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Friday, February 3, 2017

Cheap & Cheerful Suppers for Early February

  • pumpkin and ham soup
  • breadsticks
  • choice of leftover fruit dishes (canned pineapple, rhubarb sauce, stewed prunes)
  • brown rice, topped with
  • curried lentils, black beans, almonds and canned tomatoes
  • chutney
  • assorted sandwiches left over from a luncheon for which I volunteered on Saturday
  • tossed salad made from veggies, also leftover from Saturday's luncheon
  • baby carrots, leftover from Saturday
  • grapes, leftover from Saturday (do you see a trend here?)
  • canned cream of mushroom soup
  • cookies, a Friday Freebie
  • pastrami and melted cheese sandwiches on croissants (pastrami from freezer and croissants given to us over the weekend)
  • vegetable-barley soup, using odds and ends from the fridge
  • blackberry-rhubarb sauce from the freezer
  • pastrami sandwiches on croissants
  • a 9-cent packet of Top Ramen (on markdown, had a tiny tear in the package), split 3 ways (1 family member out, another didn't want any)
  • cole slaw made with half green, half red cabbage
  • cookies from Christmas
  • leftover pumpkin-ham soup (frozen, from last Friday)
  • crackers and bagel halves, with cream cheese
  • baby carrots (given to us over the weekend)

  • blue corn tortilla chips (freebie), topped with
  • canned refried beans (freebie), cheese and salsa
  • carrot sticks
  • canned green beans
  • blackberry cobbler with whipped cream
I am still managing to get dinner on the table, daily, despite a busy week with my writing class. That's the good news. The bad news is that I'm using up my stash of packaged foods that make many of these meals easy. Oh well, the busy time will soon be over and I can prepare more meals from scratch again.

What was on your menu this past week? Anything yummy, or fast and easy? Who made something elaborate this week? Anybody else here, get through the entire week without buying any take-out?

I hope all is well with everyone. Have a great weekend!


  1. Good for you for using your prepackaged foods. I think we've talked about this before here--that it's hard to use things we've prepared ahead of time even when we're using them exactly as intended to help things on busy days.

    1. Hi live and learn,
      I know. I really did ned to use these things this week. The packaged items will come again, is what I keep telling myself. I have an even harder time using the last of something I really like, such as bacon. I have one package left and I'm reluctant to use it.

      I hope you ave a peaceful weekend, live and learn!

  2. I hope you are enjoying your writing class. I took a creative writing course years ago and I really enjoyed it.
    Sometimes we need to use our pre-packaged food. Life is more of a flowing process than my type A personality would like at times and I have to remind myself that the goal is to do what is best for us at the time.

    1. Hi Busy Bee,
      It's fun, in a sense, but it's also a lot of work. All good, though, I figure. If it's a lot of work then it must be good for me!
      Yes, exactly. Using those packaged items is what worked best this past week. I am planning to get a few things into the freezer over the weekend, and hopefully those will take the place of packaged items.
      Have a nice weekend, Busy Bee!

  3. Lili, your meals always look good.

    We had plenty of leftovers from the weekend--two types of soup, a whole roasted chicken, green beans, brown rice and some pasta. That fed us several lunches and dinners in the early part of the week. Then one night we had steak with no sides at all. Last night was instant pot turkey thighs and no sides. The sides would have been a salad but we had enough on the turkey. Friday nights are always unplanned so we'll see what the night brings. Maybe salisbury steak or something. I have frozen some cooked brown rice that we can dig into if we want a quick side dish. I might cook some cabbage (from frozen) and stay away from starchy potatoes for a while.

    I noticed that I have a ton of broth in the freezer from cooking chicken bones or turkey bones. I'll have to find a way to use that this winter.


    1. Hi Alice,
      Your meals sound like they hit the spot, this week. I haven't had Salisbury steak in a while. That sounds delicious! All of that broth -- I sense some pots of soup in your future! Broth is also nice if you want to give plain rice some flavor, by cooking the rice in the broth.

      Have a great weekend, Alice!

  4. Yum, Lili, and wow, what a lot of freebies you got this week to fill things out. What a blessing!

    I actually did cook quite a bit this week, notably a couple of pizzas, and big batches of chow mein and eggplant parmesan. The pizza and eggplant leftovers are in the freezer. Not sure how much of the chow mein will make it there, since it's still being eaten "fresh" with enthusiasm. :) Like Alice, I also have brown rice (and white rice) in portions in the freezer now for easy sides, too.

    When out to an appointment and shopping, I did consider take-out, but decided I had lots of tasty new things in the ice chest, and the shortest drive home (nearest real market); so I opted to make it home on the second half of little emergency snack I'd thrown in my purse, and then make something quick at home. I have fewer take-out temptations than you, though, because I drive around less. :)

    Have a great weekend. Sara

    1. Hi Sara,
      Yes, a lot of freebies for the week! One daughter and I worked at a luncheon last weekend, and we were gifted quite a lot of leftovers. And the free packaged foods were from my Fred Meyer stash of freebies.
      Brown rice is nice for the freezer. It dries out a little, but is easily fixed with a little steaming. I should cook a large pot for the freezer soon.

      Yes, I do seem to go out frequently during the week, and that adds to temptations. This past week, though, I was mostly at home, and that made it easier to avoid take-out. It's a difficult temptation, when, like you, I feel my energy draining after several hours of errands. I will usually have something I can eat, but passing all of those fast food places always sounds so much more tempting than the baggie of almonds that I have with me. Good for you to just head for home. Sometimes, I think what I'm really needing isn't so much something to eat, but a rest. And you can't buy that at the fast food place.

      Have a great weekend, Sara!

    2. Lili-- A friend of mine and I were talking this week about easy meals and judicious use of leftovers, and one of the big issues was appropriate re-heating for each dish. I steam quite a few dishes as my standard way to re-heat, and leftover rice is one of those; so we think it comes out nicely.

      If I'm going to re-heat "TV dinner style" in the oven, I often put a tablespoon or two of water in the covered casserole. It doesn't exactly steam, but works well for items that tend to dry out.

      The mashed potatoes we were discussing yesterday ARE really tasty re-heated, and it gets my appetite going when I start to smell the garlic in them coming from the oven! :)

      And yes, I agree, it's probably as much rest as pampering we crave from stopping for food "out". I always have my dog in the car with me, so I try to get my love and comfort from him instead of fast food. (giggle) And besides, this last trip, I'd gotten 24 dollars off a bunch of sale price meats (nitrate-free stuff, so always extra-nice to get 60% savings!) marked down for the Super Bowl. So I had comparatively-healthy fun junk food I could make at home much cheaper. :)

      Thanks, so far so good on the week/start of the weekend, here. :) Take care-- Sara

    3. Sara, that's an excellent suggestion to add a bit of water to the leftovers when reheating.

    4. Thanks, Lili. It works great for me... unless I end up on the phone with my mom for twice the normal heat-up time, like I did on the weekend. That rice was inedible! LOL Sara

  5. I haven't left my property since last Sunday, so it has definitely been homemade meals all week. We had plans to go into town yesterday for errands, and a splurge dinner using gift cards, but cancelled all of that after I had a painful fall in the morning. Instead of a free restaurant dinner, we opted for peanut butter and jam sandwiches, with a navel orange each for dessert. Yummy! But like you, fairly soon I will be doing some batch cooking to have prepared foods ready in the freezer. Wishing you a wonderful Friday and a great weekend.

    1. Hi Jayne,
      Oh no! I hope that you are okay. I'm sure that after a fall the last thing you could have enjoyed was a dinner out. Better to save the gift card for when you can enjoy it. And peanut butter on jam, with oranges, sounds good, too.
      Yes, I need to cook a couple of large batches of meals for the freezer. I finally have some room in there. I'm also going to cook a large pot of soup for individual portions for my lunches.

      Take good care of yourself this weekend. I hope you don't have to go anywhere or entertain anyone for a few days. Have a great weekend, Jayne!

  6. Jayne I hope you feel better soon.
    We had chicken curry and veggies over rice. chicken gumbo and rice.Shepards pie with ground turkey red potatoes and lots of veggies covered with melted cheese.Chilie lime chicken kabobs with bell peppers and spanish rice. Taco salad with ground turkey,beans,corn,blue chips over greens.
    Have a great weekend.

    1. Hi Patti,
      It sounds like a poultry kind of week for your house! I especially like the sound of the chicken kabobs, with the Spanish rice. Yum! I'll come eat at your house next week!!
      Have a wonderful weekend, Patti!

  7. Hi Lili,

    We enjoyed homemade meals all week that used up items in the pantry/ refrigerator/ freezer. We will enjoy them all again tonight for a meal of leftovers. Anything that does not go tonight will be finished up as our lunch meals tomorrow. I just made up packs of brown rice for the freezer this week when I was preparing it for a meal. Our favorite meal this week was homemade fried rice. My boys would eat this every night if they had their way.

    Could you share your pumpkin and ham soup recipe or method? It sounds like something we would enjoy.


    1. Hi Saryn,
      Yum! I love fried rice, too!
      For pumpkin soup, I saute onions in fat, then add chicken or ham stock, pureed pumpkin, diced ham, diced potatoes, crumbled sage, nutmeg, pinch of red pepper and salt. The potatoes help thicken the soup and thin out the pumpkin-y taste. Everything is pretty much "to taste". A little cream can be added at the end, too. Depending on my dairy situation, this is a nice addition.

      Have a great day, Saryn!


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