If I give you a list of ingredients, can you....

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by hearts and roses, Jan 6, 2008.

  1. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    create a meal? Pretty please?? I am trying to live off what I have in the house. I can run out and grab extra ingredients, particularly meat, but I was hoping if I posted what I have, some of you could give me some ideas!! Here is the list of what I have on hand:

    8 Various boxes of pastas
    3 Rice mixes and regular organic brown rice
    2 Qts chicken broth
    boullion: beef, veggie, chicken
    Beans: cannelloni, black eyed, black beans
    5 cans diced tomatos (some flavored)
    Artichoke bottoms
    Turkey gravy
    Mashed potato mix

    Every condiment imagined
    Flour tortillas
    1/2 onion
    green beans

    1/3 lb cooked chopped meat (beef)
    2 pie crusts
    1/2 lb frozen snap peas
    1lb frozen stir fry veggies
    4 whole sausages

    So, I am very interested what some of you will come up with and I hope that many of you respond. I have $50 to play with until Thursday, so I'm trying to work with what I have and to be honest, I've lost my interest in cooking. Baking I love, cooking, not so much! So, pretty please, with a cherry one top, HELP!!

  2. Hopeless

    Hopeless ....Hopeful Now

    When we have a carry in at work, this is always requested.

    My suggestion is for a quiche - but you need to buy eggs.





    You can use ham or sausage and even add vegetables, just make sure you cook them first. On the pie crust prick the bottom and sides with a fork and bake five minutes before you pour the mixture in the crust. (in other words pre bake the crust extra light brown) don't let it get to brown because it will finish cooking when it bakes with the mixture. You can make it the night before.
  3. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Thank you hopeless! I can do this, as I have some canadian bacon and eggs! I forgot to list the eggs. I think I have 5/6. Awesome.
  4. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Brown either ground beef or loose sausage.
    Soften diced onion.
    Dump canneloni beans.
    Dump diced tomato.
    Dump chili seasonings with above in crockpot.

    If you don't have crackers, toast the tortillas to serve with
    your chili for dinner. Sprinkle bowls with cheeses. Yum. Cheap!
    Way To Go! DDD
  5. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    You can definitely make a chili with beans, canned tomoatoes, chopped meat and/or veggies. Serve over brown rice and top with shredded cheese. If you need a recipe, I'm happy to post one.

    You can also make a bean soup with sausage slices.

    You can also make veggie quesadillas.

    Good luck!
  6. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    Pasta Arrabiata.(vegetarian) I make it with a bit of beef boullion instead of pancetta.
  7. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Or...slow cook the black beans with sausage and serve over rice,
    topped with diced onion and grated cheese. DDD
  8. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member

    Ok...this is going to sound very uninteresting next to all those other fancy dishes but...

    macaroni, cheese and diced tomatoes.

    Just boil the macaroni or other pasta you have on hand till it is al dente. Drain and pour into a oven safe dish, pour can of diced tomatoes over it and add a bag of shredded cheddar cheese to it. Stir and put in 350 degree oven till cheese melts.

    You can serve with a meat such as hot dogs or sausages but we eat it as a main dish.

    Cheap and easy.
  9. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Well-Known Member

    My husband loves this sort of meal:
    canned tomato
    choose-a-bean or crumbled beef or sausage
    grated cheese

    If it were me, I'd buy a whole chicken to roast and serve with-mashed potatoes, gravy & carrots. You can pick up another onion and celery to make chicken soup (throw in pasta & tomato if you wish). You may even have enough to make a casserole or a stir fry too.
    Buy a good loaf of bread. It gives a simple meal a measure of class. Plus some lemon or lemon juice in water/tea.
    Here's some other thoughts:
    Can you make a quiche with the eggs, cheese & and a pie crust?
    Tortillas/beef or sausage or beans/cheese/tomato
    fresh veggies on the side; serve with a simple cheese sauce (melt cheese in saucepan with a little milk)
    Rice with-bouillon, snap peas and a little of your meat.
  10. Suz

    Suz (the future) MRS. GERE

    I was thinking you could make a really tasty soup...

    Pasta or rice
    chicken broth
    chicken bouillion for added flavor
    1 can diced tomatoes
    chopped onion
    broccoli florets
    cauliflower florets
    the sausages
    and I'd get a few chicken thighs to cook and add the chicken

    A loaf of bread and you're all set.


  11. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat

    You could make a throw together pasta primavera. Up to you what veggies you like in it, but I'd for sure use the artichokes and tomatoes (if they are not already reserved for another dish). Good way to use up pasta. You could definitely throw in broccoli, carrots, even the green beans. Just boil your pasta in a pot, and in a skillet, sautee any veggies you like. The tougher the veggie, the longer you sautee. If you have milk or cream, you can throw that in to the veggie mixture at the very end with some white cheese. Drain the pasta, and if there is room, add the pasta to the sauce and toss.

    Another thing you could do is make a stir fry. Make some rice, stir fry any meat (or leave it vegetarian), then add the cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, and sugar snaps. Toss with soy sauce and serve over the rice.
  12. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    Jo -

    I would go to ARBYS - get some ketchup packets and lay those out on your husband's plate - he doesn't want to help?????? Then I'd serve ketchup packets with a side of horsey sauce. IF you know what I mean.
  13. mom_in_training

    mom_in_training New Member

    Allot of great ideas but wanted to throw in Egg Drop Soup. If you choose to go get eggs for the recipe that Hopeless posted you can make egg drop soup in just a couple minutes with your chicken broth, Beef, veggie, or chicken boullion.

    Beat the eggs, Bring the broth or boullion to a boil and gradually pour the beat eggs in while stirring. You can even add some of the frozen veggies you have.

    I myself am really on a tight budget and make the egg drop soup. Its really filling and cheap.
  14. Marcie Mac

    Marcie Mac Just Plain Ole Tired

    Get one box of Hamburger Helper using the the meat, then put it over the rice.

    My boys could eat this every day if I made it - and using the rice, it stretches enough for left overs.

    I finally decided that I needed to use my food processor. I found a receipe for Lazy Man's stuffed cabbage. (you don't actually need a food processor but I wanted to play)

    Line the bottom of a roasting pan with cabbage leaves - sprinkle a layer of uncooked rice, a layer of hamburger meat, some brown sugar, chopped onions and shredded cabbage - then start with another layer of uncooked rice, etc. layering till pan is full - make sure shredded cabbage is last layer, add some water, and a can of tomato juice - cover and cook on 325 for 1 1/2 to 2 hours

    It turned out fantastic - I loved stuffed cabbage, but didn't have/want the time to be soaking the leaves and stuffing individually. I thought I would end up with left overs on this but no such luck - it was gone that night..

  15. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Wow, awesome ideas! I am so psyched to try some of these! Yeah, thank you thank you thank you....so much!

    I am buying eggs, milk, 1/2 & 1/2, and a loaf of bread tomorrow. And I discovered that I have a roaster chicken in my basement freezer so I don't really have to buy any meat. I can make almost 5 recipes with what I have based on the recipes listed!! That is perfect!

    Thanks again~

    ps: Star, I spoke with easy child and she talked me into sticking with the time share plan - she even put up $1000 of her own college refund money so we can wrap it up. I was able to get a good deal on a personal loan for the balance and will have payments for only $250/month for 5 years as opposed to $202 for 10 years, which was the plan the mortgage company offered (vipers). So, in part my plan to be thrify this week using what I already have is based on making the deadline for the Tourette's Syndrome, as well a not asking H for any help. I went over what my monthly income will be for January, which includes my healthy raise for the new year and I will be way ahead by the end of the month, so it's all good! Thanks for your recipe too - if I run short on pantry items, I will be sure and run on down to Arbys for some ketchup. Maybe I can serve it with my jalapeno stuffed olives. He'd love that! Haha
  16. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Hi, Jo. I consider myself an expert in what I call gourmet poverty food. You can save a lot of money AND feed your family on healthy meals, if you are prepared to do more of the cooking from scratch (ie don't count on using packet stuff). It also tastes a lot better, too. And frankly, it's really not that much more trouble. I've developed some quick short-cuts.

    Some really inexpensive but tasty ideas based on your list of ingredients -

    1) Chicken risotto. You can also add any of the pulses to this if you choose, but I wouldn't. This is a recipe that expects you to stand at the stove, stirring.

    Do this in a fairly large saucepan. Have handy - half to one chopped onion; 1-2 cups of rice (short-grain or arborio if you can, but use whatever, even brown if you want); a glass of white wine (optional - we keep a wine cask in the cupboard to use for cooking, one wine cask lasts for months); about 4 cups of good stock (preferably chicken or similar). Butter, parmesan cheese (preferably fresh - we keep ours pre-grated in the freezer). You can do without the cheese if you must, but it WILL be different.

    Fry the onion in butter plus a splash of olive oil (healthier). Once it is translucent, throw in the rice. Stir it around until the rice is thoroughly coated in the butter/oil. Add the wine, stir thoroughly until the wine is absorbed. Throw in 2 cups of stock.
    And here is where I break the rules. The stock you use is supposed to be kept hot, and you add it slowly, stirring in between until it is all absorbed. Purists - turn away now.
    I add the stock, stir thoroughly, then turn the heat low and put the lid on. You now have five or ten minutes to do something else, such as chop up some cooked chicken (or similar poultry meat). Frozen peas are good, too, although easy child 2/difficult child 2 refuses to eat risotto with peas in it, everyone else loves it.
    Go back and check the rice. Stir it, if it is not puddling on the bottom, add more stock. Add less stock each time, so you don't overshoot.

    Our family likes risotto fairly dry, like a flavoured steamed rice, but purists prefer risotto which is sloppy. You get it how you want it.

    When the rice is cooked enough and the liquid balance is right (if you run out of stock, just use water to finish) taste it for salt (and pepper if you want). Throw in the chopped chicken and stir through. Then the really naughty bit - stir through another generous knob of butter - up to 2 oz. Once it's all melted through, add a couple of tablespoonfuls of parmesan cheese (or other hard, dry strongly flavoured Italian cheese).
    Serve immediately.

    This is fabulous winter comfort food.

    If you want, you can also throw in the leftover turkey gravy at some stage, along with the stock.

    2) Gnocchi (boiled potato dumplings)
    You need cold mashed potato, egg, plain flour, a bit of salt.
    Find something non-stick to put your dumplings on. I use those foam plastic trays from the greengrocer. Alternatively, put a layer of flour onto a plastic plate and put your dumplings there.

    To make - put into a large-ish bowl enough mashed potato to fill your cupped hand (estimate by eye). Add one egg and eighth teaspoon salt. (You can do a double batch if you want and are experienced; otherwise, several small batches is best.) Now add some plain flour - about quarter cup. Mix it around with a fork, add more flour if you need to, to form a sticky paste which holds together. Don't add so much that it forms a dry dough, you will not like those dumplings.

    Now the fun part - spread some flour on your work area. With a spatula, scoop out a chunk of dough (about two eggs in volume) and dump it gently onto the flour. With floured hands, roll the dough over until it is coated with flour, then work it by rolling it like a kindergarten child with plasticene until you have a long snake, as thick as your thumb. With the spatula, cut your snake into lengths each as long as your thumbnail (tip to base). Flip these pieces into the flour to make sure the cut surface is coated. Then with the fork (clean it off a bit for this job) you press the tines into the dumpling softly to flatten it. Gently roll the dumpling off the fork tines (it should curl a little, like a wood louse) and put the dumpling on the plastic tray. Keep going until you've used up all your dough mix.
    IMPORTANT - never leave this dough mix to wait. You need to keep working this from start to finish, or the mixture will go sloppy and grey - not nice.

    When you've made all your dumplings, boil some water in a large pot. Salt the water, then when it's on a rolling boil, throw in some dumplings. Be at the ready with slotted spoon and serving bowl. When the dumplings float, let them cook for another 20 seconds or so, then scoop them out and put them in the serving bowl. Add a bit of oil or butter to stop them sticking (a tiny amount only) and keep going until all dumplings are cooked.

    To serve - either with melted butter stirred through, or other pasta sauce such as tomato (sugo) or pesto. It really is delicious, and another winter comfort food also with a fair bit of protein from the egg.

    If you want to take your time and slowly accumulate a lot of this, but making it in several batches, I've used the gnocchi as a base for a sort of pastitsio - over the cooked gnocchi in casserole dish, I pour over bolognese sauce and top it with cheesy bechamel, then bake in the oven.

    3) That last casserole dish idea with the gnocchi, only you use cooked pasta shells (or similar pieces), cove it with bolognese or pureed tinned tomatoes, then bechamel, then bake - pastitsio, a sort of Greek lasagne. If you want to go more moussaka, you can do a layer of sliced potato, layer of tomatoey sauce, layer of frozen vegetables, more sauce, top it off with cheesy bechamel. We had something very like that in a really good restaurant on Crete. An unforgettable meal. Very simple, nourishing, very tasty.

    4) You could make up a mixture with the chopped cooked beef, the chicken gravy, some finely chopped vegetables, and put it into the pie crusts. Give it a puff pastry topping (if you have puff) and with the puff pastry bits you cut off, put them on a baking tray and sprinkle with grated cheese for a pre-pie snack. Or do what mother in law does, and crinkle them around into a circle to make a pastry rose, put it in the middle of the pie before baking. When you serve it, blame me for giving you an Aussie meat pie recipe. It's not quite, but it is similar enough (apart from the extra veggies).
    Or you can make jaffles with the mix.

    5) various soups, including chicken and vegetable, minestrone (you seem to have everything), maybe even Chinese chicken and corn (if you have a tin os creamed corn in there somewhere?). Recipes on application.

    Can you involve the kids in the planning? This can be a fun exercise in logic. Or would be, if you didn't feel in such dire straights.

    Good luck!

  17. goldenguru

    goldenguru Active Member

    How about a shepherds pie?

    Brown your beef with-onion. Add one can of tomato soup and the green beans (cooked first). Put it into a casserole dish. Top with the mashed potato mix. Sprinkle with a little cheese.

    Bake at 350 until bubbly and the potatoes are browned slightly.

    A family favorite here.
  18. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Wow, thanks again everyone. I've printed out each one and tonight I am going to glean from all the recipes which ones I can do with what I have and make my menu for the week. I found even more things in my pantry and basement freezer that I can use so I'm very excited!

    I am actually having a great time with this as I don't usually plan a menu so much as I usually have the same assortment of meals I generally buy for and make monthly. I am mixing things up a bit by using only what I have and adding a few key ingredients. It's fun and I wouldn't have thought of some of these without your help.

    I have to come up with $1500 by March 15th, so I am going to be cooking/baking frugally for almost 2 whole months. Who knows, it may become a way of life for me so I can save even more money foever. Since easy child is at school and difficult child is hardly ever home, I can really get into serving these new & interesting dishes!!

    Thanks again~
  19. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    Marg -


    I've been an expert for years -

  20. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    I just saw a site that is perfect for this. Just plug in ingredients you have and it gives you ideas, plus lists what other ingredients you might need.