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Friday, September 1, 2017

Cheap & Cheerful Suppers in Late August

Whole chickens were on sale this past week at several stores for 87 cents per pound. While that isn't a stellar price, this late in the summer it may be close to the best price I'll see for a while (chicken, whole or parts, seems to be at its lowest in late spring in my area). I like whole chickens for their ease of cooking. You just rinse it out, sprinkle with seasoning and bake. When running errands on Saturday I picked up 6 whole chickens. That is about how many I can fit in the freezer right now.

On Sunday we roasted 1 of the chickens, and had just plain roasted chicken, with carrots and potatoes, and fresh blackberries. Right after dinner, my husband picked the meat of the bones, and I put the bones, skin and fat into the crockpot to simmer for a day.

On Monday I turned some of the chicken meat into soft shell tacos, using the last of the flour tortillas, garden tomatoes, lettuce, olives, lentils, cheese and a small container of taco sauce.

Tuesday, I made a chicken soup, using the last of the chicken meat, and the stock that I had made in the crockpot, plus leftover lentils from Monday's tacos,

By Wednesday we had finished off the whole chicken and I needed to cook again. Or do I? I polled the two kids in the kitchen in the morning and they voted unanimously (how unanimous can a polling group of two really be?) for the lentil soup in the freezer. I partially thawed it in the microwave, then dumped it into the crockpot for the day. Late in the afternoon I threw together a no-mayo cole slaw, creating a dressing of soy sauce, vinegar, oil, peanut butter, ginger and sugar. I also sliced fresh figs and baked some rosemary focaccia. Focaccia is one of those low-rise yeast breads that I love for its speed. It's basically just a pizza crust without toppings. I mix and briefly knead the dough, then press out onto a baking sheet, top with oil and seasonings and bake. The only rise-time is while the oven is pre-heating.

Thursday night I pulled marinara out of the freezer, along with ready-made meatballs. I cooked some bargain spaghetti and fresh cauliflower. I also made some garlic bread, using hoagie rolls.

For tonight, I have some leftover marinara sauce, so I'll make a cheese and meatball pizza for dinner. And maybe a green salad to go with the pizza.

That was our week of suppers. What was on your menu this past week? Any big plans for the long weekend? I've got a "date" with one daughter for some clothes shopping. She needs some clothes that will be more appropriate for her student teaching this next year, and is cashing in on a birthday offer/gift from me this past spring.

Have a wonderful weekend!


  1. Another week where the suppers sound really good at your house. They're good here too since my son is doing the cooking.

    1. Hi live and learn,
      I am so envious of your live-in chef! Seriously, though, this has probably been a great experience for him, as well. Have a fabulous weekend!

  2. Looks like a wonderful week of menus. Agree that 87/lb on whiole chickens is a bargain. Aldi's sells them for 95/lb-my go-to price. I am having skimply September, with grocery dollars seriously slashed. We have plenty on hand, there is some excess, and I'd like to free up freezer space for soon to be available, cheap, holiday turkey or turkey breasts, as I like to roast one a month from Sept thru April. I am diverting grocery and other discretionary funds to cover additional repairs I wish to have done to my forever home before Winter sets in.

    1. Hi Carol,
      The grocery budget has always been that one place where I could cut, in order to afford other necessities. I wish you well as you slash grocery spending this month, to get your house in order for winter. And as you point out, the bonus is you will have freezer space when fall specials come on.
      Have a great weekend, Carol!

  3. Lili, you tickle my funny bone with your comment, "how unanimous can a polling group of two really be?" hehehe :)

    87 cents a pound is pretty good for chickens. I don't think we will ever see the lower prices we saw before 2008 again, unfortunately for us.

    I love the flavor combinations of peanut butter and ginger. They go so well together. I have whole ginger, which I keep in the freezer where it will last longer. I grate it into dishes, but then last month decided to buy some squeeze ginger from the produce section and oh my, I am in love. LOL

    One night this week I took some leftover brown rice and added onions, peas, and a can of pineapple. I used soy sauce and ginger to season it. It was so simple and easy to make, tasted great, and was very frugal.

    1. Hi Belinda,
      I don't think we'll ever see much less than 87 cents/lb on chickens, either, unfortunately.
      Your un-fried rice dish sounds very tasty. I'll keep that idea in mind.
      Have a wonderful weekend, Belinda!

  4. Yum! You made some delicious meals and it's always nice to stretch meat anywhere we can!

    This week we've had cheesy bacon meatloaf (so good!!), pork steaks, pan fried chicken, pizza, etc. Some of our sides were cheesy spinach, mac and cheese (it's on my blog), steamed cauliflower, green beans, spinach salad, etc. We eat a lot of veggies with our meals and I enjoy finding new side dishes to create with them.

    Hope you have a lovely day and weekend!

    1. Hi Mama Saves,
      That mac and cheese does look very easy. And bacon anything is a hit with me, so the cheesy bacon meatloaf sounds delicious.

      Thank you, and have a wonderful weekend, yourself!

  5. I also love whole chickens. I think you had a good price on them--I got one for a similar price a couple of weeks ago but since my husband has filled up our freezer with produce, I didn't buy an extra.

    Trying to remember our meals this past week. Tonight is pizza, last night was leftover pulled pork from my son's b-day dinner on Sunday, Wednesday was chicken pockets, I think Tuesday was hamburger, potatoes and onions in the crockpot and Monday was cheeseburger pie. I'm starting to move toward autumn meals.

    Enjoy your holiday weekend!

    1. Hi Kris,
      Happy birthday to your son, and happy anniversary of giving birth to you! How old is your son, now? (I know I keep asking, with every bday, but I'm getting old and can't remember.)
      With the hamburger, potato and onions in the crockpot, how did you do that? Did you brown the meat first, peel and slice potatoes? Any seasonings? I am trying to use my crockpot more often, but only want super easy recipes or ideas.

      I am waiting for a chilly day to do some real autumn cooking. Although, I did see some trees with changing leaves already in our area.
      Have a wonderful long weekend, Kris! Have the kids started back in school or is that after Labor Day in your area?

    2. Easy peasy and great for those days when you aren't exactly sure when dinner will be, as it's pretty forgiving.

      Brown the meat, adding salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste. Peel and slice (don't bother to cube) 6 potatoes and 3 onions. Layer 1/2 the potatoes, 1/2 the onions, and all of the meat, then add the rest of the potatoes and onions. Pour a can of cream of mushroom soup mixed with a 1/2 cup of water over the top. Cook on low 8-10 hours, high 3-4 hours.

      Yes, it's a midwest let's-add-cream-of-mushroom-soup and make it a meal recipe ... but everyone likes it, it's easy, and it's cheap.

      School starts Tuesday. My son is 14 and starting high school ... my daughter starts middle school. Change is happening!

      Gotta make my pizza--love your pizza dough recipe!

  6. Roasted chicken. I say the "original' fast food. From fresh or frozen to table usually in 3 hours or less. So much you can do with any leftovers. It is kind of a perfect food. We did one here yesterday with on sale carrots in the pan. 4 potatoes as mashed and moving through my yams bought last fall @19 cents a lb. made home fries on two cookie sheets. Dessert was an assortment of dainties I froze after I hosted a shower this summer. These dainties are getting plenty of mileage. Bringing them to a meeting next weekend and planning for them to be dessert for a double birthday celebration. Yesterday was a farewell party for a daughter moving away for a graduate degree.

    1. Teresa, are these fresh yams from last fall, still stored in the basement? Or have you moved them to a fridge or frozen them?

      This must be bittersweet with your daughter moving away for her advanced degree. We want our children to go on to bigger things, but we also just enjoy having them with us for as long as possible. How wonderful for her. Maybe you can plan a visit to see her in her new town sometime in the next few months.

      Have a great weekend!

    2. Hi Lili, I am planning to see this daughter in a few weeks. She has moved to a city I have never visited and I've said I'm going to visit and explore it regularly while she is there:)
      She is the second daughter doing graduate school away.
      It is true, it is bittersweet in so many ways.
      I encouraged my children yet even I was surprised what they were able to accomplish.
      Yes the yams are since last fall. Only now have some become soft.
      I keep them in my basement, on a wooden shelf , not touching allowing air to circulate around. I live in an area with dry cold/ heat . Not as much air moisture as you.

  7. I love roasted chicken. Chefs are often asked what their choice of a last meal on earth would be. I always tell my family my choice would be roast chicken:) I didn't pick up any of those chickens at that price. I knew I needed the peaches & corn, so I had to choose. Anyway, I do hope they go on sale again soon. Melissa

    1. Hi Melissa,
      That's a tough choice, with limited freezer space. But there may be other inexpensive meats that are priced as well, such as whole turkeys at Thanksgiving. You might have some freezer space, then. And there won't be better prices on corn or peaches until next summer. So, I think you made the right call.

      One of my favorite ways to cook a whole chicken is on the grill. I should do one soon, before the wet weather puts an end to grilling.
      I hope you and your family have a wonderful long weekend, Melissa!

  8. You were quite thrifty this past week. You are to be congratulated on your ingenuity.

    Please drop by and say hello!
    ஐღLaura ღஐ
    Harvest Lane Cottage
    ...doing what I can with what I've got where I am
    on a short shoestring budget!


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