Saturday, December 4, 2010

CSN Stores and a Cool Springform Pan

I know I'm a little late in posting my review, and I do apologize! I've been battling some sort of virus for a little while now and haven't been a very effective communicator!

I definitely have to say that I am very impressed with CSN Stores! I decided to try out a square springform pan from their vast collection of kitchen items. (And they have a lot more than kitchen items, but since this blog is about cooking, that's where I decided I needed to shop!) I have a few round springform pans that I use often for cheesecakes and other desserts, but I loved the idea of being able to cut some of my baked goods into squares.

I looked around the site and found that there are a LOT of choices when it comes to square or rectangular springform pans. I was very impressed. I finally decided on one that looked good and placed my order. I received an immediate confirmation of my order, and a day or two later, a shipment notification. Just a few days after that, a box appeared on my porch - it didn't take long at all and I was informed every step of the way.

My pan was well-packaged and arrived in perfect condition. I took it out of the box and found that the springform was well-lubricated and the pan came apart - and went back together - with great ease. My first test was a pan of pumpkin cheesecake bars for Thanksgiving. They baked perfectly and came out of the pan as smoothly as you can imagine. I am very pleased with my new springform pan and look forward to many more uses in the future. It cleaned up nicely and now has a home in my baking pan cabinet.

I would definitely recommend CSN Stores. They have a fantastic variety of products in all price ranges, and just about anything you could want. They also ship very quickly and package well for shipment. My order arrived in about half the time I expected from an online company, and I had no issues whatsoever. If you need to do some Christmas shopping, I wouldn't worry about delivery being on time. As you browse their site, you will be able to see just how quickly they will ship the items that interest you.

I have nothing but good things to say about the people I've dealt with at CSN Stores and their excellent communication and speedy delivery. I am looking forward to working with them in the future and hope that you will give them a try, as well! Please let me know if you shop there....I know you will be as pleased as I am!

Disclaimer: CSN Stores provided me with an online gift certificate to purchase my item to review on this blog. The item was mine alone to select and all opinions are strictly my own.

Monday, November 15, 2010

An Upcoming Review with CSN Stores!

Are you ready for the holidays? Feeling overwhelmed yet by all the "must do's" on your "to do" list? Need to get some shopping done for everything from a fruitcake for your great-aunt to a set of contemporary coffee tables for the living room before all your holiday guests descend???

Well, have I got a website for you! Have you heard of CSN Stores? They are an amazing company with over 200 stores that allow you to find absolutely everything you need, and many more things you want! I have recently been introduced to CSN Stores and I have spent hours just looking at all the kitchen items! And that's just the tip of the iceberg! They have housewares and decorations, furniture, kids' gear, and so much more! The prices are very comparable to what I can find in department and discount stores around Kansas City, and they deliver to your door!

I am excited to report that CSN Stores has offered me the opportunity to review a product on my blog. I am going to spend a bit more time in the kitchen area and choose something that you just might want to use yourself in your quest to get creative with those leftovers! I'm thrilled to be able to share the company, and the review, with my readers.

Keep checking back....I will be posting my review soon!! Meanwhile, be sure you visit CSN Stores online and start making your own "wishlist" - and find some great gift ideas, too!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Got Crescents?

I don't have a photo for this post, as it didn't occur to me to take one until the kids had devoured dinner! There was recently a very good sale on Pillsbury Crescent Rolls, and I bought several. I noticed the other day that I had some expiring in just a few days, so I came up with a recipe to use a can. It works with several types of leftovers, so I thought I'd post about it.

I took the Crescents out of the can and pressed them into a 13x9 glass pan I had sprayed lightly with cooking spray. I sealed all the seams by pushing the dough together and then placed it into the oven on 350° for about 5 minutes, just to start it baking.

While it baked, I beat 5 eggs in a bowl, and then stirred in about a half-cup of milk, a bit of salt, and a pinch of nutmeg.

When the crust came out, I tossed some cooked and crumbled bacon onto it. You could use any sort of leftovers for this - vegetables, meats, anything you'd consider putting into a quiche. After I had a good layer of bacon, I tossed in some shredded cheddar cheese and then poured the egg mixture over the top.

I baked this, uncovered, for about 20-25 minutes at 350°. It didn't take very long, as the egg layer was not very deep. I ended up with an egg bake/quiche of sorts with a wonderfully flaky Crescent crust. Some of the egg slipped beneath the crust, forming layered pieces that were pretty and tasty.

It was an easy dinner that the kids loved. We had pancakes on the side, per my daughter's request, and they ate it up! I love dinners like that!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Chicken & Broccoli Cobbler

This one is a classic re-make of leftovers. I actually made it this time with turkey instead of chicken, because that's what I had. Due to a recent great sale, my freezer is overflowing. To make room, I decided I needed to cook off a turkey that had been in there for awhile. So on Sunday, we had a big turkey dinner. On Tuesday, we used the stock I made from the carcass and had turkey and dumplings.

For Wednesday, I noticed a jar of alfredo sauce in the fridge, about 3/4 full. I also had half a loaf of sourdough in a bag on the counter. It was the perfect setup to make Turkey & Broccoli Cobbler, since I had frozen broccoli (and that would free up even more freezer space!).

Here's how you make it:

Chop up your chicken (or turkey, in this case). You will want 2-3 cups. Mix the chicken with 1-2 cups of alfredo sauce. Now stir in a package of chopped broccoli or broccoli florets that have thawed. Place this mixture in a greased casserole dish:

Now, cube your sourdough (or whatever type of) bread until you have around 3 cups of cubes. Place them in a bowl and drizzle them with 1/4 c. of melted butter. Sprinkle in about 1/3 c. parmesan cheese and toss until the crumbs are coated. Pour them over the top of the casserole:

Now, pop it into the oven, uncovered, and bake at 400° for about 30 minutes, until the bread is toasted and the casserole filling is bubbly around the edges. Here is the finished product:

My kids just love this, and it really does use up the leftovers. You could easily substitute another vegetable for the broccoli, or make all sorts of changes to use what you have on hand. The crunchy-soft bread on top is fabulous, and it's a very unique dinner option. Have fun with it!!!

Friday, October 15, 2010

A New Recipe is Coming

I just wanted to leave a short note and let any readers that may still be peeking in now and then know....I have a new recipe coming soon!! I hope to get it posted tomorrow, and will do my best to get it up. It's a GREAT leftovers recipe for a chicken cobbler. I even took photos! Once I get them uploaded, I will post the recipe.

Thanks for sticking around, and I will try to be more active in posting about my leftovers. Stay tuned!!!!!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Soup Season is Nearing

Today we got a little hint of fall in the air. It's been cool all day and overcast for most of it. Just one of those days when comfort food sounds particularly tasty. So I decided it was a good night for some soup!

On Monday night, we had company and I fixed a spiral ham. We had it for dinner that night and Tuesday night, and two lunches, before we ran out of slices. So, of course, then I chopped up the remaining ham and I made a stock out of the ham bone. Last night for dinner, we had steak, baked potatoes, and corn. I always make extra bakers, so we had 4 left, along with about half the corn.

So for tonight's soup.....First, I cut the potatoes in half and scooped out most of the flesh into a bowl. I then popped the skins in the oven to crisp up and turn into baked potato skins, a family favorite. For the soup, I melted a tablespoon of butter and whisked in about a quarter-cup of flour. I then whisked in about a half cup of milk and once that was nice and thick, added the potato flesh and mashed it up really well until I had a very thick base. I added in all the ham broth/stock and stirred it well to combine.

Once it started getting warm, I added some salt, along with the corn and all of the ham I had picked from the bone, as well as some of the chunks I had cut off first. I then added about a quarter cup of half and half to richen it up a bit.

This soup was soooooo good!! It was flavorful, just thick enough, and very hearty. We had it with the potato skins and homemade biscuits with the apple butter I made yesterday (from the apples I gleaned from my brother's tree!). It was a very yummy, very down-home country kind of dinner. Yum!! And just think...most people would have simply tossed out the ham bone. The horror!!!

You gotta love a dinner that is so completely cheap, yet so delightfully delicious! And you know I love leftovers!! :-)

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Another Weird Concoction

Hello, everyone! I am still around...I've just been VERY lax in my blogging for awhile now! I am still using my leftovers in fun and interesting ways (there is one recipe that I MUST post one of these days), but I have just been neglecting this poor blog.

Tonight, I made one of my stranger dinners, but the kids absolutely loved it, which is a good thing! For dinner last night, I baked some bone-in chicken breasts in chicken broth, which I then made into a cream gravy with half & half and thyme. Good stuff! Alongside this, we had mashed potatoes with the gravy, and biscuits and green beans. It was a wonderful dinner, but I ended up with a few cups of mashed potatoes and almost 2 full chicken breasts left.

So today, I got a little bizarre. I thought about making creamy chicken enchiladas, but there really wasn't enough chicken for that. I contemplated making rice to stretch it, but then I still had those potatoes. Then the idea of mashed potato burritos came to me, and I devised our dinner. I took softened tortillas and placed some of the mashed potatoes on them, sprinkled with some cheddar cheese, then added the chopped cooked chicken. I rolled up, enchilada-style, and placed them in a 13x9 pan. Then I poured some of the cream gravy over the top and sprinkled on some more cheddar.

I covered with foil and baked in the oven for about 40 minutes on 350°. They got just a little browned on the edges and the cheese was all melty and they were very good! It was like a mashed potato burrito but with meat. My kids were actually surprised at how much they liked the strange new dish.

To accompany this, I steamed corn on the cob that I caught on sale this week, and buttered and oven-toasted some leftover hamburger buns. Happy kids, full tummies! And leftovers...vanished! :-)

Monday, August 9, 2010

Giveaways Going On!

Hello, loyal readers who wonder where I've been!! :-) I'm hoping to get back to regularly posting soon, as the kids are going back to school and I might find myself with a little bit of available time on my hands...we'll see anyway.

I wanted to let you all know that I just posted not one, but TWO giveaways on my other blog, At Home with my Monkeys. Please pop over and enter to win! Here are the links for the posts:

$25 Sam's Club Gift Card

Yoplait Whips! adorable prize package

Good luck...hope you win!!!!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

"Whacked Out Kit Kat Bars"

Hello again! Yes, I am still alive, and still cooking! :-) I made one of my 10-year-old daughter's favorite desserts last night, and weird as it is, I thought I'd post it. It doesn't involve leftovers so much as it does using up something you might otherwise throw out.

Do you ever have saltine crackers in the cabinet that are used in the winter for chili and/or soup, but then spring rolls around and those poor crackers go a bit stale? They aren't good for eating, but I have a recipe where they are actually pretty tasty! My kids have named the recipe "Whacked Out Kit Kat Bars."


1 1/2 sleeves of saltine crackers
1 1/4 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. (1 stick) butter or margarine
1/2 c. milk
3/4 c. peanut butter, divided
6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips

In a greased 13 x 9 pan, place a single layer of whole crackers and set aside.

Remove about 1/4 of a sleeve of crackers and crush finely. Place the crushed crackers in a saucepan with the brown sugar, butter, and milk. Bring this to a boil over medium-high heat and boil 5 minutes, stirring constantly.

Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in 1/2 cup of peanut butter until well blended. Pour this mixture over the crackers. Top with another single layer of crackers, which should finish them off.

In a bowl, combine the chocolate chips and remaining 1/4 c. peanut butter. Heat on 50% power for about 1 minute, then stir. If needed, return to microwave for 15 second increments until stirring results in fully-melted chocolate. Spread over the top of the crackers gently.

Cool for 30 minutes+ before cutting into bars. Hopefully your kids can wait that long!!!

I hope your kids like these as much as mine do! :-)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Creamy Beef Enchiladas

Since Annie accused me of hiding, I thought maybe that was a little hint that I might want to actually post something. :-) So, here I am! I know - it's about time! I just haven't done anything lately that struck me as "blogworthy." The other night, though, I made these enchiladas and my 9-year-old informed me, "Mom, you have GOT to post these on Not Just Leftovers!" How can I say no to that??

In an effort to rid the fridge of a bit of remaining rice and about the same amount of macaroni and cheese, I made a roast recently, serving it with the aforementioned items as sides. The roast was very good, but we had some remaining after dinner (the mac and cheese was gone, and the tiny bit of rice went into the container for freezer soup). So the next day I checked the fridge and found some flour tortillas. I decided I would make enchiladas with them. Yes, I know that typically you use corn tortillas for enchiladas, but my kids prefer flour. And the girls won't eat anything called a "burrito," so they had to be enchiladas! ;-)

First, I made a beef-flavored white sauce for the "creamy" part of the recipe. I melted a tablespoon of butter, then stirred in 2 T. of flour, then added about a cup of milk and a cup of the beef broth from cooking the roast. Yummmmmm!! I poured some of the sauce into the 13x9 pan and then made 10 enchiladas using the flour tortillas, filling them with the shredded leftover roast and some cheddar cheese. I placed them in the sauce, turning them to coat. When I was done rolling, I poured the rest of the sauce on top and sprinkled on the rest of the cheddar.

I covered these and baked them for about 30 minutes at 350°. They were very good!! The beef-flavored white sauce absolutely made the recipe! This was one of my better uses of leftover roast!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Chicken-Bacon Pasta

I'm not sure where Janelle's been hiding out these days, but I thought I'd sneak in here and post a recipe I made up using some pasta, leftover chicken, and bacon. Janelle will like this one since it can be made with meat from a rotisserie chicken. I used something similar...leftovers from some Crock Pot Sticky Chicken. We ate the meat from that chicken for two meals with enough leftover for this dish, too.

After cooking the chicken in the slow cooker, I picked the meat from the bones, then put the bones right back in the cooker with about a quart of water and let it cook on low for several hours. I used the broth as the base for the sauce in this recipe.

Also, we just happened to have leftover bacon. Yes, I know "leftover bacon" is an oxymoron, but somehow it happened. If you don't have any, you can fry or bake some just for this recipe. Or you could leave it out. I guess. If you're into self-deprivation.

This dish tastes like down-home chicken and noodles that have been turbo-boosted with bacon! I dare you to not like it!

Annie's Chicken-Bacon Pasta

Shredded cooked chicken (as much or as little as you like)
Crumbled cooked bacon (again, as much or as little as you like)
2 Tablespoons bacon drippings or fat of your choice (trust me, use the bacon drippings)
2 Tablespoons flour, more or less
2 cups chicken stock or broth from bouillon
Salt and pepper to taste
8 ounces dry pasta, any shape or size, cooked per package directions (I had some in the freezer that was already cooked; I just added it to the hot sauce mixture and heated it through)

Heat bacon drippings in a large deep skillet or pan. Add flour; stir until smooth and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring frequently.

Carefully stir in chicken stock, whisking constantly, until sauce is smooth and thickened as desired.

Stir in shredded chicken and crumbled bacon. Let sauce simmer over very low heat for about 5 minutes, then taste the sauce. Add salt, pepper or even a little bit of instant chicken bouillon if needed. (Don't add salt without first tasting the sauce after it simmers; it may end up too salty if you do.)

Stir in cooked pasta and serve.

Makes 4-6 servings.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

A "Free" Dinner in my Future

It's been a long time since I made Freezer Soup. I guess the reason it's been so long is that I generally use up all of my leftovers. But there is always, always room for improvement, right?

A couple of days ago, I cooked a pot roast in the crock pot with potatoes, baby carrots, and celery. I used the leftover roast last night for pizza, because my kids think that "steak" pizza is the bomb! But this morning, I looked a bit wistfully at the container in my refrigerator with the remaining potatoes, veggies, and beef broth. I didn't really have a meal plan for those items, and suddenly I realized that this was the PERFECT beginning to another Freezer Soup.

I diced up the potato chunks and the lengths of celery and cut the baby carrots in half and put them in another, larger container with the broth. Now it's sitting on a shelf in my freezer, waiting for other random leftovers to be added. Once the container gets close to full, I'll thaw it and add it to a saucepan with some broth and have an easy, free meal.

The neat thing about Freezer Soup is you can add even the smallest amounts of items. Say you cook a can of green beans and only have 3 or 4 left, which you would normally toss. Instead, put them in the freezer container and they will add an element to your Freezer Soup. There are no rules or guidelines....just put all those tiny amounts of leftovers in a container and you get what you get. When I made it in the past, it was very tasty. I was surprised at how much everyone enjoyed it.

So what are you waiting for?? Go put a container in your freezer and start adding little bits of everything. Soon you will have a neat mystery dinner that you will probably really enjoy!

Lovin' Leftovers,

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Leftovers to the Power of.....

Well, I've done it again. And I didn't get any pictures, dang it! A few nights ago I pulled a meatloaf out of the freezer for dinner. We didn't finish it, so the next evening I cut it into cubes and we had spaghetti and "meatballs." Since I use the same meat mixture for my meatloaves and meatballs, the kids have no problem getting past the cubes. :-)

That night, we ate all the spaghetti, but sauce and meat still remained. The following day (yesterday), I had a pizza mystery shop which provided us with one large pizza. That doesn't go far with a family of 5, but it will feed three kids just fine when only one is a teenager. So, I decided to let the kids have the pizza and do something with my leftovers. And another leftover leftovers meal was born.

I cooked about half a box of penne pasta and drained it. I dumped in the sauce and "meatballs" and stirred it up. Then I mixed in a big scoop of cottage cheese and some Italian Blend shredded cheese. I poured this into a glass casserole dish and sprinkled on some more of the shredded cheese, then popped it into a 350° oven for about 30 minutes until the cheese was nice and bubbly.

It was SUCH a good dinner! It was sort of like lasagna, but the penne pasta gave it a completely different feel. It was fantastic! I had just enough left for lunch today. :-) I just love it when I can make yet another new meal from the first new leftovers dinner! The meatloaf in question that made three dinners (2 for 5 and 1 for 3 since the aforementioned teenager had some, too) cost me $4.95 to make. Can't beat that!!!

Lovin' Leftovers,

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Muffins Make Another Appearance

I should start this post by sharing my recipe for Cappuccino Muffins. They are a fairly low-fat muffin that taste realllllly good and my kids love them. I make them for breakfast now and then, and recently, they were an accompaniment to an egg bake for dinner. Here's the recipe:

Cappuccino Muffins

1 c. all purpose flour
1 c. whole wheat flour
3/4 c. sugar
2 1/2 t. baking powder
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. salt
1 c. milk
2 T. instant coffee granules
1/2 c. vanilla fat-free yogurt
1 egg
2/3 c. cinnamon chips

In a mixing bowl, combine flours, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. In a separate small bowl, stir coffee granules into milk until dissolved. Add beaten egg and yogurt to milk mixture and then stir into the dry ingredients. Fold in chips.

Fill muffin cups 2/3 full and bake at 375° for 15-20 minutes.

This will make about 18 muffins, and they are really good!

The day after the egg bake and muffin dinner, it was time for dessert. My children expect a sweet treat around 7 each evening, or they get pretty grumpy. I was very tired that evening and did not feel like making anything exciting. I contemplated the Little Debbie snacks in the freezer downstairs, but then spotted the Cappuccino Muffins that needed to be eaten. In order to make them presentable as dessert, I dressed them up a bit. Here we have a winner (according to my kids), Cappuccino CUPCAKES:

Isn't it amazing what a little leftover canned icing and some red sprinkles can do???

Going Beyond the Quiche

I've posted about making quiche to use up leftovers a couple of times. Earlier this week, I had an overabundance of eggs that were about to expire - gasp! I knew that eggs needed to be the star of dinner one evening, but quiche only uses a few. So, instead of a quiche, I opted for an egg bake! Of course, I told the kids it was a "crustless quiche," so they ate it straight-away! :-)

I took a glass pan (I think it's 11 x 7) and began to raid my refrigerator. I found a quarter bag of shredded cheese from soft tacos night (you might have read about THAT adventure on my Monkeys blog...ugh!). In it went. Then there were a few slices of crisp bacon from a family breakfast. A few quick squeezes of the bag and the bits went into the pan, too. I also had some leftover cooked cubed ham that went well with the plan. Once I had the bottom of my pan filled with yummy filler ingredients that had been hanging out in my fridge, I started on the eggs.

I placed 10 eggs in a large bowl and beat them a bit to break up the yolks (no, I wasn't worrying about the cholesterol that night!) and then stirred in about a cup of milk. A bit of salt, pepper and nutmeg were stirred into the mixture and I poured it over all the filling. I popped it into a 350° oven for about 45 minutes until a knife in the center came out clean. I didn't even get a picture taken before it was about half-gone, but here's how it looked:

Alongside the entree, we had home-canned peaches and the kids' favorite Cappuccino Muffins. It was a very good dinner and cleaned out the fridge. There was only a small piece of the bake left, and my son was happy to take care of that for me the next morning for breakfast.

After dinner, we still had a few muffins left. I had fun with three of them, and I'll tell you all about it in another post momentarily! :-)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Stuffed Peppers

Hi. Annie Jones here, making a guest appearance from my blog Real Life Living. For those who aren't familiar with my blog, it's all about living simply, stretching a dollar and trying to get out of debt. It's also all about gutting and remodeling our only bathroom without ever losing the ability to flush. But mostly, it's about food.

Yesterday, I put together a dish that I knew would be perfect for Not Just Leftovers - Brand New Meals. Using the art of gentle persuasion and a little ESP, I convinced Janelle to let me guest post here.

Let me start at the beginning. On Sunday, I made this recipe for Sicilian Meat Roll. It was yummy and we ate all but three slices of it. My husband Shane is a big eater. I knew there was no way three slices of meat roll would make another meal for us, so I chopped those slices into small bits and tossed them into a bowl.

I found some cooked rice in the freezer, a smidgen of corn in the fridge, and a little bit of shredded cheese. I tossed those into the bowl with the meat roll and stirred in some pasta sauce. I stuffed this filling into a couple of bell peppers that weren't being saved for anything else and made a brand new meal! I had to open a new jar of pasta sauce (because I couldn't find anything "tomato-y" in the fridge except ketchup), but everything else was more or less left over from previous meals.

In addition to being thrifty, this dish is also versatile. I went with Italian flavors (except for the cheese, which was a colby-jack blend), but it could easily be adapted to Mexican flavors by using salsa instead of pasta sauce.

These stuffed peppers turned out great. We especially liked the sweeter, riper orange ones. I couldn't get our granddaughter Kat to try one, but that wasn't a problem. It just meant there was more for us!

Annie's "Leftover" Stuffed Bell Peppers

1-1/4 cups chopped leftover meatloaf
1-1/2 cups cooked rice
1/4 cup cooked corn
1/2 cup shredded cheese, any kind
1/2 cup pasta sauce
salt and pepper to taste
2 large bell peppers, halved top to bottom, seeds removed and par-cooked
additional pasta sauce for topping
additional shredded cheese for topping

Combine meatloaf, rice, corn cheese, pasta sauce, salt and pepper in large bowl. Set aside.

Place cleaned pepper halves in shallow microwave-safe dish, cut side up. Add 1/2 cup water to dish. Place dish in microwave and cover with inverted large microwave-safe bowl to form lid. Microwave on high for 3 minutes. Remove from microwave and carefully drain any liquid from peppers.

Heat oven to 350°F. Spray casserole dish with pan spray. Fill pepper halves with filling and arrange in dish (I cut them from top to bottom so they will sit better in the pan). If there is extra filling, place it in the bottom of the casserole dish first, then rest the pepper halves on top of the filling. Cover dish with foil and bake for 20-25 minutes.

Remove casserole from oven. Remove foil, then spoon on additional pasta sauce and cheese. Return to oven for about 5 minutes or until cheese melts and begins to brown.

Makes 2-4 servings.

Exciting News!

I know everyone probably thinks that since I haven't posted lately, I've given up on leftovers, but I haven't! In fact, the other night, I made what is quite possibly the weirdest pizza ever created. I had some leftover sweet and sour chicken that I had made the night before, and just for fun, I put it on my pizza crust and topped it with a combo of mozzarella and cheddar cheeses. Everyone LOVED it! Honestly....would you have EVER thought about sweet and sour PIZZA??? So strange, but so good! I love leftovers!

I'm sorry for my lack of posts lately, but I do have some exciting news! I am going to have a guest poster! My friend, Annie Jones, who has a great blog called Real Life Living, is going to share one of her own leftover ideas. She is truly amazing and has some fantastic ideas. I can't wait to read what she has to say, and I know it will be valuable information to all of you, as well!

In the meantime, please check out her blog, Real Life Living. I can guarantee you that you will find some useful information on living happily and frugally. Grab a cup of tea and settle'll feel like you're reading a letter from a cherished friend. Enjoy, and check back soon to see Annie's guest post!!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Taking it A Step Further

At what point do you consider yourself over-the-edge when it comes to using leftovers?? :) I have to laugh at myself this morning with what I just did. A couple of nights ago, we had a whole chicken that I prepared in the slow cooker. I deboned all the meat and then yesterday I made chicken enchiladas. I tried a new recipe and the entire family inhaled them! What I did differently is I added cottage cheese to the mix.

To make them, I mixed cottage cheese with some Mexican blend cheese. I also added some leftover rice to the shredded chicken to stretch it, but you wouldn't have to do this. In each corn tortilla, I placed a scoop of the cheese mixture and a scoop of the chicken mixture and rolled them up. They were creamy and the kids LOVED them!

I messed up a little, though, by over-estimating how much filling I would need. I was left with some of each of the mixtures. Since we didn't want to have enchiladas again tonight (Friday is pizza night!), I wasn't sure what to do with everything until inspiration struck this morning!

I took the leftovers from my leftovers and made another meal which is currently in the freezer. Crazy? I took a foil casserole pan that I had scavenged from a class party and placed a layer of corn tortillas in the bottom. I poured on a bit of sauce to cover them, then layered in half of the chicken and rice and some shredded cheese. Another layer of tortillas, topped with sauce and the rest of my cottage cheese mixture. Then more tortillas, sauce, and the rest of the chicken and rice. I topped it with more tortillas, the rest of the sauce, and some shredded cheese and popped it in the freezer.

Once I bake it, I will try to come back and post how it turned out, but I think it will work okay! I just think it's funny that I made a meal out of leftovers from a meal made of leftovers. I've really gone over the edge now!! :-)

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Chicken Parmesan, Part 2

I made Chicken Parmesan earlier this week (much to my husband's delight), but made more than we were able to eat at one meal. I had one large and two small chicken breasts left, along with some of the spaghetti sauce. I was considering making the Chicken Parmesan Stuffed Bread that I showed you awhile back, but I wanted something different.

So I started out with this:

Not too exciting, huh? I cooked off a box of penne pasta and cut the chicken into cubes. I added a can of tomato sauce (8 oz.) to the existing sauce to make sure I had enough and mixed it all together in a 13x9 pan. I topped it with some shredded mozzarella cheese and baked it, covered, at 350°, for about 25 minutes. I pulled it out and sprinkled it with parmesan cheese and ended up with THIS:

Add some green beans, salad, and garlic bread (made from leftover homemade bread - YUM!) and it was a delicious dinner. Everyone loved it, and I'm not sure the kids even realized it was made from leftovers from the other night. Good stuff! I don't really have a name for it, but the hubs called it "Chicken Parmesan, Episode Two: The Penne Strikes Back." *sigh*

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Dinner from the "Remains"

Last night was Girl Scout Cookie distribution. As the cookie mom for my youngest's troop, I had to pick up over 1100 boxes of cookies, bring them to my house, and then distribute the right cookies to each of the girls in the troop. As you might imagine, this is a bit time-consuming. I was so grateful to our troop leader for coming to help me, and my daughter put in a lot of time sorting and counting as well (not bad for a 7-year-old!!).

Because I knew it was going to be a very busy evening, when I ran to HyVee yesterday morning to pick up some items that were on a great sale (for instance, 8 oz. bags of shredded cheese for $1!), I grabbed a rotisserie chicken, on special for $3.99. I figured that would be a simple dinner that my husband could help prepare. I have bags of Lipton Noodle dishes in the cabinet, and cans of veggies, and I baked off a loaf of bread yesterday early afternoon. Dinner done.

If you've purchased a grocery store rotisserie chicken (and I hope you have!), you know how small they generally are. When you're used to the nice-sized ones at Sam's Club or Costco, the grocery store variety are almost laughable. My family decimated that poor little chicken at dinner last night. I did get a little bit in between cookie pickups, but they were all quite hungry!

What remained was just a pitiful little pile of bones with tiny bits of meat attached here and there. Most folks just toss that out with the trash, right? Not here! This afternoon I pulled off quite a bit of the meat, and then I placed the bones in a pan of water and let it come to a boil and then simmer for a couple of hours. I strained the broth into a bowl and removed the rest of the meat from the bones in the pot. For dinner tonight, we're having chicken noodle soup and some homemade bread that's currently baking in the oven.

This is a great meal, especially considering that my son was at the Take Care Clinic this morning with strep throat. He thinks it sounds perfect! And this is an entire meal made from what a lot of people would consider garbage. It's also a very tasty meal! If you've never made broth from a rotisserie chicken, I encourage you to try it - the flavor is amazing, and my entire family can tell the difference when I use a rotisserie bird. It's a definite favorite!

I am adding noodles to the soup, but only about half of a .50 bag. And I'm going to toss in some veggies that are hanging out in the fridge, leftover from previous dinners earlier in the week. It's practically free, and definitely yummy!

Give homemade chicken soup a try. You will probably never feel the same way about the canned stuff again.

Happy New Year! Let's make it the year of lovin' leftovers!!