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Thursday, October 28, 2021

Cheap & Cheerful Suppers for the End of October


Homemade pepperoni pizza, beet salad (using canned beets), sautéed garden greens, pumpkin cookies

Refried beans and cheese, rice, homemade flour tortillas, carrot sticks, Cole slaw, fig and applesauce (pureed green figs in syrup with applesauce plus cinnamon/ginger)

Spaghetti and TVP marinara, sautéed garden greens, steamed carrots

Kale, bacon and egg quiche, roasted carrots and potatoes, blackberry-rhubarb crisp

TVP & beef meatloaf, rice and gravy, pumpkin soufflé, autumn garden greens salad, blackberry-rhubarb crisp

Lentil-vegetable soup, garlic toast, no-egg pumpkin snack cake (this recipe)

Easy chicken-Brussel sprout leaf (tastes like broccoli) Alfredo over cooked pasta, carrot sticks, leftover pumpkin snack cake

So, I found another way to use my less-than-popular-with-my-family preserved green figs. I pureed some figs with their syrup and mixed into applesauce then spiced up with cinnamon and ginger powder. This was very good and got high praise from my family. some thought this was even better than the cake I made with pureed figs.

The beet salad was simply drained canned beets dressed with oil, vinegar, salt, pinch sugar, pinch ground cloves, and dash black pepper. My family enjoys this and it's super easy.

We are almost out of fresh eggs. So I've moved on to using frozen eggs whenever possible. Last week, I thawed a 6-egg container of eggs (mentioned in this post) for some baking I was doing. These are eggs I froze in 2020 while egg prices were still low. Thawed eggs will keep in the fridge for about 3 to 5 days. So, I try to do whatever egg-using baking I can within this time period. I made an extra batch of pie pastry for the freezer (1 egg), a batch of brownies (2 eggs), and a batch of muffins (1 egg) during the previous week. That left me with the equivalent of 2 eggs that were thawed and needed using ASAP. Sunday afternoon I made a 2-egg quiche to serve for Monday's dinner. You read that right, a 2-egg quiche. That doesn't sound like much protein at all. So I "fortified" it with cheese and 8 slices of bacon (saving some bacon to break over the entire baked quiche at the last minute). Eggs have increased in price about 60 cents per dozen in my area. I have several dozen in the freezer from 2020, bought at the lower price. I'll continue using the frozen eggs while I watch for a sale. In addition, I'll use my no-egg and low-egg recipes as much as possible (such as the no-egg pumpkin snack cake).

I used some of the bacon fat to oven-roast carrots and potatoes to serve with the quiche. Very tasty!

On Tuesday, I stretched 8 ounces of ground beef with rehydrated TVP for a meatloaf that served all 4 of us. Meatloaf stretched with TVP is more crumbly than regular meatloaf, but we enjoyed it just the same. I used the fat drippings from the meatloaf to make a gravy to pour over both the meat and rice, flavoring the drippings with thyme, beef bouillon, onion powder, and black pepper.

One daughter made the lentil-vegetable soup for us (following a recipe that I use) and the other daughter made the easy chicken-brussel sprout leaf Alfredo (following some rough guidelines I jotted down). As much as I can, I'm trying to make sure my daughters learn how to cook mostly from scratch, so they can cook for themselves in their own homes some day and not spend a bundle on convenience foods. So when they cook for us, I try to find easy and relatively quick recipes. We'll see if it works this way for them.

The pasta in Thursday's dinner was plain old elbow macaroni. Spaghetti noodles and elbow macaroni are the least expensive pasta shapes in my area, especially when bought in economy sizes.

So, those were our dinners this past week. What was on your menu?


  1. I have brushed my pie crust with egg, but never put it into the crust. How does it change things?

    1. Hi Live and Learn,
      This is a pie crust recipe that makes 5 single crusts. Individual patties of dough can be kept in the freezer until needed (many months). The egg makes the pastry have a lighter feel/less tough.

      Here's the recipe:

  2. We baked a whole chicken on Sunday and I boiled the carcass later in the day for about 4 quarts of broth. I froze that for anything I might need the broth for. I made potato soup with a can of spam-like ham for eating for lunches during the week. We had leftover chicken, brussel sprouts and scalloped potatoes one day this week, stir fry another day, leftover stir fry a day later, leftover chicken for alfredo and broccoli for two days. We don't mind having the same thing two days in a row. Sometimes we alternate leftovers for the same thing on Monday and Wednesday and then the same thing on Tuesday and Thursday. Tonight we'll order a pizza from a small business (need to keep the small businesses in business!). Saturdays are "do your own thing" and then we'll start again on Sunday with a "big" meal because MIL always comes over and she doesn't eat well during the week so we make sure she gets a homemade meal.

    I am seeing food prices increasing. Aldi eggs were $1.50 when they've been as low as 49 cents or even under $1. Mini chocolate chips were only $1.69 a bag when I thought they were a bit higher a while ago. Milk is $2.49 per gallon at Aldi when they never were that high before. I have a nice stockpiled pantry so I won't need a lot of baking supplies.

    My neighbor gave us two paper grocery bags full of small butternut squash. They were tiny this year so maybe I received 30 of them. My dad also gave me some so we'll store those away for the winter and we'll use them all! Dad's garden provided me with so much again this year. I canned probably 15 quarts and 6 pints of tomatoes, 4 half pints of salsa and a ton of fresh tomatoes. I froze a lot of green peppers and lots of kale. This will give us a lot of meal starters this winter and for that I'm grateful. But dad is getting tired and almost cannot handle the work. I told him not to do it for me but to do what he can handle. I assured him we love what he gives us but doesn't have to exert himself to sustain us. I offered to help him but he is pretty possessive of his garden and wants to manage it himself. This is what is keeping him alive. Rest and planning during the winter, then the planting, care, and harvesting during the summer. I'm fully aware that he's 90 years old and it won't last forever but the time he is given is a gift itself.


    1. Hi Alice,
      It sounds like growing a large garden and providing some for you and your family is what gives your dad a sense of purpose. Bless him. He sounds like such a kind and generous man. And what a bounty you have now! What a wonderful start to the cold months to have so much in stock.

    2. My father lived to garden also Alice. He raised much more than he and my mother could use so his bounty was spread far and wide.


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