It actually feels like fall here at the Frugal Upstate Village Homestead. I’ve been wrapped in a blanket on the couch, put the fluffy comforter on the bed, and been wearing a sweater in the evenings. This morning it was 62 in my living room when I woke up. Haven’t turned on the heat yet though! It’s sort of a badge of honor here in the northeast to see how long you can wait before having to spend money on heating. . .
1. Right now looking at the calendar my week isn’t too bad. Hubs doesn’t have any evening meetings or clubs for once (although that could change), I’ve got a lunch meeting on Wednesday, and on Tues I’m out raspberry picking with some friends and then visiting my Dad at the assisted living/memory care. Otherwise I’m home doing work–so I’ll have some time to cook. Saturday night Yankee Bill and I have a wedding to attend, so we just need to have something the kiddos can have for dinner.
2. My teens, on the other hand, have a jam packed schedule. Scouts, sports, the play. They are running in a bunch of directions and I will frequently only have one of them home for dinner. That’s ok though, it doesn’t really affect my meal planning. I just have to remember to save a portion for them to warm up when they get home.
3. I’m kind of drowning in end of season veggies. We had a frost warning so I had to pick some things and I can barely move in the fridge for all the stuff in there. I’ve got green beans, peppers, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, snow peas, shelled beans, and even some shredded summer squash. I’ve also got 2 dozen eggs. That’s the main leftover situation. I don’t really have any leftover meat or starches. Which is just fine–the veg alone are enough to deal with. Actually I’ve got more squash, more cherry tomatoes, chard, kale and celery out in the garden, but I don’t even want to think about using those up until I’ve got some room in my fridge.
4. I’ve got plenty of meat in the freezer. Pork, venison, a bit of beef (including a roast I forgot I had), frozen fish, and a few chicken breasts. So I’m pretty wide open when it comes to protien.
Taking all that into account here is my game plan:
Monday: Old Fashioned Salmon Loaf, Rice and Roasted Green Beans
I didn’t get the Old Fashioned Salmon Loaf made over the weekend. Again. Things just keep coming up. I was going to do it over the weekend and then my hubs suggested we go up to the lake and suddenly burgers sounded like a better idea. I swear though, this time I am going to make it. Tonight. I promise. Since I have more fresh beans from the garden, I’m going to roast them in the oven with some olive oil, salt and pepper. Yummo.
This is my fish meal for the week.
Tuesday: Stuffed Pepper Soup with Biscuits
I had purchased a half peck of peppers a week or so ago at the vegetable stand so that I’d have enough for my chili sauce and salsa canning sessions. They sat in the bag too long and some of them got soft and started going bad, so I wound up cutting off all the bad parts, using the good etc. I wound up with a bunch of leftover pepper pieces that need to be used. They aren’t whole, so I can’t use them for actual stuffed peppers, so I figured stuffed pepper soup would be a great way to use some of them up. Plus soup is just nice in the cooler days of fall. Most of the recipes call for ground beef, but I’ll use ground venison. This will all go in the slow cooker since I’ll be out for a lot of the day on Tuesday between berry picking and visiting my dad. The slow cooker is so fantastic for soup. Finally I’ll make some drop biscuits to go with it.
This is my venison and soup recipe for the week.
Wednesday: Chicken Stirfry over Rice
A homemade stirfry is a great way to use up a lot of odds and ends of vegetables. I’ll be able to include more peppers, some of the green beans, the pea pods, some of the shredded summer squash. . . even some of the cucumbers. Add some onion from the pantry and chicken; throw together a stirfry sauce from broth, soy sauce, cornstarch, garlic and ginger; and ladle it all over rice and you’ve both cleaned out the fridge and got dinner on the table.
Thursday: Tuscan White Bean Pasta and Cucumber Salad
I’ve never made this, so I have no idea if it tastes good. . . but it uses up a bunch of stuff that needs using. It’s spaghetti noodles with a sauce made from fresh cherry tomatoes, white beans (I’ll use the shelled beans from the garden, cooked), Parmesan cheese and spinach (I’ll substitute chard from the garden). We’ll have a marinated cucumber salad (basically my Fire and Ice Salad but without the other vegetables) on the side as a vegetable and to use up more cucumbers.
This is my bean and my meatless meal for the week.
Friday: Pizza Hut Style Pizza (Hamburger, Onion and Green Pepper)
I haven’t made pizza in a while, and Friday night just seems like the right night to do so. I’ll use my pizza hut clone crust (made in the bread machine of course) and top it with Venison Hamburger (I’ll cook some extra when I do the stuffed pepper soup), green peppers and onions. I’ll also do a plain cheese.
Saturday: Quiche and Salad
I’ve been meaning to make some quiche to use up some of the eggs (I buy a couple dozen every two weeks or so from a friend who has chickens). Quiche is a great meal because it can be eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner, hot or cold and freezes really well. So I’ll probably make 2 or 3 quiche (maybe even earlier in the week), have the kids eat part of one for dinner while we are at the wedding and freeze the rest, either whole as a good last minute meal or in slices so folks can just defrost one for lunch or dinner. I’m not sure yet what flavors I’ll make–I’ve got leftover ham from last week chopped up and frozen in 1 cup portions in the freezer, there is chard in the garden (basically gives a spinach quiche flavor), the cherry tomatoes keep coming in. I’ve got options and I’ll decide on the fly.
This is another possibly meatless meal.
Sunday: Ridiculously Easy Slow Cooker Roast, Sauteed Vegetables and Baked Potatoes
I found an eye roast in the freezer still left from when we purchased a quarter of a cow in the spring of 2014. Yes, we are still eating some of that beef. Anyway, I want to use it up. The Ridiculously Easy Slow Cooker Roast is a dump it in and forget it kind of meal. Yes, it uses cream of mushroom soup. If you don’t like that you could make a thick white sauce with beef bullion or fresh mushrooms or whatever. Sometimes the condensed cream of soup just makes life easier. It also calls for onion soup mix, but honestly I usually just crunch up a couple of beef bullion cubes, sprinkle them over and then toss in dried onion flakes, a bit of onion powder and a bit of garlic. Close enough.
The meet will just do it’s thing all afternoon, but closer to supper I’ll put potatoes in the oven to bake and saute up whatever veggies are still hanging out in the fridge–most likely cucumber and beans. If I have miraculously used all the vegetables before this I’ll just use some squash, chard or kale from the garden.
This is my beef meal for the week.
Hmmm, didn’t fit in a pork meal this week. Next week I guess. My goals are mostly to keep my thinking and having a variety of food (as well as to train my family that soup, beans and meatless meals are viable (and oh by the way frugal) options. I don’t always hit all of them and that’s ok.
Are you interested in learning more about menu planning? Check out my post “Why Plan a Weekly Menu” .