Monday, April 25, 2011

Menu Monday: Pop Quiz

Ok, Pop Quiz!  Didn't you hate those words in school?  I admit it depended upon the class.  If it were algebra or geometry we were in DEEP trouble.  English or History, No problems. lol  That was then...

This is now: what do you do with a can of corned beef, a can of seasoned black beans and a can of mushrooms?  No, I don't have a clue either...Those are the items on my counter which I still must use to make something in the next couple of weeks or toss into the trash. 

Here's another question:  What do you do when you figure the budget and realize that you can no longer afford to eat?  Fortunately I do have an answer for this one!  You make sure you use up those items on the kitchen counter that you don't have a clue what to do with, you pull out all the frugal kitchen help tricks you've learned over the past 35 years and you start trimming the budget in all the places that it has even a half ounce extra to spare. 

Things aren't dire...I did some budget projections over the weekend that figured in things like increased gasoline and electric, some additional categories where we were trying to save ahead, and no overtime...And when I got to groceries the bottom line was a negative figure!  Oh dear, there's a reality check!

Ha.  Silly budget thinking I can be beat so easily.  Just watch...

Monday:  Black Bean Enchiladas, Yellow Rice, Green Salad with Homemade ranch dressing, Chocolate chip cookies
In the interest of using the one ingredient that I can most easily use, the black beans win.  I have tortillas on hand, loads of yellow rice (perhaps I got a tad zealous during the last sale/coupon bonanza), and I have learned to make a pretty good replica of ranch dressing: Mayonnaise, sour cream, chives, dill, garlic, tarragon, salt and pepper.  Even better I can make enough for just one meal instead of having a bottle sit on the fridge shelf for months.  There should be enough enchiladas and rice left to put a meal in the freezer and to make a supper for myself later this week.

Tuesday:  Lasagna, Green Salad, Cheddar Biscuits
Leftover lasagna from last Thursday.  I think this salad will finish off the last of the lettuce in the fridge.  I didn't bake cheddar biscuits last week so I think I'll make them this week.  Perhaps I'll make a little garlic butter to go over the ones for lunch and set aside a few unbuttered biscuits for breakfast tomorrow morning.

Wednesday:  Leftover enchilada/rice, Cabbage salad, Coffee Ice cream
I've found that leftovers are best eaten as soon as possible rather than put off.  Chance and I planned to have lasagna leftovers several days but we found it too easy to put off.  Having leftovers began to sound like a threat hanging over our heads, lol.  I'll solve that problem today by planning my leftovers into the menu immediately.
Chance's work lunch:  Egg Salad sandwich, chips, pickles wedges

Thursday:  Macaroni and Cheese, Sliced Tomatoes, Steamed Broccoli
I blame Pioneer Woman for this...I was reading her cookbook this morning (my second time through, btw, I just love a good read and cookbook all in one!) and I saw her recipe for Macaroni and Cheese.  I really like mac n' cheese if it's homemade.  I'll make two dishes, one small one just big enough for my dinner and a larger one to freeze for a later meal.  And note to self:  Do NOT read Pioneer Woman cook between meals...I get too hungry!
Work lunch: Peanut butter and lettuce sandwiches (don't ask, he likes them),  Cottage cheese with diced tomato and green bell pepper, salted nuts.

Friday:  Tuna Salad in tomato cups with Cheese toast points, Chips, and Pineapple Chunks
I'll make enough of this for both Chance and I.  He'll get his (minus the cheese toast) in his work lunch.  I try to make his salads attractive when I pack them.  The tomato be will cut into wedges and I'll place a boiled egg wedge between the tomatoes then put a scoop of tuna atop that 'flower'.   It's a little extra trouble but I find when I take pains to make food attractive he's far more likely to enjoy it. 
Besides I don't have a dish deep enough to allow me to make a tomato cup for his meal!  Desperation will  drive creativity higher.

Saturday:  Grilled Chicken, Potato Salad, Corn on the Cob, Slaw
I'm determined to stay away from the grocery this week for any purchase except loaf bread...Hence the use of carrots and carrots and such for salads.  I am sure that I can trim my grocery budget further by avoiding those quick little trips that cost us $40 and net us little in the way of 'real' foods and much in the way of snacks and unplanned extras...So coleslaw and potato salads will do very well.
Chance's work lunch:  grilled chicken sandwich, potato salad and half an ear of corn to heat and eat if he chooses.

Sunday:  Corned Beef Hash, Poached Eggs, Carrot Raisin Salad, Toast
Why not a brunch meal?  I'll cook extra potatoes on Saturday for this dish and use half the can of corned beef and a bit of onion to make the hash.  The remaining half of the corned beef will make sandwiches for Chance's lunch.  If there are any pineapple chunks left I'll toss them into the carrot raisin salad.  Or perhaps I'll make some of the easy Pineapple marmalade for the toast?  Both would be a good use of leftovers.
Chance's work lunch: corned beef sandwich, carrot raisin salad

Now...I just need to plan how to use that can of mushrooms...

No comments: