A bit of meal planning with the grocery store ads can be economical and full of variety with the makings of a full supper. Also, it is an easy method of planning more than one meal. It does include a lot of canned goods, which is a bonus because their “by” date usually allows for a long time in the cupboard.

I made this meal from a multi-page ad. It was enough for three suppers.

Menu

Tossed Salad

Meatball Stew

Crackers

Applesauce and Cookies

Salad

Bag of greens and a bottle of your favorite dressing.

Meatball Stew

1 can (15 ounces) tomatoes, petite cut

5-6 ounces tomato sauce

1 can (15 ounces) whole kernel corn

1 can kidney beans

Frozen package of meatballs, thawed

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Heat up the oil in a skillet and add the meatballs. Brown the meatballs, tumbling as they cook in the oil. Drain and set aside.

Add the tomatoes, sauce, corn, beans and salt and pepper in a slow cooker. Gently stir in the cooked meatballs.

Cook on low for 5-6 hours, or high for 2-3 hours. Serve with the crackers.

This dish freezes well.

Dessert

Simply serve a cup of prepared applesauce and put out a selection of cookie

It’s just that easy, especially with a slow cooker. The stew works well in a large pot; just stir as it heats up.

For a bold kick, use the chili added tomatoes. And, perhaps, a shot of Sriracha.

H. Peter Baxter of Owatonna has been cooking, baking and frying for various breakfasts, brunches and dinners for many years. He writes: “During the past dozen years I have prepared and served over 400 meals for churches and special events from 18 to 120 persons. Further, I devoted two years as chef for the Hidden Creek Golf Club, and eight years as baker for the defunct Custom Coffee.

“In years past I have attended numerous cooking classes including the six week American Heat Association cooking school and years of the Kayler seminars. In the late ‘90s we published our cookbook ... The North Forum Cookbook. A few years ago I was certified by the Minnesota Department of Health as a Safe Food Handling Manager.

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