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Friday, October 14, 2016

Cheap & Cheerful Suppers for October

3rd day of turkey and dumplings became turkey stew

Only 3 of us for dinner tonight. Dinner will be an easy to prepare one.
  • hot dogs and buns from the freezer
  • leftover baked squash
  • apple wedges
  • grilled tomatoes
  • banana bread
My daughters and I are going to a concert on campus, at their university. I'm honored that they want me to come with them (or is it -- that they want me to drive them? Hmmm, I think I'll choose to believe they want me there.) Anyways, it's a Christian rock concert, so it should be loud and fun! Dinner needs to be super-duper easy, as I'll serve dinner for all 5 of us around 4:45.
  • beans, rice, tomatoes and beef from the freezer
  • tomato wedges
  • apple wedges
So, us girls kind of stayed up really, really late last night, with no chance for sleeping in this morning. once again, dinner needs to be easy. Fortunately, I still have a couple of meals in the freezer. I took a vote, in the car when we came home from church, and it sounds like everyone wants leftover chili.
  • leftover chili from the freezer
  • scratch cornbread, using up some lingering corn flour, mixed with corn polenta, in place of corn meal
  • cole slaw (planning on making extra, thanks to some suggestions, here)
  • baked apples
  • turkey in gravy (from freezer) over brown rice
  • grilled tomatoes
  • cole slaw
  • leftover corn bread
I'd been thawing about a gallon and a half of turkey and stock in the fridge for a couple of days. Today's the day to do something with it. I managed to to gather enough carrots, green beans, summer squash, kale and parsley from the garden to add to some veggies in the kitchen, plus barley to the turkey and stock. I also had some liquid from various vegetables in the fridge I could add. Topped with a biscuit dough, and now it's simmering away. I should have enough turkey and dumplings for 3 nights.
  • turkey, vegetables and dumplings
  • pumpkin spice cake
  • leftover turkey and dumplings
  • tomato, cucumber, basil salad
  • leftover pumpkin spice cake
No more dumplings left on the turkey stew, so I'll have to make some other sort of bread product to have with it. Hopefully, we'll finish up this pot of turkey stew, tonight. It's cold, rainy and the wind is supposed to pick up this evening. A good night for turkey stew.
  • last night of turkey stew, I had to extend it a bit with leftover squash, pureed pumpkin, a diced potato, and some almost ripe tomatoes that were half-blighted
  • bran muffin squares (muffin squares are what I call muffin batter, baked in an 8X8 square pan, then cut into squares -- slightly easier than muffins)
  • chunky apple sauce, using the good half of apples that had Apple Star Crack (an apple virus)
That was our week of meals, again using a lot of leftovers, either from the freezer, or from what I made, one night, then served 3 evenings in a row. I still do a little cooking every day, so it's not like these are complete nights off. But it's an improvement. And on days when I don't have as much to cook, I can do something else in the kitchen, like make relish. (I did get to the dill relish, as well, this week. So we have both sweet and dill relish to get through the year.)

Saryn, if you're reading here, today, you'll notice that I did indeed copy your lead from last week, and made a poultry and dumpling dish!! Told you it sounded delicious! I have lots of turkey in the freezer, so I did the turkey/dumpling combo, instead of chicken and dumplings.

What was on your menu this past week? What's the weather like where you are? It's cold, wet and windy, here. Saturday the wind is supposed to really kick up. I'm thinking I should plan something that can be either heated over a fire, or eaten cold, as a just in case measure.

Have a great weekend! 


  1. Way to stretch the turkey and broth! The concert does sound like fun. Most concerts I've been to were Christian Rock. It has been cool and wet here yesterday (50's) but we're supposed to climb back up to 76 today and 93 by Sunday. I'm over summer. :P

    1. Hi Cat,
      You live in a great part of the country for Christian rock concerts. I've been checking for various groups in my area, and it seems like some groups never come to the PNW. Kinda frustrating. But I guess it just means I need to go on a road trip next spring or summer!
      Oh my goodness! It's practically summer there!
      have a great weekend, Cat!

    2. Does Winter Jam or the Rock and Worship Road Show come near you? Those are good ways to see several bands at one time for a reasonable price ($10 for Winter Jam) and see who you might like. We got a lot of good groups near us when we lived in Cincinnati, but around here, we'd mostly have to go to Oklahoma City or Dallas so we rarely do. :/ We did catch a "Family Reunion" concert up in Tulsa at Oral Roberts University a few years back which was quite good: Petra, Wayne Watson, Avalon, and several more groups/singers.

    3. Oh,and Newsboys and Audio Adrenaline!

    4. Hi Cat,
      I'll have to check into the multi-band festivals in our area. We're in the far corner, here, so many artists rarely perform in our part of the country. But I will keep checking around. thanks for the tip about Winter Jam and Rock & Worship!

  2. Everything sounds great--especially the turkey and dumplings. Saryn may have started something.

    I like reading about your suppers more now since they are more relaxed. They sound just as good as before, but more realistic like I could actually do the same thing. But more importantly, it's giving you a little rest.

    1. Hi live and learn,
      the turkey and dumplings were pretty good. Something about the texture and taste of the dumplings -- umm good, ol comfort food.
      My dinner prep is definitely more relaxed. But it is a little hard for me to make so much at one time, some days. I just have to plan those days ahead of time. One really great thing, though, is that I'm more inclined to use the food processor, when I'm making a very large batch of something, and that is saving my energy enough to do big-batch cooking on those days.

      I hope you're getting some rest during this busy process of getting one house ready to move into and the other ready for the market. Such a crazy busy time for you, Ward and all of the cats!

      have a great weekend, live and learn!

  3. It's becoming cooler here in Michigan and it rains and shines. Nights are getting very cold and it's starting to freeze at night.

    Meals, a huge problem. If I make too much, then we have to eat the same thing all week and I just need variety. It's very hard to make something for just two people that has variety without having so much leftovers.

    SUnday we had a roast beef with mashed potatoes and cauliflower and though the beef was eaten (or taken back to apartments with the kids) we ate mashed potatoes and cauliflower almost all week long. Wednesday I made a turkey roast to go with the last of the potatoes and caul. Thursday hubby cooked some pork steak with green beans and tonight is Friday so that is always up in the air.

    We will not be grocery shopping on Saturday since we have a full refrigerator and freezer to keep us going for a while.


    1. Hi Alice,
      Oh, it does sound like fall has arrived where you are, too!

      I do keep wondering what cooking will be like, when there's just 2 of us. Your experience emphasizes what I think could be pitfalls, those wide swings between family being home for a day or two, and then long stretches of just 2. It does sound like you're managing pretty well.

      No grocery shopping this weekend means more time for doing other things. I hope you have a great weekend, Alice!

  4. Sounds yummy, Lili, and good for an autumn week.

    We are catching up on batch cooking here to replenish the freezer, so we made cock-a-leekie soup (with all dried veggies I had on hand, except for fresh parsley to top it), buckwheat-chia pancakes, and chili. I made so many beans, there are actually enough for a second batch; and since beans take a long time at our elevation, that makes the next batch from the freezer practically instant gratification, comparatively! :)

    Stay warm! Sara :)

    1. Hi Sara,
      Cooking large batches of beans is especially a time-saver for you! Good job!

      Your cock-a-leekie soup sounds very warming. I'm sure it was vey much appreciated on a chilly mountain evening, as were the pancakes and chili. I've never cooked with chia seeds. Do you grind them, or "gel" them before mixing with other ingredients? I see them in the bulk section of a couple of stores, here. And I know they're popular in smoothies, to add thickness. I'm just curious how you bake/cook with them.

      Have a great weekend, Sara!

    2. Lili--

      The cock-a-leekie soup was good, and a good use for some old freezer-burned chicken thighs, too. :)

      The way to bake with chia is NOT the way I did the last batch. I was experimenting with how much I could put in before it made the pancake batter like slime... and I found out. Mine were gooey and made funny-shaped cakes. But they taste delicious, anyway.

      I actually use chia meal, because I get a decent price on-line for pretty fresh meal; and then I keep it in the freezer and measure it from there. Saves me the time/step/clean-up of grinding for 1/8-1/4 cup I use in smoothies and most recipes.

      I add the meal as any other dry ingredient, but you have to keep in mind that once you add liquid or add the dry to liquid, they will start gelling right away.

      Used sparingly, they give a little extra bounce and bind to gluten-free quick breads. I've never had any real "problem" with using "too much", except that it does make things rather gelatinous, so like my buckwheat pancakes, the aesthetic suffered a little. (wink)

      You have a great weekend, too! Sara

  5. Lili,

    I love how you made this meal your own and transformed it to work with what you had making each nights version different. This is how I try to cook for my family (due to schedule demands and health reasons) I love your weekly meal posts and find that I am inspired to be more creative and a better steward.

    This week we enjoyed a garlic/ herb roasted pork loin and baked russet/ baked sweet potato's prepared in the crock pot. I purposely made extra for meals this week. This was prepared on Sunday so that there are not many other schedule demands.

    1. Roast pork, roast sweet potato steamed broccoli, homemade coleslaw (my handsome helper who whipped up a double batch) and chuncky applesauce
    2. Reheated baked potato topped with leftover broccoli and shredded cheese, coleslaw and sliced tomato, clementines
    3. Sliced pork sandwiches, potato salad (made from the last of the potato), last of the coleslaw/ tomato

    The rest of the pork was then frozen for two future meals.


    1. Hi Saryn,
      Your meals sounded very delicious, and quite a lot of variety in the reuse of the various ingredients. I think pork may be on my menu this week! Thanks for the inspiration!

      Have a great day Saryn!

  6. Ooh, snuggly weather for warm meals. I made tuna noodle casserole tonight and we ate up the very last of the garden-fresh green beans (also, we had cut up tomatoes and a bowl of sliced pears for dessert). Anyway, before I got distracted, I meant to say that my daughter was pretty happy about tonight's casserole--"oh, this is so warm and good on a chilly day". I tend to think of tuna noodle as a "cheat" home-cooked meal, since I don't have to thaw meat and I use cream of mushroom soup (hangs head in shame ... ) but everyone gobbled it down ...

    I'm glad you are finding a meal plan that works for you! Any news on the medical front?

    1. Hi Kris,
      I bet that tuna noodle casserole was great, and perfect for a chilly autumn day. All of the fresh produce sounds like it lightened the meal up, too. Yum!

      have a great day, Kris!

  7. Your turkey & dumplings sounds so yummy. We had breakfast for dinner a couple of times this week. I have a son who can't handle milk products very well, so I make big batches of ww waffles & freeze those for him for breakfasts. This process takes awhile, so I usually couple it with a breakfast for dinner night.

    I didn't end up needing to go to the hospital with my mom for her surgery, but I did drive up to visit my parents yesterday and took them a meal of quiche, pumpkin muffins & my home canned peaches.

    I did manage to tackle the making of applesauce (it was a stress reliever for me to dig into a big project as both my MIL & mom had surgeries this week).

    Tonight I'm making a 9 lb. pork loin that I was gifted by the friend I made the potato salad for this past summer. I've never really made one before, so here's hoping it turns out! I'll make extra of all the sides so I can take leftovers to my in-laws.

    This next week, I need to get creative with what I have on hand. That cow is hanging at the butcher & it'll be a big maneuver to the budget & our freezer to accommodate it. It is very nice to not have to worry about meat (except chicken & holiday hams & turkeys) for a full year. Blessings on your weekend, Lili. Melissa

    1. Hi Melissa,
      I hope your mom and MIL are doing well, this week. And I am sure that your parents really appreciated the meal that you brought to them. Yes, it sounds like it was a bit of a stressful week. It's nice to have tasks which don't require much concentration, but fill the time, during those weeks. And you now have a lot of applesauce for future meals. Great job!

      Good luck making room for the beef. It will be work, up front, but will be so nice to have all year long.

      have a great day, Melissa!

  8. It's 90º here and I am really looking forward to the end of the month, when it will get into the 70's. We drop rather suddenly then, it always seems. A big wind storm comes around Halloween and brings fall temperatures with it.

    I cut a lot of grape leaves from the garden this week to roast with chicken and rice in my solar oven (outside). It was wonderful. The leaves will fall next month, but right now there are a lot of young and tender ones that are perfect o eat once cooked.

    1. Hi Brandy,
      It's still summer there, too! Those lower temps will feel like such a blessing, at the end of the month.

      I use my grape leaves in jars of cucumber dills. Thank you for mentioning cooking with your grape leaves! I know they are a powerhouse of vitamin A, and have some vitamin K and magnanese. I think I might be able to use a few off of our vines this week, and maybe blanch some for the freezer, too. thank you, Brandy!

      Have a great day!

  9. I've been in a mental stupor these past few days. Not lack of energy but lack of proper attitude lol I think I need to take a break and change my routine a bit. I know I'm tired of shopping. I think the Kmart promotions have taken a lot out of me, trying to get the best deals and not fall victim by spending the "free" points in a shopping spree.

    Our grandsons went home on Wednesday, so we spent only 5 days with them. I made lasagna (taste was a bit off because I used leftover frozen meatloaf, never again), orange chicken (Costco - 2 nights), lup cheong on pork hash, and kalua pork with cabbage. The boys really enjoyed the orange chicken, so they didn't mind eating the leftovers the next day. The highlight of their visit was playing monopoly that converted to cash. I set an hour and a half time limit, so they could strategize their play. This was in lieu of going to Fun Factory where it is easy to spend at least a hundred in an hour. Being it was played for real cash, the oldest grandson made some very calculated decisions on which property to buy (he passed on buying the high end properties which he always sought to own) and bought houses on less expensive properties as soon as he could, being first is usually key to winning. I was also very proud of him, that he discounted a $1000 rent to $100 when his brother didn't have much money.

    Hope you are all safe and sound. Your dinners are always so nutritious and well balanced, even as you adjust to your new routine.

    Have a nice evening!!


    1. Hi YHF,
      Do take care of yourself. Maybe you do need a break from your routines, maybe do something that is particularly satisfying to you.

      Your time with your grandsons sounds like fun. And the meals sounded yummy. Making memories!

      Our big storm, turned out to be not much. I'm grateful for that!

      I hope your day is off to a good start, YHF!


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