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Thursday, July 14, 2022

Cheap & Cheerful Suppers for Mid-July

Wednesday's supper -- my daughter and I collaborated. I harvested, she cooked.

I didn't take very many photos of dinners this week, which of course made it very hard to remember what we had. I think I may have forgotten a couple of items. Oh well, this is the gist of what we ate this week.

garden green frittata, hash brown potatoes, sausage links, watermelon chunks, green salad, homemade pickles

scratch refried beans, cheese, salsa and homemade flour tortillas, garden salad, garden strawberries

sautéed turnip greens and ham, rhubarb sauce, biscuits, ice cream (a variety of leftover ice cream from the past 2 years discovered when cleaning the freezers)


barbecued chicken leg quarters, French bread, watermelon chunks, garden salad

rice/cheese/chicken skillet dinner, broccoli/cranberry/almond salad

greens and sausage frittata, French bread, garden salad, garden strawberries, rhubarb and blackberry crisp

Dolmathes soup is something I invented last summer --
it's most of the ingredients for stuffed grape leaves in soup form,
with grape leaves shredded as the leafy green and ground beef added for protein.


Dolmathes soup, scratch scones, garden salad, watermelon chunks 

We've been chasing a family of raccoons out of the cherry tree on a daily basis. So on Thursday I decided to just pick as many pink to red cherries as I could get to with a ladder, then pit and dehydrate those cherries. If I tried to wait until the cherries ripened, there wouldn't be any cherries. The raccoons, blackbirds and squirrels would have eaten them all. Dehydrating the cherries intensifies the sweetness (which isn't fully developed in underripe cherries). So I'm good with that. With the dehydrator on, I also put in 2 trays of sage leaves and 3 trays of oregano to dry.

As you can see by our menus, we're using a lot of garden produce now. One day at lunch, I was cutting back the basil to promote bushier plants and made a batch of pesto with the cuttings, along with some radish leaves. Delicious on French bread!

I used the crockpot several times this week, making rosemary polenta, a couple of batches of overnight steel cut oats, and chicken stock. We're low on bread, so the crockpot has been a helper in making starches for the family.

I spent more time organizing a freezer this past week, the 3rd of 4 freezers. I found a bunch of almost empty containers of ice cream. Many of these were homemade ice cream, so they were in repurposed plastic containers -- easy to not know what was in them. I found chocolate-fudge brownie (homemade), funfetti vanilla (homemade), French vanilla (commercial), peppermint (homemade), blackberry cheesecake (homemade), vanilla (commercial), and 2 slices of ice cream cake, Not bad, huh? We had ice cream for dessert on Sunday, everyone choosing what they wanted. Hopefully we'll finish it all off this coming weekend so I can have my freezer shelf available again. I also gathered together all of the containers of homemade soup stock. I found ham, beef, and chicken stock in containers. I put them all together on the same shelf, hoping we'll begin to use it up. I have one more freezer to organize. I've kept this one fairly organized all along, so it shouldn't be too time-consuming. Mostly, I'd like to take note of exactly what's in this one. I still have some produce from last summer that we should use before stocking this season's fruits and vegetables and I may have more frozen eggs in this freezer, which would be good to know about now. 

I started some more seeds this past week. I started radish seeds for the greens under lights indoors in milk jug "pots". And I potted spinach seeds, which I pre-sprouted in a baggie inside a damp paper towel set in a warm place. I have a spot in the garden that will be harvested in about 2-3 weeks and I wanted to have spinach ready to go in that spot. Pre-sprouting the seeds and getting started in pots will give me a jump start on fresh spinach to harvest in late August through early September. In addition to both of these greens, I picked up a packet of seeds for something I tried, unsuccessfully, 30 years ago -- lamb's lettuce also known as corn salad. It's a cool weather green that supposedly does well in my area in the cooler months of fall and into winter. I'll be digging the garlic early next month and will plant the lamb's lettuce in that spot to use throughout fall, if I can get it to grow.

In addition to the rhubarb-blackberry crisp I mentioned in the menu, I also baked a double batch of cranberry-orange scones. These were enjoyed by all. I found 1 container of orange zest in the freezer and 2 containers of candied orange peel. As you can imagine, I'll be thinking of ways to use these orange flavorings in baking.

That's about it for my meals this past week. What was on your menu? Are you using a crockpot or instapot this summer? My crockpot has been invaluable this past week.

Have a great weekend, friends!


  1. I call this time of year YUMMY because of the beginning of garden goodness. Dad gave me a big cabbage last week. I made coleslaw then a stir fry with onions, peppers and cabbage. I still have 1/2 the cabbage left. My MIL brought over zucchini she got at church where they offer a table of produce. I sliced it and grilled it, DO THIS because it is soooo good. We had one small steak and some chicken thighs and grilled those one day. I bought a rotisserie chicken from Cosco (my brother invited me to go with him) and mashed potatoes, pork stir fry, potato soup with grilled cheese sandwiches, leftovers for a couple of days and everything was delicious. Tonight will be homemade pizza I found in the freezer that I made a couple weeks ago.

    My grocery store shopping has been very minimal these days as the only things I need are dairy type things. I did go to the Amish store this week but only got things like flour, oatmeal, brown sugar and few other baking items and a few spices. Normally I do a huge stock up but shrinking family size just doesn't require as much these days.


    1. Hi Alice,
      Your meals sound so delicious and very summery. Yum! I love grilled zucchini. As soon as mine are big enough, I'll make sure I grill them.

  2. We had a Costco chicken, also, and we ate the dark meat as is and shredded the breast for BBQ sandwiches to use up buns leftover from the 4th. There was grilled zucchini, zucchini in a ground meat, tomato dish over rice, and a zucchini cake. Can you guess what's ripe in the garden now?

    You are very enterprising and organized with your gardening.

    1. Hi Live and Learn,
      I hear lots of good things about the Costco rotisserie chickens. I'm envious of your garden zucchini. I'm still waiting for some here. Hopefully by early August. The zucchini, tomato and meat dish over rice sounds very tasty.

  3. I’m envious of your garden goodies, and your creativity when using them. I lack garden produce and creativity lol.

    It’s been hot here, so I’m avoiding using the oven. I find hot weather cooking a challenge. We’ve had air fryer “fried” chicken, steaks on the grill and frozen ahead twice baked potatoes for my husband’s birthday, Homemade pork tenderloins on a bun, toasted turkey sandwiches on hoagie rolls, and cube steaks simmered in beef broth and mushrooms. The only time I have used my oven the past week was to make a small cake, and cupcakes (less baking time) for dh’s birthday, and then for a few minutes to toast the buns and then melt the cheese on the turkey sandwiches. Tonite I’m making eggs Benedict.

    Have a great weekend!

    1. Hi Diane,
      Yum! More delicious sounding summer meals! I can understand not wanting to use the oven on your hot days. Any extra heat makes the house feel unbearable when the outdoor temperature is high. It sounds like you found some great workarounds to avoid turning the oven on, except where absolutely needed. And good thinking on making cupcakes instead of a whole cake to reduce the baking time and extra oven heat in the kitchen.

  4. Oh dear, not sure I remember. Tonight I used the crockpot--I prepped the taco chicken rice bowl last night so that I could get it started cooking before I left for work today. I did tons of baking this week for various reasons, so while the oven was hot last night I also made chicken thighs in honey/soy sauce over rice. I made a double batch of sloppy joes one night so that I could freeze the extras for a meal for our upcoming vacation. A sheet pan supper with turkey kielbasa, potatoes, carrots, onions, and green pepper. That's all I remember offhand. We have still been eating lettuce/snap peas but the lettuce is winding down. Husband and kids picked cherries and blueberries this week so we're enjoying that as well.

    1. Hi Kris,
      You are so organized when it comes to meal prep. I'm glad you could double-batch the sloppy Joe filling for extras for your vacation. I hope you and your family have a fabulous time away.

  5. Lost my comment by hitting the task bar that sits below the keyboard space bar on my tablet. But basically this week was chopper than usual. We got our booster vaccines on Tuesday and had muscle ache, headache, and slight fever on Wednesday, and not feeling all there until Friday. We ate husband's "loaded" miso soup all week, which he made on Monday. Also toss salad, eggplant tempura (eggplant fried in batter), sausage stir fry with potatoes, cabbage and pepper. We ate out on Tuesday, bento lunch boxes from our grocery deli. For each bento, we earn a meal stamp worth $1.43 and $4 in points for a shopping survey, so that cuts the cost of the meal considerably. Prices are ridiculous for takeout these days, so we find alternatives to the $12 a plate lunch price. Of course our selection is limited and not the best but it is enough and a break from our home meals.

    Have a great weekend,

    1. Hi Laura,
      I hope you're feeling totally well again.
      Yummy sounding meals! I love tempura. Lucky you to have a husband who doubles as a chef for your household!
      You are the queen of the deal, Laura. Your lunch out deals are such bargains.

    2. This is the same grocer that offers "free" turkeys for the points we earn doing surveys. Sometimes I fall into the trap of counting my savings twice, on the front end (discount on the bento purchases) or on the back end (free turkeys). Either way it's a savings though not on both ends lol



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