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Thursday, October 19, 2023

Cheap & Cheerful Suppers Plus Grocery Shopping for this Week

Groceries this week

Early Sunday morning, I stopped by Walmart before church. Among the things I needed (specific supplements), I bought 1 bunch of bananas, spending $1.14 for those.

Wednesday, after another blood draw (6th blood draw in 2 weeks) -- the lab was near the restaurant supply (we call it Cash 'n Carry, its former name, but now it's Chefstore). One daughter came with me for prayer support and in case I didn't feel right after the draw, and also to help with large boxes and bags. At Cash 'n Carry we bought 50 lbs of onions $14.09, a case of 9 4-lb bags of raisins $88.89, a gallon of olive oil $38.19, 1.25 quarts of sesame oil $17.69, 15 lbs of butter $3.09/lb, 12.5 lbs of popping corn $9.39, a carton of popcorn salt $4.28, 5 lbs of pizza cheese $11.99, and a 5 lb block of cheddar cheese $15.89. We'll be eating well this winter. I spent $246.77. I mentioned a while back that I'd be spending a lot stocking up for fall and winter. This was one of those shopping trips.  For the week, I spent 247.91.

When I got home from Cash 'n Carry, I noticed a few of the onions were definitely on their last legs. This afternoon I took some time to peel and chopped those onions for the freezer. I have a few more that I'll do this to, so none will be wasted (or so we hope).

Meals this week


Friday movie and dinner night. We didn't watch a movie because we got a late start. So we watched stand-up comedy instead. The night before, my daughter roasted a whole chicken. I reheated some of the meat and made a little more gravy with the leftover drippings. We had chopped tomatoes, spiced apples, roasted garden potatoes, and Swiss chard with this dinner. The laughter and good meal were what we all needed.


Another chicken meal. My husband made flour tortillas and wrapped up seasoned leftover chicken. With the chicken wraps we had chopped fresh tomatoes and sautéed kale and garlic. Another meal that hit the spot.


I simmered the chicken bones and my husband picked off as much meat as possible to make this really delicious soup. He added some canned pumpkin, the leftover chicken gravy, some stock and lots of garden veggies -- onions, carrots, celery, parsley, sage, thyme, potatoes, and green beans. It was very tasty. With the soup, he made scratch biscuits, also delicious.


A mixture of black-eyed peas and the last of the roasted chicken from last Thursday, some kale, chopped dried tomatoes, and lots of garlic and herbs over brown rice, with chopped russet apples on the side.


Swiss steak. Under the sauce of tomatoes and carrots is cube steak that we bought from the rancher. Very tender and flavorful. My family really enjoyed this meal. With it I served mashed garden potatoes (purple, red, and Yukon gold), and sautéed Swiss chard.


The Swiss steak made so much extra sauce that I had enough to make a soup the next night, adding the leftover black-eyed peas, some additional tomatoes, celery, more garlic, and garden herbs. I topped the soup with bottom-of-the-bag tortilla chips from a few weeks ago. I served this with scratch cornbread that I topped with cheddar before baking and baked delicata squash. I mixed up some brown sugar and set out salt, butter, and cinnamon for everyone to help themselves to top their own 2 halves of squash. I had 4 small delicata, perfect for splitting between the 4 of us.


Tonight, one daughter is making ham fried rice for us, with chopped apples own the side. She taught today, so after she came home, she worked on dinner while I chopped onions. It was a lovely part of the day, catching up with her while we both cooked.

We are still using a lot of produce from our garden and mini orchard. This week, we used, garden onion, garlic, carrots, potatoes, green beans, celery, parsley, thyme, oregano, sage, tomatoes, apples, winter squash, Swiss chard, and kale in dinners, plus dried plums in breakfasts and lunches.

Our meals are humble, I know. But this is the type of cooking we really appreciate. Good basic foods prepared well is fine dining in our book.

How was your week? What were your favorite meals this week? Any special plans for the weekend? We'll be digging more potatoes, weather permitting. Then a few lovely autumn walks, and puttering around the house. A normal, wonderful weekend.


  1. Humble food us not only the best food but the healthiest food. You're creativity never ceases to amaze me! You are incredible!!
    We are still eating from the garden also. Broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, radishes, turnips, etc. But a killing frost is due next week. We have preserved lots. But will surely miss all that wonderful fresh produce. So thankful we have been and continue to be blessed with!
    Still praying for health and healing for you, Lili!

    1. Hi Linda,
      Thank you for prayers.
      I believe you're right, cooking from basic whole foods is healthiest in the long run. Enjoy your garden's bounty!

  2. Yes, Linda and Lili, humble food is the best and I don't think a lot of folks out there today have humble food on their mind but instead have quick and easy.

    I enjoy boneless, skinless chicken thighs and only buy them when they are reudced in price. I found a bunch at Aldi several weeks ago and I noticed that instead of 6 in a package they are now packaging 5. I used three of them for chicken/orzo soup this week and the other two for a red thai chicken curry. We also had beef stew with a tough cut of beef and it was delicious. I had a head of lettuce on it's last legs and we finished most of that too.

    I went to Sam's club with my son who has a membership and bought a few food items and several non-food things for use during the winter. There were so many things that I could have easily picked up (but I resisted) but I couldn't justify such a large quantity. Like pecans, I feel we wouldn't go through them before going rancid, or the huge box of aluminum foil. Storage for that big box would be a problem. Big bunch of bananas would go bade before we could eat them. It doesn't work for me at this time in our life with only two of us and we don't eat so much lately. But it was a fun day out for me and my son.

    1. Hi Alice,
      your experience at Aldi with the chicken thighs -- shrinkflation. I've noticed this too. All the more reason to look closely at price per unit/lb. A lot of consumers don't pay attention to less product for the same money, and manufacturers and stores are counting on this I think. Your chicken curry and chicken orzo soup sounds delicious!

      I know that as my daughters move on and out, I won't be able to use these institutional sizes. One thought, though, while using up a large amount of any one item might not work for smaller households, stores like Sam's Club or our restaurant supply are still great places to shop for large gatherings, such as when I put together menus for my daughter's university graduation parties.

      I'm glad you enjoyed the day out with your son. It reminds me of going to Costco with my daughter-in-law last winter. I may not have bought very much, but it was fun to spend time with her and look at all of the products.

  3. I feel for you and all of your blood draws. I don't have easy veins, so it usually takes more than one stick. I hope things get sorted out soon and am sending positive thoughts and prayers your way. The 50 lb bag of onions would be hard for me to handle by myself. I'm sure it helped having your daughter along. And as always, another week of delicious and healthy meals.

    1. Hi Live and Learn,
      thank you for the thoughts and prayers, I appreciate both.
      You know what makes a 50-lb bag of onions so difficult to wrangle for me? It's not necessarily the weight, but those loose onions move around as I try to lift and move the bag, like an uncooperative toddler who does not want to be picked up. But yes, without my daughter I might have bought a much smaller bag of onions that day.

  4. Ouch. That's a lot of blood draws. Your family has been stepping up and helping you a lot--impressive!

    Um. Meals. Last night I made homemade mac and cheese. I made a bunch of chicken thighs in honey and soy sauce earlier this week and that ended up being enough for 2 meals for us (which was handy during a busy week). I'm making red beans and rice (with turkey kielbasa) tonight. Those are all the meals I can remember. We continue to have green beans and tomatoes from our garden for sides, and my husband has gotten apples and pears from a local fruit stand. Oh, Lili, you inspired me to make crustless pumpkin pie yesterday! I think I'm also on the modest and humble meal prep team with the rest of you.

    1. Kris -- but no pumpkin pie made it to the freezer, did it?! LOL Sara
      Lili -- I was thinking that your food photos all looked very appetizing, and very much "real home-cooking", which is what we like best. Hang in there, Sweetie! Sara

    2. Sara, the pumpkin pie is all gone. That didn't take long. I made pumpkin muffins yesterday. My recipe for muffins makes 24 (and uses a whole can of pumpkin so I don't have have to figure out what to do with the rest of it, which is a pet peeve of mine) so they should last a few days.

    3. Hi Kris,
      yes, I so appreciate all of the help I've gotten from my family members.

      Oh yum, homemade mac and cheese and a sweet chicken thigh dish. Both sound delicious! And your crustless pumpkin pie sounds lovely and seasonally appropriate! Yum, no surprise it went fast.

      I'm with you on finding recipes to use whole cans of anything, instead of having a lingering partial can in the fridge.

    4. Hi Sara,
      Thanks. I'm hanging in there. I hope to have some answers soon.

      Home-cooking is what I enjoy most, too. It not only works for my dietary issues, but I think it is more flavorful than convenience foods.


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