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Friday, May 31, 2019

Cheap & Cheerful Suppers for the Tail End of May

Friday (cost about -- $1.80)
pinto bean and vegetable soup (this was a delicious soup -- I made it early in the day and one daughter and I had it for our lunch, then the whole family had it for dinner. I used saved fat from Wednesday's meatloaf, as well as liquid from rinsing out the meatloaf pan. The flavor of the soup was wonderful. I added cooked pinto beans from the freezer, canned tomatoes, carrots, onion, chili powder, garlic powder, and garden Swiss chard.)
fresh-baked French bread
bread pudding made from the last of the failed batch of muffins earlier in the week, topped with homemade vanilla frozen yogurt

Saturday (cost about -- $1.35)
scrambled eggs with Swiss chard, canned tomatoes, and onions
carrot sticks
hash browned potatoes

Sunday cook-out (cost about -- $1.20)
hot dogs in homemade buns
cole slaw

Monday (cost about -- $1.65)
pasta primavera (vegetables and herbs, tossed with cooked pasta, and topped with mozzarella)
strawberry-rhubarb sauce

Tuesday (cost about -- $1.70)
bean and vegetable soup (made with ham stock and ham fat, so it had the aroma and flavor of smokey meat)
fresh-baked bread and butter
homemade vanilla frozen yogurt, topped with homemade cocoa mix

Wednesday (cost about -- $2.65)
spaghetti with meat sauce (using 1 pound of the super-discounted ground beef from a couple of months ago to make 6 adult servings --2 of which are for the freezer)
vanilla frozen yogurt topped with homemade jam

Thursday (cost -- free)
We went to a design exhibit for a family friend. There were enough snacks to fill us all up, so no dinner was needed.

It was a busy week, translating into some very simple and last-minute dinners.

We used 1 pound of ground beef and 6 ounces of hot dogs for meat for the entire week.We also used about 1 cup of mozzarella cheese, which is as expensive as meat for us. We had eggs for dinner on 1 night and beans as the primary protein source on 2 nights.

I have to confess something (shhh, my family doesn't know this). I cheated a bit on the flavor of the strawberry-rhubarb sauce on Monday. I did add some frozen strawberries, but not much. To boost the flavor, I added strawberry Kool-aid powder. And yes, it was deliciously strawberry-y.

Breakfasts this week were steel cut oatmeal, homemade granola, homemade donuts, toast, butter, peanut butter, jam, yogurt, and milk. Lunches seemed to feature a lot of lentil sprouts and ramen soup and sometimes lentils in ramen soup. We also had leftover homemade soup, peanut butter sandwiches, eggs, carrots, rhubarb, yogurt, raisins, juice, and milk.

This is the last day of May. Consequently, my fridge is looking a bit bare. June's shopping is just around the corner, though, so that old Mother Hubbard look will soon vanish.

What was on your menu this past week? Do you have any go-to meals that you can whip up from scratch in 20 minutes or so? I expect this next week I'll be making extremely simple meals, as I finish up the preparations for my daughter's graduation shindig.

Have a great weekend!


  1. Hope your graduation lunch preparation goes as smoothly as planned, and I know you are at your best (and shine quite nicely) under deadline pressure. Congrats to your daughter.

    Our meals as always are super simple. But recently we had an aha moment about our eating out situation. Since we pack extra veggies in our cooler, along with water, whenever we step out the door, we thought why not save on the cost of eating out by buying just the entree, instead of splitting a lunch meal, which usually costs more. So by packing a starch in addition to the water and veggies, we can save the difference between the price of a meal ($10) and an entree. The cheapest entree is Sam's or Costco' s $4.98 rotisserie chicken. There is even leftover to bring home.

    Have a great weekend,

    1. Thank you, YHF.
      This is a great conclusion that you and your husband have come to with your meals out. You may find that you wind up eating even healthier, as a result, since you can control the preparation of more of the items that you are eating. And yet, you still get the sensation of eating out.
      I hope you have a great weekend, as well, YHF!

  2. You always amaze me with your resourcefulness. Hot cocoa powder on frozen yogurt? What a great idea!

    My go to meal seems to be fried rice - with any meat or veggie and my family always seems to enjoy it.

    Good luck on your festivities!

    1. Hi ruthy,
      Thank you. With regards to the cocoa powder on frozen yogurt, I don't know if anyone else ever did this, but when I was young, we used to put a spoonful or two of Nestles Quik powder onto vanilla ice cream. So, that's what I was thinking of when I put the cocoa powder on the frozen yogurt. It was the same sort of thing.
      Fried rice is a good one. I should remember to make extra rice this next week one night, so that I can make some quick fried rice later in the week.
      Have a great weekend!

  3. Your soups sound good! We have had a cold and wet spring, so warm and cozy meals like that still appeal to me. We also save leftover ham stock and it certainly elevates the taste of the soup!

    We have a rhubarb strawberry dessert recipe which I grew up eating. There are no actual strawberries in it--I think it uses rhubarb, 1/2 a box of yellow cake mix, strawberry jello, sugar, butter, and water. Sounds like a similar technique to your rhubarb strawberry sauce and, yes, your secret is safe with me!

    Once again, we have had a scattered week, so meals have been on the simple side. Was wondering if you've ever made baked eggs. That's my go-to for my daughter and me if the guys aren't eating with us (they had to do clean-up for a Boy Scout volunteer activity and dinner was provided for them). With the eggs, it's basically 1 or 2 eggs cracked into a greased ramekin. We top ours with a little mozzarella mixed with dijon mustard, toss it in the oven (350*) for about 15 minutes, and it's done. I made toast and a fruit salad and that was eat. Super easy, almost no clean-up. Just a thought for you, since you have a plethora of eggs ... and you also have a toaster oven, which would be great for cooking something small like that!

    1. Hi Kris,
      I had a rhubarb-strawberry pie once, that had strawberry jello, rhubarb, and Cool Whip as the filling. No strawberries actually, but it was very good.
      I've only baked eggs a couple of times. I'll have to remember this idea. The mustard sounds like it must give the eggs a wonderful flavor. What a good idea. Thanks!
      Have a great weekend, Kris!

  4. It's remarkable how low the costs of your meals are. Do you have any big eaters in your family? I have a couple in mine which means we rarely end up with leftovers unless we cook a huge amount.

    1. Hi live and learn,
      We are definitely eating on the cheap these days. The ingredients going into each meal are all the very low-cost ones for me. For instance, 2 of the dinners were bean and vegetable soup, with both of which we had homemade bread as a side. But, I also think that we're not huge eaters, here. When we have something like hot dogs, we all have one each, and I often don't have a bun or only have half of a bun. I'll ask my husband if he wants a second one, most of the time he declines. There was a time when I would have said that we were bigger eaters. But with age, we just don't seem to that much (my husband and I). And our at-home kids are daughters -- never huge eaters. I do think that we snack a lot, however.
      I hope you have a great weekend, live and learn.

  5. Thank you, Lili, for telling us about the 10# of chicken quarters for $5.98 at Walmart. I went over to my local store Friday. I baked three that evening and repackaged the others in two's for the freezer. I've already used one baked quarter three different ways. This evening I'll use some thigh meat in my spinach salad for dinner.

    1. Hi Shirley,
      I'm glad your Walmart had the bags of chicken leg quarters. Just a little tip -- at my Walmart, they seem to sell out of the 10-lb bags on that first weekend of each month (maybe a lot of folks who receive a check right around the 1st of the month and also buy the large and inexpensive bags of chicken). So, I try to remember to go to Walmart later in the month, after the store has restocked. Those bags are a good value for meat, then the bones and skin can be cooked in the crockpot with water for broth. Cooking up a couple at a time sounds like a great way to have cooked meat on hand for quick meals!

    2. Great tips, Lili. Yes, I'm saving the bones, skin for broth/stock and also the fat and gelatin (not sure what else to call it) for future use.


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