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Category Archives: Double Dip Monday

4 meals from one chicken

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For today’s Double Dip Monday, I want to share how I got four meals for three people from one whole roasting chicken.  I will be upfront and admit that Daughter and I don’t eat very much meat, so this might not work out to four meals for you, but the principles still apply.

To start, I roasted the chicken whole for our big Sunday meal, and served the meaty breast and legs with brown rice.  There was one breast left over, plus the meat that was on the rest of the bird, so I picked that off, shredded it, and put it in the fridge.  I saved all of the bones, plus the meat on the wings and back, and made cock-a-leekie on Monday by adding leeks and the leftover rice.  This gave me enough soup for two full meals for the three of us, if I added some rolls or scones and a few cut up fresh veggies.  On Tuesday, I took the leftover shredded meat, added in some random salad bits I had floating about the fridge and some actual leaf salad, and served up chicken salad with a balsamic dressing.  Then, on Wednesday, I served the leftover cock-a-leekie.

Given that I could get three to four meals out of the roasting chicken, I splurged and bought a free-range, organic bird (what I generally refer to as “happy hens”).  The upside was that the bird was so flavorful that none of us ate as much as we would have eaten if it had been a factory bird.  I plan to try this out several more times, just to see if it is one particular type of chicken or all happy chickens in general, but you can get several meals out of any bird if you’re clever about it…


Double Dip Monday – again

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Oh, I know it’s been a long, long time since I’ve posted anything, but things have been rattling around in my brain.  We’ve been ill off and on, plus the weather suddenly turned gorgeous, so we’ve been outside as much as possible.  On the other hand, I’ve gotten very serious about my grocery budget in this country, and have limited myself for the whole month by taking money out of the cash machine and using only that (otherwise known as the “envelope method”).  This means that I have been emptying my pantry and freezer of anything usable first, before going to the store, which leads to fewer trips to the store and more time in the park (ultimately).

Here was my menu for last week:

Breakfasts were either cheese and bread or eggs and bread, with some kind of mild coleslaw for a veg.  We’ve definitely entered the barren months between abundant winter storage and sprouting spring garden.

Lunches were always either leftovers or polenta/pasta.  Husband took either apples and pears or leftovers to work for lunch.

Dinners were such –

Monday was roasted root vegetables with rice, cabbage salad, and some bits of bacon and cheese.

Tuesday was red beans and rice (actually quite a good way to clear out the freezer).

Wednesday is the day when dinner has to be done early and has to be easy and reheatable, so it was hoppin’ John and cornbread (incidentally another good pantry meal).

Thursday is a day when I have time to cook, so I made vyprazeny karfiol with potatoes and parsnip soup.

Friday, oh Friday, you always sneak up on me, and despite my grand dinner plans, we end up staying too late in the park.  I had planned on lentils and rice with caramelized onions, but made it home only minutes before dinnertime.  To prevent us from going out for food, I made pancakes.  I foresee a lot of Friday pancakes in our future…

Saturday is a great day, because it is market day, and all of our meals are cobbled together from last week’s buys and this week’s buys.  For instance, we had cheese and bread for breakfast and lunch, with various leftover salad bits.  Then we spent all afternoon at the park with a bunch of other families, and I made a GF snack with pastry from the freezer and cheese and pesto from the market.  Dinner was another “we’ve been in the park too long and now what are we going to eat” creation of GF pasta, pesto and cheese.  (yes, it was close to the pastry, and no one complained because we were thrilled and tired from our long romp in the park.)

Sunday is another one of those days when meals always sneak up on me – all three yesterday, actually.  We woke up late because of the time change, fended for ourselves for breakfast, then came home late after mass, so I threw together a veggie Thai curry and rice (ok, basically I cooked rice in one pot, then dumped frozen veggies and a bottle of curry sauce in another).  The time change caught us again at dinner, so Husband and Daughter had toast with grilled onions, leftover salad bits, and some milk.  I had rice cakes and home-made Nutella.

I think I need to try a crockpot.  What do you think?

Dieting and money

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Why is it that dieting is always so darn expensive?  You would think that it would be cheaper since you are eating less food, but it never seems to work out that way.  Husband and I have been doing the South Beach diet this past week, and I am wiped out.  We both have a severe sweet tooth, so breaking that addiction is very helpful for us, but I have a hard time eating so much meat and eggs.  We’ve had eggs everyday for breakfast, which works out to fourteen eggs a week per person!  I feel a bit foolish really, but it is only for a few weeks, and then I can’t take it anymore.  I need my fruit and oatmeal back (and fewer eggs).

I generally don’t actually go on a diet, unless I really need to, for instance if I am carrying around post-pregnancy weight or, ahem, post-dissertation weight.  I usually find that eating just a bit less and climbing a few more stairs works out well for me.  However, Husband is really in need of a dieting jumpstart, so I agreed to go along with it.  I will go back to regular eating sooner than he will, but sacrificing together through these first few weeks seems to really help.

My only Double Dip Monday thought is that it is much easier and cheaper to go on a South Beach-like diet in the summer when fresh veggies and meat are cheaper and more abundant.  Doing it in the dead of winter is financially foolhardy, but, as Husband says, it’s hard to put a price on something if it improves your health…

Another look at last week’s meals

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Wow, looking over my calendar, I can see that last week was complete and total chaos.  I must apologize to all you who are GF, because I didn’t eat much last week = ).  I had been away and came back late Saturday night, only to discover that Husband and Daughter had subsisted on bread and eggs for four days.  Anyway, here it goes…

Sunday was a monumental effort by me to use up the gluten stuff I had purchased but no one ate, like sachet soup and instant pasta.  So that was lunch and dinner, and breakfast was left over bread.  I couldn’t tell you what I ate, but it probably revolved around rice cakes.

Ditto for Monday.

Tuesday was a bit better, I think.  I made hush puppies and black bean soup for dinner, and lunch was GF noodles.

Wednesday was even better, since I forgot to go to the store, so breakfast was all eggs, lunch was more GF noodles, and dinner was instant Thai curry (from a jar that I picked up on sale and had in my pantry).

Thursday was more eggs and leftovers, and dinner was particular inspired – broccoli and rice. = )

Friday was a bit better, though we probably had oatmeal for lunch, and maybe breakfast.  Dinner was GF pizza, home-made, with love, out of some pantry items (pesto and olives).

Saturday was a pancake breakfast and hot dog lunch, as we had some little girls over for the day.  Dinner was (drumroll, please) real Mexican food!  They just opened up a taqueria around the corner from us, so we decided to check it out.  We stuffed ourselves.  It was amazing.

And that was our week in food.  Not very exciting, but still affordable (minus the Mexican).  Next week, we’re starting a diet, so things will be a bit pricier and a bit out of character for me.

Hope it helps!


A look at GF weekday lunch menus

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Or, in other words, a really boring list of what Daughter and I eat at home during the week.  Really, you are going to yawn.

I approach our weekday lunches with an if/then frame of mind.  If we have leftovers (and Husband hasn’t taken them), then we eat those first.  If we have soup left over, then we eat that as a first course.  If we have a certain friend coming over during the week, then we won’t eat porridge/oatmeal until that day, because we always eat porridge when she comes over.  But overall, leftovers aside, our lunch menu revolves around three items.  Ready?

In no particular order, we eat either polenta, porridge/oatmeal, or something called Kašička, which is like cream of rice/corn/buckwheat.  If you look very carefully, you will see a trend ; ).  If I can dump boiling water on it and cook in around five minutes, we eat it for lunch during the week.  I will sometimes add in rice cakes and cheese for a little variance, especially when it is warmer out, but in the cold winter months, lunch must be hot and stodgy.  I also serve either fresh or stewed fruit, and maybe some sliced veggies.  Since the grains are cooked with either milk or cheese, we also get protein and calcium, which keeps us full until dinner (or afternoon snack).  Add in some fruit tea or a glass of milk, and you have yourself a very easy to cook and inexpensive lunch.  It’s just not that glamourous…

A frugal pancake recipe

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For Double Dip Monday today, I thought I’d post a recipe for an instant meal, more or less.  I frequently have some kind of frozen vegetable that I use for baking, such as zucchini or pumpkin, or a fruit such as frozen banana, hiding in the depths of my freezer and no plan for dinner.  I throw this together for the three of us, and it works most of the time.

1 cup of pumpkin puree/ grated zucchini/ mashed banana/ apple or pear sauce/ etc.

1-2 tablespoons of sugar, depending on how sweet you want your pancakes

2 tablespoons of oil

2 eggs

Beat all of this together until well incorporated, then add 1 cup of gf flour with 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1 tablespoon dried milk, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.  You may also add in other flavors such as vanilla or spices.   If the mixture is thick, thin with a bit of milk.  If the mixture is thin, add in a bit more flour.  Depending on how runny my veg/fruit add-in, I generally use somewhere between one cup and 1 1/2 cups of flour.

Make pancakes as normal on a well-greased griddle.  Serve with jam, honey, peanut butter, syrup, etc. depending on what flavor you have going.

Welcome to Double Dip Monday!

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Welcome to Double Dip Monday, the first of a weekly installment I will be doing in honor of the second recession we are now in here in Europe.  For this first post, I thought I would recap the menus I planned for last week, and what we managed to eat.

We were away until Tuesday, so this isn’t a full week’s menu.  I was also using up what was leftover from the holidays, which accounts for some of the more extravagant dishes.

Tuesday dinner was relatively basic – fried apples and onions, with mashed potatoes and a basic vegetable soup.

Wednesday started with our standard breakfast of rolls and rice cakes with cheese, and lunch was leftover dinner from Tuesday.  Dinner was lentil stew with GF oat bread rolls, similar to one the posted here (just minus the dumplings), and apple and carrot salad.

Thursday breakfast was  leftover oat bread rolls with a homemade leek and cheese spread, and lunch was leftover stew for Daughter and I.  Our dinner was a bit more upscale, with onion soup to start, followed by GF pasta with classic alfredo sauce and more apple and carrot salad.

Friday breakfast was homemade granola with milk.  Lunch was leftover onion soup, and dinner was a simple girls’ night in with more leftover onion soup, polenta, fried leeks, and the rest of the apple and carrot salad.  This was a definite step up from our usual girls’ night dinner, which is typically at the intricacy level of oatmeal.

I used Saturday to do a bunch of weekend cooking, so we started with pancakes.  I try to make enough to have leftovers for at least snacks or maybe another breakfast for one of us.  Lunch was a quick frozen vegetable risotto, while I set cock-a-leekie and ranch beans to cook.  I made GF pizza for dinner as a treat.

Sunday was a whirlwind day, starting with our regular breakfast, and including cock-a-leekie, ranch beans and hush puppies for lunch.  Dinner was more cock-a-leekie, and whatever other leftovers were floating around (pancakes anyone?).  It was a ginormous pot of cock-a-leekie, so we even have some leftover for tomorrow.

I managed to keep shopping to a minimum this past week, and I am hoping to do the same this week.  I mostly am buying only milk and vegetables, as we need them, and using up whatever I can find in our very tiny freezer and pantry.  I’m sensing bean burgers for this coming week, and something with that uses up my frozen zucchini, and possible my stewed pumpkin.