Monday, February 27, 2017

Being Frugal during weather whiplash

 From mid 50s to mid 60s  on some days and down to 20s and 30s on others. Even with my fall garlic and onions covered up they are going to take the hit with their greens up.We tried covering them up with blankets but the winds were over 40 mph with gust higher at times. Pollen went up and took my allergies right with it. They are saying that this year will be a bad year for allergies so I picked up more distilled water for my sinus rinses and got 11% rebate on it. Turned the furnace off a couple times but had to turn the space heater on when the winds got and the furnace couldn't keep the heat up.

Filed our taxes with Credit Karma for free. We have to file a 1040 and usually that's a pretty penny.

Saved 20¢ a gal off gas buy using GasBuddy to find the cheapest and then it happened to be a Speedway so Hubby used his card for an additional 3¢.

Used the Kroger points from our shopping in Jan. Got 60¢ off per gal of gas. Won't get any off gas in March as I didn't shop at Krogers in Feb. Just didn't have any sales that was that good.

Hubby had a meeting that was going to run late so he he called me and told me to not fix dinnger good thing he had coupons with him for Wendy's and bought that for us to eat instead of my cooking dinner after he got home. Good thing because I would have only cooked for him (and for his lunch) as I wouldn't have had dinner done until 7. Very late for me to eat and take meds. IF we had knew it was going to run late I would have fixed soup or something that I could have ate and he could have when he got home.

Used my Subway card to get subs. I had enough points to pay for one and the other one was $6 on sale.

I cooked and dehydrated pumpkins...still have several to do. I turn the dried pumpkin into powder. We won't need pumpkin for about 2 yrs. I might get some wee be littles or jack be littles, some use them for decorations but they are about the right size for baking for a veg for one person.

I dehydrated a batch of the fall apples. Have one more batch of them to do . Starting to get mushy to eat but fine for dehydrating.

I took the scraps from the pumpkins and apples out to the field to compost as my composter isn't working as it should.

Figured out we save $86.50 by going after the washer instead of paying of it to be delivered. We figured milage not just gas.

Washed and dried food freezer bags, bread bags and dry food liner bags.

Saved more distilled water jugs for mini hot houses and the boxes the jugs(we buy it by the case as it's cheaper that way) for boards for my fabric.

Cleared sq ft gardens and added the dirt we already had. I have one more place to clear then I can start filling the pots that I have to plant it.

Got 4 reusable bags at home show to replace worn out ones. Using worn out ones to put donations in.

Found a great article in Real Simple Magazine( $2 for a year subs.) about HSA which is what our ins is changing to next year.

Started walking perimeter (1/3 mile) and stretching to adjust to using the clothes line and planting the garden BEFORE I actually start doing that so I don't end up in the doctor's office again this year.

Transferred my balance at Pinecone Research to my savings. I do that once a month. The same with my Swagbucks.

We were going to go visit my in law's but it was nice out and they wanted to meet us at a restaurant that was mid way to us so they could get out of the house. We used our tax refund to pay them the loan they had lent us. I used the last of the eat out budget and part of what was left of the grocery budget to pay their dinner so all it cost them was their gas.They are retired now and live on a very strict budget.They weren't planning to retire so soon but their companies sold out and that was the best to do.

We did end up eating out 4 times this month even with the pantry challenge. IF we hadn't bought mu in laws meal we would have still been under budget ...even so I still have money left in the grocery budget so we are still in budget. Leftover money was set aside to stock up this fall.

I had blood work and found my A1C had went from 5.2 to 6.4 (diabetes is 6.5) in 6 months. Doc thinks it's the steroids that the GI has had me on. SO I am being weaned off them (doesn't make GI happy , she understood though I haven't spent a lifetime doing what I can to NOT be a diabetic , runs strong in both sides of my family to go into it with meds that I don't have to take) as she was wanting me to take them for a year. The company that makes the steroid I am on said it would only work 3 months for my condition and then THEY suggest you come off...a year is for severe Crohn's. My VSL #3 seems to be doing the best for me which is not paid for by ins because my GI will not fill out the paperwork for that. She refused to fill out intermittent family leave for hubby so his company worked it out with the company that deals with that stuff so my primary could fill it out. She did say he needed it , she just doesn't do that unless you are being operated on.I would change doctors again but the others I have interviewed are worse about taking steroids and all said they wouldn't agree to me taking VSL #3 as it's not tradition meds.I will add my GI has my primary run all the blood work as she feels I don't need stuck twice and have 2 bills and I sure don't need to drive to her office to get blood work as she's not connected to the hospital here.

We decided to eat from the pantry in March.

Blessed Be













Monday, February 20, 2017

Frugal week, quick meals and a sign of spring to come

 I mended two items.

We found an automatic washer close to what my son uses that I do like. It's a little bigger than his so my comforter will fit so no more laundromat ($360 savings/yr) and the washer was on sale so one and half years of NOT going to laundromat will pay for the washer. Top with the fact it will wring out the clothes more than my wringer washer does so the dryer won't run as long. I will still  use the drying rack and clothes line just like always. The washer comes in on Thursday and we decided to pick it up ourselves to not pay the fee for delivery.

We tightened the clothesline as it's a decent couple of days and I should be able to use it somewhat with doing laundry this week.

I cut some boxes up to use to wrap extra fabric around when I finish putting my sewing room together. Which will not be this week since it's nice I will be outside in the gardens.

We went out to eat for our anniversary to our favorite steakhouse. Went during the afternoon to pay the cheaper prices, brought home enough leftovers for 2 meals as neither of us eat that much any more.

We went to a home show to see what is happening in that end, getting ideas for when we build and some ideas to pass to our son as he is looking at doing some changes in the home he bought a couple years ago. We ate brunch at Big Boy's using a coupon we still had so didn't need to eat any lunch. We finished some odds and ends in the frig for our dinner and went for ice cream for our dessert for our anniversary.

Checked the gardens to see what work was needed done before we started planting and make sure I have all the supplies I need for that.

Meal wise...

Quick and simple and cheap..

Pulled meatloaf from freezer(I always bake a second one and cool overnight and slice and package for freezer) and leftover mashed potatoes I had froze and leftover corn, Cherry pie filling in shortcakes for dessert (10 min total time, basic plate and nuke while putting cherry pie filling on shortcakes)

Pulled precooked hamburger from freezer and homemade pasta sauce from pantry for pasta, made cheese and garlic biscuits using Bisquick. Tossed what was left of the roasted winter sq in the sauce. (prep time...5 min, cook time 15 min, not including oven warming up...took less time to cook pasta that( I started with hot water and in a skillet to cut time on cooking pasta ) than it did to deal with the biscuits. Next time I will preheat oven before getting pasta around.

Pulled precooked bulk sausage, tossed with potatoes (boiled with skin on, cooled overnight and then skinned and diced) in frying pan and mixed in a couple beaten eggs. Served with toast and combination of leftover fruit.

Made soup from odds and ends and ham broth

tonight I am using leftovers from steakhouse to make philly steak pizza, pizza crust was from Tightwad gazette and takes about 10 min, I'll prebaked it while nuking the bell peppers,onions and mushrooms I will be adding to the leftover steak I cut up. Prep time 15 min, cook time 20 (I make 2 pizzas) Tropical fruit blend with kiwi added for the dessert. I have a late doctor appt today.

I plan on to eat from the frig freezers this week to clear those out.

My spring flowers, pretty sure they are my tulips LOL... even though I KNOW winter will be hitting again in a couple of days, it made me smile to see the beginning of spring.




Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Mid month Goal check in


Happy Valentine's day to each and everyone. No Hubby didn't give me flowers. Hubby doesn't do that sort of thing.I'll be lucky if Hubby remembers what today is when he comes in from work. I bought these for myself last year. Didn't spend the money this year.Decided I wanted hand towels and cloths for the bathroom more than flowers. I prefer to change towels and cloths daily and hadn't replaced the ones that wore out last year...we both have been sicker this year and I think that is part of the issue since I only do laundry once a week. With a wringer washer it's not toss it in and walk away.

I did my mid month goal check this morning... we have eaten out 2 times with 3 as the limit I wanted. Last night was a last minute eat out...I went to a doctor appt and it ended up with the doctor removing a spot that was cancer off my nose that hadn't been planned but he didn't feel I should drive another two hours (round trip ) for a 2 min procedure as it wasn't deep. On the negative side I drove myself and I wear glasses right where the spot is/was and it hurt like all get out with the my glasses and I ended up with a migraine by time I got home. I used grocery money to pay for the eating out.

SO where am I at.

Dogs budget is good, nothing has came out of their budget.I know dog food will come out this week since Menard's has their 11% rebate going on.

Our grocery budget is doing really good even with the Taco Bell run last night we have only spend $50. I got milk for $1.58 for a gallon and lg eggs for 59¢ a dozen and portibella mushrooms for 79¢ a lb this week. No limit on the eggs (I got 10 dozen) but was on the mushrooms.

We have ate from the pantry. I baked the last ham that was in the freezer. I have ham broth to can today and ham fat to strain and freeze today also along with apples, oranges, pumpkins and all else that needs to be dealt with that was in winter storage that will be getting icky with the coming of Spring. I made note of what we didn't use to compare to what we stored so I don't get as much this coming year.

We are doing the programs for our health ins. Have met the min requirement already and are working towards the next level. There are 3 levels and each level helps lower the cost of what we pay next year.

I still haven't finished the cookies and candy for the kids...SIGH.

I have been getting 50,000 steps a week even without walking the perimeter daily. Weather has either been too cold which makes me hurt or too wet with walking in mud as the perimeter isn't very grassy.

I haven't been doing my yoga but have been doing the stretches and PT my therapist told me to do at home.

I missed 2 days of shining my sink (not back to back)but caught them up the next day. I missed 2 days of decluttering but since I am down to 94 places to declutter for the year I am not too worried about that.

I started my great grandson's afghan yesterday at the doctor's office.

One on the sweet potato's that I started for slips isn't doing anything so I tossed it this morning and will start another one this afternoon

The mudroom frig freezer that I am working on emptying got filled back up with leftovers. I think I am going to have a eat from the freezer week next week to bring it back down. I do know we have several ice packs that I am probably going to get rid of a few. I need to make veggie broth also, that will clear out a pretty good spot as I keep that veggies peelings in the freezer.

I rolled my coins and put that in my savings this week. We put Hubby's attendance bonus in one week and his overtime in last week. I have the fives I've been saving for this week. We are trying to put something extra each week in the savings.

I am still struggling with my Home Blessing routine. I've got the shine the windows,shine the sink and take out the trash down. Dusting, swish and swipe , sweeping,vacuuming and mopping is still not regular...well the swish isn't daily but it's often enough because we have rusty water and it leaves a nasty ring in the toilet if you don't clean if often enough LOL.

How are you doing ?






Monday, February 13, 2017

I don't use a crock pot or Instant pot..one pot meals

even though I have both. But I do have one pot meals that I make  when I am busy. They are dishes that can be put together ahead of time and then just put on the stove or in the oven. If they are going in the oven so it the sides that includes dessert and sometimes the bread.

Green beans, diced potatoes, onion and ham chunks.(pot)

Cabbage, chunked potatoes , chunked carrots and ham chunks (or bacon or no meat)(pot)

Cabbage, potatoes and smoked sausage coins (pot or skillet)

Hash (any meat with any diced veggie) (Skillet)

SOPP . smoked sausage coins, onions, potatoes and peppers (I use colored peppers) Skillet

Tuna Noodle with peas (skillet or pot)

chicken a la king (pot or deep skillet)

Goulash (boil pasta in skillet first , cooks quicker and you are only having to wash one pan)

chicken and dumplings (pot or skillet)

chuck wagon beans (pork and beans, hamburger or bulk sausage) skillet,fry meat first , either leave grease in or wipe out.

Porcupine meatballs

Boston baked beans

homemade baked beans

scalloped potatoes and ham

stuffed baked squash

fried cabbage and potatoes

Fried potatoes served with milk gravy and cornbread (grew up with this one when Dad didn't get anything while hunting or fishing.)

stew

pork and kraut

dried beef gravy/sausage gravy/hamburger gravy/ leftover meat gravy  served over bread (or biscuits or mashed potatoes or pasta)

Amish chicken roast ( pieces of chicken mixed in a bread stuffing/dressing and baked and served with gravy over it)

pot pie with leftover meat and veggies with leftover gravy (or make a cup of milk gravy...1 tbsp of butter (or grease of any kind) 1 tbsp of flour and 1 cup of milk)

Nonna's soup pot (bean soup on Monday, add veggies and water Tuesday, add rice and more water Wed and pasta and more water on Thursday add more water Friday and served over stale bread that was baked on Saturday and be grateful there was food on the table)

any meat that be roasted ...beef roast, round steak, cube steak, pork roast, pork steak, pork chops,Ribs short ribs, chicken whole or parts, turkey whole or parts, (I've been known to cut off the legs and wings before putting the turkey breast in the freezer. Gives me wings to either fix as a meal or make broth from)  Meatloaf, meatballs, salisbury steak,ham, ham steak, fish loaf (suppose to be salmon but Mom always used mackerel)Swiss steak,



Sunday, February 12, 2017

Frugal week and not shopping


These paperwhites have brought more pleasure than we thought they would especially on today watching the sun shine down on them.I planted them in dirt because I plan to transplant them and hopefully have them again next year.

We have kept bread sacks to reuse.

We have kept the inserts out of cold cereal boxes/baking mix boxes etc to reuse as wax paper.

We kept what few plastic grocery bags we get (we use reusable mostly except for meat) to line the small trash cans in the house.

I made a different laundry soap and only made a little of it as I am not sure if it's going to clean as well. If it doesn't I can always use to to wash dishes with or scrub the floors or something. I won't throw it out for sure.

I double wrung our laundry here is our washer so you understand what I mean by wrung out .LOL







By doing that it cuts drying time in the dryer by 30 min. I hung some things on hangers after they were dried some in the dryer to finish drying, others went directly to the drying rack. I look forward to warm dry weather so I can use our clothes line.

I have been focusing on using my right hand to turn water on at the sinks..why? because I usually use my left and that means I am turning on the hot even when I don't need hot and that runs up the electric bill.

I've checked daily for frugal ideas at The Prudent Homemakers site. Picked the wisdom of Brandy and all that post on her site. ๐Ÿ˜Š

We ate from the pantry even though there was a couple times we had "snacky" foods for meals because of what was going on...like when the furnace went on the blink and I spent most of the day curled in blankets trying to stay warm while the repairman (landlord's nephew) worked on it. We do have a couple space heaters that do an okay job but it was a very windy and cold day so they were struggling to keep the house warm. Even the dogs were curled up with me...or the blankets I should say. At least that isn't a bill I will get. BUT the regular maintenance bill I would get as the landlord doesn't fix what isn't broke. Nephew shows us how to do the regular maintenance so we wouldn't need to  pay someone else (his company only does repairs to what they install) to come do it.

We didn't go to the store to get the buy 2 get 3 free... even though I am craving beef and could have go 2 lbs of ground beef (and 3 lbs of ground sausage for free) I had to really look at the freezers and ask if I wanted to fill them back up....NOPE. I did find 1 1/2 lbs of ground beef in the freezer that is suppose to be fruits and veggies and was able to mix it with a 1lb of ground pork and make Swedish meatballs for last night's supper. SO this week I spent $0 on food.

This week is really busy for me. I have 2 doctor's appts possible 3 as the 3rd one is for filling out family leave papers for Hubby employer. I have 4 webinars to watch for our health ins. I am still spring/deep cleaning and have started planning/organizing seeds etc for this year's gardens.PLUS Saturday is our anniversary and we have chosen to go to the home show which is an hour from us but is in the area we are thinking of moving to when Hubby retires (some year LOL).Price of tickets is less than the local movie which Hubby wouldn't go to anyways.

Today I roasted butternut squash, delicata squash, sweet potatoes and acorn squash and diced them to add to meals through the week. I will also prep carrots,celery, onion, mushrooms and whatever else I find in frig as I prepare dinner tonight.

Tentative meal plan for this week

Bfast: oatmeal,  whatever dried fruit we want mixed in ,cream of wheat, home made egg Mcmuffin using leftover ham instead of Canadian bacon, muffins, French toast(in freezer) and eggs.

Lunch for me  is whatever is leftover or grilled cheese sandwich, Naan bread veggie pizza or crackers, cheese and fruit or cottage cheese and beets. Hubby's lunch is whatever we have leftover from dinner.

Sweets: Eggnog refrig pie, oatmeal and dried fruit bars, cookies (that I need to make for the kids anyways). Jello with fruit, orange jello with shredded carrot(Sunshine jello)

Dinner: spaghetti squash with leftover Swedish meatballs with pasta sauce and cheddar garlic biscuits/ lasagna noodle with mashed potatoes (Facebook recipe) with salad/ hash with root veggies/ mushroom sloppy joes (instead of tomato base sloppy joes it's made with cream of mushroom soup) either as sandwiches or over noodles to make poor man's stroganoff depending on what breads I bake this week/ big egg or casserole to finish off whatever needs ate up. Saturday we plan on eating out.

May you find beauty in your day



Monday, February 6, 2017

Frugal refresher course instructor


Okay it's my Dad. He will be 90 in May and when I go visit I always pick his brain for wisdom. He has "slight" dementia, actually, he thinks his memory is bad because he can't remember sometimes what he was looking for...We do that most days.

BUT when it comes to being frugal...there is NO memory problems what so ever  LOL.

I told him I had ate from the pantry all week, even made calzones. He asked if I baked my own breads...nope as we bought a lot of bread on sale for cheaper than I can make it and then I got the lecture about preservatives preserving my digestion system.

We talked about drinking water between drinking anything else and between bites of food (helps digestive system and him swallow, swallowing can be an issue as we age).

We talked about shopping at Aldi's (he gives a list to my niece that does all that type of thing for him as she's there and I'm not) Said his grocery budget went down by $25 a week because she buys nothing that isn't on the list. Even with him paying her, he is saving money so he thinks the clicklist at Kroger's is a good idea, better one if Aldi's was doing it.He( and my niece) has noticed that prices are higher at the beginning of the month and cheaper with more sales at the end of the month. So she does his non food and other items he gets from Walmart at the end of the month. We talked about what I had on my basic grocery list which he removed half  off the list. Said ...I would enjoy my food MORE if I ate in season for fresh produce...except for the mushrooms, he left the mushrooms on the list.

Carrots, celery, onions, white potatoes and sweet potatoes(only through late fall and winter for the sweet potatoes) and bananas and apples for the fruit. OH and the mushrooms. Right now cabbage is on his list.He might suck that one up as it's the base of the soup he makes every other week. Then he started about gardening. Not surprising as it's Feb.

We talked of planting early potatoes, mid-season potatoes and late potatoes. Late potatoes you can keep some back to replant. Early and mid-season not so much. We talked of heirloom seeds and what he would buy that wasn't heirloom.He still remembers helping his Dad gathering the tomato seeds from the bottom of the bucket for planting the next year. Growing transplants WITHOUT electric.

Starting the work in the gardens in early March as early potatoes, onions and turnips were going in Ides of March. Mid-season potatoes was 2 wks later and late season was mid-April.Granddad always was looking for any place he could put a spade in and turn the ground over to plant food.

I told him I bought the seeds for the next 2 yrs out of the money I saved from eating from the pantry. He said that's how it should be, anything to do with food including what I use to preserve it should come from the grocery budget. If I'm not growing enough (or buying it cheap enough like at the Amish produce sale) then I need to go without it. I told him I planned to do a covered garden for this coming winter. He said if he wasn't alive then he would be looking down watching me,probably wondering why I wanted to eat greens.I have been getting those statements for over 20 yrs..

I decided to not go to the store for perishables, got the milk at Menards when we were getting distilled water for the humidifier even though I paid 50 ¢ more than I would have at Aldi's which was just 1/2 mile away. It kept me away from the cube steak that has been calling my name for a week which I would have spent $10 on and I know that.

I bought a few more seeds that were discounted that I will use in the winter gardens only.

I started my second sweet potato for slips.

I made a list of what I need to plant in the garden and at what time. I need to list when to start transplants through the summer for the fall gardens. I still need to decide where to put what. Dad vetoed where I was putting the potatoes LOL.

Hubby uses his gas card to get 3¢ off a gal of gas. I use my Kroger pts.

I submitted my coke pts (which is ending in March ;( !  ) I'll probably donate the pts to USO as they no longer have what I always as a reward got available any more.

I stopped using plastic bags for things that go in my frig and used containers like the bacon I fried that I got free from Krogers.

I open curtains (and inside doors ) to let sun in,

I saved the grease from the sausage I fried for calzones and made sausage gravy for our dinner.

We turn the lights off when there is enough sun out.Hubby is bad about turning on lights and leaving them on. After 20 yrs he is now turning off the lights and opening the curtains .

I forced paper whites and put them in dirt so I can transplant them for next yr.

I did the mending.

I started cutting cardboard we had saved to use in the craft/sewing room for some of the fabric.I am peeling the "part" off that has writing on some of it.

We both did required things so our health ins won't cost us as much next year when we switch to the HSA.

I decluttered the office supplies and realized we didn't need anything except for printer ink next month.

I decluttered the bathroom and realized I was out of some things...completely OUT so that's on the buy list now.

Our youngest moved and gave us back some planter pots and a picnic table. The older daughter gave us a swing frame so I just need to get a swing for it instead of the whole thing. Mine broke and it's beyond being fixed

Hope I do better at being frugal this week





Friday, February 3, 2017

In the Gardens


But with the weather here in Northwest Ohio, it's 19° with winds at 7mph making the wind chill at 11° and I have no low tunnels (plastic over hoops that just cover the plants) so the gardening is in my head. Unless we count the paperwhites and Ameryst I am force blooming and the sweet potato that I have in water hoping for shouts to start slips.I really miss this rhubarb patch...though I am not looking forward to this springs work of separating it out, it needs to be done so it has more room. I have 2-3 people wanting my "extra" starts off it. Can there be extra when it comes to rhubarb?

I bought half my seed at Menards. They had 2017 Burpee seed at 1/3rd( some was almost half off) off and their 11% rebate. SCORE.
I ordered the rest using discounts. I stayed with what I know grows here at least 80% of the time. I gave up starting seeds a few years ago using grow lamps. Didn't get many out of it and the electric bill was just too high. Even though we have cut the bill almost in half on a regular bases, I'm not sure I want to try again right now. BUT I will start growing seeds for late fall and winter planting.

I have 68 different seeds (no broccoli, cauliflower,red or green cabbages,kohlrabi, as I get the transplants cheap at the auction...cheap is like anywhere from $3-$10 for a flat of 36-48 plants and that includes bell peppers, hot and mild peppers and tomatoes plants in May). We have decided to do winter gardening this year so I will be ordering a few more seeds to cover the winter. Same types that do will in the spring don't always do well in the fall.

I ordered another 10 yesterday and have 2 on the please notify if they come in stock again.

Right now the total cost is at $300 ( right on the mark) with a savings of $65. Those seeds will cover 2 years of planting some 3 yrs.  I figure $ $200 a year for seed. That's a lot of money I used the money we saved from eating from the pantry during the month of Jan to pay for it. But really it isn't when you look at that grocery bill and see I spend on average $125 a month on fresh produce. from Oct to April, sometimes May depending on the weather. IF I grow it and do succession plantings (something I haven't been doing) and interplanting like radishes with the beets, green onions around the tomato plants) and do a winter garden that bill should cut down quite a bit. I won't even attempt to grow my mushrooms. I know that in July I will have to prep the winter gardens. I'm adding more work to myself, work days will be longer and more . I also know that I have to sit down NOW and plan what needs to be done at what time because it's not my norm ...when to start seeds for those fall plantings as I will want the plants to be ready to put in those fall gardens for this winter. I need to check the supple of pvc pipes we have and their conditions along with plastic and purchase some good row cover. I used to read MotherofaHubbard blog...she's moved to Four Petal Farm and is on FaceBook if you want to check her out.She's in zone 6A and I'm in 6B so I need to adjust for that. We get colder 2 wks before her and warm up 2 wks after.

I am going to start some of my spring seeds in water/milk jugs like this   http://www.agardenforthehouse.com/2011/01/making-a-greenhouse-sowing-seeds-updated/

I also pick the brains over at Old World Garden farms blog...they live across Ohio from me but the weather is usually very different, you wouldn't think so looking at a map. But we do get lake affect snow from Lake Michigan at times.

What are the goals for this gardening? that I can put fresh veggies on the table year around (which also means eating in season) and not spending money at the store...or money buying gas to run to the store. I know what has been put on the veggies or what sprays have been used (hot pepper spray to kill the bugs that eat the plant anyway, must have thought the spray was a condiment LOL)

I wouldn't have to spend $5 for a bunch of Swiss chard in mid winter when the garden seed is $1.99 for 250 seeds.

SO ready for spring.



Thursday, February 2, 2017

Quick meals

quick meals  less than 30 min on the table... I make sure I keep the food required in the pantry to do this. I actually have a menu of these listed for me to see when I am thinking of eating out.

I precook ground beef, ground sausage(bulk) and ground pork when I bring it home. I try to keep 10 lbs of each in the deep freezer already done. I prep my veggies the day I shop or once a week so I am just grabbing veggies and not going: gee I don't feel like dealing with the carrots, onions and celery...we'll just eat out. I boil a few potatoes with skin on and then cool and refrigerate also. Doesn't take much reason to eat out..I will make taco meat and sloppy joes for the freezer also

Mac and cheese.Use small shells and boil in a skillet, less water means it heats faster.
 Can toss smoked sausage, ground sausage, ground hamb. ground pork or tuna. Mom used canned mackerel and canned salmon.

Tuna,mackerel or salmon patties, home fries and veggie

123 pasta(1 onion, 2 cups protein and 3 cups veggies usually leftovers with 1 lb of pasta and what ever sauce/gravy/cheese)

big egg (leftovers or what ever is cut up tossed in with eggs to make a fritta or open omelet)

omelets/fried egg sandwich/ egg salad sandwich

oven meal casserole (from my aunt when I got married, 2 cups of leftover meat covered by what ever veggie covered by sliced potatoes and some can of soup...she floated between cream soups, tomato soup and cheese soup cover and bake 20-30 min until hot at 350°)

hamburger pie using sloppy joes and instant mashed potatoes (pretty much the only thing I use instant mashed potatoes for)

grilled cheese (we change what cheese) and raw veggies.

grilled cheese with pizza sauce and pepperoni or some kind of "pizza" meat called Rocket Blaster by our school system.

subs or tortilla wraps with what ever we had on hand(sandwich bar) sometimes just scrambled eggs or a egg cooked flat like Subway does.

Rice or mashed potato bowls

nachos using tortilla chips chili and cheese

Chili over spag. for Cinncy chili

quesadillas

Soup either canned or leftovers tossed in broth (can add rice,pasta or potatoes if on light side)

Burritos (canned beans, sometimes add cheese or rice or both) Tostadas or enchiladas the same

Poorman's stroganoff  ground beef with cream of mushrooms soup and horseradish over pasta.

Breakfast for dinner...I am to make sure we have something for Hubby to pack as our dinner is his lunch to warm up at work. He doesn't eat sandwiches that much.