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Thursday, April 28, 2022

Cheap & Cheerful Suppers: One Last Week of Meals Prepared by My Daughters

Friday (my husband's birthday)

Nacho bar with tortilla chips, ground beef, refried beans, cheese, peppers, lettuce, tomatoes, olives, sour cream, nacho cheese sauce, guacamole, plus scratch spongecake with lemon glaze

Saturday cookout (joint birthday celebration with our son and daughter-in-law)
hot dogs, kielbasa, buns, potato salad, grape tomatoes, fresh strawberries, stir-fried vegetables and rice, blackberry lemonade, scratch ice cream cake


ham and cheese sandwiches and tomato soup, leftover desserts


Pasta Tina (cannellini beans, garlic, olive oil, chicken soup base, pureed and served on cooked pasta), garden salad, first-of-the-season rhubarb sauce


chili (canned chili enhanced with canned tomatoes, additional cooked beans, bell pepper, and cheese), blueberry muffins (packaged mix)


meatball subs (frozen meatballs, canned pasta sauce, hot dog buns, topped with cheese then broiled), honey-mustard carrots, canned green beans

homemade chive and garbanzo hummus, crackers, raw vegetables, Cole slaw

Since my husband and my birthdays are 6 days apart, we have our bigger celebration (with our son and daughter-in-law and exchange gifts) on a single day somewhere near both birthdays (sometimes between the two or sometimes much later). We chose the Saturday after my husband's birthday this year. I told my daughters I would handle most of the food for this day, as they've been doing so much this month. But I also promised myself I would choose the easy way out for everything. I bought a deli potato salad, fresh produce to serve plain, and a stir-fry "kit" that was marked down as the sides. I bought hot dog buns instead of making them. For the dessert, my daughters baked the cake portion of the ice cream cake and I used the ice cream I'd made in late February for the ice cream layer. This was more expensive than a usual dinner for us, but far cheaper than a restaurant meal. My thinking is almost always "use what you have." With a fire ring and plenty of wood, a cookout makes sense for us. I have a simple ice cream maker, so back in February when I had a glut of whipping cream, I made a batch of ice cream to be used for this birthday celebration.And I have the right kind of cake pan (a springform) for making an ice cream cake. I do try to use the tools we already have.

This past month has been such a treat to not have to cook dinners. I think I've learned a few tricks from my daughters. Will I return to my all-from-scratch cooking, or will I adopt some of their shortcuts? Time will tell. On Sunday, we return to our regular meal cooking schedule. All good things must end.

How were your meals this past week? Any stand-outs?


  1. I think your daughters have used a good combination of scratch and convenience cooking for tasty and nutritious meals. They have taken your good examples and made it their own. If I were you, I think I would start celebrating 1/2 birthdays and ask for this gift again. :)

    1. Hi Live and Learn,
      I agree with you. I think they've found ways to use convenience foods while still not spending a whole lot. This will serve them well when they're on their own, I think.
      Ha ha! yes, half-birthdays. I'll have to float that idea and see how it goes over.
      Have a great weekend, Live and Learn.

  2. April is full of celebrations for you! Sounds like you had fun!

    Monday I attended an all day conference. I had pulled cooked turkey and buns from the freezer and my husband had turkey barbecue sandwiches ready for dinner, plus cole slaw and potato salad left from the weekend. Tuesday I made sausage lentil stew and soda bread. We have my daughter's jazz band concert to attend tonight so I will use leftovers from that meal for dinner. The concert is at the Eagle's Club and they are serving a fish fry. We ate there once and the food was awful so now we eat beforehand and make a donation to the band instead of ordering food (it's a fundraiser) and call it good. Cheaper than eating there and our dinner is tastier. Anyway, we also had Mexican skillet supper with tortilla chips and Thai chicken over polenta. Green beans or spinach salad were our sides.

    1. Hi Kris,
      Spring is a very busy season for my family, with almost all of our birthdays, Easter, planting the garden, and all. If I had planned better, I would have made sure I was born in late June and my husband was born in early August. Then at least the birthdays would have been spread out. But there wasn't much I could do about either of those dates.
      Good planning with eating beforehand. I feel that way about a lot of fundraisers, that I'd rather donate money to the group or cause than buy an overpriced something that I didn't want in the first place. But I know other folks may feel differently and are more likely to contribute if there is something they receive in exchange. I like it when groups offer both options, so everybody can contribute and feel like they did it their way.
      Your Thai chicken over polenta sounds so delicious, as do all of your meals!
      I hope you have a wonderful time at the jazz concert tonight!

  3. That Pasta Tina keeps calling me!! I'm going to make that soon. In fact, I think it's time I cook a bit more to help my husband, ie not take advantage of his willingness to cook every meal. I'm not comfortable in the kitchen. I am clumsy and uncoordinated. I made it through awkwardly when the kids were young, but since then I haven't cooked regularly.

    Your daughters gave you a wonderful birthday gift, and they were able to coordinate their efforts so well. I'm sure you're spoiled now and may find it hard to be a made from scratch purist😊

    Happy May 1st,

  4. Happy May 1st, Laura!
    One of my daughters texted me a bunch of flower images this morning. I didn't;t "get it" at first, then she explained.
    I hope you enjoy the Pasta Tina as much as I did. Lots of garlic is the key, I think. Kudos to you for being willing to try. I know how it is when you think you're not good at something. But willingness to try goes a long, long way. mAnd yes, I was thoroughly spoiled by their gift. I'm so grateful for them thinking of this for me.
    Enjoy the rest of your evening.
    Lili (still can't get Google to recognize my account)


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