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Happy New Year!

2 Jan

One of the things that helps my household run smoothly is having a plan for our meals. Having a plan, not only for dinner, but also for breakfast, lunch, and snacks helps us spend less money at the grocery store and have less wasted food.  Another good tip is to have a planned leftover meal, where you get all the odds and ends leftover from the week’s meals and have a buffet.  Then, you have a clean fridge and the cook gets a break.

I like to use the menu planners on Money Saving Mom.  They are downloadable and FREE.  You can get yours here.  I hang the plan on my refrigerator door and everyone knows what we’re planning on eating and what they can choose for a snack if they need one.

I’ll be posting my menu each week and then if I make something that has a recipe I think you would enjoy or find useful, I will post it after I make it.  So, to begin, here is our menu for this week:

Breakfast:  Our breakfasts all week rotate between eggs and toast and oatmeal and yogurt.

Snacks:  The kids can choose between our “snack basket” (more on that tomorrow) or they may have yogurt or fruit from the fruit bowl.

Desserts:  Desserts for this week will be pumpkin pie and mock pecan pie

The rest of our plans are as follows:

Sunday

Lunch–quesadills, chips and salsa

Dinner–Chili, hot dogs, crackers, cheese

Monday

Lunch–sandwiches, pretzels, clementines

Dinner–pork tenderloin, roasted potatoes, salad, lime fruit salad

Tuesday

Lunch— pizza grilled cheese, veggie tray

Dinner–chicken wings, veggie tray, crescent rolls

Wednesday

Lunch–leftover chili, cheese, crackers

Dinner–chicken alfredo, garlic toast, broccoli

Thursday

Lunch–beef stew, biscuits, fruit

Dinner–Hunsaker skillet, crescent rolls, mandarins

Friday

Lunch--sandwiches, pretzels, oranges

Dinner–turkey breast, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, fruit salad

Saturday

Lunch–leftover buffet

Dinner–pizza, veggie tray

Afternoon Stroll…..

17 Jul

Another way to eat well here at the Seminary is to take advantage of the food grown on the grounds.  As you stroll around campus, you will find all kinds of goodies for the community to pick and take home for dinner.  Here are some places I went and what I found.  Leave a comment if you know some places where things are growing that I missed.  Keep in mind there are herbs everywhere as well, but if it is not basil or rosemary….I probably can’t identify it, so leave a comment and tell me what you have found!

Here are some things growing by the admissions building (if you turn left right before the main entrance to campus):

Tomatoes….there are green beans there also.  Over by the entrance pillars we have:

Green and purple cabbages (they are ready, so go get one!) and brussels sprouts.  In the mini quad we have:

Broccoli and LOTS of basil.  In fact, there is basil everywhere you look around here.  No one should ever buy pesto in a jar here.  In the perennial garden there are even more beautiful looking grape tomatoes:

There are also MORE tomatoes growing along the fence by the radio tower.  Over in the triangle near Wartburg and Sieck halls there are lots of different kinds of peppers, both spicy and bell.  Perfect to go with those tomatoes!

I also found cucumbers and beets in the garden/bench area near the chapel.  The flower beds of the chapel should have some wonderful sweet potatoes this fall.  So, take an afternoon walk and you just might be rewarded with something fresh for dinner!

Not Just Green Beans

16 Jul

I think many families come to campus, having just moved and sometimes having just gotten married or are living away from family for the first time.  It can take them a long time to get acclimated to all the campus has to offer.  The Food Bank is one of those things.  Most everyone at one point or another realizes they can come to the Food Bank and get an array of canned and dry goods.  However, I didn’t know for many months that EVERY Saturday (not just the Saturdays that the Food Bank is open for staples) there is dairy, produce and packaged bread.  You have to get up early for a Saturday and you must have a bit of time to take care of the food once you get it home, but it can stretch your budget beyond what you can imagine!  For instance, this is the bounty I picked up for FREE this morning at the food bank:

It’s kind of like Christmas every Saturday.  You don’t know what you are going to get.  Most things are close to expiration, however, if you are resourceful you can use them.  The orange juice expires in 3 days.  We will probably drink it by then, but if we don’t I will freeze it in ice cube trays to make the kids orange juice slushies on a hot day.  The milk expires Sunday.  It will easily be gone by then, but typically we have found we can use the milk three or four days past expiration and it doesn’t loose quality.

I also got eggs.  Generally the eggs are very fresh, the only catch is they may have one or two broken eggs in the carton.  I simply keep empty cartons and then place the good eggs in the cartons before putting them in the fridge (being sure to wash off any “egg goo” from the broken eggs if there is any).

For the produce, if you are a smoothie lover you can find all kinds of fruit great for freezing immediately for smoothies.  In fact I may use the great Greek yogurt I got for those.  You need to bring home your produce and immediately do something with it.  For example, the grapes and strawberries had to be washed and the bad ones thrown away.  I do that as soon as I get home and package them in the fridge so we can easily grab them for snacks or at meal time.  Here are my grapes after sorting:

The apple slices and also the whole apples looked as fresh as I could go get at the store.  I got some mushrooms and some guacamole.  I got a cherry cobbler, a loaf of bread and some delicious looking 9 grain rolls (great for my new found need to use pasta!).  A special treat there today….fresh flowers!  They looked beautiful and it was a nice blessing to get those to make our table happy.

For best selection, get there at 8:30 and help unload the van and put the goods out.  You won’t be sorry and feeding your family is worth it!

Next up will be a post about all the great vegetables and herbs growing all over our campus that are just yours for the picking!

Eating Out of The Pantry

11 Jul

Sometimes finances for students here at Concordia Seminary dictate some frugal food creativity.  For July, we are not spending any money on food (or anything else!) except for milk and if we absolutely have to, eggs.  We get fresh fruits and vegetables (that are at the end of life and need to be used up in a few days) on Saturdays at our Sem food bank.  We also get bread at the food bank and twice a month we get canned staples and a few frozen items.  Obviously, we can do a little more with that to work with then someone who does not have these resources.  Hopefully this will still inspire you to dig around if your freezer and cabinets and eat the food you have!

Here are a couple recipes to get you started.  I will try to get pictures of our food from here on out.  I’m not a food stylist.  Please don’t judge. 😉

Great macaroni salad that I took as our contribution to our weekly community BBQ:

Picnic Macaroni Salad from Fresh Plate

Saturday I made Spanish Rice and served it with Cheese Roll Ups:

Spanish Rice:

2 T. olive oil (or whatever you have)

1/4 cup chopped onions

1 small green pepper, chopped

1 can diced tomatoes, undrained

1 1/2 cups water

1/2 cup chili sauce

1 cup quick cooking rice

Cook the onions and pepper in oil until slightly soft.  Add tomatoes, water and chili sauce and bring to a boil.  Add rice.  Cover and cook five minutes.  Uncover and let cook until liquid is mostly evaporated and rice is tender.  I’m sure you could do this with long grain rice too, just adjusting the liquid and cooking times.

Cheese Roll Ups

8 flour tortillas

4oz. cheddar cheese, shredded

Spray an 8.5×11 pan with cooking spray.  Roll shredded cheese in tortillas and place in pan.  Cook at 350 degrees for 10 minutes, or until cheese is just melted.  Don’t let your tortillas get too crunchy. 🙂

Happy Cooking!

Debbie