By in Personal

More Mystery Meals and Still Saving $$$

When you only are one person in a home, you'd think that you could get by with less food.

That's the theory, right? But old habits die hard, and I have enough in my "larder" to keep a family of four fed for awhile. I do not have a family of four, nor do I know anyone who has a larder or knows what one is, but I have enough to fill one for the winter.

As mentioned in previous posts, RGD is staying with me as he recuperates from heart surgery. I can help him with things until he is able to drive and be more independent. We live an hour and a half from one another, so this is convenient for him to have someone he knows help him, and I am only 5 to 30 minutes from work, depending on the site, in case he needs help. Plus, he is retired military, so my living on a military base makes emergency services to which he has access easily accessible.

But back to getting through the foods in my freezer, refrigerator and pantry...

In "Mystery Freezer Dinner#2 ..." I shared the daily meals I have put together since he arrived. My not working this week also gave me a chance to take inventory of what I have and start to be more inventive than I have been for just myself.

Thursday: I made fried rice for breakfast using the leftover rice from the dinner from Tuesday night, and a 4-ounce package of Canadian bacon I found up in the freezer. Adding chopped onions, celery, carrots, and eggs, it was a fairly hearty breakfast and we did not eat lunch. That night for dinner, I used some of the beef from Tuesday night to make BBQ Beef Sandwiches, and served it with the last of pickled cucumbers, and beet pickles I had in my refrigerator. I did purchase the onion rolls, and some Italian Lemon Ice for dessert.

Friday: Breakfast was a "must-go" of the bits of leftovers--beef and rice, and a cup of ham soup broth for RGD; fried rice for me. We had an early dinner of tacos, made with the same leftover beef from Tuesday and corn tortillas, served with sopa seca (dry soup) which I made with fideo pasta and a bit of sofrito I had in the refrigerator. My purchase for the meal was: $5.23 for salsa, iceberg lettuce, a can of diced green chiles, and taco seasoning.

Today (Saturday): I looked in the cupboards to see what I could put together for breakfast. Steel-cut oats, golden raisins, pecans and an apple made it into the pot. Served with plain Greek-style yogurt and maple syrup, it was the fuel I needed to keep me going and I accomplished quite a lot today.

I cleared out my fridge and pantry, sorting things that needed to be dealt with and cooked; peeling, chopping, slicing, and preparing. I spent most of my day with potatoes, beets, apples, onions and more. I started dinner in the crockpot; peeled and cut potatoes to serve with the night's meal; boiled, skinned, sliced and pickled enough beets to fill three quart-size jars; and made an apple pie.

Lunch was a quick reheat of the leftover salmon pasta, enough for a small cup for each of us. And tonight's dinner: Swiss Steak (sirloin steak, onions, celery, green pepper, can of tomatoes, and spices), boiled Potatoes, and Brussels Sprouts.

Had I been by myself this week...

I would likely have gone out to eat three or four of the nights this week, spending $45 to $60. As well, I have set up the coffeemaker each night, programming it to make coffee at 7 a.m., which has saved me about $10 dollars for the large black drip coffee I typically buy. So, I probably have saved about $60 in the last five days.

I certainly have been more frugal, and I have thrown very little away, though I did have to peel and pick through some things that were on their last leg. The sirloin steak I used from the freezer tonight had a bit of freezer burn, but turning it into a decent crockpot meal, no one would have been the wiser. It was delicious.

Whether or not I have gained weight from eating more often has not yet been determined. Most of the time I eat once a day, the meal that I usually go out to eat. I suppose I will have to up my exercise level to find the balance.

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Copyright ©2015 Coral Levang

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scheng1 wrote on January 24, 2015, 11:07 PM

Fried rice as breakfast is indeed very filling, especially as you add in so many ingredients.

CoralLevang wrote on January 24, 2015, 11:15 PM

scheng1 I love one dish meals, as they are easy and can be rather inexpensive. I love a lot of veggies, and it's also a great way to use up the bits 'n' pieces that we accumulate through the week. Soups, fried rice, and casseroles seem to be good choices to do so.

scheng1 wrote on January 24, 2015, 11:22 PM

My lunch today will be simple. I have leftover herbal chicken soup, so I will heat it up and add in sweet potato leaves. The soup with 2 buns will be my lunch today.

UK_Writer wrote on January 25, 2015, 4:35 AM

I live alone, on a tiny income, so don't eat out, or have coffees out. I was living mostly on toast for a long time as I just had a fridge and a toaster and microwave - occasionally treating myself to a cheap microwave meal for one (under $1.50) 2x a month or so. But in the last month I've bought a small freezer and a slow cooker. I have an oven/hob, but haven't ever used them yet - I have various odd phobias I have to work through before I can. I used to be able to use an oven/hob, but not this one, not now.... but I need to change that :)

MegL wrote on January 25, 2015, 4:42 AM

Sounds productive and it's always nice to clear stuff out, especially when you can save money by eating in, instead of out! My granny had a pantry (or larder). It was the place for storing items that needed to be kept cool in the days before fridges and freezers. here was the space under the stairs, with the door opening into the kitchen. There were a couple of steps down into it and it was always cool even in mid summer. The surfaces were of stone, so always cold. When houses got smaller, the larder became a cupboard but nowadays, most food is kept in the fridge or freezer with maybe only sugar, tea, coffee, jams and fruit being stored or displayed

Hollyhocks100 wrote on January 25, 2015, 6:37 AM

Everything you made sounds delicious. I live alone too, and sometimes do exactly what you have done using up things that would end up being thrown away.

celticeagle wrote on January 25, 2015, 1:39 PM

Usually eating several times during the day keeps your metabolism going and you may not gain the weight you think you would.

CoralLevang wrote on January 25, 2015, 3:15 PM

UK_Writer Your comment here has been one of my favorites, because it puts life in much greater perspective. Thank you. So often, so many of us forget just how fortunate we really are with what we do have. And I want to thank you for sharing a part of yourself so openly. It means more than I know how to tell you. Hugs. I will do what I can to help encourage you to look beyond the challenges you face w/the oven/hob. :)

CoralLevang wrote on January 25, 2015, 3:27 PM

MegL I seem to have some recollection of a basement with food stores from my early days in the late 1950s, but I do not know where it was.
I used to love going to my favorite Aunt's home and looking at all the food she and my Uncle had canned, including salmon, pickled beets, and much more.

CoralLevang wrote on January 25, 2015, 3:30 PM

Hollyhocks100 Thank you. I am going to see just how long I can live without purchasing too much more. It's about time, right? LOL Otherwise, when I pass, all this food will likely be thrown out.

CoralLevang wrote on January 25, 2015, 3:31 PM

Come on over, &TheresaWiza , and bring the brood with you! I could feed you all!! ;)

CoralLevang wrote on January 25, 2015, 3:32 PM

celticeagle I know that is true, so I'm going to stay off the scales for a bit, because it will even itself out, if I don't keep making apple pies and eating the lion's share! ;)

UK_Writer wrote on January 25, 2015, 4:58 PM

I get by :) I don't like cooking, it's something we have to do. Over the years I've devised many ways to eat cheaply and very quickly - when you're just feeding yourself there's no joy in taking hours in preparation, or even presentation! I'll usually eat from the dish a meal was prepared, or reheated, in :)

CoralLevang wrote on January 25, 2015, 5:33 PM

UK_Writer Since living alone, I do the same in presentation and preparation. Many a time, I have opened up a tin of beans and eaten right out of a can. LOL

seren3 wrote on January 25, 2015, 7:06 PM

Whoa! I'd love to drop into the CoralLevang diner this week! I live alone too and can get quite dull with food!

CoralLevang wrote on January 25, 2015, 8:00 PM

seren3 I think that we single folks need to start getting together to help eat food from those of us who are food hoarders. LOL And as I do love to cook, as long as I have people who will appreciate that I do, I don't mind doing most of the cooking of the soups and such.

CoralLevang wrote on January 25, 2015, 8:03 PM

I LOVE sweet potato leaves. I have eaten them most often in Korean cooking in their side dishes. From where do you post, scheng1 ?

celticeagle wrote on January 27, 2015, 8:32 PM

Don't weight yourself all of the time. One a week or every few days.