Week 3 of the 30-Day Spending Freeze July 24 – 30, 2016

This past week was a very busy, somewhat hectic week. After prepping for the week’s lunches, I woke up Monday morning sick to my stomach. I am on some pain medications that, sometimes, just don’t treat my tummy well. But, not like Monday!! Thankfully, I had done all of my preparations for the week during the weekend, so I could just take it easy on Monday.

Another part of my work life is that I am a licensed sales agent for Health Insurance. This means keeping my license active. This was the year, and the month, to do all of the studying for the CE’s (Continuing Education) necessary to maintain the license. THEN, I was informed that I will also need to be licensed for Life – which means more studying and more testing. I am in the final week of all of this, so I am very thankful for frugal cooking.

Here’s what is on the menu for my lunch this week:


Here’s the recipe:

Kielbasa and Potato Puffs with Mushrooms and Vegetables

5 stalks celery, chopped (Food Pantry)

6 mini sweet red peppers, diced (Food Pantry)

1 c sliced onions (I used red) (Food Pantry)

1 lb green beans, chopped (I used Frozen) (Freezer)

1 lb kielbasa (I used turkey); or you can use sausage* (Freezer)

2 lb Potato Puffs (I uses Schwann’s Crispy Taters) (Freezer)

½ lb dried mushrooms (I used Shitake, they are meatier and have more flavor) (Personal Pantry)

1 c hot water – to soak dried mushrooms

1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup (Personal Pantry)

½ can water – used to rinse out the soup can

2 tsp chicken soup base (Personal Pantry)

Soak mushrooms in hot water.

Saute first 3 ingredients until the onions have turned translucent. Add the green beans and keilbasa (or sausage) and continue to saute. *If using sausage, drain grease at this point.

Add the potato puffs and gently stir.

Pour soup in bowl and add ½ cup water to can. Gently spoon water around or swirl to get most of the remaining soup out. Pour in bow. Add mushrooms and water to bowl. Add chicken soup base. Stir.

Spray a 4-6 quart crock pot with Pam. Put ½ the vegetable and kielbasa mixture in crock pot. Pour ½ of the soup mixture over. DO NOT STIR! Add other half of vegetable and kielbasa mixture, then the other half of the soup mixture. DO NOT STIR!

Cook on High 4 hours or low 6 hours. The potato puffs will have fallen apart at this point, and that’s okay. The kielbasa adds a fantastic, smoky flavor to the whole recipe.

Lunches packed:


I have notated in the recipe where I sourced the ingredients. This is the whole goal of my frugal cooking – use what is on hand.

One final, Frugal thought. The picture of the vase of flowers above also came from my Food Pantry this month. It is a mix of 2 bouguets and was so lovely for the past 2 weeks. As stated, some of the items are on the cusp of being too old, but they were still beautiful.

On a final note, I will end with a Frugal contemplation:

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