Sunday, May 11, 2008

3 Moms ~ 3 Kitchens ~ 31 Days: Day 10

This was a very productive weekend around our house. We got some much needed cleaning and organizing done and we finished painting the whole inside of our house. Eric and I are exhausted but SO glad to be done.

I've mentioned before that part of my goal every month is to have all of my freezer cooking done by the 10th. Well, the 10th has come and gone and I'm not quite there yet, but I definitely made a dent in it. So far in my freezer I have:

  • 1 Shepherd's Pie
  • 1 Vegetarian Lasagna
  • 1 1/2 batch of sloppy joes (enough for 2 dinners if I stretch the leftovers into a casserole)
  • 2 batches of meatballs
  • 1 batch meatloaf cups
  • 2 1/2 lb. bags cooked ground beef
  • 1 garlic, zucchini, mushroom saute side dish
  • 12 chocolate chip muffins
  • 2 breakfasts worth of pancakes
  • 2 c. refried beans
  • 3 bags (3 c. each) veggie-tomato sauce
  • 5 bags bread (given to us by a neighbor)

I am planning on adding a few more things to the freezer this week, and then I will probably be done for the month. We have been eating some things from there already, but I am going to try to avoid doing that this week. I think this is one of the things that really helps me stick to our $300 budget. It is so nice to get toward the end of the month and still have a complete dinner or two in the freezer. I often have to remind myself of everything that I do have in the freezer though. This weekend I was going through the refrigerator and pantry to put together my menu plan and feeling like we were not going to make it to the end of the month. Then I remembered that I have the makings of at least 8 dinners in the freezer already. That made me feel a LOT better and convinced me that we will easily make it.

One day this week I will take care of the rest of the dinners by boiling the 10 lb. bag of chicken quarters that I have in the freezer. I will be able to get a lot of stock from that! I'll also shred up all of the meat and get at least 4 or 5 dinners in the freezer. I'll decide what all of those will be on the day I make the stock.

Yesterday was leftover day for breakfast and lunch. We had leftover crepes from Friday for breakfast and leftover spaghetti for lunch. For dinner we had nachos. I wanted this to be a meatless dinner so I added homemade refried beans and a corn, pepper, and onion skillet saute. We like to have nachos once in a while as a treat on Saturday nights and sometimes we include a family movie and root beer floats with dinner.

I used black beans for the refried beans with this dinner. That was a first for me. They turned out pretty good but probably would have been better with a bit more spices stirred in. I had enough left over to put in the freezer. I'll probably add them to some burritos or quesadillas later in the month.

Here is how I make them:

Refried Beans

1 bag dry beans (soaked overnight)

1 onion, cut into sixths

3 whole garlic cloves

2 T. butter or oil

cumin, chili powder, oregano, Tabasco sauce

Put soaked beans, onion sections and garlic into a medium-sized saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer at least 1 hour, until beans are tender.

Reserve 2 cups soaking liquid then rinse and drain the beans (do not remove the onions and garlic). Heat butter or oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add beans and mash with a potato masher. Continue to mash the beans, adding the soaking liquid as needed, until you reach the desired consistency. Stir in seasonings to taste. If you have added too much liquid, just cook the beans longer until it cooks out.

I added salsa and sour cream to our nachos also. For snack time, the kids had yogurt and graham crackers. Everyone had a little ice cream for dessert.

I had Eric stop at the store yesterday to pick up a few things. (Frugal tip of the day: If you and your family lack self-control when it comes to salty snacks, do not open a bag of tortilla chips that you are planning to use for two seperate meals which are scheduled 1 week apart. If you do, you will need to buy another bag before the second meal!) Here is what he picked up for me:

  • 2 gallons milk (2/$5)
  • 32 oz. block sharp cheddar cheese ($3.99)
  • 1 1/2 dozen eggs ($2.19)
  • 10 lbs. potatoes ($2.99)
  • 1 bag tortilla chips ($1.34)
  • TOTAL: $15.51

That takes our current total for the month to $263.58. We should not need to buy anything else until next weekend. We have $36.42 left for the month. As of right now, I don't think we'll have any problems staying at or below our monthly budget.

Thank you to everyone who stopped by our 3 Moms, 3 Kitchens, 31 Days Live show at Talkshoe on Friday night. It went really well and Joy, Toni and I had a great time answering your questions. We have scheduled another one for this Friday, May 16 at 10pm EST. You can read more about the show here. If you'd like an invitation emailed to you so that you can join in through your email, please leave a comment with your email address, or you can email me at asimplewalk at gmail dot com. And please don't forget to stop in and see what Toni and Joy have been up to in their kitchens!


A Grammatical Disclaimer

I freely admit to consistently using improper grammar in the following areas:
1. I like run-on sentences.
2. I have a tendency to end sentences with a pronoun. (I really do. I can't help it.)
3. I always seem to use passive voice in my sentences. (See?)

I've been trying to break this habit, unsuccessfully, for years, so now I just accept that as my writing style, and since I'm not writing for grades anymore, I embrace it. (Again, see?)

Hence, I invoke Blogger Artistic License for this blog!

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