Dinner on a Dime (Really!)


This is not necessarily a recipe as much as a concept. Tonight is the end of a long work week for me and I am tired. I am a single mom to 2 boys, 14 and 4. My oldest often surprises me with 1 or two of his friends for dinner, I actually just think that they’ve caught on, if they stay at my house long enough, I will make them appetizing and hearty food. I hadn’t really made dinner plans, but came home to a house full of teens and a hungry 4-year-old to feed.

So, off to the refrigerator I go. Inside, I knew, was the extra pot roast from 2 nights ago. I had also saved the juice it had cooked in. There was an extra tomato and 1/2 of a large red onion from the Pico de Gallo. More digging brought me to my vegetable drawer, 2 carrots, 3 large mushrooms, celery and a few stalks of asparagus. In my cupboard, there were 3 remaining redskin potatoes, extras from the Smoking Redskin Potato Salad I made for Cody’s B-day pool party.

Oh how the plan has developed! Soup! A hearty beef and vegetable soup. An extra can of beef broth, some Rosemary and Thyme and a TBS of jarred diced garlic get this meal moving! I get to chopping as the broth and juices from the roast are warming up. I add more water and a couple of bullion cubes, veggies (carrots, onions and celery first as they take longer) After half an hour, I have cleaned out my refrigerator of it’s leftovers and made the house smell amazing. My son and his friends are now getting too close to the kitchen and Cody is even taste-testing my broth. This is when I remember one of my son’s latest discoveries and send them out on a mission.

Jimmy Johns, its a sub joint all around our area. Cody discovered earlier in the summer while skateboarding with his buddies that they sell day old French bread for 27 cents out the door! He and his friends would take their change and buy a loaf to share to feed their growing bodies, fueling them for more summer-time fun. I have since used the bread for our Italian Subs Pizzeria style and cannot believe the amount I get (same as the deli’s french bread loaves I buy for at least $2.00)

Armed with only a single dollar bill, the boys and thier skateboards have gone for a few minutes. Finally, I have space to finish our dinner without these boys drooling over my stove. I pre-heat my oven to 350 degrees and decide my soup needs a couple of TBS of tomato paste and a splash of Worchestershire Sauce. After adding 2 more cups of water as the veggies and meat are in need of more broth to bath in, I set the table for 5. the bread arrives, is heated for about 6 minutes to make it perfectly crusty on the outside and warm in the middle.

Dinner is served! It only cost me pennies and everyone has full bellies! An added bonus, I have cleaned out my refrigerator as I plan to go grocery shopping soon anyways. Only 2 of them picked out the mushrooms…lol!

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