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Thursday, January 5, 2023

Cheap & Cheerful Meals for New Year's Week

I haven't posted on our meals for several weeks. It's been a very busy month. Life is getting back to normal for us. Are you back to regular routines, too?

I didn't take photos for several days in the middle of the week. You'll just have to use your imagination.

homemade pepperoni pizza
mashed acorn squash mixed with pureed pumpkin
orange wedges

Saturday (New Year's Eve)

frozen egg rolls
frozen sesame chicken (with peppers and broccoli added by me)
sesame and vegetable noodles
steamed rice
pumpkin-spice cake

We watched The Bells of St. Mary's starring Bing Crosby and Ingrid Bergman. You may know this, in It's a Wonderful Life, there's a scene where the cinema marquee in Bedford Falls displays the title of The Bells of St. Mary's. We watch It's a Wonderful Life every year and have noticed the marquee. So this year we decided to finally watch The Bells of St. Mary's. We all really enjoyed the movie. 

Dinner was easy by design -- to give me an easy meal on a holiday evening.

roasted brined whole chicken and gravy
scratch dinner rolls
frozen peas
watermelon pickles
leftover cake
sparkling water

Saturday afternoon I cleaned the chicken and made a brine with water, salt, sugar, and garlic powder. I brined the chicken for about 24 hours. About an hour before roasting on Sunday, I pulled the chicken out of the brine and drained it, then put it in the oven to roast. The resulting chicken was tender, juicy, and flavorful. My two daughters made the rolls from one of my mom's recipes. They did a fantastic job, and we've been enjoying the rolls all week.

leftover chicken and gravy
leftover dinner rolls
more frozen peas
more watermelon pickles
last of the cake

Monday's dinner was a complete repeat of Sunday's, reheating leftovers. Again an easy meal for me to prepare.

leftover chicken in last of the gravy over brown rice
canned green beans

One of my daughters put together dinner tonight. She worked as a sub this day, so I suggested a super easy meal for her. 


chicken enchiladas, using leftover chicken from Sunday 
avocado slices
apple wedges and peanut butter

My other daughter made dinner this night. I had suggested she make chicken nachos, but she wanted to learn something new and asked about enchiladas. The enchiladas were delicious. The recipe for the sauce comes from Belinda at Frugal Workshop. In the comments section, Belinda provides her recipe for the sauce in answer to my question. I told my daughter to make 1/4 recipe for the enchiladas for our family of four.


chicken, vegetable and noodle soup
leftover dinner rolls

And . . . the last of that whole chicken that I roasted on Sunday. We got 5 meals and an extra couple of quarts of stock (now in the freezer). To the chicken meat in stock, I added broken spaghetti noodles and frozen veggies from my garden (celery, carrot leaves, spinach, chives).

We're back to Friday, and we'll do either pizza or lasagna tonight and hopefully watch a movie.

I hope you all had a great week. What was on your menu this past week? Have you been working through holiday leftovers, too? Wishing you a wonderful weekend!


  1. We had a special meal here this week. My son got his father steaks for Christmas. He bought and cooked steaks with baked potatoes and a salad. I don't think we've had steaks here for decades and it was especially appreciated by the carnivores.

    1. Hi Live and Learn,
      Those steaks sound like a fabulous gift for your husband, and he cooked them too! What a gift!

  2. We had all home cooked and delicious meals here this week. I make homemade pizza on Monday and shared half the ingredients with my son to take home and shape his own pizza and top it with the toppings I gave him. We also had a beef taco and rice casserole. I had a super busy day Wednesday and did not have anything prepped so late in the afternoon, I put three frozen chicken quarters in the oven to cook. After 5 pm, I was done with my busy day but my mind was still busy but I did make mashed potatoes, a package of gravy and some frozen veggies I quickly cooked and we had a delicious meal. I was tempted to just say "too busy, we have to go out to eat" but both of us were so tired from our day that going out would have been too much. I'm glad we still had a homemade meal while relaxing the evening. I also made the tortellini casserole with marinara sauce and alfredo sauce. We have lots of leftovers from all the meals to end our week and we'll eat from that this weekend. I have a cooked rotisserie chicken in the freezer that I think I'll cook and debone to have already cooked chicken on hand for use next week and then make some broth with the bones.

    1. Hi Alice,
      Your meals sound delicious, and you did very well getting a meal together even on a busy day! I agree, even when I'm extremely tired and not looking forward to cooking dinner, it still seems easier to make something, anything, than go out to eat.

  3. I'm salivating over your description of the chicken, Lili!

    I was able to get a good deal on hamburger, so we will have broiled hamburgers for dinner tonight; I used part of it to make a beef/barley/tomato soup earlier this week. My husband made Hoppin' John for New Years and we had a smorgasbord of that meal as well as leftover soup and bread for dinner last night. I also made a chicken and rice casserole. Not exciting, but tasty and filling. We are having miserable weather here (rain/snow/sleet/freezing rain, very little sun) this week so I'm trying to brighten our spirits with the hamburgers tonight.

    1. Hi Kris,
      I'll be brining my other whole chickens in the same way. It really made the chicken delectable.

      Kudos to your husband for making Hoppin' John on New Years. I missed that this year.
      I think your week's meals sounded tasty. Dinner doesn't have to be fancy or complicated to hit the spot. I bet the hamburgers went over well. They sound like a Good Friday night dinner.


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