Tuesday, August 9, 2011

3 Easy Dishes to Make When It Seems Like the Cupboards Are Bare

Every once in a while, usually right before payday, I catch myself standing in front of the fridge wondering where all the food went. That’s a pretty unsettling feeling when its 5 o’clock and you have four kids asking what you’ll be cooking for dinner. If I were to tell them I had no idea, it could very nearly cause a riot. So instead I assess what I do have and then pull out a few of my basic recipes to whip up a one of a kind, healthy meal. In fact, some of our family favorites were meals I created from a little bit of this and a little bit of that. So if, like me, you ever find yourself with a minimum of ingredients but plenty of hungry people, look no further. These sure fire recipes will put a delicious dinner on the table in no time.

Basic Quiche Recipe

A great way to use up bits of leftover meats, veggies or small pieces of leftover cheeses.

1. Choose a Crust:

  • Simple Potato Crust: Wash about 2 potatoes, slice in ¼ inch thick slice and layer around the bottom and sides of 9 inch pie dish.
  • No Roll Quiche Crust: mix 1 cup flour and ½ teaspoon salt with fork. Beat ¼ cup olive or canola oil and ¼ cup ice water with whisk to thicken. Pour into flour and mix with a fork. Press along bottom and up the sides of a 9 inch pie dish.

2. Make your Quiche:

  • 5 eggs
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 1 cup of grated cheese (cheddar, American, provolone….)
  • 1 cup veggies (tomatoes, spinach, mushrooms, Swiss chard, shredded zucchini, onion, garlic…the sky is the limit)
  • 1 cup cooked meat (diced lunch meat, ground beef, diced chicken breast, seafood, bacon, ham…)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl beat eggs and milk. Stir in all your cheese, vegetables and meats. Pour into unbaked crust, place pie dish on a cookie sheet and bake on the middle oven rack for 45-50 minutes. Quiche is done when top is browned and a knife inserted in center comes out clean.

Basic Pasta Salad Recipe

  • Cook up any odds and ends of pasta shapes you have and run under cold water to chill. Or if you have leftover pasta that is already precooked that works great too.
  • Mix in any variety of your favorite uncooked vegetables (cucumber, onion, peppers, olives, corn, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, etc.)
  • Mix in a protein. (canned beans, tuna, leftover bits of steak, ham or poultry from another meal)
  • Mix in cubed pieces of cheese, feta, or whatever cheese you have on hand.
  • Stir in a dressing. If you have a bottle of dressing that can work great or you can make your own whisking together 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, ¾ cup red wine vinegar, ¼ cup sugar, 1 tablespoon oregano, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper.

Basic Soup Recipe

  • 4 cups water with bouillon added or 4 cups broth
  • 1 cup of your favorite combination of veggies (potatoes, carrots, green beans, spinach, onion, garlic, etc.)
  • 1 cup of leftover diced meat
  • Other possibilities: canned beans, leftover mashed potatoes can make a thicker soup, A handful of pasta shapes
  • Spice it up! If you’ve added more Italian ingredients, be sure to add some basil or oregano to the mix. If its chicken based I like to add a little curry powder. If you like it spicy don’t forget tobasco, creole seasoning or red pepper flakes.
Bring to a boil and simmer until pasta and vegetables are done. Remember to taste test frequently to get just the right flavor.

For more great ideas visit Works For Me Wednesday.


Maria said...

Gayle!'these are great. I have about 30 eggs in my fridge. My chickens are laying like crazy! Love the shell recipes for the quiche. :) thanks!!

karen said...

Frozen Assets and The Tightwad Gazette both give recipes for a rice crust for quiche. If the pantry is really bare, rice might be more likely to be present than potatoes.

Michelle Parker said...

These look great! I've been wanting to make quiche for quite sometime.

Laura said...

I have to tell you, the recipe that you posted for beef and broccoli was the best ever. We all really liked it and it's a keeper. Thanks so much for posting.