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Feeding the Growing Family: Dinner


So far we have discussed breakfast, lunch, and snacks. When I discussed our lunch routine, I hinted at making extras deliberately. That’s because I often turn those extras into our next meal.

These leftovers are not ones that could go into the refrigerator for a few days from now, but rather ones that go into the meal we will be having in a few hours because we do not have refrigeration.

So, I make use of leftovers by creating very simple evening meals. And it seems to be working well for us. Here’s how I do it.


Whenever I think through the day’s meals, I often try to transpose lunch onto dinner. If I’m making beans or potatoes or meat or an easily re-used vegetable (think steamed broccoli, not cabbage soup), I try to recreate it into something totally different and dead-simple for supper.

I might combine a few extra chopped vegetables with the leftover beans or meat from lunch to create this Sourdough Skillet Pie.

I might take leftover rice and mix it with onion and a couple of vegetables for fried rice, topped with eggs.

I might take sourdough starter that needs to be tossed to make room for more and whip up sourdough crepes stuffed with veggies and sauce.

I might throw that leftover soup back on the stove and throw together some rolls or biscuits and add chili powder to recreate that soup.

Leftover lentils might become this Irish Nacho Bake.

I might just add meat and onions and spices to that pot of beans served for lunch and call it chili.

I might just bake some bread or pop popcorn or fry up lard-fried tortilla chips to add some fun to the warmed up leftovers I’m calling dinner.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that we eat dinner like many people eat lunch. Sure, sometimes I haven’t made enough food for leftovers and I have to start from scratch, but more often than not things are just thrown together from what is leftover of that main meal of the day we call lunch.

Right now this works for us because of our lives and our climate and our work-from-home status. But maybe someday it won’t, if our family keeps growing or our children grow into even hungrier teenagers. (Shutter.)

But it’s nice to just have a simple throw-together meal every day where all we need to do is fill bellies with whatever it is that happens to be available. And that, for us, is dinner.

  Leave a Reply

  • Hi Amy,

    We do have a solar freezer and small cooler we use to store dairy products in. I store meat in the (very small) freezer for small quantities, otherwise we can meat ourselves. We butchered one of our longhorns which fed us enough meat for nearly a year, and then we were able to can a significant amount of pork when neighbors had a windfall.

    So we do have the ability to cool stuff, just not the normal refrigerator/freezer setup. Also, we’re moving towards root cellaring and little, if any use of the solar freezer.

    Thanks for your questions!

    Shannon Stonger June 11, 2014 AT 2:09 pm
  • I love this idea — I think it would have to become a habit to start deliberately thinking how to transform leftovers for the next meal.

    I have a curious question — how do you store meat with no refrigeration?

    Amy Floyd June 11, 2014 AT 10:13 am

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