Pantry Chili: 3/4 pounds of ground beef, cooked up with one onion, and the celery remnants from my veggie drawer (about 1 1/2 stalks worth.) Add heavy amounts of course black pepper. I added about 1/2 tsp of garlic salt as well. Drain the fat. Add 2,14 ounce cans diced tomatoes and 2,14 ounce cans of chili beans, in sauce, plus 2 cups water and two bouillon cubes. If I had tomato juice, I would have added that instead of water and cubes but made do with what I had. Add 2 TBLS of chili powder and another tsp of black pepper. Bring to a high simmer, low boil, turn down to simmer, taste and add more seasoning as preferred. Turn off burner, then cool, to reheat later and let the flavors meld. I mixed up a box of Trader Joe's gluten free corn bread to serve with this last night, a gift from our division director at work. It had a good flavor but the texture and corn pieces were odd. We have no gluten intolerance so I won't buy in future and stick to Jiffy brand.
Monday night Curry (with leftovers for DD2 on Tuesday): Versions of recipes are on the Sam's Kitchen page. My veggie version is based on Skint Dad's Veggie Masala. Convenience items used were two chicken bouillon cubes with two cups water for the stock, and a can of diced tomatoes. This hands down, has become DD2's dinner of choice.
Chicken Fried Rice: I intentionally made extra rice from the curry to do something with. DH found the grocery store and bought a deli rotisserie chicken (even though I have both breasts and thighs in the freezer!!!), and instant mashed potatoes and jarred gravy, for supper Thursday. I'll take out the reserved rice, 1/2 bag of frozen mixed vegetables, 1 bouillon cube with water, and pickings of chicken from the chicken, to fry up the rice. A splash of soy sauce for a little Asian flavor, push the rice to the outsides, cook up two scrambled eggs in the center of the pan, and stir it all together for a minimal cost meal. This will be supper tonight.
Sea Food Casserole: Alright, it really is tuna hot dish, but a favorite of my family. Mix 8 ounces of cooked pasta of your choice and 1 cup of shredded cheese (great use of odds and end cheeses) to the sauce. Sauce: 1 can cream of mushroom soup, 1 cup milk, 1/2 cup mayonnaise, 1-2 tsp pepper, 1-2 tsp garlic powder, and 1 can flake tuna. Pour into a sprayed casserole; top with bread crumbs and bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees. Easy to make up ahead of time to throw in the oven when you get home. The mayo and garlic in the sauce and the bread crumbs on top take the old school lunch room staple up a notch or two. Yes, I used cream of something soup and store bought bread crumbs, but I mixed the bread crumbs with the crushed bits from the last of the Christmas Chex mix, rather than throwing them out, so added frugal.
Not totally home made, but not restaurant, not take out, and most importantly, not fast food. All are very frugal, and relatively healthy and wholesome. I buy reduced sodium canned goods whenever available, and limit added salt, but am liberal with pepper. I'd love a lower sodium option for bouillon cubes as they are a pantry stable. These all yield a leftover lunch or two as well. Spending on the week, I stopped for bread, an onion, eggs, and bananas, and spent $7. DH spent about $25 on his run for the chicken meal, along with some frozen pot pies and pizzas. We've still got loads of food, so another menu plan will be put together today. Are you pantry and freezer cooking this month?