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Thursday, May 26, 2022

Cheap & Cheerful Suppers for Late May


homemade pepperoni pizza from the freezer, asparagus soup made from scraps, canned pineapple, scratch fudge (daughter made)


peanut butter and garbanzo bean hummus, homemade crackers,  carrot sticks, apple wedges

Sunday Brunch (provided by my daughters)
My daughters made a lovely brunch for all of us, including my son and daughter-in-law. This was our Mother's Day celebration, as we were in the process of driving home from Arizona on actual Mother's Day.
eggs and peppers, sausage, bacon, fresh blueberries, croissants, scratch cinnamon rolls, strawberry pie, pineapple-orange juice
Dinner was every man for himself. 


Mexi rice bowls -- rice, scratch refried beans (freezer), taco meat (freezer), shredded cheese, home canned salsa (using canned tomatoes), and the last bits from a bag of tortilla chips, plus radish greens (garden) bulked up with frozen broccoli cuts and seasoned with onion and garlic 


chicken breast in pasta sauce (freezer), macaroni, Parmesan, roasted cauliflower, and vanilla rhubarb sauce (using a pinch of baking soda to cut down on the sugar)


split pea and ham soup (ham and stock from Easter, frozen chopped sorrel from last year's garden, instant potatoes, salt and pepper), carrot sticks, apple wedges, scratch biscuits and rosemary-rhubarb preserves


rice and spaghetti meat sauce skillet dinner (spaghetti sauce from the freezer), beet salad

Making asparagus soup from scraps

Last week I found asparagus on markdown. I used the main portion of the stems in two dinners during the week, setting aside the tough ends to use later.

On Friday I used those tough ends. 

I roughly peeled the ends (some still had a bit of skin on),

I chopped the peeled ends into small bits, setting them aside while I dealt with scraps from peeling. 

I was left with a pile of skins and tough white portions. I simmered these scraps in water for  about 30 minutes. 

When the peels were simmered, I strained the solids out of the liquid. I used this liquid to simmer the peeled and chopped ends. 

Once those pieces were soft, I pureed the batch in a pitcher blender. I seasoned with onion powder and chicken bouillon, then thickened with a slurry of flour and water. The soup was still a bit on the thin side, so I added some potato flakes and butter. Asparagus soup for the four of us made from the scraps that many folks toss out.

Sunday -- you know my trick for pineapple-orange juice, don't you? I have a reaction to fresh pineapple. So when we want pineapple, it has to be canned. When I open a can of pineapple, I drain the juice and freeze it for later. When making a pitcher of orange juice from frozen concentrate, I add whatever frozen pineapple liquid I have on hand. Dole Pineapple Orange Juice sells for $2.88 for a 58 oz bottle at Walmart. My homemade pineapple-orange juice costs about $1.50 for the can of frozen orange juice concentrate and I consider the pineapple liquid as a freebie. BTW, frozen orange juice concentrate has jumped from $1.33/can to $1.50/can at Walmart in just the last 2 weeks.

Wednesday -- my scratch biscuits are probably a bit untraditional, but they're super easy. First of all, I don't cut in solid shortening, I stir in liquid oil. Second, I don't roll out the dough. I pat it out on the floured surface. And third, I don't cut the dough into circles. After patting the dough into large rounds, I cut it into wedges. The cut edges of each wedge seems to be enough for the biscuits to rise.

The rosemary-rhubarb preserves is a favorite of mine on biscuits. The rosemary has a slight savory flavor that pairs well with a savory meal. As you can imagine, it's also delicious as a glaze on meat. To make rosemary preserves, I wash and pat dry a couple of stems of rosemary and add them to the simmering pot of rhubarb and sugar. Just before jarring the preserves, I remove the stems of rosemary. It's that simple.

My daughters have had a bit of a sweet tooth this past week. Wanting some candy, they made a couple of batches of fudge, using the boiled sugar solution method. They made a cocoa fudge (cocoa powder, sugar, milk, butter) and a peanut butter fudge. 

Our meals are tasty, simple and cheap. What was on your menu this past week? What do you do with the tough ends from asparagus?


  1. We had steak and chicken fajitas one day and the remaining became a stir fry the next day. Asian style pork ribs over homemade rice-a-roni, homemade pizza with leftovers the next day. Today is potato soup as it will be a little less warm but not really chilly (low 60s). Everything is good but just food. I'm just having a hard time getting meals because I feel like nothing tastes good to me. Just going through a phase and I've gone through these before.


    1. Hi Alice,
      Your meals sound delicious to me. Although I can understand not really feeling like food tastes good. Take good care of yourself during this time, Alice. You continue to be in my prayers.

  2. I'm never remember exactly what we had to eat, but I"ll give it a try. My husband fixed short ribs in the crock pot, and I made a pot of chicken soup because my son was recovering from a stomach virus. Before he got sick, he made a big pot of tuna mac with broccoli. Add some salads and I think that was it. We love leftovers at this house.

    1. Hi Live and Learn,
      I hope your son is one the mend, now. What a bummer for him. Stomach viruses are about the worst. What a good mom you are to make him some chicken soup. I bet that really hit to spot for him.
      I love leftovers, too. They just don't last very long around here.

  3. Hard to believe another week has gone by. I confess, Lili, that I compost the asparagus ends. I'm curious about both your biscuit recipe and your vanilla rhubarb recipe. If you ever need ideas for future posts, maybe you could give us those recipes.

    Meals. Hmm. My husband is grilling burgers tonight. Last night we had sweet and sour turkey kielbasa over rice. Don't know what I did wrong with my rice but it didn't get fully cooked. We also had tuna noodle casserole. I tried a different chicken leg meal using this recipe: It was pretty good--I like my oven baked BBQ chicken recipe better but I would make this again . I can't remember what else we had. It's been a busy week and I'm looking forward to a couple of days off! Hope everyone has a good holiday weekend.

    1. Hi Kris,
      To make vanilla-rhubarb sauce, I add about 1 teaspoon of vanilla flavoring to a pot of finished rhubarb sauce. That's it. The whole recipe! Nothing fancy in these parts. I'll write up my easy biscuit recipe later this week. Thanks for the suggestion.
      Not quite cooked rice has been happening to me a lot lately. For me, it's using a different saucepan to cook it in. Also, we switched to a gas stove from an electric coil one about 14 years ago and cooking rice has always been trickier on the gas. I can't get the temp right. I had it down with the electric.
      Thanks for the link. I'll check that recipe out. Baked BBQ chicken sounds delicious.
      I hope you had a nice long weekend!

  4. Again, I lost my comment because I inadvertently hit the back page button with my knuckle as I'm typing. We had Mexican all week because of leftover fillings that carry from one day to the next. Starred with a good deal on box taco shells. When we finished the box, instead of opening another, we made flour tortillas. Still have leftovers so one more day of Mexican. We enjoy this as much as rice paper wraps because it is so versatile.

    I wanted to say that I never thought of cooking the peeling from asparagus stems, but it must have nutrients there, good job!!

    Also, I noticed that our meals are planned only a day ahead based on what needs using up. Next is using up stuff from the freezer because we need more space for emergency uses, like the occasional clearance finds, leftovers or bug infested pantry foods.
    I better end now before I inadvertently back page again.

    Hope you are feeling better,

    1. Hi Laura,
      Your week of Mexican meals sounds delicious!
      I mostly do as you do, plan about a day ahead or sometimes in the morning. You're right, you need to see what needs using up before planning a meal.
      Good plan to clear out some freezer space. I've been meaning to sort through all of what we've got in freezers, so I can know what needs using. Good luck to you on this!
      Thanks for the good wishes. I've been thinking all weekend how I can restore my energy.
      I hope you had a nice weekend, Laura!


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