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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

don't be afraid to create!

do you ever have a million random ingredients in your fridge/cabinets and don't know what to make for dinner? i know that happens to me pretty frequently.

these are the instances you should never be afraid to get creative! there are some ingredients that, when combined, you really can't go wrong. here are a few things i like to get creative with when i'm in a bind for dinner or i have random leftovers coming out my ears. i can't tell you how many leftovers have been saved from going bad with this simple dinners. no recipe needed - just get creative!

"kitchen sink" enchiladas - because i throw everything in them but the kitchen sink. possible ingredients (as many or as few as you'd like):
  • leftover or frozen shredded chicken, ground meat of various varieties
  • flour/corn tortillas
  • red/green/white/yellow onions
  • garlic
  • beans - black, pinto, whatever you have laying around
  • rice - leftover white/brown (am i the only one that is always making too much), mexican rice (this makes a huge amount so i always have leftovers)
  • sauce - homemade red enchilada sauce, leftover canned green enchilada sauce, the last of your salsa, sour cream, cream cheese, cafe rio-style cilantro lime ranch dressing (this is soooo good just thrown into the filling - yum!), plain ranch dressing, the sky is the limit!
  • fresh/frozen spinach
  • leftover canned tomatoes (do you ever make something that calls for 1/2 a can! argh!) or fresh tomatoes that need to be used
  • peppers that need to get used - bell, jalapeno, serrano
  • cheese - whatever you've got
  • spices - if you're mixture is feeling a little bland toss in some garlic salt, cumin and chili powder
combine all ingredients. roll up in tortillas. top with sauce and cheese. bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

goulash - basically meat and beans and tomatoes with pasta
  • pasta - any variety
  • tomatoes - canned or fresh, or tomato sauce
  • onions - any kind, and garlic
  • meat of some sort (ground is best)
  • beans - kidney or pinto are my favorite here
  • bell peppers
  • spinach - fresh or frozen
  • hot sauce
  • cheese
  • sour cream
  • spices - season with garlic, chili powder and salt and pepper
saute veggies/onions/garlic dash of olive oil. add meat and brown. stir in "sauce" (tomato sauce/canned tomatoes/fresh tomatoes) and simmer for 10 minutes. stir in cooked pasta. top with cheese/sour cream/hot sauce to serve.

veggie pasta skillet/bake - use whatever you have!
  • pasta of any variety
  • jar of cheap pasta sauce
  • garlic, black pepper and crushed red pepper
  • whatever veggies you need to use up! i.e....
  • broccoli
  • eggplant
  • peppers
  • onions
  • zucchini
  • yellow squash
  • mushrooms
  • carrots
  • cheese
saute some garlic and a dash of crushed red pepper in a dash of olive oil. add pasta sauce - heat through and add some black pepper (makes it taste more like homemade pasta sauce!). in a separate skillet, saute veggies in a dash of olive oil til tender. season with salt and pepper. combine sauce, cooked pasta and sauteed veggies in large bowl and serve as is or put in 13x9 inch baking dish, top with cheese and bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

do you have any meals like this? please share!! we all need quick fixes like these in our dinner arsenals. :)

1 comment:

aaron wilkinson said...

I personally highly endorse anything that has "kitchen sink" in its name. These seam to always turn out really good. Yum!

healthy cooking on a budget

disclaimer: i don't claim to be an expert on cooking, weight loss or even healthy eating, but i do love to cook, find healthy, taste bud-friendly tricks and most of all, i love to eat!

qualifications: what qualifies me to blog on cooking healthy on a small budget? well, as my husband is still a student, my budget is not what you'd call large. and as for the healthy part, when i was 10 i was diagnosed with pancreatitus - a disease that doesn't effect me much anymore unless i eat food that is too greasy or has too much fat (in which case, well, let's just say i get really sick). this had steered my experience and limited cooking expertise in a health-conscious direction.

please feel free to comment, criticise, rate recipes, try ideas and make requests for future posts!