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Thursday, June 30, 2022

Cheap & Cheerful Suppers for the First Full Week of Summer

It's stuffed grape leaves season. The grape leaves are still young and tender
 but large enough to stuff and roll

Our first really warm week of summer -- vegetables and fruits are beginning to produce for us, we've needed slushies and ice cream to cool off, and I'm eating lunch outdoors every day. 
Here's our dinner menu for this past week:

homemade pepperoni pizza, stuffed grape leaves (rice, garlic, dill, parsley filling), spiced fig-applesauce

homemade flour tortillas, refried beans and salsa, carrot sticks, mixed garden greens salad

Salisbury steak with mushroom gravy, mashed potatoes, steamed broccoli and turnip stem pieces

takeout sub sandwich split between us (daughter had another coupon for a freebie), three bean salad (no kidney beans, so I used pintos with the garbanzos and green beans), more spice fig-applesauce

curried lentils and vegetables over rice with homemade chutney, rhubarb pie for dessert

sliced ham (found when cleaning the freezers) cooked with BBQ sauce (also found in the freezer), garlic, and turnip greens, with rice (found in the freezer) and turnip stem, cranberry, almond, and orange (orange zest found in the freezer) salad

toasted corn tortillas (discovered when cleaning out the fridge) topped with refried beans (found in the freezer), cheese and salsa, sugar snap peas (garden), garden salad, fresh strawberries, last of the rhubarb pie

I was finally able to pick a large bowl of strawberries this week. I used some in a lunchtime smoothie (along with other frozen fruit found in the freezer) and we had the rest at dinner.

When I mention using turnip stem pieces, they are what's leftover after I cut the leaves off the stems. Above is a pile of these leaves, all trimmed and ready to chop to cook.

These are the stems that remain. They're from turnip roots that are about 2 inches in diameter, so not terribly stringy.

And then this is what they look like after I chop the stems into 1/2-inch pieces. I use these pieces steamed and mixed with broccoli to stretch the broccoli that I have. I also tried them in a sweet and tangy slaw-like salad on Wednesday. The salad was soooo good. 

No turnips? You can also use the stems from kale leaves chopped and either cooked or raw in a salad. Other stem pieces I used this week were beet stems from the beets I thinned. I used the leaves in a salad, then chopped the stems into 1/2-inch pieces. These beet stem pieces were sprinkled over Thursday's salad. When you're trying to get as much food out of a suburban lot garden, you have to try and eat as much of each vegetable as is edible. Careful, though, some vegetables have plant parts that are not edible, such as tomato leaves.

That's what was on my menu this past week. What interesting foods did you have?


  1. From the garden, I used the stems from some big radish leaves this week. I chopped them like you did, and then cooked them a little before adding the greens. The stems were okay, but the radish leaves were a little tough. We made radish chips in the oven with the root part. Those were good. Another day we had a chicken, rice, and broccoli casserole with the last of the broccoli from the garden. The heat and cabbage worms are taking over. Not sure what else we ate here, but we didn't go hungry.

  2. As usual, your meals sound creative and delicious. Yum! Here the garden is starting to yield. However, we are so dry that daily watering is taking lots of time. We are now getting corn and zucchinis. The heat has about done in the lettuce and sugar snap peas. We picked most and put in the shop frig. Lots of basil and cilantro and the back door in pots. I did finally get enough red raspberries to make eight jars of jam. Enough blueberries daily to add to the morning oatmeal. So, the veggies and fruit mentioned have been making up a lot of our meals. We try to eat with the s Eason's. Oh, I forgot...cucumbers also. They taste so very good. We had some meat daily. I meal plan in the winter and when no garden produce. Otherwise, I look at what we have to work with and plan just a day or two at a time But, I am trying to dig in the freezer like your yesterday post to use up little bits of this and that. At the grocery, I'm really trying to buy just mostly the loss leaders.

  3. You had such varied food in your freezer and used them all to make such great meals. I would love to have a grape vine in our yard for the fruit and the leaves!

    I've not yet pulled our radishes (waiting til we leave for vacation to take them with us). So I've not used the stems or leaves. I'm going to try and repurpose them instead of composting them as usual.

    Tried planting some sunflower seeds but some varmint dug them all out. I found only the outer husks. So I'm going to plant them in some flats and hopefully transplant them if they germinate. We buy sunflower seeds for the birds and I would love to grow some of our own for our feathered friends.

    Salisbury steak is on my menu sometime in the next week. Yours looks very tasty.

    Our blueberries are ripening. As our bush has gotten older, it has begun to have greater yields. Looking forward to picking some soon. Harvesting lettuce, a few wax beans and jalapeno peppers. Wishing my tomatoes would go on and ripen. We leave for vacation next Friday and I would love to have some to take with us. Last year, we took a tray of vine ripened ones. Not sure that is going to happen this year. Everything just seems to be slower.

    Hope everyone has a happy 4th! Lynn

  4. This has been the week of leftovers from my husband's weekend cooking. We had leftover grilled chicken one night and pork carnitas another night. I made taco chicken bowls for an easy peasy meal, chili dogs (I over-bought hotdogs before I cleaned out my freezer and we now have a plethora of them .... oops), and tonight I made a sausage/egg/biscuit casserole. We are still getting lettuce, are starting to get a few snap peas, a few strawberries, and I picked what will probably be the last of the rhubarb today. I'm glad it's the weekend, when my husband does the bulk of the cooking. I think I'm fully in summer mode--I feel really lazy when it comes to meal planning.

    Hope everyone has a nice holiday weekend!

  5. If I recall correctly, you grow nasturtium. I recently read that green nasturtium seeds can be soaked in cider vinegar as a substitute for capers. Thought I would pass along!


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