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!