Sunday, August 14, 2011

No money for groceries this week!

This is a tough time of the year for us. We usually have large chicken feed bills, my husband usually has a layoff of some sort, property taxes are due next month, and the garden is JUST starting to produce. There's no extra money for groceries this week.

Okay, no problem. I've got plenty of beef and chicken and a few cuts of pork left in the freezers. The garden is producing green beans, salad greens, zucchini, apples, a few cucumbers, a few green peppers, and a half dozen tomatoes so far. I have 4 dozen eggs in the refrigerator left from last week and one gallon of milk, along with 2 sticks of butter and a bit of mozz cheese in the freezer. The pantry holds a couple of cans of tomato sauce and 2 cans of evaporated milk, 1/2 bag russet potatoes, along with a few other things.

Let me show you what we're having for meals this week and how we can do this:

Breakfasts (choice of): spinach/onion omelets, Caprese omelets, sausage/spinach/cheddar frittata, pumpkin custard, coconut custard, hard boiled eggs & fruit (this will use some of the 4 dozen eggs, I'll use evaporated milk and coconut milk in the custards, the frittata is already made and in the freezer, I have some oranges in the refrigerator and fresh apples right from the tree)

Lunches (choice of): loaded chef salads, steak & veggie soup, leftovers (I have plenty of salad greens, green onions, tomatoes, green peppers and cucumbers from the garden, a few carrots and a few stalks of celery in the refrigerator, and plenty of green beans to add to the soup)


dinner – herb crusted ham roast, cucumber salad, beet pickles, green beans, crustless pumpkin pie (ham from the freezer, dry herbs from my pantry, cucumbers from the garden, beet pickles from my home-canned store in the basement, green beans from my home-canned store, pumpkin and evaporated milk from my pantry)


dinner - grilled chicken, potato/veggie packets, tossed salad (chicken from the freezer, potatoes from the pantry, fresh peppers and zucchini, salad greens and tomatoes and even a carrot from the garden)


dinner - sausage-stuffed zucchini, green beans (zucchini from the garden, sausage from the freezer, canned diced tomatoes from the pantry, cheese in the freezer, green beans from the garden)


dinner - sloppy joe stuffed green peppers, beet pickles, tossed salad (beef from the freezer, make my own sloppy joe sauce with a can of tomato sauce from the pantry, green peppers from the garden, beet pickles from my home-canned supply, tossed salad with items from the garden)


dinner - pepper steak, green beans (steak from the freezer, peppers from the garden, green beans from the garden)


dinner - spaghetti squash w/ homemade spaghetti sauce, salad with homemade Italian dressing (spaghetti squash from the garden, homemade spaghetti sauce using ground beef from the freezer and a big can of tomato sauce from my pantry with some herbs/spices, salad from items in the garden)


Dinner – crock pot roast chicken, cucumber salad, beet pickles (chicken from my freezer, spices I keep on hand, cucumbers and onions from my own garden, homemade ranch dressing mix, beet pickles from my home-canned supply)

Snacks: popcorn, veggie sticks or slices (cucumber, zucchini, carrots, celery, tomatoes), oranges, apples, hard boiled eggs (we're usually not big snackers, and all of this is on hand.)

SEE??? It can be done! This is NOT a "meatless to save money" or "rice & beans" meal plan. I strongly believe in building a stockpile, no matter how small, for precisely these sort of weeks. I realize that not everyone has multiple freezers or a garden space, but even just stocking up on basic ingredients like tomatoes/sauce, evaporated milk, spices/herbs, butter and cheese [can both be frozen, along with milk] can provide quite a bit during lean times.

This is a gluten-free meal plan, BTW...except for the popcorn :-)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Soft & Light Potato Flakes Rolls

I made these for my son's wedding reception and now I'm posting by my daughter-in-law's request!

Soft & Light Potato Flakes Rolls
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons regular instant yeast or active dry yeast
    3 tablespoons sugar
    1 1/4 teaspoons salt
    3 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour or bread flour
    1/4 cup dried potato flakes
    1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon lukewarm water (potato water, if you have any saved)
    3/4 cup lukewarm milk
    3 tablespoons butter, softened or melted

To make dough in a bread machine: Place all of the ingredients into the pan of your bread machine, program the machine for Manual or Dough, and press Start. Assess the dough about 10 minutes before the end of the second kneading cycle; add additional water or flour as necessary to produce a smooth, supple, somewhat soft dough.

To complete the rolls: Divide the dough into 16 pieces. Shape each piece into a smooth ball. Lightly grease two 9-inch round cake pans, or a 9 x 13-inch pan. Space the rolls in the pan(s), cover them with lightly greased plastic wrap, and allow them to rise for about 1 hour, till they’re very puffy and are touching one another.

Bake the rolls in a preheated 350°F oven for 20 to 22 minutes, or until they’re golden brown. Remove them from the oven, set them on a wire rack to cool, and brush them with melted butter or margarine, if desired. This will give the rolls a soft crust. Serve the rolls warm, or store them in an airtight container. Yield: 16 rolls.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Zucchini Crisp

In a never-ending quest (at this time of year) to find new recipes that use zucchini, I found this one at When I made it earlier this week, it was 1/4 gone before we even sat down to dinner!

Zucchini Crisp

  • 5 cups zucchini, peeled, seeded, & diced
  • 1/3 c. sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 c. lemon juice
  • 3/4 c. water


  • 6 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 c. flour
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
Cook first 5 ingredients for 10 minutes. Place in 9 inch square or 7" x 11" baking dish. Mix topping ingredients until crumbly. Sprinkle over zucchini and bake at 350° for 45 minutes. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream (or without.)

Friday, August 5, 2011

Sweet Potato and Spinach Hash with Eggs

Eh, the name doesn't necessarily sound appealing, but this new recipe went over GREAT with my family! The kids have even requested a repeat next week.

Sweet Potato and Spinach Hash with Eggs
  • 1 1/2 c. chopped onion
  • 1 lb. bacon
  • 6 to 8 cups finely diced uncooked sweet potatoes
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 10 to 15 oz. frozen spinach
  • 8 to 12 eggs
  • salt and pepper
Cook bacon and onion in a large pot or Dutch oven. When onion is cooked, add sweet potatoes and chili powder. Cover and cook until sweet potatoes are tender (about 10 minutes), stirring occasionally. Add spinach, cover and cook until spinach is thawed. Spread mixture in 2 9 x 13 pans, making 4 to 6 wells in each pan. Break one egg into each well. Salt and pepper to taste. Bake at 375°F for 5 to 12 minutes, until eggs are cooked as desired (soft or hard). Serve.