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Thursday, April 14, 2022

Cheap & Cheerful Suppers: More 20-Something Cooking

homemade pepperoni and mushroom pizza, steamed broccoli, carrot sticks

To make this dinner easier, they used a pizza crust mix and canned spaghetti sauce for the pizza (with cheese, pepperoni, and canned mushrooms).

bean burritos made with commercial flour tortillas, canned beans, cheese, salsa, plus canned tomato chunks and a radish green and watercress salad

I was hungry and forgot to take a photo. All I have to do is show up, right? And I can't even remember to take a picture! Sue me. I was hungry. Ha ha. 

"Pasta Tina" from Jimmy Kimmel, a sauce made from canned cannellini beans, roasted garlic, olive oil, chicken soup base over cooked macaroni (Parmesan garnish), plus steamed carrots and roasted canned tomatoes

This was much better tasting that it looks. I thought Pasta Tina was delicious. I was hungry and didn't think to take a photo until I was half finished. My daughter says she will make this again for us.

Homemade tomato soup (canned tomato paste, basil, garlic, chicken soup base), ham and cheese sandwiches, radish greens and cabbage slaw

I've never done sandwiches much for dinners. But I think I will going forward. I love soup and sandwich meals.

Canned chili boosted with fresh peppers, onions, canned tomatoes, and more cooked pinto beans, scratch Virginia spoon bread

do it yourself nachos -- tortilla chips, canned refried beans topped with melted cheese, salsa, mixed vegetables, canned pineapple chunks

chicken and rice casserole (a church favorite recipe), steamed broccoli, orange juice

Over the weekend I baked 3 kinds of muffin, blueberry, raisin bran, and chocolate chip-pecan. I baked the batches one right after the other, using all the same utensils, mixing bowl, and tins. I made 40 muffins in total and froze most of them to take out of the freezer a few at a time throughout the week. We also had homemade yogurt, oatmeal, toast, eggs, bananas, juice, and milk for breakfasts.

Lunches included more homemade soups, pureed carrot and chive-potato-cheese, plus peanut butter sandwiches, cheese sandwiches, apples, crackers, and leftovers.

I love having my daughters do the cooking. Everything is delicious and all I do is eat and help clean up. The two of them use more convenience products than I do. However, I don't think they're choosing terribly costly convenience items. Just items like canned beans, spaghetti sauce, pizza crust mix, sandwich fixings, canned soup for a casserole, etc. I'll be giving them the day off for Easter and doing the cooking myself.

That's what we ate this week. What was on your menu?


  1. Convenience items are great, especially when you have a busy schedule, and if they prevent you from eating out. I think you daughter are choosing everything well.

    1. I agree, Live and Learn. I think they are being careful in their spending, while still making delicious meals every night.

  2. Your daughter's are doing a wonderful job with meals! You have trained them well. They may have used a few convenience items but none were highly processed. I consider that a plus! I know you have to be enjoying this special birthday gift.
    I'm going to remember what we ate this week...just main dishes. Kraut, smoked sausage and potato skillet, ham and beans...twice, pork loin,pork and sweet potato skillet, seafood as grandson came to join us, and goulash. Sides were veggies and or salads. I did make an ice cream dessert when the grandson was here. The ice cream was on sale.

    1. Hi Linda,
      Your meals sound tasty. I'm sure your grandson loved the ice cream dessert. It's nice you could spend time with him.

  3. I think your dd's are doing a great job, and good for them for using some smart shortcuts. There's nothing wrong with that!

    This week we ate burgers on the grill, fried chicken, Reubens (I bought a small corned beef marked down after st Patrick's day but just made sandwiches with it), Buffalo wings, and eggs Benedict. Tonite I told dd we were having a no eat Friday. We'll eat, but I'm not cooking. I have been doing no cooking Fridays lately, and getting carryout, but I'm skipping that this week since we are eating out on sunday.

    1. Hi Diane,
      I agree. I think my daughters are making smart choices. I didn't mean to sound like I was criticizing them, just that their choices reflect the amount of time they have for meal prep. And I've been very satisfied with the results!
      Wow, lucky you -- using the grill already! I'm glad you could enjoy cooking out. Smart thinking with the Ruebens, using marked down corn beef from St. Patrick's Day to make the sandwiches. We had our own "no eat" evening Sunday. We ate an Easter lunch, but no one was interested in cooking at dinner time. I had the other half of a piece of cake for my Sunday dinner. I think others in the house had some sort of leftovers. Worked for us. I hope your Easter meal out was everything you wanted it to be.

    2. I didn't think you were criticizing them. I really do think they made some good choices. I take more shortcuts than I used to because frankly I'm just plain tired of cooking lol. When I worked I had no choice because time was a factor. I spent years cooking everything from scratch, and I'm glad I have that knowledge, just don't always want to use all the knowledge I have lol. I used to love to cook. I'm soooo over that!

  4. Good job, girls! I have always used some convenience items--my theory is that it's still way cheaper than eating out, and generally healthier, too.

    Meals .... Monday was tacos, Tuesday I roasted a chicken/potatoes/onions in the crockpot, Wednesday I made goulash, Thursday I used the leftover chicken to make cheesy chicken chowder for dinner and I baked my favorite Amish oatmeal bread (which I haven't done in forever--I think I'd rather eat a slice of that than cake!). Last night's meal was labor-intensive and made a lot so guess what? Repeating it for dinner tonight.

    1. You're right, Kris. A couple of simple convenience items here and there is still far less expensive than buying ready-meals or take-out. I'm proud of the job the two are doing. Goulash -- I don't think I've had that since I was a child. My grandmother occasionally made goulash. Was yours a macaroni-canned tomatoes-ground beef sort of dish? I think that's what my grandmother would make. Comfort food. I'm glad that the meal you made that was labor-intensive had enough leftovers for you to have a night off from cooking. Good planning.

    2. Yes, I made the kind of goulash that you remember. My mom used to make it, and about a year ago I felt hungry for the nostalgic flavor and found a recipe online.

      I didn't actually plan to have leftovers for another meal but was glad that it worked out that way!

  5. Your daughters are making good consistent effort in preparing a variety of different menus. This must really be a treat for you, Lili. What a wonderful birthday gift. "Pasta Tina" looks so yummy and interesting, think I'll try making it. Never thought of combining pasta with beans. Such a good idea to augment convenience foods with additional ingredients to cut cost and improve nutrition.

    1. Hi Laura,
      Yes, it is a real treat! It's nice to not have to be the one "in charge" of dinners -- thinking what to make, getting it made on time, serving, etc. It's been like having my own private chef.
      The Pasta Tina was so delicious. I'd definitely recommend it to anyone who likes garlicky, filling pasta dishes. And my daughters thought it was easy to make, so double win - taste and ease.

  6. Sounds like they are doing a great job at keeping your family fed with balanced dinners! As someone dealing with meal planning burnout at the moment, that sounds lovely.

    What we ate this week, if I can remember:
    *White chicken "chili", more like a taco soup, really, in the Instant Pot.
    *Fried rice, made with half cauli rice to lower carbs and amp up the veggies, and eggs and *Spam, of all things, as the protein. I read that Spam is commonly used in Hawaii for this and tried it a few months back. Most of my family loves this.
    *Date night out for parents one night, partially because we drove about an hour away to purchase some outdoor hammock chairs off marketplace and were near our favorite Mexican restaurant, which has closed in our own city.
    *Burgers and chips (Saturday, after being outdoors most of the day, working on yard/garden)
    *turkey dinner (for Easter, daughter and SIL joined us)

    1. Hi Cat,
      For someone suffering from meal planning burnout, you're doing a great job! Your meals sound delicious. It is hard to be the one in charge of meals for many years at a time. I think we all feel burnout at some point. I hope something comes along that reignites your enthusiasm for cooking and meal planning. During this month, I'm thinking about ways to make my own meal planning and prep more enjoyable. I like the idea of doubling recipes to make enough for a couple of dinners during the week, in order to give myself more free days. Still working on my plans.
      I'm glad you could have an Easter dinner with your daughter and son-in-law.


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