I've been wanting to come up with a better system for groceries (we usually buy the same fifteen items and then scrounge all week); I want to shop the sales, stock up on items, and come up with meal plans. The next two weeks will be primarily focused on potatoes, though, so I've got my work cut out for me.
Last night, I made a potato bake (no pics, sorry). Here's my recipe:
- A crap-ton of peeled and grated potatoes (sorry, don't know how many we grated. Just start grating and stop when you hit knuckle. That's what Joey did)
- some diced ham (we used leftover deli-sliced ham from the freezer)
- 2 cans of cream of celery soup (I used 98% fat free, and would probably use 1 can of cream of mushroom soup next time)
- A little yogurt (b/c it's what I had. I would probably use light sour cream if I had it)
- A little cheddar cheese
- a little Parmesan cheese
- some bread crumbs
I mixed up the first five ingredients and spread it in two casserole dishes, then topped with the Parmesan and bread crumbs. I baked it at about 400 for 45 minutes. It was pretty good! We ate off one, put the rest of that one in the fridge, and then froze the second one in individual servings (we save egg drop soup containers for this purpose).
Tonight, I made LOTS of gnocchi. To do this, I used:
- Another crap-ton of peeled potatoes, diced
- a crap-ton of flour (I mixed white and wheat)
- A little melted butter
I boiled the potatoes for 20 minutes, strained in a colander, mashed up, added the melted butter, and then started adding the flour. When it was of a consistency that I could start to knead it, I turned it out on a floured board and worked in flour until it looked like any other dough (it will be a little stickier than normal dough). I rolled pieces of the dough into logs and pulled off bite-sized portions. Since I made so much, I didn't use the fork to give it the traditional "gnocchi-look," so I rolled them into balls instead. We ate them with some canned tomato sauce that Joey jazzed up with garlic, onion, and Italian seasoning.
It was a TOTAL hit..really good. We put another serving for each of us in the fridge (so we can use up the rest of the sauce) and froze the rest. It makes me feel really good to know that I'm starting to build this selection of meals in the freezer so we can always have something to turn to and don't have to always think about going out.
I'm even more resolved these days to be frugal with what's going on in the economy and looking at the costs that we're going to have to deal with between Joey driving back and forth to school twice a week and me starting grad school in the spring (hopefully). I really feel as though we can end up making ourselves (and our parents) proud with our frugality when all is said and done.
I've also been feeling pretty excited these days...I think it's the thought of fall coming again and the thought of all of the hustle and bustle that the last four months of the year tend to bring. I'm actually looking forward to the holiday season this year, I think because I won't have to be in survival mode, coming off the traumas of 2007. This year, I think we'll put up a Christmas tree and do all of the traditional, "fun" stuff. I'm not going to let myself get so busy that I don't take time to enjoy those things, especially with how hard it's going to be for Joey with his schoolwork. Learning how to put the most important things first is always easier said than done.