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Friday, June 28, 2019

Cheap & Cheerful Suppers for Early Summer

egg fried rice with garden Swiss chard, garden snow peas, carrots, frozen peas, garlic, onions, ginger, and mushroom soy sauce
garden strawberries

The four of us had an evening event to attend and would miss the chance to eat dinner at home at a normal hour, so we made a tossed salad with garden greens plus fresh strawberries and set aside, went the the event, then used a gift card for a pizza on the way home late that night. Free and delicious. (But a little late!)

lentils and rice (basically rice cooked in one pot, lentils in another, then the two of them fried in a little oil, just a bit until crispy)
carrot sticks

baked garden kale and Swiss chard frittata, with onions and mozzarella cheese (veggies sauteed in oil, then put in a buttered glass pie plate, topped with cheese, then milk mixed with eggs poured over all. Baked in a moderate oven.)
garden strawberries
rhubarb muffins (just a basic muffin recipe flavored with almond extract and diced rhubarb folded in)
cereal crispy treats (using some old breakfast cereal that no one wanted, marshmallows, vanilla, oil, and butter. I made these in the microwave, then pressed into a buttered pan. Super easy.)

lentil, vegetable, and hot dog soup, with canned tomatoes, onions, and carrots
rice as a side dish, as I'm not eating a lot of bread these days

bean burger patties (cooked extra pinto beans for Thursday's chili)
herbed rice (leftover rice heated in the pan from the bean burgers, adding extra oil, garlic powder, dried chives, salt, and butter)
tossed green salad (lettuce, chard, and kale) dressed with homemade Italian dressing
strawberry shortcake (scratch drop biscuits, garden strawberries, and whipped cream found buried in the freezer)

vegetarian chili topped with cheddar cheese
scratch cornbread
carrot sticks

We're scrounging in the freezers and pantry to find some interesting food items this week. I found some chocolate-mint breakfast cereal that my daughter had bought in the fall, but abandoned as well as some whipped cream from late 2017. Both of those items became part of desserts this week.

I opened the jug of mushroom soy sauce and we liked it. To me, it just tastes a bit more earthy than regular soy sauce. I bought the mushroom soy sauce because it worked out to be more cost effective for us this time.

Just a lot of basic meals this week. Breakfasts were often toast, eggs, yogurt, fruit, or leftovers from previous meals. I discovered that I really like having a bean burger patty for breakfast. So then next time I make them, I'll do a few extras just for by breakfasts. Lunches were often soup, salad, or peanut butter on bread, with fresh strawberries and raspberries as a side dish. I'm still picking strawberries every other day or so. Strawberry season is coming to a close, but raspberries are just now beginning to ripen.

We didn't eat a lot of meat this week. That wasn't deliberate. Meat just didn't sound appealing, I guess.

Do you have some basic recipes memorized? I've done this with a basic muffin/coffee cake/pancake recipe and the biscuit/scone recipe. I vary the amounts to suit what I'm aiming for. So, for instance, with the muffins this week, I made the basic recipe of flour, salt, baking powder (or my substitution of baking soda and vinegar), sugar, egg, oil, milk, but I increased the sugar and added almond extract and rhubarb dices. If I were to make pancakes, I'd use the basic muffin recipe, but decrease the sugar just a bit and increase the milk. Cornbread can be made by substituting cornmeal for part of the flour and decreasing the milk slightly. Biscuits can be turned into scones by subbing some butter for the oil/shortening and adding some sugar. Having these two basic recipes memorized means that I can quickly bake something to go with a meal, without having to find recipes. I'm sure that others must also do this, but I just don't hear people mentioning it. Anyway, this week I used those basic recipes for a few meals.

I hope you all had a great week and are anticipating a relaxing weekend!


  1. Sounds like good meals, and what a nice treat for you, to have the gift card for pizza! In answer to your question, I have a few recipes memorized--my most frequently used recipes are easy to get to and I find that I use them to confirm that I have the quantities of ingredients correct but don't really use them exhaustively. I am trying to teach my kids more cooking/baking skills this summer, and used a familiar-to-me recipe with my daughter tonight. I realized while I was going through it with her that I have mentally tweaked many recipes, including that one, so I tried to explain to her what my tweaks are and why I have made them. Hopefully I'm not confusing her!

    Have a good weekend.

  2. I think if you make anything regularly, you memorize the recipe and are comfortable tweaking it. And you're right that when you know how to do that, it saves a lot of time.

  3. Hi Kris,
    When you tweak recipes, do you ever make notes on the recipe page or card? I haven't written down my alterations as much as my mom always did. That's something that I'm going to try doing more of. It's nice reading my mom's cookbooks and seeing her notes, and knowing how she changed recipes helps me when I try them. I think that's great that you're helping both of your kids with cooking this summer. That's something that will really help them. I wish I'd done more with my son with cooking when he was a teen

  4. Hi live and learn,
    Yes, it sure does.

  5. Lili, I try to write down tweaks, as I know I won't typically remember them. My daughter and I tried a new recipe tonight, in fact, and you have reminded me that I need to make notes on how I would change it next time!


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