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Thursday, September 21, 2023

Cheap & Cheerful Suppers for Mid-September

Here's something new for my household's grocery shopping -- we bought 30 pounds of beef from a rancher with a small-scale operation. This was something I'd been wanting to do for a decade. Now was the right time. 

I wasn't sure how much freezer space 30 pounds would take up, so I didn't want to buy any more than that at this time. I'll buy more when we use all of this. 

This beef was a lot more expensive per pound than grocery store beef, but it is much more flavorful, and I know that the animals are well-cared for, and the quality is higher (ground beef is 85/15, the stew meat had just enough fat on it to make it tender without needing to drain the meat after searing). So, our meals for this last week begin with the first of our beef purchase.

Friday (my husband cooked and I forgot to get a photo)
beef, tomatoes, garlic and macaroni
apple wedges

Saturday (again no photo)
scrambled eggs
tomato-cucumber salad


beef stew, using our garden potatoes, carrots, celery, garlic, green beans, and herbs, plus beef
cornbread for the rest of the family



baked beans
sautéed garden veggies
apple wedges
cabbage and cucumber slaw
plum cake (for the rest of the family)



roasted chicken, gravy
mashed potatoes or slice of bread
cabbage, cucumber, tomato salad



leftover chicken in bbq sauce
white corn grits
apples and plums
tomato, cucumber, basil, garlic salad

Thursday --
I was super hungry and barely remembered to take a pic


chicken soup, using leftover chicken, garden celery, carrots, green beans, herbs, and a store onion
fresh-baked French bread

Lots of good produce from the garden this week to go with 1 whole chicken and 2 pounds of beef. I've been digging the carrots for meals as I need them. So far, the first 2 pots have good-sized carrots. I don't expect the other 4 pots to have equally-large carrots, as those were planted and thinned just a little later.

Breakfasts included toasted homemade bread, jam and peanut butter, oatmeal, no-bake peanut butter-oatmeal cookies (my daughter thinks of these as breakfast cookies), eggs, coffeecake, cornbread and syrup, tomatoes, plums, apples, orange juice, and some commercial cereal and pork sausage. For lunches, we used some of the leftover roasted chicken in sandwiches, plus apples, plums, tomatoes, cabbage, and salad greens for produce. 

So, that's what we ate this week. What was on your menu?


  1. Delicious meals! As usual, I barely remember what we eat around here.

    I remember the days we bought 1/4 or 1/2 beef and same with pork but those days are long gone since the famiy has shrunk in size. I rarely even make roasts anymore because then I have so much leftovers.

    For food, we had lots of farm fresh eggs from a place we get eggs but it is hit or miss if he has them for sale by the road. Homemade bread, homemade jam, tater tot casserole that I shared with my adult kids so we wouldn't have so much leftover. Fried pork slices with mashed potatoes with kale or cabbage. Most of our meals we eat 2 or even 3 days. We had big salads and a minestrone soup. Very simple meals these days

    1. Hi Alice,
      That's wonderful that you have a local source of farm-fresh eggs! I haven't found anything like that around here, yet, but I'm looking around.

      I've been wondering what making meals will be like for just two. Leftovers are good, in my opinion. That would mean fewer days cooking!

    2. Our last one has been gone for 4 years. It took some getting used to, but I finally have it figured out-mostly. We eat differently now that we have higher income and fewer mouths to feed. Ideally I only make enough for dinner for us and then leftovers for one lunch for dh. When I make a big hunk of meat, like a roast, I use the leftovers for one dinner and then toss the rest in the freezer to use later. My meals are simpler now, but we are able to eat things that we really couldn’t afford for so many years.


  2. We have been buying beef from a local guy for 2 or 3 years now. I can’t remember what I paid per lb last time, it was $5 something a lb, so expensive burger but cheap steaks. We got a half. I like buying beef locally for all the reasons you mentioned. My late fil raised cattle so Dh grew up eating good quality beef, and we used to buy it from him until he got sick and sold the farm. Now we buy from a guy my son works with.


    1. Hi Diane,
      Yes, that's what I was thinking -- expensive for burgers, but a deal on steaks. Even with the ground beef seeming high in price, it had much better flavor and reminded me of something I ate as a teen in a restaurant many, many years ago.

      That's nice you found an alternative source after your FIL sold his farm.

  3. We have been thinking about getting a 30 lb package of beef from a farm down the road. I think we would get 10 lbs of steak, 10 lbs of groundmeat, and 10 lbs of roast. I don't remember the exact cost, but it's definitely expensive. But this is a farm that is trying to get back on its feet (parents aging, son has come back) and we'd like to support that. And the better quality we would get goes without saying.

    1. Hi Live and Learn,
      It is expensive compared to Walmart, Aldi, Kroger meat prices. Here are my thoughts on it -- we've reached a point in our lives that we have some discretionary spending money. We could use it for more luxuries in our own lives, or we can choose to help someone out who is trying to make an honest living. I want to support folks who are trying to make a go of a business, and we're at a point that we can do that. I wouldn't do this, though, if the meat wasn't such high quality or if we didn't actually need the meat.
      My other thought is I don't want these small-operation sources of meat to give way completely to corporate ranching, where CEOs get wealthy, but their employees are underpaid.
      Good luck with your decision on this.


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