This is the week I like to refer to as The Last Gasp of Summer. Not really for me, for the kids. And at my house there is only one going back to school. The last kid. For his last year. I can't think too hard on that right now, it makes me sad...
But on Wednesday I happily cleaned out the pantry, throwing out expired and terrible stuff (hello, summer sausage from Hubby's Christmas stocking) and made out my grocery list for some easy meals.
Mischief managed in the pantry - breakfast foods are ready...
...as well as the baskets I have to organize everything from granola bars to popcorn, ramen and pasta, and potatoes and onions. I cleaned out the fridge and freezer, too. I found things here and there to use up: a bag of frozen veg I forgot I had, the rest of the container of ketchup, etc. Frugality and meal planning all in one! Here's what I made:
A quick trip to HEB and $65 for 11 meals
(go here for the recipe)
Beef Veggie and Rice Soup
1 1/2 lbs. ground beef, cooked and drained
1/2 small onion, chopped
1 bag frozen soup veggies (um, mine was from the holidays...)
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
3 cubes beef bouillon
1 t Italian seasoning
1 c. instant rice
Add all to gallon zip-loc. Write on the outside of the bag "add 5-6 c. water in crock pot".
Cook on low in crock 4-6 hours.
I followed my go-to recipe, but I made sure to use up all of the dabs of ketchup and mustard I had on hand for two batches. If you don't have a go-to recipe, brown and drain 1 1/2 pounds ground beef, add a half and onion, a half a cup BBQ sauce and ketchup, a tablespoon each of Worchestershire sauce and prepared mustard, and about a teaspoon of celery salt. You can also add a tablespoon or so of brown sugar, and some garlic, if you want to get all fancy. Simmer it. Cool it, then put in a zip-loc in your freezer. Thaw, simmer, eat.
I browned 3 pounds ground beef, drained it, then added a packet of HVR mix I happened to want to get rid of along with some homemade taco seasoning, and a can of Rotel and half a jar of salsa that was lurking in the fridge. I divided this into two containers for the freezer, and will thaw, simmer, and serve in taco shells or on taco salads (my personal fav).
Ham and Cheese Party Sammies
I bought some sweet rolls for sammies. Split them and brushed the insides with melted butter mixed with Worchestershire, brown sugar, and grainy mustard. Then I slathered on the swiss and ham. Reassembled the rolls, brushed with more butter, and sealed in foil. These will bake for about 30 minutes at 300 degrees on delay bake as we make our way home from a football game.
I added one tablespoon of curry powder and 1/2 t of smoked paprika to can of Golden Mushroom soup then poured it over prepared meatballs in a gallon zip-loc. I will simmer these on the stove one night and serve over rice.
Lemon Garlic Chicken
3 large chicken breasts, cut in half
4 big cloves garlic, chopped
1 T dried parsley flakes
1/4 c olive oil
juice from one big lemon
Add to gallon zip-loc, cook on low from frozen, 6-8 hours. Might serve this with garlicky pasta.
Mrs. Ringle's Brisket
I slathered mustard all over a brisket and sprinkled a packet of onion soup all over it. This goes in a gallon zip-loc. Cook on low 10-12 hours. (I'm sure I will cook this one, from frozen, on a weekend when I work, as the cook time is looong.) Slice and serve with BBQ fixin's.
I made sure we were stocked on zip-locs, wraps, and clips. And now we have a clean pantry and a full freezer. Bring on the school year.