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Friday, August 23, 2019

Cheap & Cheerful Suppers for Mid-August

Tuesday's dinner

A week of frugal meals, using basic staples & garden/ foraged produce

We're in a groove. We've found ways to use our cheaply-acquired staples in tasty entrees, sides, and desserts. The 50 cent/lb peanut butter, 90 cent/lb ground beef, 59 cent/dozen eggs, 37 cent/pound pasta, and free garden vegetables (ours and donated) and foraged blackberries featured heavily in our meals this past week. Some meals were simpler than others. But all meals were very inexpensive, Just goes to show that you can save money, use some of the cheapest foods, and still feed your family well.

More blackberry foraging

We harvested several more pails of blackberries this week -- filling up that freezer and using fresh blackberries as our primary fruit. Blackberries were added to homemade yogurt (with homemade blackberry syrup to sweeten), in blackberry pie, and simply eaten fresh, topped with jam or honey. 

Excitement -- on our last foraging expedition (yesterday), my daughter and I were chased by a very protective yellow jacket. I think we were just too close to his or her nest. That experience brought my suppressed bee-phobia to the surface, to say the least! I need to get over it, at least for another week of blackberry foraging. We are up to 19 ice cream pails of blackberries for the season and hoping to fill 2 or 3 more.

Friday's dinner

The supper menus

lentil and vegetable soup, using chicken soup stock as the base, lentils, tomato paste, onions, garlic, garden herbs, chili powder, and some zucchini and greens that were gifted to us
zucchini bread (using the other half of the gifted zucchini)
fresh blackberries topped with jam for dessert

noodles in peanut sauce (using that uber-cheap peanut butter from the new dollar store and deeply-discounted noodles from Walmart, plus garlic and red pepper flakes)
sauteed garden greens (the gifted ones, again)
fresh blackberries

Sunday cookout
hot dogs in homemade buns, with some of the new homemade ketchup
salad of garden greens with homemade 1000 Island dressing
fresh blackberries

kale quiche
fresh blackberries

BBQ lentils over thick slices of toast
everything garden salad with lettuce, kale, tomatoes, cucumber, and beets
zucchini stuffed with bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, herbs, salt and oil

spaghetti in meat sauce (I added the scooped out part of last night's zucchini to the sauce)
garden green beans

pizza, using quick and easy scratch pizza dough, w/ minimal rise-time, leftover spaghetti meat sauce, and mozzarella cheese
green garden salad, with lettuce, kale, and cucumber in homemade salsa/mayo dressing
scratch blackberry pie, using 2 patties of this scratch pastry dough, made in bulk ahead of time and frozen  and the afternoon's freshly picked blackberries

If I had to pick one meal that was my favorite, I'd say Tuesday's dinner. The BBQ lentils were made with the last of the stale bottle of cola from Christmas, some tomato paste, vinegar, sugar, onions, chicken fat (frozen - part of "waste nothing"), garlic, and soy sauce. 

Since we didn't have buns and I didn't feel like baking any, I sliced homemade wheat bread thick and dipped both sides of bread pieces into a baking pan that had oil in it, then toasted in the oven, turning, and sprinkling lightly with salt. 

The stuffed zucchini was very delicious. If you have surplus, large zucchini (or a neighbor who offers theirs to you), try stuffing some. Use a melon baller to scoop out some of the flesh of halved lengthwise pieces, creating a well in the center of each half. Then fill the well with seasoned bread crumbs with or without some cheese added. Drizzle with oil and bake at 375 for about 25 to 30 minutes, until the crumbs are browned and the flesh of the summer squash is tender but not soggy. Very tasty -- even my summer squash-hating family member loves this. 

The salad was also tasty. I boiled the whole beets, after which the skin just slipped off. I then cut each beet into fat juliennes and tossed with dressing. The dressing was simply leftover 1000 Island dressing mixed with a little salt, vinegar, and oil.

Live Chat Tomorrow Morning: Christmas in August

One last thing, tomorrow morning, from 9 AM to 11 AM, PDT, I'm hosting another chat session. The topic this time is Frugal Christmas and Holiday Gifts and Foods. These can be purchased, homemade, or semi-homemade gifts and foods. You can provide links to other sites in the comments. Just follow the instructions in this post. If you have a photo that you would like to share, either screenshots or jpeg, email them to me at lili.mounce *at* I'll upload them to the post so others can see them. I've got a handful of ideas and projects that I'm working on that I'll share. I hope you can be there. But if not, you can still read and add comments later.

Enjoy this last week of August, everybody!


  1. You got some great prices on things. Yellow jackets are different than bees. They can be aggressive. I don't like them either.

  2. Hi live and learn,
    Yeah, I know yellow jackets and wasps are not bees, but I kind of lump them all together. I don't mind bumble bees at all, and honey bees aren't too bad. Ugh, I just don't like flying buzzing things.

    Those were super duper deals on those items. I don't know if I'll ever see those particular foods at those prices again, but hope to find other great deals like those on other foods.

  3. You're so creative with making meals with what you have! The BBQ lentils sound rather like a veggie Sloppy Joe--good idea!

  4. Hi Cat,
    Yeah, the lentils are as close as I can come to a sloppy Joe. I wish I had green pepper for those -- that would've been an improvement.


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