Stay Connected

Friday, July 23, 2021

Cheap & Cheerful Menus for Late July

I made rosemary vinegar this week. It's simply fresh rosemary in distilled white vinegar. I'll allow the flavor to infuse over the next 4 to 6 months before using it. I love how herb vinegars look when they are first made. The vinegar is crystal clear, and the herbs still have their green freshness. 

Another end of a week. My how fast this summer is flying! 

A lot of very ordinary meals around here. But that's okay -- my family likes ordinary (after all, they like me, and I'm ordinary). Here's what we ate:

Breakfasts this week included toasted O's cereal, homemade yogurt, berries, homemade blueberry muffins, homemade bread, toasted, eggs, milk, juice, and coffee/tea. I just haven't had it in me to make pancakes or waffles. I'll have to do something about that now that the blueberries are ripening.

Lunches were more varied. I sometimes picked greens from the hanging baskets and garden for salads, and sometimes I made soup from the garden (sorrel one time, turnip stems and carrot another). We also had peanut butter or cheese sandwiches and hummus/crackers. Plus, we ate leftovers from dinners for lunches. There has been no shortage of cookies for quick desserts. Yesterday, I made some chocolate chip shortbread rounds -- very yummy!

Here are the dinner menus:

homemade pepperoni pizza, watermelon, roasted broccoli, rhubarb crisp


TVP meatballs and spaghetti, green beans, blueberries and raspberries, cookies

hot dog cookout, homemade buns, sauerkraut, carrot sticks, canned corn, garden salad

eggs with chives, sausage, brown rice and chicken gravy, sautéed summer squash, roasted turnips, sautéed turnip greens, vanilla rhubarb sauce

pasta, broccoli, and cheese, cookies

7-11 pizza (my daughter bought this), garden salad, blueberries and raspberries, cookies

meatloaf, fresh bread and butter, stuffed zucchini squash, vanilla rhubarb sauce

I have a couple of meals that I make each week. My family doesn't notice the repetition and doing so eliminates some planning. As examples, I make the same basic meal every Monday and Friday. I always know that Monday's dinner will be eggs, rice, gravy, and whatever vegetables and/or fruit that we have. Friday is always pizza night at our house, with side dishes that vary. This week, I'll be making stuffed grape leaves again to go with the pizza. I noticed some of our grape leaves are the perfect combination of size and tenderness. I am all out of pepperoni, so I'll be rummaging through the pantry and freezer to find pizza toppings.

What was on your menu this past week?


  1. Your menu looks amazing as always! We had a full house on Saturday so we had boneless chicken thighs with my special seasoning, instant pot baked potatoes and fresh green beans. The big group ate every morsel and the guests took pictures of their plates! Other meals were smashed potatoes, carrots and hamburger patties, tater tot casserole, homemade pizza, lo mein with chicken, spiralized zucchini, smoked pork, fresh beans.

    I have been needing to make bread but I've been too busy to get it done. Dad had us pick beans and we picked 3 five gallons buckets, a smaller bucket and then an ice cream bucket so mom and he took one bucket and he gave me the rest. I gave some away and blanched/froze around 20 quarts of beans. That's just the first picking!

    1. That's a lot of beans, Alice, for one picking. Reminds me of when I was a kid.

    2. We are just starting to get pole beans. Our bush beans didn't do well this year. We all love them so that's a disappointment. Alice, you know you cooked a good meal when people take pictures of it!

      Meals, hmm. Last night I made a Bisquick brunch bake recipe--basically a biscuit crust in a pie pan with diced ham and cheese, with an egg/milk/herb blend on top of that. I think it's the first time I've made it and it was well-received. I made goulash one night, Thai chicken with polenta another night, and I'm sure we ate another meal but it slips my mind. Tonight I'm leaning towards turkey quesadillas. We were gifted zucchini/yellow squash last week so I sauteed them in olive oil/lemon juice/basil for sides with most of our meals except for the salad from our lettuce and snap peas last evening. The blueberries are ripe and hubby and kids have done two large pickings so far this summer--we've been eating lots of blueberries.

      Lili, it's super smart to have some easy planning nights for your meals. I smiled about your pancake comment. My son makes our Saturday morning pancakes and I enjoy sleeping in a little later while he does it. Now that he's leaving for college in the fall, I'm hoping my daughter will take up that task. Sometimes my husband makes waffles, too. I enjoy the feeling of someone else cooking breakfast for me. :)

    3. Hi Alice,
      Whoa, that's a whole lotta green beans! You'll be enjoying those all winter long, I imagine.
      Your meals sounded delicious. I can understand why your guests would take photos.

    4. Hi Kris,
      I love the sound of that brunch bake. It sounds tasty and easy. It must be such a treat to have so many blueberries. I have 3 bushes which are producing right now, but they're ripening slowly, so not a lot to pick all at one time.
      I hope for you that your daughter does take up the Saturday morning pancake tradition.

  2. I rarely go into 7-11 and didn't know they had pizza. How's the quality?

    1. Hi Live and Learn,
      It's good. Not fabulous, but much better than frozen pizzas. Our family has bought 7-11 pizzas while on vacation in the past. They were cheap and 1 could feed all of us (just barely, though). It was an easy way to have a dinner in a motel room when traveling.

  3. My 13 year old son offered to make enchiladas on Monday (I taught him how a few months back and he's very proud of this skill, lol) so I took him up on it. He used the last of a rotisserie chicken we had purchased at Sam's Club in doing so, and I made sweet yellow corn cake as a side, using the Instant Pot.

    Then he informed me that he wanted to learn to cook more, and asked if I would teach him how to make some things. He had a few specifics in mind. I have been struggling with low energy lately due to a thyroid med change (lost my thyroid to cancer over 10 years ago and there was a recall on the med that has worked well for me last year) and he saw me in tears of frustration on Monday, which I think prompted his offer. However, I appreciated it and DO think he needs to learn to cook, so I readily agreed.

    Tuesday, spaghetti with meat sauce. When we don't have home-canned tomatoes, we begin with plain canned tomato sauce from the store, as we did this day. I cooked a recently-harvested spaghetti squash in the Instant Pot for my husband and I, and we used the remains of a loaf of Trader Joe's sourdough bread (they actually use a sourdough process and don't add yeast) to make garlic toast.

    Wednesday-we had leftover hot dogs from the weekend cookout potluck (referenced in an earlier comment this week) so Micah made a copycat Skyline chili recipe we enjoy to turn them into chili dogs. The carb conscious among us left of the buns and simply cut the hot dogs up and ate them with the chili and toppings over top.

    Thursday-Micah had requested to make potato soup. I had two large Russet storebought potatoes left in the pantry from a while back, so we used those and several homegrown potatoes, some a deep purple, which made for an interesting lavender-colored potato soup. We had shredded Cheddar and some bacon bits for toppings.

    Friday-hubby and I have to pick up my dad and younger son at the train station in Oklahoma City, so we'll have our "date night" and eat out up in that area. Kids are on their own, but we have plenty of pizza ingredients and leftover hamburger buns onhand so I've suggested mini pizzas using the buns as "crust".

    1. Cat, your son is a gem!

    2. Hi Cat,
      What a sweet offer from your son!
      Your meals sound delicious. Bravo to teaching your son so well!
      I hope your new meds will begin to work for you soon. I'm sorry that you've had to deal with cancer.

  4. Oh let’s see if I can remember.
    Last nite was hamburgers on the grill with potato salad and canned baked beans. Wed Dh was gone so I fixed myself a couple hotdogs in the air fryer. Tuesday Dh was gone so I got a sandwich from subway-very unusual for me! Monday we had pub style halibut from Costco. Sunday was t-bones and baked potatoes. Saturday was a busy day so I took a chunk of leftover lasagna from the freezer and heated that up. I don’t remember any farther back.

    The steaks we had the other nite were sooo good. I buy them when safeway has them on sale, and then use rewards to get the price down even more. I buy gift cards at Safeway when they run a promo on them to get rewards. Currently I have almost 20 rewards because I bought a large cabellas gc last month for dh to use on something he’s going to be buying from there. I don’t just use gift cards as gifts, I buy them for our use too, then turn around and use the rewards I earn towards mostly meat.

    1. That's some smart shopping!

    2. Hi Diane,
      Your meals for the week definitely sound like summer! We're doing burgers on the grill tonight.

      I haven't done this in a while, because I'm just not going anywhere, but I used to pick up a gift card at the grocery store before shopping at the mall or going to a restaurant -- just so I could rack up gas discount rewards. I'll have to check out Safeway's reward program. Thanks for bringing this up. It's a great way to save a little money on things you were intending to buy, anyway.

    3. Basically at Safeway you get two times the points on gift cards. However several times a year, usually around holidays, they run special promos on them where you either get $$ off the face value, or 8-10 times the points. The cabellas deal was for Father’s Day, and it was 8 times the points. I currently have 20 rewards. Dh will use 10 of them to get $1 off per gallon on gas. He drives a big truck and has a big tank so he can usually save over $20. I rarely use gas rewards because my tank is small, and I can do better using rewards in store on sale items. I like to use them on meats I wouldn’t normally buy. However, tonite we decided to go in with my son and dil on half a beef, so I won’t be needing as much meat when we get that lol.

  5. We had Mississippi pot roast with roasted potatoes, carrots and watermelon on Monday. When I see chuck roast on a good sale, I grab them because they are such an easy meal and it lasts us a couple of days. We also had chicken kabobs with veggies and watermelon, and last night I made a ground beef/broccoli/ramen stovetop dish that was really good. Would even be good without the beef. I got a watermelon for 2.99 last week and it lasts hubs and me a good long time. I also bake cookies and freeze them, so each night for dessert we each have two. Lunches for hubs are almost always leftovers from the night before, and I love to have hummus and multi-grain crackers and fruit or veggies. We are having family over tomorrow night for our state holiday - the 24th of July and I'll be having hamburgers with homemade buns, corn on the cob (5/$1), baked beans and a 3 layer cake. My mom is bringing her yummy salad with fruit.

    1. Hi Ruthie,
      what's a Mississippi pot roast? I've never heard of that term.
      I hope you had a fun time with family -- Days of '47. Your BBQ sounds delicious. I haven't had corn on the cob yet this summer. Hopefully soon! And I'm glad your mom could join you all.

    2. My oldest daughter loves Mississippi pot roast. She makes it all the time.

  6. Mississippi pot roast is a chuck roast that you put in the crock pot along with 1/4 c. butter cut in chunks, 2 T. ranch dressing, one packet of au jus or gravy mix, and 4-5 pepperocini peppers or banana pepper rings. It makes a delicious gravy to serve with potatoes or rice or even buns. I have used beef boullion on occasion if I don't have gravy mix or au jus. It's really a flexible recipe.


Thank you for joining the discussion today. Here at creative savv, we strive to maintain a respectful community centered around frugal living. Creative savv would like to continue to be a welcoming and safe place for discussion, and as such reserves the right to remove comments that are inappropriate for the conversation.


Be a voice that helps someone else on their frugal living journey

Are you interested in writing for creative savv?
What's your frugal story?

Do you have a favorite frugal recipe, special insight, DIY project, or tips that could make frugal living more do-able for someone else?

Creative savv is seeking new voices.


share this post