A big part of saving money is the kitchen is planning ahead and changing those plans if the need arises. Things to consider include using up any leftovers, frozen food needs to be taken out of the freezer the night before and allowed to thaw, beans need to be sorted and soaked overnight, if you have produce on hand or ready to be picked in the garden that needs to be taken into consideration as well.
I had been planning on making grilled chicken for dinner tonight, but a couple of things changed my mind. First off, my Dad fixed something on my car for me yesterday and I wanted to make something nice for him and he isn’t crazy about grilled chicken. Also, yesterday while at the Flea Market my Dad was given 12 ears of Peaches and Cream corn on the cob, cucumbers, several tomatoes and peppers, all of which he gave to us. He also gave us a bunch of grape tomatoes out of his own garden, so all of that needed to be taken into consideration for dinner tonight.
Dad loves Cube Steaks in beefy mushroom gravy, and I had some cube steaks in the freezer from a sale last month and beefy mushroom gravy in the pantry from a sale the month before, so last night I took the cube steaks out of the freezer to thaw overnight in the refrigerator. I also went ahead and made a gallon of tea last night, so that it would be cold by dinnertime today. This morning I went ahead and shucked all the corn and then, since the garbage place is open on Mondays, went ahead and hauled it off with the rest of the garbage so we wouldn’t have that mess in the house.
When I got back home I went ahead and sliced up some of the cucumbers with a Vidalia onion I had and mix up some vinegar and water and let them soak until dinnertime. I also sliced up some of the ripe tomatoes. I had some baking potatoes that Mom had given to me last week, so I planned on baking them today to go along with the Cube Steaks.
So this is what our dinner menu looks like today:
Cube Steaks in Beefy Mushroom Gravy
Baked Potatoes with Butter & Sour Cream
Peaches & Cream Corn on the Cob
Sliced Cucumbers & Onions
Sweet Iced Tea
By changing my plans from the chicken, which I would have served with rice and vegetables from the freezer, I was able to use up a lot of garden produce that was given to us rather than letting it sit around and possibly go to waste. And, I still have the chicken in the freezer for another day. Planning ahead is a good way of saving money in the kitchen, but we should always hold our plans loosely in case we are given food that needs to be used sooner than we had planned.