Monday, December 21, 2009

Fiber One Yogurt GIVEAWAY!!

I'm running a giveaway on my other blog, At Home with My Monkeys. If you're one of my readers on this blog, please check out the giveaway and enter. You just might win!!

The giveaway is running until December 31st. Good luck!!!!

Sunday, November 22, 2009


Thank you, Janelle (that seems so and Michelle for your comments about leftover cornbread. :-) Now I just hope I can come up with something to say about it!!

I've done a couple of things with cornbread when it's been left, other than simply heating it in the microwave and slathering it with butter and honey. I made a squash casserole once with zucchini and yellow squash, and I sprinkled a bunch of crumbled cornbread over the top. It was very good! I've also turned some into fine crumbs and added it to the homemade bread crumbs that I keep in the freezer for a slight texture enhancement.

One other thing I've done is served it in a bowl of chili with some shredded cheese on top. It goes on the bottom, in place of the corn chips. It isn't quite as good as a "Frito chili pie," but it works in a pinch.

I used to know someone who used cornbread in a unique way, but I haven't tried this one. She would take a good-sized slice and cut it in half (across the middle like a layer cake) so she had two thinner pieces. She would pan fry these briefly in a bit of oil and then top then with pizza sauce and cheese, popping them into the oven just long enough to melt the cheese. They were like little mini cornbread pizzas. I might have to try that one someday.

An idea that popped into my head is croutons. I wonder if you could cube leftover cornbread and bake or fry it till it was nice and crisp? Another thought is a quiche. I really think maybe you could crumble it up, mix in an egg and spread it into a pie crust to be baked before adding the quiche filling. I have no idea if this would work at all, but in theory it sounds interesting! :)

I'm certain leftover cornbread crumbs/crumbles would make a great topping for any casserole (not just squash), and I am thinking that my grandfather used to eat broken cornbread in a bowl with milk, like cereal. That's another use that I wouldn't really want to try, but you never know...

And one last thought that might seem a bit offbeat, but I couldn't resist. If you're sure you'll have leftover cornbread, head it off at the start. Instead of making a pan of it, put your batter into muffin tins and make cornbread muffins. Then when you have some muffins left after dinner, stash them in the refrigerator. The next day, pull them out and spread some cake icing on top. Tell the kids they're a great new cupcake!! Hey, that's almost a healthy dessert! :-)

Good luck with your remaining cornbread. Around here, that's a rarity. And if you have some ideas on how to use it up, please be sure and leave a comment. I'd love to hear some other ideas, and I doubt they would be any stranger than a cornbread cupcake!!!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Need Input....Need Input.....

If you're near my age, chances are that you remember the movie "Short Circuit" from the 80s, starring Ally Sheedy and Steve Guttenberg. Number Five, the cute little robot that you can't help but adore, is on a quest for "input" due to a malfunction in his circuitry.

I know that has nothing to do with leftovers, but in looking at my blogging (or, more accurately, total lack thereof), I need input!!! I haven't done anything that I consider particularly creative lately. I definitely still cook with my leftovers, but most of what I've done has been directly related to other posts I've done in the past. I don't want to bore anyone with repetition, so I haven't posted anything. I'm not happy about this, and I want to change it, but right now I'm just plain out of exciting ideas.

Not too long ago, I had people leave comments with their current leftovers and called it a "Leftover Chopped" of sorts. That was fun and challenging, and got me blogging, but then I ran out of comments and ran out of commentary. So here I am again. Do you have items you need to use that might inspire a post? How about something you eat frequently but never know what to do with the little bit that remains after dinner? Let me know! I hate to leave my followers and subscribers hanging with no new postings, so how about a little help?

I will definitely be posting after next week, with all the Thanksgiving leftovers, so at least I'll have topics then, but surely there are some items in your refrigerators and cabinets that you want gone before the holiday. Maybe I can help! Let's try it. I'll be watching and waiting for comments. :-)

On another, unrelated topic, I will be having a giveaway soon on my other blog, At Home with My Monkeys. I think it will be a fun prize pack, and I will post here when I get the giveaway underway. Please be sure and enter, as I will have TWO winners!

Now...comment away!! Thanks!!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Versatile Rotisserie Chicken

I know I've posted about using a rotisserie chicken in the past, but there are always so many things to DO with it that I had to post again! I purchased a lovely rotisseried bird at Sam's on Wednesday because I just can't resist the $4.99 price. Now, granted, my son made a point of reminding me that I have a Baby George Rotisserie sitting idly at the bottom of my pantry, but I just told him to hush! ;-)

My DH was off work on Wednesday and Thursday, and on both days, we had chicken with various leftover side dishes. Believe me, he can eat a lot of meat, even at lunch! I then deboned the rest of the meat to see what was left, which was enough for another dinner for all of us. I placed the bones in my crock pot and covered them with water, leaving them to cook on high for a couple of hours before switching to low so they could simmer. The resulting broth was a gorgeous color and has the most wonderful aroma - it's just better when it's been rotisserie-cooked, don't you think?

After the broth was strained and the carcass had some time to cool, I got enough more meat off the bones to make a chicken alfredo pizza. Tonight, I'm taking the broth and remaining chicken and making chicken and dumplings. So out of that $5 chicken, I ended up with two lunches for two, and two dinners for five. Who knew a rotisserie chicken could feed 14?? That works out loosely to $.36 per person, per meal. Not bad, eh?

There are a million things you can do with a rotisserie chicken. Entire cookbooks have been written on this topic. What things do you do with one? Please feel free to share your ideas in the comments - I'd love to hear them!

Monday, October 12, 2009

What To Do With Too Many Eggs?

Hello, my wonderful readers! I'm sorry to have left you hanging for so long. It definitely isn't that I haven't been using my leftovers; it's more that I haven't done anything I felt was worth posting. That or I'm just too lazy to use my camera! ;-)

This post, at first look, doesn't appear to be about leftovers, but I still felt it suited my purpose here. It's about not wasting food, and creatively using what you have on hand. This is the overall idea of Not Just Leftovers. Read on.....

So this morning I realized that I had 2 dozen eggs in the refrigerator that expire tomorrow! Yikes!! I planned quiche for dinner, but that wasn't going to use nearly enough eggs. I needed something that used a LOT! I thought about it a bit, and the idea of an angel food came came to mind; however, I dismissed it because I can't imagine making one from scratch.

The more I thought about it, though, the better that sounded. And, really, why not at least TRY it? If the eggs are going to go to waste anyway, if the cake doesn't turn out, what am I really out? I decided I could always cut it up and turn it in to a trifle if it was too terrible.

So I went onto and found this recipe. Looks simple enough, right? And I already have the pan since I bought it for a quarter at a yard sale, just in case. I decided to go for it!

Let me tell you, it's a little nerve-wracking waiting 45 minutes to find out if your cake is looking okay or if it's a flat mess. I didn't want to peek and risk making it fall. Of course, after about 35 minutes, I couldn't resist and I did look. It looked great!!! I was so excited!! Admittedly, it did fall a little bit after I peeked, but that might be normal....I have no idea. It went from about an inch over the top of the pan down to pan level by the time it was done, but that was just the right size!

Want to see it??? Here you go:

Does that look GOOD, or what???? I can't wait to try it! I have already eaten several crumbs, as well as a piece from the bottom that you can't see...hehe! It really tastes wonderful. I can't believe I did it! What an awesome way to keep eggs from spoiling and going to waste....

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Another Episode of Leftover Chopped!

Hello again! I am very sorry for my delay in helping with leftovers in your fridges! I had a substitute teaching gig in Kindergarten on Thursday, and apparently one of the sickly ones decided to share with me. I've been fighting a flu bug for the past couple of days and I just haven't been feeling too creative. I'm still not so hot, but it's more like a bad cold, so I'd like to try and tackle a challenge, albeit too late for the poor contributor, I'm sure! I really am sorry!

Here was my first "Chopped" request, from Jodie:

Oooo...great idea. Let's see what in my fridge... meatballs, carrots, and eggs. Of course I have all manner of rice, pasta, yada yada.

Now the only problem with this sort of thing is that I don't know if the items (i.e. carrots) are cooked or raw, or if they've been seasoned somehow. I'm going to assume for our purpose that the meatballs are cooked and unsauced, and the carrots and eggs are in their natural, raw state. If the meatballs were already covered in spaghetti sauce, then I would definitely chop them up and make either a pizza or a lasagna dish. That would be easy! :-)

If there are only 3-4 meatballs, so therefore not enough to feed the family again with meatballs as the centerpiece, I would suggest making a stuffed bread. Chopped up, the meatballs would be like seasoned hamburger, so you could add a bit of ketchup and mustard and some shredded cheddar for a nice cheeseburger stuffed bread. You could add some spaghetti sauce and shredded mozzarella for a "meatball sub" stuffed bread. The possibilities are endless with stuffed bread!

If there are enough for a full meal, you could have meatballs and sauce served over rice. Just basic brown gravy works well for this, or you can get more creative with cream gravies flavored anyway you choose. A favorite in my extended family involves a combination of grape jelly and chili sauce, so you can truly put together any flavored sauce that tickles your fancy. You might be able to create a sauce with shredded carrots in it!

For the carrots, here is our favorite way to prepare them: Cook either baby carrots or carrot slices until tender. Drain the water and stir in 1 T. sugar and 1 t. salt. This produces a slightly sweet, slightly salty coating that is very tasty.

Another possibility is to chop up the meatballs and make a quiche. My mother used to make hamburger and eggs for us all the time when we were kids (just scrambled eggs with cooked ground beef), so I don't see why you couldn't make a meatball quiche! Here is a simple recipe I've tried for quiche that works well. You could probably shred up the carrot and put it in with the chopped meatballs, but I think they would be better served as a side dish as indicated above.

I hope that gets you started Jodie! I tried to keep most of the sauces and additions open so you can use what you have on hand. If you'd like me to get more specific with recipes, just let me know! And again, I'm very sorry that this was so late. Happy cooking!!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Chicken and Rice

I confess....I'm cheating a bit here. I have three notes with leftover items that need to be used, and I'm starting with the most recent one. I know I should start at the beginning, but when I read this one, I immediately had a recipe thought. I'm taking the easy way out, I know!! :-)

Here is the comment:

Barb, sfo said...
What would you do with chunks of boneless, skinless chicken breasts, rice, and NO soy sauce?

There is a recipe that I make quite often with these two key ingredients. It's actually from Campbells, and it's called One Dish Chicken and Rice Bake. Here is a link to the recipe as Campbell's printed it:
It can easily be done with chunks of chicken breasts, and doesn't require any soy sauce.

Another wonderful recipe that my entire family loves is Jack's Ranch Chicken. I have served it often over rice - the ranch sauce tastes great with steamed rice! The chunks of chicken are perfect!!!

Or how about a chicken and broccoli casserole? Cook the rice and place it in a casserole dish. Cook the chicken and place on top with some thawed frozen broccoli. Cover it with shredded cheese (Velveeta would be good!) and bake it in the oven for about 20 minutes at 350°.

And one more. Chicken tacos. Cook and shred your chicken. Cook the rice, substituting tomato sauce for one cup of water, and adding a little extra water. Combine the chicken and rice, stirring in some taco seasoning. Use as taco filling or as the meat mixture in a taco salad.

How's that for a start? There are lots of things you can do with chicken and rice, but those are my favorites. Let me know if any of those work for you, Barb, or if you need more ideas! :-)


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Let's Play a Game!

I admit it....I LOVE the show "Chopped" on the Food Network! It's always entertaining to see what the chefs do with the bizarre sets of ingredients they find in the famous baskets. I'm frequently amazed at how they put together foods that I would have never even dreamed of including in a single meal. I also find out about a lot of foods that are new to me - I've never even heard of many of the things they are given to cook!

So I was thinking today...wouldn't it be fun to make up my own version of what they do on "Chopped?" It wouldn't involve any competition or short cooking times, but how about I have you, my wonderful readers, send me a list of 2-4 ingredients that you have on hand and see if I can put them together in a meal?

The premise of this blog is to take leftovers and turn them into new meals, but I can't possibly dream up every food combination you might encounter in your kitchen. So let's have some fun! Leave me a comment with a few items you need to use, and let's see if I can come up with a mealtime idea. I'm up for the challenge - tell me what's in your fridge and I'll try to make it a meal! :-)

Friday, September 4, 2009

Breakfast "Trifle"

This one is a bit different, even by MY standards!! :-) I've been doing something fun the past few days, letting each child choose what he or she wanted for breakfast. I made blueberry muffins one day, bacon and eggs the next, and then we got to my older girl. She couldn't decide what she wanted. We discussed a variety of options she liked, but she wanted something different. Here's what we created:

I call it the Breakfast Trifle, even though I didn't make it in my trifle bowl; I made smaller versions in glass mugs for them. It could also be a parfait, but breakfast parfaits generally call to mind yogurt; this is more similar to what I would put in a trifle.

I had made whole wheat banana muffins for dinner last night and had some left over. We cut up the muffins into cubes and I made some chocolate Malt-o-Meal hot cereal (yum!) I layered the muffin cubes with the cereal and sliced bananas. It had a coherent theme of chocolate and banana, so the flavors blended well. The kids enjoyed them, and I enjoyed eating the leftover Malt-o-Meal. I used to LOVE that stuff when I was a kid.

I know this is a little bit high on the "weird" scale, but it ended up being a filling and fairly nutritious breakfast with the wheat flour, bananas, and hot cereal included. And it's another way to use up some of those leftovers!!

For great recipes from people just like you, be sure and visit Grocery Cart Challenge today for the Recipe Swap!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

A Smooth Way to Use it Up

Earlier this month, I purchased a bushel of peaches from a local farm. There is just NOTHING like fresh peaches, and once you've tasted them, you'll never look at the ones in the grocery store again. We ate quite a few while they were fresh, and then I canned up 12 1/2 quarts to enjoy throughout the year. Even canned, they taste better than the grocery store stuff! :-)

I opened my first quart jar earlier this week with a dinner. We ate most of them at that first sitting, but there were a few left that I finished off later in the week. Today I noticed the jar in the fridge with just the peach juice and about 3 small slices of peach floating in it. I started to remove the slices to eat with lunch and dump out the syrup (which was of the extra-light variety) as is the common procedure.

But then I paused, contemplating that yummy peach-flavored, lightly-sweetened liquid. I didn't want to drink it, but how could I use it in a less wasteful way? Inspiration struck and I pulled out the blender. I poured in the syrup, as well as the peach slices that had been in it moments before. I went to the counter and picked up an over-ripe banana, peeling it and adding it to the concoction. Then I opened my freezer and took out a small bag of strawberries I had frozen. I contemplated blueberries or blackberries, as I have those in the freezer as well, but the strawberries won.

I turned on the blender until I had a thick puree, then added some milk and pureed again. I ended up with a very cold, extremely tasty smoothie. I served it to the kids with their lunch today and they were mesmerized, asking for more before they had finished what they had! I didn't add a bit of sugar beyond what was in the extra-light syrup, so it was a fairly healthy beverage.

I'm going to make this a new habit - why waste the delightful syrup with bits of fruit in it at the bottom of the jar? If you enjoy commercially-canned fruits instead of canning them yourself, you could still do something similar - it would just probably have a bit more sugar and additives....but it would still taste great and if you add other fruits, would be just as good-for-you!

I wish I had a picture of the beautiful creation, but it was gone before I even thought about blogging about it. :-) You'll just have to trust me - it was G-O-O-D!!!!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Rotisserie Chicken

First, I am so sorry that I've been mia from the blogging world. I don't really have any excuses, other than life got in the way. Between losing a dear friend to cancer and school starting and a general "blah" kind of feeling lately, I haven't done much with my blogs. I'm trying to get back into it, since I really do enjoy it! So tonight, I'm going to talk about rotisserie chicken. Don't you love those?? The wonderful warm and moist chicken that you bring home for an easy dinner that the family loves..... Yum!! But after a tasty meal, don't you end up with something that looks a bit like this?:

Not quite so pleasant, eh? I think most people just look at that and think, "Leftover rotisserie chicken. Yuck. What am I supposed to do with THAT?" Somehow it just isn't quite as appealing sitting there cold and refrigerated, with the once-delightful juices now congealed and just plain icky! But you should never, never waste the chicken that is left. You can do wonderful things with it!! In this particular situation, I got two more meals out of these leftovers.

My initial advice is to avoid the congealing. It's just pretty much disgusting. Allow the remaining chicken to cool until it can be handled and then pick the meat off the bones before refrigerating. If this isn't possible, you can always rinse off all the "goo," but I know it's a deterrent to making this meat last. I removed as much meat as I could from the bones, and then I set the bones aside in the fridge for making soup later.

Out of some of the shredded meat, I made THIS:

Delicious fried rice made with some of my other leftovers, including some cole slaw mix that was left from bierocks I made earlier in the week. I also tossed in some zucchini from the last picking of my garden. It was soooooo good!

The next night, it was a little cooler and rainy, and just felt like a soup night. So I simmered the bones in a pot of water to make a nice stock and made chicken noodle soup. As I still had quite a bit of chicken left (and still had zucchini, too), I made chicken-zucchini stuffed bread to go with it. Doesn't this look good?:

It was quite tasty! I used some veggie noodles I had gotten very cheaply at the store with a sale/coupon combination to make a very inexpensive soup! I also chopped up some carrots that were left in the fridge. Both of these meals were great use-it-up strategies that didn't FEEL like leftovers. That's kind of the point, isn't it?

Next time you get a rotisserie chicken, be sure you get at least two meals out of it. Even if your family eats most of the meat the first night, you can definitely cook some stock/broth out of it. You'll likely be amazed at how much MORE meat you can get once you've simmered it awhile, too. Rotisserie chickens can be used for multiple meals so you definitely get your money's worth! This just gives you a couple of examples. Let your creativity go, and see what you can do with the sad leftovers of a deli chicken!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Leftover "Pizzas"

Last night we had spaghetti and meatballs for dinner because I needed something simple. After dinner, I had about 3/4 c. of sauce and 2 large meatballs left, which we promptly refrigerated.

Today for lunch, I looked in the fridge for some ideas. I saw the container of sauce on the shelf but had to figure out how to make lunch for three kids out of it. In the drawer of the fridge, I spied some flour tortillas that really needed to be eaten. There were four of them...perfect! I made tortilla pizzas:

In order to give the pizza slices enough support to eat them, I always use two tortillas for pizzas.....I place one on the baking sheet, spread a bit of pizza sauce (or in this case, spaghetti sauce)on top of it, and then "glue" the second tortilla on top. Then I top that second tortilla with my pizza toppings. If you really like a nice crispy crust, before topping the second tortilla, brush it with a bit of olive oil and pop just the "crust" into the oven for about 5 minutes, then proceed with the pizza-making.

For today's pizza, I chopped up the two meatballs and sprinkled them around each pizza, then covered it with shredded cheese. Into the oven they went for about 10 minutes at 400°. My kids absolutely LOVED them, especially how the tortilla edges crisp up. I had to admit, I ended up sharing the lunch with them because they were very good. :-)

Lunch made from two meatballs...see what you can do with leftovers???

Saturday, August 1, 2009

A Blogging Break

I just wanted to post a quick note to let my readers know that I will not have internet access most of next week, so I am going to be on a bit of a blogging break. Please don't think I've disappeared - I will be back soon! Thanks for reading! :-)

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Humble Potato

I've had a little bit of fun with potatoes this week. I had baked potatoes on my menu plan a few days ago and I ended up baking a few more than we were able to eat that evening. So what do you do with leftover baked potatoes?

I know there are tons of ideas for the versatile vegetable, but I'll tell you what I ended up doing that we all enjoyed. I took the 4 remaining potatoes and cut them in half. I scooped out some of the white centers, leaving 1/4" to 1/2" of flesh on the skins. I brushed these with olive oil and baked them for several minutes, turning halfway through, until they were pretty crispy on the outside. Then I put them peel-side down on the cookie sheet and filled the space with shredded cheese and bacon bits. I baked a little longer, just till the cheese melted. We spread on sour cream and had great potato skins another evening.

Do you think I tossed out that scooped potato?? Heck, no!! I put it in a container in the refrigerator. Today for lunch, I pulled it out and dumped it into a saucepan and added some milk. I stirred until it was about to boil, then simmered it for a bit. During the simmer time, I stirred in bacon bits, cheese, and some dill weed, along with a tiny bit of salt. My son and I had absolutely delicious baked potato soup for lunch. We thoroughly enjoyed those "leftover" baked potatoes.

Another idea for cooked potatoes is to cut them into chunks and toss with a little Lawry's seasoning salt. Place them on a cookie sheet and bake at 375° until they crisp up a bit. Then top with your favorite shredded cheese and return to the oven until it melts - yummy!

If they aren't baked until they're super soft, you can cut them into cubes and make a flavorful potato salad. However, you have to have them baked just till they are barely done or they will fall apart when you stir. Be gentle, and only try this if your potatoes aren't too soft.

If, on the other hand, they are baked until they are super-soft, you might make smashed potatoes - just mash them up, skins intact, and add some milk and seasonings. Cut some cream cheese into cubes and mix it in, then pop into the oven till it's heated through. Stir and serve.

I know there are plenty of other things to do with potatoes. These are some of my family's favorites. Do you have some great ideas to share? Please leave a comment!!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Have I Gone Over the Edge?

I know that some of you are going to think that I've finally gone over the edge with using leftovers. Yes, you do actually see ZUCCHINI on that pizza. But before you close the window on what you consider a very weird post, let me tell you that it was actually GOOD! Hard to believe, I know, but I decided to try it, and I'm almost embarrassed to say that I liked it!

Yesterday my menu plan got messed up. I was supposed to cook a rotisserie style chicken, but I forgot to thaw it! Oops. It's definitely not a good idea to cook a completely frozen whole chicken, not even knowing what's inside that cavity. Yuck! So I kicked into change mode and made a new dinner plan, basing it on the abundance of fresh produce we currently have in the house. We had grilled pork chops, grilled zucchini, grilled mango, baked potato skins (I had leftover baked potatoes I needed to use), "fried" apples, and sliced peaches, pears, and nectarines. After dinner, we still had one pork chop and several slices of zucchini remaining.

Friday night is pizza night here. It's a tradition that we rarely miss, because it's an simple, delicious dinner that the kids love. I always try to use anything that's left in the fridge on our pizza, even when it might seem a little strange. Tonight I had some alfredo sauce, and pork goes well with the alfredo (I mean, it IS the "other white meat," right??). My kids absolutely love fresh spinach on their alfredo pizza, so I covered my wheat sourdough crust with the remaining alfredo sauce, covered it with several spinach leaves, sprinkled on the finely diced pork chop, and then eyed that zucchini. Why not try it?? So I cut it into chunks and put it on the pizza. I did leave several slices zucchini-free in case it wasn't so great. I topped the pizza with a combination of mozzarella and cheddar-jack cheese and into the oven it went.

I was actually surprised that it tasted as good as it did. I really wasn't sure about zucchini on a pizza, but it blended well with the alfredo sauce and spinach. Now I'm thinking that I might try serving the zucchini with alfredo sauce as a veggie side dish. I think it might be tasty! Have you ever tried that? Let me know in comments if you have.

So what do you think of my zucchini pizza idea? Have I gone completely insane with my unique utilization of leftovers? It really isn't bad. Give it a try! I bet you've been trying to figure out what to do with all that zucchini from the garden......

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Unique Food Combinations

Sometimes you have to think outside the box when it comes to using your leftovers. You've probably been using the same list of basic flavor combinations for most of your eating life, without giving it much thought. In order to use what you have, you need to let your creativity flow. If you aren't sure about how a couple of things will flow together, try one of them in small quantities with the other item. Maybe it will work.

One combination that I didn't consider for a long time was both tomato-based pasta sauce and alfredo sauce. However, Pastitsio is one of the family's favorite meals and they taste excellent together, especially when you toss in some cheddar cheese for accent! :)

Today, I had a wonderful lunch based upon this concept. I had a small leftover Honey Lime Chicken breast left from dinner Monday night. This morning, we visited the downtown City Market and came home with some peaches, pears, baby spinach, and other items, some of which needed to be used as soon as possible. We also picked up a package of freshly-baked pita bread that was fantastic!! So I got a bit creative for lunch. On the pita bread, I drizzled a bit of honey mustard, then arranged a light bed of baby spinach. Onto that went the heated chicken breast, cut into strips, and half of a peach, sliced. A roma tomato was diced and added and I had a very colorful lunch ready! (I didn't think to take a photo - I'm sorry!)

Now, the question did the honey-lime chicken, spinach, and peaches taste together?? They were amazingly excellent! The flavors blended together and created a very tasty sandwich that I plan to make again. I hadn't tried chicken and peaches before, though some of you might have, and I really enjoyed it. I think it would have been good with a bit of fresh cilantro, too. I'll have to remember that. My initial plan was to have a very basic chicken pita - I'm sure glad I experimented!

This particular example is pretty basic, but it gives you the idea. Just try something outside of your cooking comfort zone. You never might find a new family favorite!

Got any unique combinations you've tried? Let me know. Let's get creative!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Blog Swap - To Save a Penny

This post is not related to leftovers, but I think it will be a lot of fun! I'd like to tell you about a site that I enjoy visiting, To Save a Penny. Amber is the site's hostess, and she posts lots of deals and valuable savings information. She lets you into her life by sharing her personal tales of goals and budgeting. She tells you what works for her and encourages your input and tips.

Amber recently detailed a birthday party she threw for her three-year-old daughter. From the planning to the decorating to the party bags, she shared what she did and how much she spent. It looked like a great party! It was the cutest little cupcake theme - you've got to check out her posts and her ideas! You really can have a great party with all the trimmings and not break the bank.

If you enjoy contests, she's almost always got something she's giving away that you'll reallllly want, like a Starbucks card or a fun prize like colorful markers. And she keeps up to date with posting all the lastest deals and printable coupons, too.

If you're new to CVS or Walgreens, she has easy-to-follow tutorials to help you get started getting more than you ever thought possible for what you spend!

Check out To Save a Penny and leave Amber a comment while you're there. If you don't find information you can use, you'll definitely find a kindred spirit in living the best life you can on less!

Blog Hopping

I'm also posting this over on my Monkeys blog, but since I have different readers on each blog, and I posted recipes from each one, I thought I'd also post the Blog Hop over here, too. I'm also excited that I figured out how to do it! :-)

Jump in and enter YOUR favorite recipe!!!

MckLinky Blog Hop

Friday, July 17, 2009

Leftover Pizza

I had a request to discuss what to do with leftover pizza. This one actually has taken some serious consideration on my part. I never have this problem! With three kids (one of whom is a 13-year-old boy) and a hungry husband, if we order pizza, it gets eaten as pizza, often in a single sitting. So I really had to think about what I might do if we ordered pizza and got tired of eating pizza before it was gone. What an interesting concept!

I'm going to offer some ideas, but I will also issue the disclaimer that these are not tried-and-true. I have to go by what I BELIEVE I would do, since I haven't had the opportunity to test most of the theories. :-)

If you have a nicely rounded crust on your pizza, you could cut off these crusts and eat them as breadsticks with a sauce to enhance the experience.

If you're just tired of the variety of pizza, maybe you could add another layer of topping and some more cheese and pop it into the oven at 350° until the cheese is melted - this would be like a new pizza.

Perhaps you're just sick to death of pizza, but hate to waste it. You could remove the topping from the crust and put it on a lunchmeat sandwich - it would make it kind of like a sub with the melted cheese and vegetable toppings. I have actually done this one before and it was quite tasty.

You do have the option of wrapping the pizza well and popping it into the freezer to eat at a later date - this could possibly save you the cost of another pizza delivery. I have also done this in the past with much success. My tip is that if you INTEND to do this, ask the company to underbake/parbake one of the pizzas for you - this will make it fresher when you rebake it after defrosting.

And one more, but this one is very strange. It came from someone I know, but sounds just strange enough to be possible. For breakfast, scramble some eggs. Heat a slice of pizza in the microwave to soften the crust and heat the cheese. Place the eggs on the slice and roll it up. Eat as a "breakfast pizza burrito" of sorts. Hey, you never know......

Oh, wait! I just realized that I really do know the perfect way to use up leftover pizza!!! Call a friend or two with teenagers. That pizza will be eaten in no time! ;-)

Enjoy your pizza!!!!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Swiss Steak

We had Swiss Steak the other night. Now, I have rather simplified the process of Swiss Steak, so mine may be nothing like yours, but I put a cheap cut of steak in the crock pot and dump a can of diced tomatoes over it. Cook all day....dinner! After we had eaten, there was just a little bit of steak left with some tomato - here's how it looked:

Not terribly appetizing, huh? But I can't let it go to waste! So I re-worked it today and created.....The Ultimate Happy Plate:

Okay, my older daughter did the plate-arranging. :-) In reality, it's an open-faced sloppy joe melt. And it was GOOD! That little bit of meat made a total of four melts, so it stretched pretty far. And doesn't it look a lot better than it did in that first picture?

Yep, I thought so....

Friday, July 3, 2009

Welcome New Readers - Let's Talk Quiche

First of all, I would also like to send out a hello to my new readers from a variety of newspaper websites across the country. I'm glad you enjoyed my grocery savings tips enough to visit my blogs. I truly hope you find some useful information and keep coming back. If you keep up with this blog, you'll never throw out a leftover again!!! :-)

One of my early posts talked about using your leftovers in a wonderful potato-crust quiche. The other night, I had quiche on the menu to use up some eggs that were close to date, and I planned to make this crust again. However, I ended up having some sort of bug much of this week, and was just too wiped out to grate those potatoes. Wanting to take the cheater's way out, I opted to try a new quiche recipe. I tried one that was supposed to make its own crust.

Here's the recipe I used:

3 eggs
1 1/2 c. milk or cream
1/2 c. baking mix/Bisquick
Salt and pepper to taste
Dash of nutmeg
Filling (I used leftover chopped steak and veggies and some shredded cheddar)

Beat eggs, milk, baking mix, and seasonings till smooth. Stir in filling ingredients. Pour into greased pie pan. If desired, top with some shredded cheese for fun color. Bake at 400° for 30-40 minutes. Test with a knife inserted in the center to see when done.

I wondered how this would turn out, but it was great! Admittedly, I prefer a nice potato or rice crust, but in a pinch, it definitely worked well. There was a crust of sorts and it didn't fall apart at all like I had feared. The kids loved it and I will definitely make this again. It would make a really quick and easy breakfast, and the lack of an actual "crust" makes it quite a frugal option. It cost me less than a dollar for this entree and I cleared out the leftovers! I even served it with some sliced strawberries that were sitting in the refrigerator needing to be eaten. It was a great use-it-up night!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Failure.....That Wasn't

We're all guilty of the occasional kitchen blunder....the recipe that the kids hated, the cake that fell, the tried-and-true side dish that didn't turn out right this time. I know I've had my share! And most folks probably toss out the failure without a second thought. It's okay if you've done that - I won't tell! But if you think about it, some of the things we use every day were created because of a "failure" to make something else! So instead of a spoiled batch of whatever, you now have an opportunity to create something new and different for your family!

Last fall I bought some cherries to make my husband's favorite cherry jam. I used the same pectin that I always use, and followed the procedure the way I've always done it. I timed everything and properly canned the jars. But instead of a lovely gelled product, I ended up with a slightly thickened liquid. Talk about disappointment!! But I went ahead and put it in the cabinet anyway. This morning, I made a batch of pancakes, and the kids loved the "cherry syrup" that I heated for them to pour over the top. We've had cherry yogurt where I've added the failed jam to thick store-bought yogurt. We've even had a poke cake with the cherry jam poured over it instead of unset jello. The point is that I'm using all the cherry jam that technically failed, and it's really good!!!

Another creative moment was when I baked a cake that stuck terribly in the middle. I don't know why, but apparently I didn't grease the center well. When I tried to remove the cake from the pan, It fell into a few pieces. I was quite upset, but decided to make something good out of the situation. I ended up tearing the cake into pieces and layering them in a glass bowl with sliced strawberries and Cool Whip. I even made a simple strawberry glaze and layered that in there, too. Instead of cake, we had a strawberry shortcake trifle, and nobody even knew it was a mistake!! :-)

I tried a new recipe for granola in the crock pot. Yuck. It never set up like granola, and I basically ended up with slightly flavored oats. I came really close to tossing out this mess, but instead I put it into storage containers to see if I could find a use for it. It worked pretty well for an apple pie topping, and I've also used it on muffins prior to baking. I still have some left and am contemplating trying to substitute it in cookies for the standard oats.

The point is, even when you have a kitchen goof, all is not lost. You can probably find a great use for what you have created, and it's possible that nobody will ever know that the end result was not the planned outcome. Have fun with it!!!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

I'm in a Magazine!

If you read the wonderful magazine, "All You," you will find ME in the current issue!!! I submitted a grocery tip that they chose to publish. My tip and photo are at the top of page 22! It's very weird, but kind of exciting, to see myself in one of my favorite magazines. They edited my tip, but it's still basically what I said.

Let me know if you see it!!! :-)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Spaghetti Noodles

On Friday night, my birthday girl asked for spaghetti and meatballs for dinner. We had lots of leftovers! On Saturday, I made a meatball pizza to use up the meatballs and sauce - it was great! But I still had a bowl full of spaghetti noodles in the fridge, and nobody really wanted to have regular ol' spaghetti again. Since leftover noodles are fairly common, I thought I would share a couple of recipes to use them up!

Shrimp Pasta (this is what we had tonight)

2 T. butter/margarine
1/2 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined
Minced garlic to taste
1/2 c. milk
1/2 c. parmesan cheese
1/2 c. sour cream or yogurt
About a half-pound of cooked spaghetti or other pasta
Optional: To add some color, you can add spinach leaves, mushrooms, or something similar that you like (and have leftover....)

Melt butter in saucepan. Saute garlic and shrimp until the shrimp "pink up." (Also, saute the spinach leaves or mushrooms in this step.)

Stir in the milk, parmesan, and sour cream/yogurt until blended. Add pasta and toss gently to coat. Cook until heated through and sauce has attached to pasta and thickened.

The kids LOVE this dish!

Another use that my DH and I really enjoy, but that isn't quite as popular with the kids is this one:

Spaghetti Salad

About 3/4 lb. cooked spaghetti/pasta
1 lb. frozen broccoli florets
3 T. red wine vinegar
3 T. olive oil
1 t. minced garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
1 can (28 oz.) diced tomatoes, drained
2 cans solid white tuna in water, drained and flaked

Cook broccoli according to package directions and set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper until well blended. Stir in tomatoes and tuna. Add noodles and broccoli and toss to coat.

Serve at room temperature or chilled, whichever you prefer. You can also make this with leftover chicken if you have it. It's an interesting twist on pasta salad. Another option is to omit the garlic and salt and pepper and stir in some bread dip seasoning if you have it. And that oil/vinegar/seasoning mixture?? It makes an AWESOME dip for bread, too!


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Chicken Parmesan

A couple of nights ago, we had Chicken Parmesan for dinner. One of the breasts was HUGE and we ended up with a large chunk of leftover chicken, some sauce, and some spaghetti noodles. The kids informed me that Chicken Parmesan was only good on the first day and would not eat it for lunch the next day. So, I was left with this:

I needed a lunch for the kids and I, so I came up with the idea of creating a Chicken Parmesan Stuffed Bread. Sounds a bit out-of-the-ordinary, but it was really good! They loved it. I just smile - it isn't good unless it's wrapped in bread?? Kids!!

I loaded my bread machine about 8:30 this morning with a nice french bread recipe. I pulled out the dough when it was done and rolled it out on my baking stone:

I took that leftover chicken and cubed it up, spreading it along the center of my dough like so:

Then I added some parmesan cheese and shredded mozzarella:

I braided the dough over the filling:

And let it rise nicely. I popped it into a 400° oven for about 30 minutes and it came out nicely browned. Take a peek:

We had these wonderful slices for our lunch, and all three kids loved them:

There was enough sauce and spaghetti left for a side dish, too!

So it might be a little bit different use for leftover Chicken Parmesan, but creativity is such an important factor in frugality. Isn't something unique and delicious much better than wasting leftover chicken?? And I got a whole other meal for everyone out of what one person might have eaten as it was! You have to love that!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Briefly Revisiting Meatloaf

Way back when my blog was new, I talked about what to do with leftover meatloaf. That post is here if you're new to Not Just Leftovers. Tonight, I did something new even for me with a chunk of meatloaf that remained from a meal earlier this week. One of the most essential things you can do in order to stretch your groceries is to experiment and be flexible.

I looked in my refrigerator today and found that I had about 1/5 of a large meatloaf left, along with a little rice (about 1/2 c.), a cup or so of corn, and a couple of cups of mashed potatoes. So, I decided to clean it all out and create dinner. First, I cut the loaf into small cubes and set it aside. Then I made 2 cups of brown gravy (boil water, add base/bouillon, dissolve, mix in cornstarch and water and let thicken - easy). After the gravy was nice and thick, I dumped in the meat, rice, and corn. I poured this into a shallow casserole and topped with the mashed potatoes and some shredded cheese. Yep, a perfect shepherd's pie!

I was going to take a photo of the creation, but I had a bit of a mess in making it. I had put the potatoes into my Pampered Chef Easy Accent Decorator, but it didn't function too well and instead of a pretty topping, I ended up with a mess that included potatoes on my countertop, stovetop, and floor. *sigh* So it isn't too pretty, and not worth documenting with a photo!! However, it tastes great and kids ate it up, which makes it worth doing.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Hen House Bargain Meal of the Week, 5/13/09

Sorry again for not keeping this series up to date. It's really difficult to find "bargains" at Hen House most of the time! :-) This week, though, inspiration struck as I was browsing the ad. This recipe may be a little different than your standard fare, but it's fun to mix it up now and then in the kitchen!

Here's your shopping list for this week:

1 lb. boneless skinless fresh chicken thighs, on sale for $2.29/lb
1 large green pepper, on sale for .69
1 small onion, on sale 3 lbs. Vidalia for $2
1 can coconut milk

From the pantry:

Curry sauce
Shredded sweetened coconut
Rice, quick-cook or long-grain

Curried Coconut Chicken

1 lb. chicken thighs, cubed ($2.29)
1 large green pepper, sliced (.69)
1 small onion, chopped (.40)
1 c. coconut milk (shouldn't be more than $2)
1/2 c. (or more if you like spice) curry sauce (.50)
1 1/2 c. water, divided
1 T. cornstarch (.10)

Spray skillet with cooking spray and cook chicken cubes until done. Stir in peppers and onion and stir fry until onion becomes translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in coconut milk, curry sauce, and 1 c. water. Heat to a gentle boil.

Meanwhile, in a measuring cup, combine remaining 1/2 c. water and cornstarch till blended. Pour into skillet and stir gently to combine. Simmer 5-8 minutes, or until thickened.

Cook your rice according to package directions. If there is still coconut milk in your can, you can substitute this in the rice for an equal amount of water to give it a little more flavor.

Top your chicken with the shredded coconut and serve over rice.

Cost of meal:

Entree $5.98
Rice: .60
Coconut .30
Total: $6.88

Monday, May 11, 2009

A Leftover Rice "Keeper"

Don't you love it when you try something new and the family raves about it??? Today I made swiss steak for dinner and had a bowl of leftover rice in the refrigerator. I measured it and had 4 cups. That was, of course, plenty to serve just plain, but the kids wouldn't be thrilled with that, so I decided to experiment a little.

I dumped the rice in a bowl and mixed in what was left in a container of parmesan cheese and the cheese that remained in two bags in the fridge. I added 4 eggs to make it stick together. I think 5 would have been better, but 4 was what I had! I stirred it up and dropped it in scoops on the griddle, flattening it out. I cooked both sides and stacked them on a plate. I wasn't sure how these would be received, but when I tried them, they were good. I think they had about 5 different cheeses in them! :)

The kids absolutely LOVED them, and so did my DH. They were very different, and had a great cheesy taste that really went well with the rice. Everyone asked me to make these again.

Sometimes you just have to be creative to make the most of what you have left in the fridge. It doesn't always result in a new family favorite, but at least you know that you are stretching your food dollars further and further! What creative dishes have you created/tried lately? I'd love to hear about it!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

An Idea for Cereal

This morning I made my kiddos their favorite Bananariffic Muffins for breakfast. I've had 5 bananas sitting on my counter for days, getting browner and browner, that needed to be utilized, and they LOVE those muffins.

After I had put the batter in the pans, it was time to make the topping, but I just didn't want to make it today. I looked over at my counter and remembered that I still had a little bit of Cinnamon Pecan Special K cereal left. That stuff is good! So, on a whim, I crushed up what was left and put it on top of my muffins, just to see how it worked. It was terrific!!!! The cereal stayed crunchy, and gave that little hint of extra sweetness. I will most definitely try this with other cereals.

So next time you just have some crumbs at the bottom of your cereal box, don't toss it! Try topping your next batch of homemade muffins and see how you like it!

Friday, April 24, 2009

More Fun with Leftover Roast

I mentioned in a prior post that I still had some leftover roast. Tonight I used it in a very unique way. I created a Bacon Cheeseburger Pizza!! Here's how it looked, but I wish I could let you taste it!! Yummmm!!!!

I made a sourdough pizza crust (in the bread machine) and par-baked it to get a wonderful rise. Then instead of pizza sauce, I spread ketchup on the crust. Now, please know that I did NOT put it on as thickly as I would have the pizza sauce. I just put a light coating over the entire crust. Then I topped it with the rest of my roast, bacon bits, and mushrooms and a drizzle of mustard on the part for DH and me. I then covered it in shredded CHEDDAR cheese and baked it. Now, if the kids would have tolerated it, I would have also added diced tomato, and I considered pickles. Both would have been very good. None of us like onions, so that wasn't an option! lol

This was such a wonderful dinner! It was unique enough to be very interesting, and the mustard drizzle was absolutely fabulous. Everyone asked me to make it again soon. I love experimenting with pizza, and especially when creative leftovers are involved. This little experiment is most definitely a keeper!!!

For more great recipes, be sure and visit the Grocery Cart Challenge!!