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Thursday, March 31, 2022

Cheap & Cheerful Suppers for the Last of March

scratch pepperoni pizza (using homemade frozen pizza dough), steamed broccoli, steamed carrots

everyone for themselves after the picnic at the park and cake -- frankly, I was stuffed and couldn't even think about eating dinner. I did snack on raisins and cheese later.

homemade hummus (using peanut butter in place of tahini -- tasted good), cheesy bread, carrot sticks, leftover birthday cake and ice cream

leftover sandwich fixings and deli salads, carrot sticks, sliced strawberries and bananas, homemade cream of sorrel soup, leftover cake and ice cream for those who wanted some

meatloaf and gravy (I used frozen chives and garlic greens fresh from the garden liberally in place of root onions and garlic cloves in the loaf), roasted root vegetables (turnips and beets from garden, onions and carrots from the store), sautéed turnip and beet greens, potato chips

Mexican bean soup, toasted tortilla strips

tomato soup made from tomato paste, water, onions, garlic, herbs, salt, topped with Parmesan cheese, toasted cheese sandwiches, carrot sticks, last of the potato chips

Breakfasts included toast, cereal, homemade yogurt, frozen foraged blackberries, orange juice, eggs, and homemade blueberry muffins. Despite the chilly mornings, I didn't make any hot cereals this week. This afternoon I finally set the crockpot with steel cut oats. One daughter in particular will be very happy tomorrow morning. Also, I had put off making yogurt for several days. Yogurt is my favorite breakfast. But making it does take time and some effort. I finally got around to making another batch on Wednesday. On Thursday morning I was grateful to have my homemade yogurt again. (I can't eat commercial yogurt -- additives.)

Lunches included spinach soup, cream of watercress soup, a really yummy chive and potato soup (like leek and potato soup), rhubarb-strawberry sauce, bread, peanut butter, cheese, carrots, salads made with cabbage, watercress and radish greens, raisins, eggs, and leftovers. I'm trying to use up the frozen remnants from last year's garden. Earlier this week, I found a gallon-size Ziploc bag of chopped chives in the freezer. I decided to make a pot of chive and potato soup for lunch one day. This was a hit with my family. With the smoothie blender and potato flakes, it was a snap to make. I can make this soup several more times with the frozen chives. Then I'll move on to the garden chives, which are also about ready to begin cutting.

I have a birthday coming up in April. My daughters came to me today and said they'd like to do all of the dinner cooking for the month of April as their gift to me. So, for the next few weeks, I don't have to cook everyday suppers. I will cook Easter dinner and keep up with baking, though. But this will be such a treat to not cook dinner for several weeks. This will be the longest stretch of not cooking daily evening meals in literally decades. They may spoil me, and I may never want to cook dinner again!

Those were my meals for the week. What was on your menu?

Have a wonderful weekend!


  1. Nice looking meal plan! I've pretty much cut down soups around here because we just don't eat a lot lately.

    Our meals have been rather repetitive so it will not look very interesting. We had roasted chicken and Mexican rice on Sunday and repeated that twice during the week with leftovers. We had scalloped potatoes with a beef roast and repeated that two other days. Then we had roasted pork with seven layer salad twice. One day we had hamburger macaroni with the last bit of salad. Desserts have been individual cheesecakes I made in Oui yogurt jars in my instant pot. I love the individual cheesecakes and have made a second batch last night. When I make our meals I portion some out for my dad and often divides it for two meals.

    Mom is definitely going down but she is a fighter but she can no longer speak clearly, sleeps most of the day and does not eat solid food. She drinks apple juice, water, and once in a great while has a Boost drink. She has had a few hallucinations too. Time is ticking.

    1. Prayers are with you Alice as you spend time with your mother during her final time.

    2. Hi Alice,
      I continue to pray for you and your family. I know this must be a difficult time.

      Those cheesecakes sound delicious. I love how you made little portions. That sort of thing really helps me. Although you may not think your meals look interesting, I think they look delicious, and I believe that's what matters.

      I hope you have a good weekend, Alice.

    3. Alice, prayers for peace for you and yours during this difficult time.

  2. Wow, what a wonderful gift! Enjoy every bit of it!

    Sunday-"roasted" a chicken in the slow cooker, mashed potatoes, boxed stuffing, home-canned green beans, and a can of cranberry sauce. Made broth in the slow cooker immediately after cooking all day the next day. Two meals' of leftovers left.

    Monday-potato, onion, cabbage, and smoked sausage skillet. 2 meals of leftovers left (husband used both as work lunches)

    Tuesday-tacos made with just over 1 lb ground beef and about 1.5 lbs equivalent of cooked lentils, homemade "refried" beans done in Instant Pot.

    Wednesday-chili made with beef and 2 quarts, 1 pint of homecanned (from dry) beans and a quart of homegrown and canned tomatoes.

    Thursday-not frugal. I unexpectedly deep-cleaned the kitchen and we got Freddy's burgers for dinners.

    Friday-we'll have homemade pizzas tonight. Pizza dough made ahead and frozen so I'll thaw that. I have a batch of gluten-free Artisan bread dough going in the garage fridge so will use a bit of that to make my crust.

    1. Oh, and Wednesday's chili was served with finely diced onion and Aldi's version of fritos. There were leftovers, but I didn't see how much.

    2. Hi Cat,
      Yum! Your meals sound delicious. They also sound very family-friendly. I think I still have some smoked sausage in the freezer that would work well for a skillet meal. Thanks for the inspiration. Even though my daughters are doing dinners, I still need to make something for lunch.

  3. What a wonderful gift. Do you any projects in mind that you might have time for now if you don't have to cook every night?

    I'm intrigued about the peanut butter humus. What spices did you add to it?

    1. Hi Live and Learn,
      My big "project" for right now is getting the garden planted. I spent this afternoon cleaning the raspberry beds, hauling compost, turning beds, and planting beets. I hope the weather cooperates tomorrow so I can put some more work in the garden.

      With the hummus with peanut butter, the peanut butter was the substitute for tahini, so not a whole lot. The main spice was cumin, which I think goes well with peanut butter. Also lots of garlic, which also goes well with peanut butter, I think. The peanut butter was a very good substitute for an ingredient that most of us don't keep on hand.

  4. I lost my previous comment which was probably too lengthy anyway.

    Alice, so very sorry to hear about your mom. Prayers to you and your family.

    Lili, your daughters are the best!! They have learned from a wonderful role model. Enjoy your new found freedom!

    On Saturday, I made a Filipino version of egg roll called lumpia. I substituted blanched watermelon rinds for mung bean sprouts. My grandson and his girlfriend loved it but I think I can improve it by flavoring the watermelon rind with soy sauce separately before adding the hamburger. Somehow the fishsauce (patis) was not the right flavor for the rinds. Thanks to you, Lili, I treasure the rinds, and chop, blanch and freeze until I need it in pickles or as a squash substitute in stir fry. My husband made wonton soup, again with substitution, tofu with Chinese fish cake in place of ground pork. Leftover wonton not used in the soup was fried and frozen. The reminder of the days, we ate rice paper wrap meals which are made at the table with ingredients of our choosing. Lots of different vegetable side dishes and a protein, usually chicken breast, fish sticks, tofu strips, or any leftover meats that won't clash in flavor. The sauce is usually a ginger soy or oriental style dressing. We find this to be the easiest, and most fun to eat.

    Have a great weekend,

    1. Hi Laura,
      I could eat every one of your meals. They all sound so interesting and delicious. I love lumpia. So delicious. Do you have a dipping sauce that you use with them? Your use of watermelon rind as a substitute for the mung bean sprouts in lumpia is brilliant.
      Thank you for sharing your meals.
      I agree -- my daughters are wonderful and know what I'd like as a gift more than anything.

    2. Hi Lili,
      The recipe suggested a garlic/vinegar/salt dipping sauce, but we like our sauce hotter, so soy sauce/vinegar/chili peppers. There are so many recipe variations. I think it depends on the ingredients used for the lumpia. The vinegar seems to be a nice balance to the fish sauce.

      Yes, I love, love watermelon rinds. It's a shame to throw it away. So nutritious and versatile. We add it to all kinds of stir fry. It absorbs flavors so well. Using the rind makes watermelon a good price buy.

      Have a good evening!!

  5. So many meals that sound good! I think everyone here must be a skilled cook.

    We're enjoying a weekend near my son's campus right now. The advantage of going to Michigan's upper peninsula during spring break is that hotels are extremely cheap. However, there is a lot of snow. Breakfast is included and I brought lunch fixings so it's only suppers to purchase. We had an excellent Mexican dinner out tonight and I'm stuffed. Not sure if I remember all of our meals, but we have had both lentil and sausage soup as well as lasagna soup. I made barbecue chicken legs one night and we had taco pie for the other meal. I guess I did remember!

    Prayers for you and your family, Alice.

    1. Hi Kris,
      I hope you all had a great time visiting with your son. It does sound like you made the visit economical. We try to do the same -- find a hotel with included breakfast, then bring lunch fixings with us to picnic with or have in the hotel room. If we're only paying for dinners out, a vacation feels much more do-able.
      I'm glad the hotels were cheap, but too bad for all of the snow.

  6. Lili, what a wonderful and thoughtful gift from your girls! Enjoy the additional gift of time for the month!

    I always read everyone's menus, but have never posted mine. After reading Cat's menu, it was deja vu. Somehow, she and I had many similar meals and preparations! So I thought I'd add mine as well this week.

    Sun: Pork roast in crock pot, cauli and potato mash, spinach salad and baked apples
    Mon: LO pork roast, broccoli w/ parmesan cheese, more spinach salad
    Tue: "Roasted" a chicken in the crock pot (like Cat), rice pilaf, broccoli salad. Like Cat, I too immediately put the bones in the crock pot and made broth that night into the next day.
    Wed: Tacos (like Cat!) with beef for hubby and chicken for me, hm refried beans from Instant Pot (like Cat)
    Thur: LO chicken and rice, green beans and apple slices
    Fri: HM bang bang shrimp (local shrimp from freezer) with sauce, roasted potatoes, slaw, orange wedges
    Sat: Made chicken and rice soup today for lunch, using the broth from earlier in the week and some of the LO chicken and LO rice plus other veggies. I made 2 versions-regular and a creamy version to use up the last of a carton of heavy cream. Tonight we are eating up leftovers plus have some "party" food-chicken wings, hummus with veggies, chips and dips and cheese and crackers. All of this snack food is in anticipation of our UNC Tar Heels meeting Duke in the Final Four of the NCAA Men's basketball tournament tonight. GO HEELS!!

    Everyone have a great week. Cat, what are we fixing next?? :)

    1. Hi Lynn,
      Oh, that's funny that there were so many overlaps between your meals this week and Cat's.
      Thank you for sharing your meals. I get so much inspiration from everyone's weekly meals. What is bang bang shrimp? It sounds interesting. I hope you enjoyed your "party" food. My family loves it when I serve a bunch of snacks things as dinner.
      I hope your week is off to a great start, Lynn!


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