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What's For Dinner? March 23 - March 30

Hey everyone! 


Are you meal planners or wondering each and every night what you will make your family for dinner? We try to meal plan because it saves us so much money! We shop only for those items we will be using in the upcoming week. We have cold cereal, oatmeal with yogurt, eggs and toast for most breakfasts. Our lunches are mostly the previous night's leftovers and we really try to use up everything during the week in some form. We have one Date Night per week, and we also allow ourselves one lunch out during the week. Here's how a typical week looks. 


Beef Barley Soup With Homemade Sourdough Bread & Butter

1 1/2 lb Leftover Cooked Pot Roast 
1 32 oz. Carton Beef Broth
1 Pkg. Au Jus Gravy mix
1 Pkg. Beef Gravy Mix
1 10 oz. Can or Jar of Mushroom Stems & Pieces (and the liquid)
1/2 Cup 10 min Barley from Trader Joes
1 tsp. Garlic Powder
1 tsp. Onion Powder 
1 tbsp. Parsley Flakes
1/2 Tsp Celery Salt
1 tsp Paprika
2 Bay Leaves
Salt To Taste
Pepper To Taste
Put all ingredients into a crockpot and cook on low for 7 to 8 hours and on high for about half that time. 


BBQ Country Style Pork Ribs, Air Fried Baby Potato Mix, Coleslaw

Slather those ribs up with some dry seasoning mix and let them sit for about an hour. We LOVE this homemade seasoning mix recipe found at the Simply Happy Foodie website. Go check her out and make some up yourself! Tonight we are using country pork ribs from Aldi and smoking them on our Traegar Grill over applewood chips. Our mixed baby potatoes are from Aldi too, just halved, sprinkled with salt, pepper, olive oil, Dollar Tree French Fry Seasoning and McCormick All Purpose Garlic Herb, Black Pepper and Sea Salt seasoning. Then to keep things nice and fresh, a store bought coleslaw salad mix with shelled raw sunflower seeds for crunch and homemade Coleslaw dressing. 

Coleslaw Dressing

1 cup Mayonnaise
1/4 cup Honey
2  Tbsp of apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
Pepper to taste


Carnitas Taco Salad made with leftover BBQ pork ribs, Mexican Rice, Black Beans, Romaine Lettuce, Tomatoes, Black Olives, Salsa, Jalapenos, and chips

Mexican Rice:  We like THIS ONE because its quick and easily made in the instant pot! 

It's Taco Tuesday at the house! We decided to keep it simple and use some things that were already in the refrigerator and in the pantry. Started with those yummy leftover BBQ boneless country ribs from last night. A little frying in a pan with some vegetable oil left the meat nice and crunchy. We usually have salad makings like romaine lettuce, cheese, olives, salsa, jalapenos, black beans  and corn from our pantry.The chips were actually saved from a lunch out last week and were just enough for the two of us to share. I used the salsa as a salad dressing and hubby had ranch dressing. And the black beans were actually canned by me! The rice turned out perfect in the Instant Pot and even left us with a bit to put in lunch time burritos this week. 


DATE NIGHT. We've been doing Date Night on Wednesday nights for YEARS now! Next week is my Birthday on Monday, so next week's Date Night will be a more expensive night out. My guess we will probably grab something economical this week since its just a few days before payday and we are trying to stay in our budget. There is $30 left in our monthly Date Night fund and I think we can eat out for a LOT less than that!


I'm going to share a little dinner secret with you. It's called Emeals! It's a subscription meal PLAN that gives you 7 delicious meal ideas every week along with a shopping list that you can take with you to the store. You can try it free for 14 days and see if you like it too! After your trial, you can select 3 months for $29.99 or an entire year for $59.99 (as of this writing). There are also several different plans you can get to fit your lifestyle and family size. We love the Budget Friendly Plan for 2 but you could also try Clean Eating, Paleo, Heart Healthy, Low Carb, Kid Friendly and Gluten Free to name a few of their meal plans. You can switch back and forth between meals until you figure out what serves you and your family the best. And the meals are sized for a family of 2 up to a family of 6.  We love saving money on our Budget Meal Plan and there is no lack of variety, ingredients or healthy choices. It's also SO easy to follow the included grocery list in the store or if you have the Emeals App on your phone and a grocery service, you could send in your grocery list to a store like Walmart, Instacart, Amazon Fresh or Kroger and drop by and pick them up or have them delivered. Why don't you head on over and take a look. It might be just what you are looking for to bring the zing back into your dinners! Remember you can try for free for 2 weeks. So without further ado.... One of the meals this weeks is...

Herb Sautéed Vegetable Pasta & Classic Salad

Doesn't that look DELICIOUS!!

Herb Sautéed Vegetable Pasta
1 (4.8 oz) box angel hair pasta with herbs mix (I found mine at Walmart, a Pasta Roni, Rice a Roni item for $1 a box!)
1 Zucchini
1 Yellow Squash
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Tbsp Butter 
(You will also need 2/3 c. milk and 2 Tbsp of butter to make the pasta mix)
Salt & Pepper to taste

Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, cut zucchini and squash into 1/4 inch slices. Heat oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add vegetables and cook, stirring occasionally,  until tender. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Add to pasta when done, toss.

Classic Salad
1 head Romaine Lettuce divided in half for 2 servings
1 Roma Tomato, cut in half and chopped, 1/2 going to each plate
We added in a bit of coleslaw mix, grated carrots, shredded parmesan cheese and topped it with Olive Garden Italian Dressing.

You guys! This dinner is SOOO good! Light but satisfying. Quick and economical. We are gardeners and save a LOT of money when it comes to fresh produce. So this meal probably is less than $5 for us to make if that. 



For dinner on Friday we did a 2nd meal from Emeals this week. It is called Chicken and Stuffing Skillet. A simple dish of chicken chunks with onions and green beans in a creamy mushroom soup gravy topped with a Cornbread stuffing and grated cheese. It was served along side some sautéed broccoli crowns and slivered garlic. SO GOOD YOU GUYS! And the recipe made so much we are having it for dinner tomorrow as well, only we will probably have salad on the side. HERE is a similar recipe you can try. 



On the weekend we like to keep things easy. We spent some time in our garden planting out some zucchini and green beans and were so tired when we were done. Thankfully we had our little leftover dinner waiting for us. I whipped up a an easy Coleslaw salad and a few orange wedges and voilá, a quick weekend dinner. 


Just a quick note on leftovers. We don't mind them. Sometimes we have them the very next day. Sometimes we make them the day after the next one. We will have them for lunches instead of soups, sandwiches and salads. BUT... once a week we do purge our refrigerator of items and Saturday night is our favorite night for that. What isn't eaten up by Saturday night is given to the hens, composted if we can (no meat or citrus items) and the refrigerator is given a thorough cleaning.

That's our Dinners this week. Before you say that you don't see much fruit in our diet, we do eat it for breakfast and snacks. We try to stay with what is growing in season in our area or what we actually grow here at our home. We grow a lot of our own berries; blueberries, strawberries, blackberries and olallieberries. As the season progresses, we also have lemons, apples, figs, cherries, persimmons and kiwi. 


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