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Thursday, June 2, 2022

Cheap & Cheerful Suppers for Memorial Week


homemade pepperoni pizza, chopped vegetable and fruit salad (carrots, radish greens, apple, raisins, peanuts in a sweet and creamy dressing, brownies from the freezer

Around Wednesday of every week, I start looking forward to pizza Friday. It's my favorite meal of the week. And I think homemade pizza is the best pizza. 


refried beans, cheese, and homemade salsa, homemade tortillas, carrot sticks

The beans were cooked from dried. I cook a large pot full of pinto beans every few weeks, then store them in quart containers in the freezer until needed. Homemade refried beans are super easy to make once the beans are cooked. At their simplest -- cooked beans in a pot, some water, chili powder, salt, and garlic powder, then mashed with a potato masher until smooth.

Sorry no photo of Sunday's dinner. It was rehydrated TVP in a tomato paste marinara over cooked spaghetti noodles, plus steamed carrots.

TVP spaghetti, steamed carrots

Monday (Memorial Day)

grilled burgers on homemade buns with garden lettuce, lentil-barley salad with (food save) past-its-prime celery that I rejuvenated in chilled water overnight, chive blossoms, herbs, and radish greens, and vanilla-rhubarb sauce (I add a bit of vanilla flavoring to rhubarb sauce at the very end of cooking. It seems to offset the acidity of the rhubarb.)

I baked a large batch of hamburger buns the day before, dividing into packages of 6 (when son and daughter-in-law are here) or 4 buns (just daughters, husband and I) each. Hamburger and hotdog buns are easy to make and oh-so-good. I wrapped them while still warm and they stayed super moist until the next day's dinner.  I make lentil-barley salad a few times in summer. It's a nice, cool way to serve beans and grains on a hot day. The dressing is some variation of a vinaigrette, sometimes with mustard added, or sometimes even a creamy vinaigrette (with mayo). Any fresh herbs from the garden add some zip. In this salad, I added chive blossoms, garden parsley, and thyme.


open-faced hot chicken sandwiches (chicken in gravy from freezer over freshly baked bread), frozen corn that had previously been canned, green bean casserole 

Comfort food for a week of weariness. It's a tough time for my family right now.


cranberry-chicken salad (using 99 cent/lb chicken thighs) on a bed of nasturtium leaves, lettuce, chive blossoms, parsley, lentil sprouts, with crackers and carrot sticks

The chicken thighs were roasted, then meat picked off the bones. We saved the chicken fat for cooking later and tossed the bones and skin into the crockpot to make stock. The next day, I was able to pick about 2 tablespoons of additional meat from the bones, with which I made myself a nice little chicken salad for my lunch.


refried bean, TVP and cheese burritos (food save --I had to rehydrate the tortillas with damp paper towels in between each tortilla in a stack in a bag, then microwave for about 15 seconds), apple wedges, honey-mustard carrots

We had these 4 flour tortillas lingering in the fridge for weeks. Fortunately, none of them got moldy. As said, I rejuvenated them with moisture and heat. They turned out great and made terrific burritos. And bonus -- one less thing in the fridge that could spoil or mold in future days/weeks. The hone-mustard sauce for carrots, is just that, a bit of honey and a bit of mustard. one mustard bottle was about empty, so I rinsed it with water and used that in the sauce. I also add a knob of butter and sprinkle of salt. Yum! My favorite way to eat cooked carrots.

I am making the most of what I can get from the garden right now. This week, I was able to use radish greens, lettuce, chive blossoms, parsley, thyme, rhubarb, and nasturtium leaves.

I made my last batch of waffles over the weekend. While the waffle iron was cooking, it began sparking in the back, then blew the fuse. I unplugged it from the outlet, then noticed the cord was barely hanging onto the waffle iron. The sparking left a scorched pot on the counter. (I was able to clean that off.) I've had that waffle iron for 30 years. It provided a lot of good service. My husband said it could possibly be repaired. So I won't throw it out just yet. This isn't the kind of repair my husband could do. But if I find someone who does this sort of thing, I'll see about getting it repaired. In the meantime, it's pancakes for us.

I hope you all had a great week and area looking forward to a lovely weekend. What was on your menu this past week? Any food saves recently?


  1. Prayers for your step-mother and you and your family, Lili.

  2. Yes, prayers for the whole family. Praying God will keep you strong during this journey!
    Your meals sound amazing and very resourceful as usual. Plus, extremely delicious.
    Different things we this past week...lots and lots of strawberries different ways as the patch was eating lots. I put up several and shared several with family. Husband's side were here over the holiday weekend.
    We also had taco bowls, hamburger stroganoff, pond caught fish, homemade venison brats with homemade kraut, and beyond that I'm drawing a blank. For sides we had brown rice, CA blend veggies, salad with our own lettuce...that tastes so good. Also still have more last year sweet potatoes and white potatoes so had those some. I need to start writing things down as I forget.
    I am definitely trying your honey mustard carrots. They sound so good and I have a couple mostly empty mustard jars in the frig now. One of my pet peeves is how so many products are designed so it is next to impossible to get all the food/sauce out. What a waste. Somehow I usually win the battle. I'm stubborn/frugal that way. Ha!

    1. Thank you, Linda.
      Yum! All of those strawberries! We're about 3 weeks away from our strawberries. I agree on the taste of homegrown lettuce -- so much better than grocery store stuff.
      For your homemade venison brats, do you buy casings and fill them? It sounds like you and your husband are able to provide so much of your own food, through your garden and hunting/fishing. Is the trout pond stocked by yourselves? My husband loves trout and has often suggested we stock a pond.

  3. I'm sorry about the challenges you and your family are going through now. The more you love someone, the harder it is when their health fails.

    This has been a mish-mash of a week. Not sure I remember everything. Monday my husband smoked a pork butt for pulled pork sandwiches--which we had on Wednesday as well. Last night I made Thai chicken with polenta. Tonight the weather is cooler so I think I'll make pizza. I'm sure we ate on Tuesday but it's gone from my memory. :)

    We had a waffle iron that my husband inherited from his grandparents that finally bit the dust a few years ago. We have a Belgian waffle maker now but I think I prefer the old fashioned waffles with the smaller divots. They get crispier and that's what I like.

    I think that flour tortillas can survive for a long time in the fridge. We also have had some that sit around forever and never seem to go bad.

    1. Thank you, Kris.
      You know, I prefer the older style of waffles (with shallow pockets), too. I don't know if that's because it's what I grew up with or a texture thing. But we were given a Belgian waffler all those years ago, so that's what we've had. I'll be looking for waffle iron in the coming year/ Maybe I'll luck out and find an old-style second hand.
      I used my crockpot to make polenta last night, specifically because you'd mentioned you do polenta in the crockpot. It turned out great and didn't require me to stir it constantly. Thanks for the tip.

  4. Praying for your family. That is so hard.

    Do you think you could maybe share your recipe for hamburger buns? I have tried a recipe off pinterest and it was a fail. Would live to try yours because I know they would be good! Thanks!

    1. Hi Amanda,
      Thank you.
      Here's my "old" recipe for burger buns:
      I've since modified it a bit to make the buns lighter. The changes: I use 1 part whole wheat flour to 3 parts white flour and an extra 1/2 teaspoon of yeast. My burger buns have been turning out very light and soft lately.
      Whether it's my recipe or someone else's, I hope you find one that produces burger buns just how you like.

    2. I really appreciate your taking the time to respond and share the recipe. I know you are very busy and I thank you for your time and kindness! Will probably try them tomorrow. I'm ecxited!

  5. Thinking of you and your family during this tough time Lili. It's never easy losing someone you love...((hugs))

  6. So very sorry your family is going through a lot lately. Making comfort food for your family is so caring of you.

    We've been especially lazy in the kitchen this past week, eating out a lot and bringing home left overs for next day's lunch at home. Our focus has been on building a playhouse for our granddaughter and DIL. We cut, paint and preassemble the pieces at home, and will do the construction in phases at our their house. I am surprised how tired we get after only a half day's work. Now that I recall my husband made a large pot of chicken soup at the start of the week using 2 frozen rotisserie chicken carcasses from Costco, and we pretty much relied on that plus leftovers from takeout. I don't like takeouts because the food is generally unhealthy, too salty and high in fat. As a compromise I like to bring vegetable sides when we go out, but this week I didn't.

    Take care,

    1. Thank you, Laura.
      What a fun project you and your husband are working on. Your granddaughter will love this!
      We do the same thing with takeout -- bring or serve some veggies. I feel better if I'm eating more balanced. Our go-to is carrot sticks. But when my kids were little and we'd pick-up burgers, I'd cook frozen peas and serve milk with the burgers. I think for the longest time, my kids just thought everyone ate peas with fast food burgers.

  7. I'm coming in late on this. Again, I can't remember what we ate all week. Sad, especially that I know there are people who are hungry.

    We had a potato/ham soup, BBQ ribs, potato salad, brussel sprouts, chicken on the grill with a can of baked beans and a bag of chips, stir fry again because we love it, spaghetti, the frozen tortellini bake I made a week or so ago, garlic bread, orange scones, pasta salad with all kinds of veggies, loaded salads.

    I'm cutting egg usage so we no longer get a boiled egg for our salad and breakfast eggs are being cut down in usage. Milk is expensive too so I might just go with quarts instead of gallons. I buy a lot of fruits and veggies off from a discount rack at Big Top Market and make those work for "fresh" stuff.

    We are able to acclimate with the price increases and I still have a loaded freezer from which to choose.


    1. Hi Alice,
      Once again, your meals sound yummy!
      We're cutting back on egg usage, too. I still have some fresh as well as frozen eggs. But I don't know how long these higher prices will be affecting us, so I'm making what we have last as long as possible.
      I'm glad you've got a good source of marked down produce. I haven't hit the grocery store at the right time or day, yet, to find good markdowns on produce like I used to. I'll keep looking, though.


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