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Friday, December 9, 2016

Cheap & Cheerful Suppers for a busy December week

Yes, one more night of bean burritos. What can I say. I was in the car almost the entire day.
  • bean, rice, olive and cheese burritos
  • canned corn
  • canned pineapple chunks
My husband is in Vegas for the weekend, so it's me and my kids for dinner, for the next 3 nights. I am thinking of pancakes for dinner, tonight, using some of that delicious real maple syrup.
  • pancakes
  • mushroom frittata
  • fruit cup of pineapple chunks and orange segments
My daughters and son are performing/working in the musical performance at our church, tonight. I believe they will get dinner, in between shows, which leaves me on my own for dinner. I'll scrounge around in the freeze for something.
  • skillet dinner saute of 1 frozen cooked hamburger square, some sliced mushrooms, cooked together in the pan, the meat chopped with the spatula as it heated through. Then I added thyme, garlic powder, salt, leftover cooked rice and canned peas, and cooked a couple of minutes until hot. Good, except the thyme. It didn't go well with the flavor of the peas. But it was very easy, and it only dirtied one skillet and one spatula.
  • turkey in gravy from the freezer
  • mashed potatoes (made lots for leftovers)
  • canned green beans
  • baked squash
  • canned cranberry sauce
  • thick and hearty vegetarian soup made from lots of leftovers, including liquid from canned veggies, beans, carrots, celery, onions and mashed potatoes
  • corn tortillas toasted with cheese
  • oranges
  • mushroom frittata
  • baked squash
  • green beans
  • leftover mashed potatoes with sour cream added
  • olives
  • Austrian Almond Braid bread
  • hot dog taquitos, in corn tortillas with cheese
  • carrot sticks, celery sticks
  • leftover mashed potatoes, mixed with sour cream and leftover canned peas
  • watermelon pickles
It's that very busy month of the year, with Christmas performances, holiday parties, final exams, decorating the house for Christmas and New Years, shopping, baking and lots of merry-making. Cooking has meant relying on easy meals. There wasn't one single elaborate meal, this past week. That's okay. It's nice to have a change and shift my focus to other things. And I'm happy to say that even with a busy week, I was able to throw together meals, quickly, using what I had on hand.

I'm still making efforts at cooking big. When I went to make mashed potatoes, earlier this week, I didn't just make enough for one meal, but I made enough for several. After that first night, the potatoes seized up a bit. To make them soft and creamy again, I stirred in sour cream, before heating and serving. I also found the ready-made mashed potatoes to be great for making a pot of vegetable soup, extra hearty.

How about you? What was on your menu this past week? Wishing you a wonderful weekend!


  1. Happy Friday,
    Sunday we had a brined, baked chicken with 7 layer salad and rice. Monday we had a little bit of that for leftovers. Tuesday I made brats with peppers and onions in the pressure cooker. Wednesday I made a chicken enchilada casserole and a beef enchilada casserole making sure there would be enough for at least two days. Success. So on Thursday it was enchiladas leftover since that also was my volunteer night. There was/is still plenty left for lunches. Tonight might be a roast beef with mashed potatoes and broccoli. I think I'll make a cheese/broccoli soup for the weekend while I'm at it.

    I'll be leaving Mon.-Wed. with my parents for a procedure for mom. I'm not going to make a lot of meals for hubby. He will get by and his mom lives close by so maybe the two of them will eat together which will be good for both of them since she's widowed and would probably love to have him for dinner.

    I'm not planning on getting any groceries this week since I was given a lot of fresh veggies at my volunteer food pantry last night. So now I have enough fresh items for the entire week.


    1. Hi Alice,
      All of your meals sounded wonderful. The cheese/broccoli soup will be a hit, over the weekend. Will your kids be home?

      I'll keep your mom in my prayers, that all will go well, and she can recover quickly. I'm glad for you, that you can be there, at this time.

      I am finding that I don't need much at the grocery store, either. It's a time and energy saver not to need to go grocery shopping.

      Have a lovely weekend, Alice!

  2. Sunday--our annual church Christmas dinner was in the PM, so we ate leftovers at lunchtime. Dinner was free and catered.
    Monday--carnitas cooked with pinto beans in the slow cooker all day. I am out of the green chiles I usually add to this but added half a large can of green enchilada sauce and they were delicious.
    Tuesday--treat meal my family has been asking for, Chicken Parmesan.
    Wednesday--no meals at church on Wednesday this month, so I put a very small roast that was part of our side of beef in the crockpot in the morning with some seasonings and water, and cooked it all day. Later, I baked potatoes and we did loaded potatoes for dinner, with the shredded meat, butter, sour cream, cheese, and green onions.
    Thursday--Hamburger gravy with homemade rolls. I made the dough in the bread machine and my teenager shaped it and made the gravy while I was at dance with the younger girls from 5-7.
    Tonight, Friday--my 8 YO son had foot surgery this morning, planned. So I have some of Aldi's breaded chicken fingers and homemade mac and cheese planned as the meal, with a veggie. However, at least 3 of my kids will be elsewhere at dinnertime, just found this out last night, so I'm putting on my thinking cap and may adjust. My middle schooler who does virtual school at home made a pot of potato soup for us, very welcome after a morning at the surgery center. Enjoying some now as I browse online! Finally, the irritating messes in the kitchen are paying off as I now have two children who can cook at least a few dishes quite nicely. Still have three to work on. ;)

    1. Hope your son's foot surgery went well!

      Lili--do you like it when you occasionally have to scrounge for supper for only yourself? I think it's kinda fun. I enjoy preparing a nutritious meal for my family, but the change of pace can be good.

      We have my son's jazz band concert to go to tonight--I was going to make soup, but we have leftover lasagna from last night's youth group meeting, so in the interest of making my life simpler, we will reheat that with a veggie (frozen fruit for dessert) and call it good. That will let us get out of the door quickly and minimize cleanup. Woohoo!

    2. Hi Cat,
      i hope your son's foot is healing nicely. Not at all fun for an 8 year old!

      That IS awesome that two of your kids can now do some of the cooking! It helps you, but also they are learning how to do things to provide for themselves. And your meals sounded delicious! You do a lot, Cat, and you're still able to put delicious meals on the table every week.

      Have a great day!

    3. Hi Kris,
      What I realized is that when I'm just cooking for myself, I don't go to a lot of effort. Even when I was single, I just wouldn't eat, or would eat really unbalanced meals, if I was too tired to cook. But this night worked out great.

      I hope you enjoyed the jazz band concert. I'm sure your son was proud to participate. What instrument does he play? The leftover lasagna sounds delicious. It's great you had that to use.

      have a wonderful day, Kris!

  3. We've been keeping it simple around here, too. I feel like I'm on the road a lot, too. I share kid driving with other moms to Bible study & homeschool co-op biology class, but I still need to ferry my kids here & there to driver's ed, sewing & art classes & piano lessons. It's amazing how much time that takes up.

    Last night it snowed a few inches here. My husband & I had planned on attending a seminar for date night, but that got canceled due to the snow. So we all pitched in to quickly make hamburgers from burger in the freezer. Then we played a game. It was so nice to have all outside activities shut down & for all of us to be home together--just like the good old days:) Melissa

    1. Hi Melissa,
      What a fun impromptu evening you and your family had! I know it was probably disappointing that your plans were cancelled, but sometimes these unplanned evenings are the best.

      I hope your week is off to a great start, Melissa!

  4. Have a nice weekend, Lili!!

    I enjoyed your craft tutorials, and will copy and add that to my growing file of recipes, ideas torn from magazines, notes for future projects. We recently adopted our daughter's cockatiel, so the bird seed ornament recipe is especially timely. I know how expensive these seed treats are in pet stores, so homemade will be a money saver. We bought some millet sprays which he enjoys, so I know he'll love to pick at this treat too. I wondered what held the seeds together, wouldn't you know...gelatin!! Speaking of which, I am on my last pound of gelatin (each pound lasts us about 3 months), and finally, I think I may have enough Amazon products on my list to make free shipping, so I'll be ordering by hitting your featured product link (but not ordering that product??)

    I love to use the remnants of mashed potatoes for making soups too. We make a large pot of instant mashed potatoes every other week for my father, so whenever we make his potatoes, it is a good reminder to have soup.


    1. Hi YHF,
      I'll be interested to hear how making the birdseed feeders works for you. The other ingredient that I think manufacturers use in these is corn syrup. If you are making these "regularly", and since they will be for indoor use, you may want to experiment with some different ingredients. Yay! for Amazon's free shipping to the islands! There are still a few bargains left in this world.

      Have a great day, YHF!


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