Category Archives: In the Kitchen

Gettin’ Creative

Now that my hubby and I have a zero-based budget in place, I’m getting creative with the menu.  We realize we may have to up the grocery budget at some point but for now we’re going to try to stick to what we have planned.  That means using what’s in the freezers and pantry as much as possible.

It’s been kind of fun going through old recipes and cookbooks that have just been collecting dust!

There’s walleye thawing for supper.  All I need for the different beer batter we’ll try is a particular kind of beer.  A 6 pack isn’t a big deal when the meat was free! Pair it with green beans from the garden and some watermelon?  A super summer supper!

I’m excited to try some new recipes, like Jerk Chicken, Key West Ribs and Glazed Chicken Wings.  There are family favorites, like Potato Sausage Casserole, on the schedule.  And for busy nights there is a break with easy meals like tostadas and chef salads.  Finally we’ll use leftovers in fried rice or noodle casseroles and soups.  Knowing what I need for groceries for more than two weeks is satisfying.  I like it.

This is the most I’ve planned at one time in a while, but we had our “use what’s here” mentality while we had company last weekend.  it turned out much better than usual.  I made some good meals that everyone loved.  They were minimal prep and minimal groceries.  We spent less than half what we usually do when company comes to town!  Best part: no one could tell!

I’m coming to believe that the most important thing needed in budgeting is a good attitude.


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Menu Plan Monday 1.2.12

It’s a four day work week… So it will be quick and factor in some leftovers.


  • Banana bread, apple slices
  • Oatmeal, bananas
  • Cereal, juice
  • Toast, applesauce


  • Chicken drummies, rice pilaf, pineapple (today)
  • Spanish rice bake, salad
  • Chicken noodle soup, orange wedges
  • Bologna sandwiches, carrot sticks, apple slices
  • Beef noodle casserole, green beans, peaches


  • Spaghetti & meatballs, spinach salad
  • Dilly venison roast, cheesy potatoes, carrot sticks
  • Fish, peas, salad
  • Potato soup, cheese and crackers, salad
  • Leftovers



  • Chocolate chip cookies and milk
  • Banana bread and yogurt
  • String cheese, apples
  • French fries and milk


Yes, thanks for noticing… I really DO have a lot of apples to use up. Also, salad is something we are planning to make into a staple at many suppers.

For a ton of great ideas, check out OrgJunkies Menu Plan Monday links!

My goals this month are to start fresh with menu planning. I hope to really use up what is in the freezers and pantries. So I’m not sure.. these meals could be either really interesting, or really boring. We’ll see!


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Filed under In the Kitchen, Menus, Using It Up

Summer: the half-way summary

Exactly half-way through this summer, I am wondering where the time has gone…  Yes, I counted out the days/weeks.  I like numbers.

It seems to have at least partially gone to:

  • bonfires
  • sleepovers
  • parties
  • baseball practice
  • baseball games
  • house guests
  • weekend trips to visit family
  • a visit with a dear friend (Hi Heather!)
  • time at the lake
  • tubing at the lake
  • fishing
  • quiet hours at the coffee shop with a spiced chai
  • strawberry picking
  • making strawberry  jam  syrup
  • picking peas
  • shelling and freezing peas
  • tearing apart a bathroom!

The second half will see the end of baseball, but won’t slow down!

  • BIG family trip (first ever)
  • camp for kids
  • bathroom redo to complete
  • garage to clean out and reorganize
  • more time at the lake
  • more fishing
  • CSA harvest events
  • gardening to keep up on
  • freezing and canning to do
  • painting

Just as I don’t know how we fit it all in the first half, I don’t really know how it will all get done in the second half.  But I think that somehow it will…

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Menu Plan Monday ~ 7.18

Well, last week went pretty well.  Not perfect, but better than the last many weeks have been!  The biggest success was coming home from our pea pick at the CSA farm to a roast already done, saving us from fast food!  Yeah!  Within 15 minutes of being home there were shredded beef sandwiches, baked beans and carrot sticks.  I also liked not having a specific meal assigned to each day.  It gave me the freedom to know that I had something on hand for everyday, but could make what I felt like making and fit into the craziness of the day.

Now I’m excited to try again.  Let’s see what can go on this week’s menu!  In cleaning out the pantry and looking at all I had on hand, I am pretty stocked up on ingredients for Mexican dishes.  And we have 16 jars of canned salsa to use before tomatoes start taking over.


  • Lettuce wraps with deli meat and shredded cheese
  • Quesadillas – either bean or chicken, we’ll see what I find more of in the freezer
  • Lasagna hotdish (made in the crockpot?)
  • Crockpot cheeseburgers
  • Tilapia fillets


  • Spaghetti and meatballs
  • Chef salads
  • Enchiladas
  • Chicken legs
  • Leftovers

Side-dishes will consist of LOTS of veggies! Our CSA has been delivering a ton of vegetable variety on Thursdays!  We will have green beans, Chinese cabbage, peas (shelling and sugar snap), onions, lettuce, lettuce and more lettuce, some spinach, kohlrabi, cabbage and maybe a carrot or two.  Fresh fruits right now include kiwi, nectarines, oranges and bananas.  So any combination of those will grace our plates at any given meal.

What will be on your plates this week?  Looking for some meal planning inspiration?  Look no further than the Menu Plan Monday links  hosted this week by Finding Joy in My Kitchen!  Wow there are some creative ladies out there!!

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Filed under In the Kitchen, Using It Up

Menu Plan Monday ~ 7.11

My menu planning has been all but nonexistent!  I am hoping to get better this week!  Thursday and Friday we will be gone during the day and I don’t know when we will get home so it will either be supper on the road or something quick and easy at home.

Lunches for Monday through Wednesday:

  • English muffin pizzas, spinach salad and watermelon
  • Chicken & Rice casserole with broccoli,  peaches
  • Lettuce wraps with turkey and cheese, crackers, melon

Suppers for the week:

  • Stromboli, lettuce salad
  • Shredded venison roast on buns, fresh veggies, applesauce
  • Chef salads, nectarines, kohlrabi sticks and toast

(then there are bound to be leftovers and a meal out do to the schedule)

Making this plan is definitely a step in the right direction…. now comes the hard part!  Follow-through!!

Good luck in your meal-making this week!  For LOTS of inspiration and yummy recipe links visit OrgJunkie for Menu Plan Monday links!


Filed under In the Kitchen, Menus

CSA: Week 15

CSA Week 15 ~ 9.8.10

Oh look!  Vegetables!

Must be the Wednesday delivery.

As you can see, there is the usual…corn, potatoes, cuke, Walla Walla onion, garlic, green beans.  Then there are a few new things…beets, red onion, jalapeno, BIG banana pepper, brussel sprouts, tomatoes, sage.

Within a couple of hours the tomatoes were already in a new pot of salsa.  Batch 3 for the season.

I really am not sure how I’ll use the rest.  We are planning on eating out the next couple of nights, so some of it I will incorporate into lunch this week yet.  The rest I’ll use up this weekend.

Are you enjoying the garden bounty that comes with late summer?

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Filed under Gardening, In the Kitchen

Menu Plan Monday ~ 9.6.10

I haven’t posted any menus in a loooooong time!  With school starting tomorrow, I am anxious to get back into routine days.  We ate out more than usual this summer, and while that is fun, I am ready to start cooking complete meals most days.

So here we go…

Today being a holiday & all, everyone is home.

  • Lunch: burgers on the grill, sweet corn, watermelon
  • Supper: chicken quesadillas, mexican beans, salad

And for the rest of the week I’ll just give you a list of lunches and suppers.


  • tuna melts, apple slices, carrot sticks
  • homemade pizza, salad
  • sloppy joes, fried potatoes, nectarines
  • bean & cheese burritos, salad, watermelon


  • sweet & sour meatballs, rice, pineapple & mandarin oranges
  • tomato soup & grilled cheese, carrot sticks, fresh fruit
  • take-n-bake pizza (there is a special on Thurs nite), salad, watermelon
  • leftovers

Next weekend I foresee some combination of  the folloowing:

  • Brats, baked beans, chips
  • A new recipe of some kind
  • Chicken noodle soup, cheese & crackers, fresh fruit
  • Scrambled eggs & ham, toast, fried potatoes, fresh fruit

So there it is…easy variety without much prep work.  Check out all these menu plans, many complete with links to YUMMY recipes!

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Filed under In the Kitchen, Menus