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Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Have you ever felt that terrible guilty feeling when you throw out perfectly good food that went bad when it didn’t fit into your recipes for the week? I used to be someone who habitually had a garbage full of food that could have been used, but went bad first. When the guilt finally consumed me, I decided to find a way to do something about it.

What’s Left?

The day or two before you go grocery shopping again, check your cupboard for anything that you bought the week before that isn’t already rotting away. It’s impossible for me to predict what you might have, but take it all out of your fridge and put it in front of you. It really could be anything. Maybe you have a chunk of cream cheese, a stalk of celery, half an onion, and some stale chips. I can’t tell you what to do with the stale chips, but I bet you can make a hearty dinner out of the rest of your leftover food.

What to Keep Stocked

There are a few things you’ll need to keep on hand each week for this last meal, but they are things that can stay a while without going bad. Keep a roll or two of Pillsbury Crescent Rolls in your fridge, keep your condiment shelf full, and have some veggies in the freezer. I love the steam-in-a-bag kind–so simple.

Filling for the Braid

With the dough, condiments, frozen veggies, and the leftovers out on your counter–get creative! The possibilities are endless. What you want to do is think of which ingredients would go together nicely as a casserole or a dip. You will turn those ingredients into a filling for a dough braid. If you’re really stumped, do an ingredient search on Allrecipes to find out if there are any casserole or dip recipes using the ingredients you have. Pillsbury has some recipes for dips too, all of which could be put into a braid.

Let’s say you had some leftover cheddar cheese, half an onion, a little bit of cooked chicken, and a slice of red pepper. Doesn’t seem like much, but mix it up with some mayo, broccoli steamed from your freezer, salt, dill, and garlic. Now you have the perfect filling for a dough braid!

How to Make the Braid

Spread your dough onto a greased cookie sheet. Place the filling down the middle of the braid horizontally. Cut one inch strips on either side of the chunk of filling. Fold the ends over the filling, sealing them together on top. Seal the ends. Brush with a beaten egg-white. Cook in a 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes or until crisp and brown.

You will be amazed at how almost any combination of ingredients tastes good when put into a braid. Follow these steps and you will feel a lot less guilty on refrigerator clean out day.

More Filling Ideas

Buffalo Chicken Braid

Cheese, cream cheese, cooked chicken, hot sauce, chopped celery, chopped onion, shredded cheddar cheese, blue cheese

Greek Braid

Black or Kalamata olives, feta cheese, chopped cucumber, chopped salami, cream cheese

Reuben Braid

Deli turkey or corned beef, sauerkraut, chopped onion, Thousand Island dressing

Spinach and Artichoke Braid

Sour cream, artichoke hearts, frozen (steamed) spinach, shredded cheddar cheese, garlic, parmesan cheese

Recipes That Could be Made Into Braids

Hot Crab Dip

Nacho Dip

Broccoli Casserole

Corn Casserole

.alissa.

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This pizza is a crowd-pleaser. When you offer your guests homemade pizza, they are probably expecting the very bland, soggy taste of premade pizza popped into the oven. This simple pizza recipe honestly tastes like take-out. Try it once, and you will want to keep these ingredients handy so you never have to pay 20 bucks for a take-out pizza again.

With that said, the simple switch in your traditional pizza ingredients to these ingredients is really what makes this pizza, so substitutes really won’t work here. Try to get exactly the ingredients listed.

1 package bakery made pizza dough (I buy a local brand called Villa’s. Usually your grocery store will have dough from a local bakery in their specialty aisle.)

1 package Boboli Pizza Sauce

1 package sliced Provolone Cheese

EV Olive Oil

2 cloves chopped garlic

Any other toppings you like

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Let the dough sit out on the counter while you put the groceries away; it’s easier to handle this way. Stretch the dough gently to fit your cookie sheet or pizza stone. I always PAM my cookie sheet, but that is up to you. Place the dough on the cookie sheet and brush with olive oil. Sprinkle the chopped garlic over the oil. Spread the sauce out over the dough covering everything except the crust. Overlap the Provolone slices to cover the pizza. Pinch the crust to the thickness you like. (I have stuffed the crust with mozzarella cheese sticks before, that was yummy.)

Cook the pizza for about 15-20 minutes, be sure to watch it carefully. Take the pizza out when it is lightly browned and bubbling. Delicious! There are so many possibilities using this basic recipe.

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I do love to have a traditional meal on holidays with a meatless twist. This St. Patty’s Day, I will be trying Potato and Leek Soup adapted from RecipeZaar and Pinch My Salt.

Ingredients:

3 leeks, thinly sliced

1 small onion, thinly sliced

6 medium potatoes, thinly sliced

3 stalks celery, chopped

2 garlic cloves, chopped

4 tablespoons butter

3 1/2-4 cups vegetable stock

1 cup heavy cream

S & P

1 tablespoon parsley

3 scallions, finely chopped

Hot, crusy bread or bread bowl

Directions:

1. Soak chopped leeks in cold water for 5 minutes. Scrub out loose dirt.

2. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat, cook vegetables until soft.

3. Add the sliced potatoes and cover with the broth. When the potatoes are soft, turn down the heat and begin to mash with a potato masher.

4.  Stir in heavy cream. Cook an additional 15 minutes.

5. Serve in bowls alongside crusty bread. Top with parsley and scallions.

Irish you luck!

:)Alissa

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I always had the same Sunday morning routine: Check the cupboard for what food is left from last week, look up recipes for this week, and write a grocery list including these ingredients plus the items I buy on a regular basis.

This process took up most of my valuable Sunday time, so I went looking for a way to revamp it. I tried online grocery lists, handwritten grocery lists, and even grocery list apps for my cell phone. None of these worked for me, they still took up (at the very least) a half an hour of my morning.

A few weeks ago, a friend shared her brilliant idea with me. The idea is so simple, I wondered why I hadn’t thought of it myself.

Take some time to type up a list of what you usually buy weekly or keep on hand. Organize it by the section it is in at your local grocery store. Stick the typed list to the refrigerator or the inside of your cupboard. As you run out of something, highlight or circle it on your list. Then, on Sunday morning, all you have to do is add the ingredients from any new recipes you’re going to use that week. After you grocery shop, print out a fresh copy of the list and put it on your fridge. Or, I guess, if you’re really crafty–you could laminate it and use wet erase markers to write on it.

So, I went to work making my weekly grocery list. I left space to add additional items in each section. Enjoy!

Grocery List (You can print this one, but cannot make changes. The plus-side is that the font and spacing will be perfect.)

Grocery List (You can edit this one, but the font and spacing may need to be fixed.)

<3Alissa

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I hate to waste food. It sabotages the food budget that I try so hard to stick to each week, there are tons of hungry people in the world, and… well,  it’s just plain wasteful.  Since we eat a lot of cereal in my house (bought on sale, mainly in generic form, and sometimes with coupons), I have an easy way to use all the bottom-of-the-bag leftovers that no one wants to eat. 

Use all these leftovers, supplement with crispy rice cereal, and whip up a batch of Peanut Butter Mystery Marshmallow Treats!  You can’t go wrong with this crowd pleaser.  Just about any cereal works, and the standard recipe (or your own) is perfect.  You could keep a plastic container to collect all the cereal in until you have enough to make a batch of treats.

You know the drill…here are the ingredients:

A package of marshmallows, half stick of butter or margarine, and a generous scoop of peanut butter for flavor and protein.  I also add ground flaxseed for a nutrition bonus, and no one will ever know it’s there.

Melt butter in a large pot, then add peanut butter to your taste; I generally use about 1/2 cup.  Add marshmallows and stir.

Turn off the heat and stir in about 6-7 cups of cereal.  Corn flakes, Special K, Chex, Corn Pops, Cheerios; just about anything works well in this.  This is also the point where you stir in the ground flaxseed, if using.

At this point you’ll dump the mixture into a greased 13 x 9 inch pan.

Now, onto flattening this sticky mess….simply run your hands under cold tap water, shake, and press the cereal mixture down.  Don’t oil your hands (yuck!), this water trick works like a charm.  Using cold water also buffers your hands against the hot mixture. 

Let it cool, flip pan over onto a cutting board, and cut into squares.

No two batches will ever be exactly alike, but they will all be yummy! Perfect snack; one the kids will love it in their lunchbox.  Easy, inexpensive, and you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing you’ haven’t let any cereal go to waste!

-Kerry

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Little Hands…Big Pizza

Let’s file this under simple tricks for little hands that you may not have already thought of.

Here’s your average lovely cheese pizza with light sauce:

Anyone hungry yet?

You feel great serving this beautiful thing to your family on white paper plates for a quick, easy, and fun Friday night dinner.  (Let’s avoid the nutritional value for now since most of us have those nights when it’s an accomplishment just to get something on the table!)

Here comes the trick!  If you have toddlers, preschoolers, or younger kids, this floppy slice of pizza has Spray ‘N Wash written all over it.

The normal solution?  Cut it up into little pieces that your child can eat with a fork.

But come on…that’s no fun!  Talk about feeling like a baby!  Young kids don’t like being left out of pizza folding and eating with your hands.  Next time, cut their slice of pizza like this:

One slice across the bottom, then cutting at a diagonal to divide the remaining piece into thirds, and you have 4 mini slices of pizza, perfect for little hands to handle.

-Kerry

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Thought I’d blog about my dinner. Yum. I might mention that my boyfriend is a meat-eater and I am not. So, for me, they’ll be spicy veggie & bean tacos–with minimal extra effort. Just how I like it. Cheap. Healthy. Simple.

I like this because you can truly use whatever you have on hand, and you can pick out or add on depending on your likes and dislikes.

Ingredients I keep on hand:

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

dash hot sauce

salsa

s and p

olive oil

Ingredients I added to my grocery list:

precooked diced chicken (easier for me to throw in an otherwise vegetarian meal, could buy already cut or chop up some rotisserie chicken &  freeze bag fulls as add ins)

thinly sliced green pepper

thinly sliced onion

refried beans (or smashed black beans, whatever)

whole wheat tortillas (or tortilla chips, again…whatever)

shredded cheddar cheese

Oven on @ 375. Slice veggies and spread out on baking sheet. Drizzle oil & add salt/pepper to taste. Roast in oven for 20 minutes. I added a leek to my veggie roast because I had one on hand that I needed to use up.

Meanwhile, heat up chicken and/or beans in a tiny bit of olive oil in a skillet. When it’s sizzling, add the cumin, pepper flakes and hot sauce to your liking. You can add this to the beans, too, of course. Let everything heat up for 2 minutes or so.

You stay on your side, I'll stay on mine.

I like to put the toppings out on an assembly line in little dishes, build-your-own-taco style. Layer beans or meat, roasted veggies, cheese, and salsa on tortillas. Or, throw it all in a bowl and eat with tortilla chips.

Welcome to Moe’s!

-Alissa

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