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Thursday, February 2, 2023

Cheap & Cheerful Suppers in Mid-Winter

Mid-winter meals -- lots of meat, lots of potatoes, and lots of comfort foods. There was meat in our meals 5 of the 7 nights and some of the lunches. 

We're using near the end of fresh produce from the fall, homegrown and purchased (potatoes, turnips, pumpkin, and onions). As that's not nearly enough for family meals, we're also digging through the freezer for vegetables, using canned vegetables and fruit, and filling the gaps with winter staples like oranges and cabbage.

Friday (Friday movie and pizza night -- we watched A Prairie Home Companion)
scratch pepperoni pizza
mix of frozen broccoli and Brussel sprouts
orange wedges

As I was going through the deep freeze a week ago, I came across a mostly empty bag of Brussel sprouts and a mostly empty bag of broccoli. Either one alone wouldn't be enough for all four of us. But the combined bags were just enough. I have extra pizza cheese this month. One daughter had been staying at the house where she was dog-sitting for 10 days. Her sister was visiting her one evening and they wanted to bake cookies together, but didn't want to use the dog-mom's supplies. I traded them a bag of chocolate chips and a stick of butter for a 32-oz bag of shredded mozzarella one daughter had leftover. She had bought it to make pizza for her theater cast and crew and didn't need as much as she'd bought. I think I got a good deal. They think they got a good deal. We both won! Looks like Friday pizzas can continue without extra shopping.

Saturday (sorry, no photo)
bean burritos (sprouted pintos, seasoned and wrapped in scratch flour tortillas
roasted pumpkin cubes
Cole slaw

We continue to use the fresh pumpkins that we bought at the end of October and that grew in our garden. I've got them in the cold storage room (about 52 degrees F) and they're doing okay. I've got 3 left and will try to use them in the next couple of weeks.

TVP "meat" balls with pasta sauce over spaghetti
frozen spinach and onions

My husband cooked tonight and this turned out to be very tasty. To make the TVP "meat" balls, he rehydrated the TVP, stirred in seasonings, oil, flour and an egg, then baked them. Other times, we like to fry these in oil in a skillet on the stove.

meatloaf with gravy
brown rice
roasted pumpkin cubes
sautéed cabbage and onions

I mentioned in the comments earlier this week that I've stopped using egg in meatloaf. It seems to hold together okay for me. This meatloaf was made with 12- ounces of ground beef, 1 slice of homemade whole wheat bread, some water, some tomato juice, salt, minced onion, garlic, and oregano. And again with the roasted pumpkin.

roasted chicken and gravy
roasted root vegetables (last of garden turnips, onion, canned beet root, canned carrots)
chunky hash brown potatoes

I'm so grateful that I bought several whole chickens last fall when I found them on sale for 99 cents/lb. We used one of these chickens for Thanksgiving dinner instead of turkey. They're pretty large (6 lbs or so), and provide a lot of servings. I cooked the last of the fresh turnips I dug in October. They kept just fine in the fridge these last months. We are out of fresh carrots and fresh beets, so I added canned ones near the end of the roasting time.

leftover chicken and gravy
pan-fried potato slices
Cole slaw

leftover chicken in tomato sauce 
assorted pasta shapes or brown rice
sautéed cabbage and onions

One of my daughters cooked dinner tonight. She picked apart the roasted chicken from Tuesday and made it ready for making stock. Are chickens getting bigger? The ones I've been buying seem to be a pound heavier than what I used to find at the store. So far, we've had 3 family dinners and 1 family lunch with this chicken. There is enough meat left now for one more family meal, plus there will be stock with bits of meat for making soup. 

That's it for this week. What was on your menu? Do you find you eat more meat in winter than other seasons? Or is that just my family?

Wishing you a wonderful early February weekend!


  1. We're a meat eating family and my husband especially needs it to stay healthy.

    We had a beef/pork combo roast Sunday with a huge bowl of mashed potatoes and green bean casserole. I had about 8 potatoes that were getting slightly soft so I opted to make them all into mashed potatoes. I gave all the leftover food to my son who stopped by Monday after giving platelets and he and his sister enjoyed that meal Monday evening. Tuesday and Wednesday was chicken curry over brown rice and white rice. Thursday was a homemade pizza with very few toppings but that's ok. Tonight may very well be leftovers of all the small bits and pieces from the week. Thursday my son stopped by again because he was in town having his taxes prepared and when he came home he wanted to make monster cookies and that was fine with me for him to use my baking supplies since he's on a tighter budget I was glad to let him use my eggs and I had a lot of various chocolate and nuts he could put in the cookies. He took half and I took half of the cookies for our freezers.


    1. Hi Alice,
      I can understand your husband especially needing meat for health. And I'm glad that you can keep your freezer stocked with bargains from the meat department.

      You meals sound delicious, and I like how you are able to help your son and daughter out with some of your extras and leftovers.

  2. We eat meat year round, but maybe more during the warmer weather because my husband likes to smoke meat. Among other things, we watch for pork shoulders on sale, and he'll smoke a big one of those. I try to put some in the freezer before the carnivores eat it all, but don't always make it. I figure they can eat it now or later and it comes out the same. For Thanksgiving, he smoked his first turkey and that was really good. We actually do have some of that in freezer.

    1. Hi Live and Learn,
      Oh interesting. I hadn't thought of the grill and smoking season affecting meat consumption. My husband doesn't really care for grilling, so any grill work is always done by me. A smoker would be a fun tool to have. And I would think just about any meat would be very tasty after being smoked.

  3. Yes, I think the stores are selling larger chickens than they did in the past.

    We are a meat-eating family year-round. We eat more grilled food in the summer and I note more of a reliance on root veggies in the winter. My in-laws sent us home with cabbages when we visited in December so we've also eaten a lot of that.

    We had a chicken curry over rice, a sausage/mushroom/onion galette, kielbasa chowder, and that's all I remember. Hubby and I ate leftovers tonight because my daughter is at a party. I did a LOT of snowshoeing today and was grateful for an easy dinner meal.

    1. Hi Kris,
      I use a lot of root vegetables throughout winter, too. We enjoy them and they're filling. How nice of your in-laws to gift you with a bunch of their surplus cabbages.

      I've never snowshoed before, but I can imagine that it is exhausting. Also, it sounds like a fin way to experience the winter weather.


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