Use Those Leftovers!

I am notoriously terrible at eating leftovers. Seriously. It’s bad. I’ll eat them. But I don’t really want to. (Except for holiday leftovers – I eat those for sure!) But, I’ve learned something…if I just add one or two new ingredients and transform it just a bit I can trick my brain into eating something new.

After a run on the treadmill, I was hungry. Like really hungry. And I needed something quick!

You know what we had in the fridge? Eggs. And leftovers.

img_1187

I threw a couple eggs in a pan with some olive oil, salt and pepper.

Then, I added some leftovers. (These were from a quick skillet dinner that Ryan made earlier in the week with chicken, brussels sprouts, carrots, golden raisins.)

img_1188

The skillet was really good during the first meal (I had two helpings of it for dinner that night) but I really wanted something different.)

img_1189

The finished product? It doesn’t look very pretty but the eggs, olive oil, and the hot pan transformed these leftovers into something new. And I ate all of it.

What do you do to be sure that you are using your leftovers?

Advertisements

Some Not-So-Fancy Food

Some of my girls’ favorite foods are the very simplest foods possible. Peanut butter and jelly. Buttered noodles. Grilled cheese.

Some of their favorite foods to cook (in which they do most of, if not all of, the work) are also pretty simple.

They like to make cookies – the break-and-bake ones are amazing if you are trying to do this with kids. Yes, it is important to teach fractions and how to measure ingredients and all of that. But, seriously, these cookies are fine! And it means that you can have cookies whenever you want with very little effort (or mess to clean up!).

IMG_3227

Every summer, the girls put making banana pudding on the list of things to do. This summer, we learned that Lily doesn’t like banana pudding anymore…..So, although that might change in the future (she also decided that she doesn’t like string cheese, so who knows what she’s going to like or not like) making banana pudding probably won’t happen very often in the future. However, when we make pudding of any type, I like to make it in plastic cups. It’s easy to portion out that way and you don’t have a giant bowl taking up a lot of space in the fridge.

IMG_3228

The final food that the girls request to make every summer. Lemonade. And, not just any lemonade. The powdered stuff that takes all of two minutes to make. Well, it sure makes it easier to knock things off of the list.

Our summer list thus far:

Super Easy Pasta Salad

During the summer, who wants to turn on the oven? No one. No one wants to turn on the oven. So, let me share one of my favorite summer time recipes.

IMG_1829

This summer salad is so simple and is super quick to throw together. Plus, the only thing that needs to be cooked is the pasta.

1) Cook your pasta (cook until just al dente). You can use any type of pasta that you have on hand.

2) Cut up veggies. Any veggies. I had green pepper, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, and radishes. I also had some leftover grilled zucchini and corn from earlier in the week (this salad is a great way to use up leftovers, too). We’ve had lots of veggies on hand lately thanks to our Imperfect Produce deliveries! Try to be sure that everything is close to the same size.

3). Add the cooked pasta and your veggies into a large bowl.

4). If you want, you can add a protein. Shredded chicken? Tuna? Yum.

5). Drizzle with olive oil, pinch of salt, pinch of pepper.

6). Stir. Stir. Stir. Be sure that everything is lightly coated.

7). Now drizzle Italian dressing. Use whatever brand Italian dressing that you like.

8). Stir. Stir. Stir.

9). Taste. Does it need more salt? More pepper? How is the dressing? Do you need more?

And that’s it! Super easy. Super tasty. And the kids love it! You can even include them in the preparation of the salad. They can do the stirring. Or, they can practice cutting some of the veggies.

Breakfast Is an Anytime Food

I love breakfast foods – especially the savory types. And, I love breakfast foods anytime of the day but I actually like them more for lunch or dinner.

One of my all-time favorite breakfast anytime foods is biscuits and gravy.

Now, for some, they might have the time to make biscuits from scratch. But, biscuits and gravy is a meal that I can get finished in the time it takes to bake the biscuits.

IMG_3555

Seriously. These biscuits are tasty and puff up to a nice size. Two biscuits cut in half gives you a really large portion. And they’re super easy!

I usually buy a spicier type but I was making this for my kiddos and they like the mild much more than the spicy varieties.

After the sausage has cooked thoroughly, I sprinkle a tablespoon of flour. Be sure that the flour cooks all the way. You don’t want the taste of raw flour in your gravy…..ew.

So, while others might give you an exact recipe with an amount of flour and milk and how much you need to add….but…..I have found that a lot depends on the sausage that you are using and how much gravy you want to have when finished. I usually add a cup of milk at a time. Stir frequently. And be sure to get all of those cooked on bits of sausage scraped up off of the bottom of the pan. Your gravy should thicken up soon-ish because of the flour. This is when it becomes kind of fun to develop your own recipe. Do you need more milk? Should you add more flour next time? Try a different sausage. Do you get the same results?

I promise you, you will know when your gravy is ready. It will look ready. It will smell ready. And after a generous amount of black pepper (because I need a generous amount of black pepper in my gravy), it will be ready to pour on your lovely biscuits.

IMG_3561

Doesn’t that just look delicious? And, it’s so easy. It really is. Sometimes, I like to make a double batch of biscuits just so I have more biscuits ready for snacking during the rest of the week. (My girls love biscuits with some jelly or jam.)

What is your favorite breakfast-for-anytime meal? Are you a biscuits and gravy fan, too?

 

 

Happy Thanksgiving!

A few years ago, I made cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving for the first time. It was delicious. And after that one day, a tradition was born. Now, every Thanksgiving eve, I bring out my favorite cookbook and make a big pot of cranberry sauce to bring to Thanksgiving dinner. I also bring a couple cans of the canned stuff…..because I like both. And really, you can’t have too much cranberry sauce, right?

IMG_2666

I also usually run out to Target the day before to pick up some new festive disposable containers to put the finished cranberry sauce in. This year’s containers are super cute. Check out that polar bear!

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope your table is full of delicious eats and wonderful conversation with loved ones.

Dinner with Kids – Sometimes you win….Sometimes

After we went to the Country Fair at Kline Creek Farm, big girl was very interested in finding more ways to use honey. We had the chance to see honey being harvested straight from the hive. And we were able to taste the freshest honey possible – right off of the honeycomb. Well, we bought a container of honey when we went blueberry picking during our recent Michigan vacation. So, I started to plan. How about breakfast for dinner? (One of my favorite meals to make for myself.) I made cheesy scrambled eggs, opened a new container of canned peaches (we get them from Costco….and we go through them crazy fast), and I made some toast with butter and honey drizzled on it.

IMG_0172

Honestly, I was really happy with this meal. I thought that they would be excited about it. Look! Honey! And it tasted just as fresh as the honey that we had right off of the honeycomb at the Country Fair…..and guess what the girls ate for dinner?

Um.

Canned peaches. No cheesy scrambled eggs. No toast. I think they both licked the honey off of the toast. So, there’s that.

*sigh*

Dinner time. Sometimes you win. Sometimes. This just wasn’t one of those times.

Snacking…endless snacking

Oh man. I love snacks. I snack when I’m happy. I snack when I’m sad. I snack when I’m bored. I snack and snack and snack. So, it’s important (especially to get the new year off to a good start) to try to snack on good stuff. And, that’s not easy. Especially because the not-good-for-you stuff is soooooooo good.

I’ve been trying to keep chickpeas on hand simply because I love roasted chickpeas to snack on. I haven’t been able to get the girls on board with this snack yet (I think they know that  it’s actually fairly healthy…or at least it’s healthier than many other options) but I love them!

  1. Open a can of chickpeas.
  2. Dry the chickpeas as much as you can.
  3. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
  4. Toss the chickpeas in olive oil – lots of olive oil.
  5. Cook for 30-45 minutes. (I like it closer to 30 minutes so some pieces are a little chewy and some are crunchy.)
  6. Top with whatever seasonings you have on hand: sea salt, cayenne pepper, fresh herbs, whatever you think might taste good.
  7. Eat and enjoy!
  8. Repeat when you realize that you just finished off the entire batch yourself……
Yum!

Yum!