hubby and to the kids when they come home. I will not go fast food or packaged meals. I'm hoping this "fun" toy will help me get myself back on track.


    3. Alice, that's a really great idea to get your motivation to home-cook back, buying a tool that will help you in speedy, nutritious food-prep. I've been struggling with my appetite, too. And I did something along similar lines, buying the apple cider and butternut squash, even though the cider was pricey, and the squash was higher priced than it will be in just 2 weeks or so. Our health matters, and depends on good nutrition. So, I think you made a super wise decision, there.

  2. Hi Lili,
    Your menu sounds really good. We had Jambalaya,Taco Salad and the cookies from Ralphs. We took this to bible study. Falafel salad and hummus. Tonight I am making enchiladas.
    Have a great weekend.

    1. Hi Patti,
      Your meals sound, yummy! I haven't made jambalaya in years. I may have to try that again. And enchiladas are always popular, here, no matter what I choose for the filling.
      Enjoy your weekend, Patti!

    2. (Patti, I accidentally deleted your comment, when I was trying to reposition my reply. So I re-added it, and that's why the time-stamp, and your name is slightly different. Just wanted to explain.)

    3. It is all good The enchiladas are done and ready
      to reheat for tonight. I also made 3 extra pans
      for the freezer. I make Mrs Epsy's enchilada sauce from All recipes .com It is so wonderful
      but does take extra time. I make extra and freeze it.
      Enjoying your day.

    4. Good work on the enchiladas, Patti!
      I will check out that recipe for enchilada sauce. Thanks!
      have a lovely Sunday!

  3. Hi, Llli--

    Sounded like a delicious week to me! Glad to hear you're enjoying the change, and hope tonight's meal goes together easily. (Delicious-looking menu!)

    So happy that the chili was more than you expected. What a windfall! A couple of easy evening meals just waiting for a side or two -- and great "autumn" food, too!

    Glad you were able to do a little splurge for some appetite-enhancing food, too. When you're feeling ill or on a super-restrictive diet, it's such a blessing if you can find and afford a little healthy something that gets you excited. It's hard to get or stay healthy if you can't get at least a little bit excited about food. :)

    We didn't cook very interesting meals this week, but did take time to stock up baking or making some of our home-made staple menu items, which is time-consuming but important. So we felt happy about that.

    I also found some lovely sheepherder's bread for my husband, at half-price when I was rushing through a store I don't normally shop, which was a wonderful find, since I didn't have time to bake him any. It was close to the date, but I bought two loaves, and froze them in packages of four pieces.

    Have a great weekend! Sara

    1. Hi Sara,
      Yes, it is a blessing, to be able to find and afford healthy foods that I really feel I want to eat. Agree, totally! I am making an effort to eat better at every meal. And I think that's helping me. :)

      I've only had sheepherder's bread once, many years ago. I remember our family really enjoying it. Have you ever made any, yourself? That was awesome you found some at 50% of for your husband. I'm sure he'll really appreciate having it. And super smart to freeze in amts that you'll use it. No chance you'll take the whole loaf out, with intention to put it back in the freezer, and then have much of it go uneaten, or not eaten at it's best.

      Hope you're enjoying the weekend!

  4. Mmmm...I've been thinking about chili myself, but the weather is supposed to by mid 70s here the next week or so. Just doesn't seem cool enough to me yet. My son & I picked 220 lbs of butternut & spaghetti squash at a local U-pick farm last week. (My daughter's garden didn't produce any squash this year.) It was 35 cents/lb. That amount should last us into next spring. We love butternut squash cubed & roasted in coconut oil. I'm making a big batch of chicken broth from the 3 chickens I roasted this week (bought last week @ Fred's for 87 cents/lb.) I was able to shred & freeze almost 2 chickens' worth of meat. The little boys love the drumsticks, so I just cut all of those off for dinner that night. The rest of us ate 1 chicken, so that left enough to freeze for other meals. We baked muffins & banana bread this week, using squash puree from the freezer & spotted bananas. My friend, who has an organic produce delivery service business, gifted me with 2 produce boxes full of slightly marred veggies/fruit that they could not sell. She also gave me 2 boxes of golden delicious apples (my favorite applesauce apples). I gave her a couple of dozen eggs in trade & will also give her a couple of more dozen in a week or so. Have a restful weekend, Lili! Melissa

    1. Hi Melissa,
      Wow! That's a lot of squash! But I'm sure your family is going to enjoy this all winter long.

      My daughters always loved the drumsticks on whole chickens. That part must be universally appealing to young children. It did make pulling apart a whole chicken all the easier, to not have to pick the meat off of the leg bones, as I'm sure you find. And now you have a couple of chickens worth of meat, frozen and ready to use in another meal or two. Awesome!

      Enjoy your Sunday, Melissa!

  5. My fall meal of the week is Chicken and Dumplings which is simmering as we speak. I hope it tastes as good as it smells. Bonus is that I was able to use up some lingering/ limp celery/ carrots and onions as well as some clearance finds from the pantry.


    1. Hi Saryn,
      oh yum, that chicken and dumplings sounds delicious! I think that will go on my menu later this week. It will be a nice change from what we've been eating. And super great that you could use up those scraps of veggies that might have gone bad if not used soon!

      Have a great rest of the weekend, Saryn!

  6. I'm actually relieved to hear that you were nice to yourself and went the leftover route. What did your family say to having to eat a second night of the same entree? Funny, our children were easy to please and ate everything that we served, but not our grandsons. They are less enthused, and eat less on the second day. So we end up with quite a bit leftovers after they go home. I'm wondering if this fast paced world is changing expectations and constant change is the norm.

    However, my husband and I love leftovers. I think the pot of soup, stew, whatever tastes better the second day. Plus it is easiest. We had a big pot of miso soup all week, and about four different vegetable side dishes throughout the week.

    Have a great weekend!!


    1. Hi YHF,
      I'm starting to think in terms of 2 or 3 main entrees per week. It sure does make planning easier! And when I find I've simply made too much to eat within a couple of days, I just pop the leftovers into the freezer to pull out on some night I don't want to cook! Last night, my daughters and I were going out to a concert on their campus, so I was able to pull something out to microwave for all 5 of us, to have an early dinner, and I didn't have all the rushing around of cooking a whole meal in the afternoon.

      Your grandsons are probably not accustomed to eating the leftovers. While true, leftovers may not be as intriguing as a new and fresh meal each night. At least they are something known. They probably eat the same exact thing many breakfasts of each week. You could try making the leftovers more "exciting" in another way -- like serving dinner on the lanai, or in front of a movie on DVD, or a picnic supper on the grass. Just a thought.

      That miso soup sounds delicious. Do you use tofu as the protein source for the soup, to make it an entree? I love miso soup and that's long been my favorite, "I'm not feeling well" treat. I think I need to buy some more soon!

      I hope that you're having a great weekend, YHF!

    2. Great to hear that you are being easier on yourself. Especially since your family is becoming less regular in terms of eating dinner at home every evening.

      Good ideas about changing up the "setting". This morning, I served a "soda cracker buffet", toppings were egg salad, peanut butter/honey/banana, and butter/orange marmalade. Nothing was made from scratch, but my husband was skeptical that the soda cracker would be enough for breakfast, and argued we should have bought english muffins that was spendy, but more appropriate for breakfast (we should learn how to make our own muffins). But since it was different to the grands, it was a success. They loved to dress their own crackers, and ate it with papaya, yogurt and husband's Tang juice.

      I think our miso soup is more like a miso stew. We add cabbage (won bok or head cabbage), konbu, clams (or dried shrimp), somen, and tofu. Recently I've been adding our green onion knots (blanched shoots tied in knots) to the pot of miso, and of course topping the soup with chopped fresh green onions. Yummy. This is my favorite soup, and so easy. Doesn't require long stewing time.

      Have a restful Sunday!!


  7. I'm also glad to hear that you are enjoying some more relaxed cooking and your meals still sound nutritious and delicious. I hope you will be better soon.

    1. Hi live and learn,
      thank you! I'm working at it.
      I hope your weekend is going ell and you find some time to relax amidst all of the work going on with your houses!
      Have a great day!


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