It’s over, you’ve done it. You’ve cooked the last meal, cleaned the last dish, and waved the last guest on their way. You shared fun, conversation, experiences, and of course, great food. Your home was warm, simple, friendly, and welcoming. You navigated any unexpected drama with ease and grace (or went to scream quietly in another room). Time to relax in bask in the sweet feeling of success. Enjoy it.
Time’s up – people are hungry again.
Here’s the thing. Your refrigerator contains nothing but the cast-offs and crumbs of your beautiful feast. Random vegetables, half-used hunks of cheese, a spare chicken breast that wasn’t used, a whole lot of eggs. Making another meal means another trip to the grocery store and nobody wants to go: your bank account doesn’t want to go, your car doesn’t want to go, and your exhausted self doesn’t want to go. Luckily, you can whip up a few pretty delicious meals with the scraps of your hostessing achievement. These are great dishes to treat yourself, save grocery budget, and put off the dreaded store trip for a few more days. The following recipes use ingredients that will most likely be left over from the recipes given in this series, but I’ll include easy substitutes for every day.
Truly, there is no kitchen creativity I love more than transforming miscellaneous ingredients into a fabulous meal. This has resulted in brilliance and disaster. Ask the Hubs about the infamous Brown Sludge… Luckily, the following recipes lean more toward the delicious side of the spectrum.
This recipe will use any leftover chicken from Chicken Slop, Orange Chicken, or Thai Chicken Salad. Of course, you can cook chicken, but that adds time and effort, and who wants that? It also uses any lemons you bought for drinks, or hard cheeses you bought for your cheese board appetizer or Ploughman’s Lunch. The obsequious green bottle of parmesan you probably have in your fridge works perfectly.
Prep time: 5 minutes Cook time: 15 minutes Total Time: 20 minutes. Serves 4
- Box of spaghetti noodles
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 2 T lemon juice (or juice from 2 lemons)
- 2 tsp minced garlic
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
- Left over chicken breast, shredded (or shredded rotisserie chicken)
Cook pasta. Combine oil, lemon juice, and garlic in a bowl; mix well. Season with salt and pepper. Heat in microwave 2 minutes. Warm up chicken in microwave. Combine pasta, flavored oil, and chicken. Stir in parmesan cheese. Serve with leftover salad. Tip, this goes very well with a good green salad with blueberries, roasted pecans, and poppyseed dressing.
This one may not please some who don’t enjoy having “breakfast” for dinner, but it has protein, veggies, cheese, and you’ll serve it with salad and bread, so I say it counts.
This one will get rid of your spare half-cut veggies. Peppers, mushrooms, peas, and/or onions will all shine in this dish. Celery, carrots, lettuce, maybe not. Tomatoes will get mushy, but maybe you like that sort of thing. The original recipe calls for bacon and perhaps you have some left over. However, you can chop up any extra lunch meat and substitute that as well. Technically, this is a breakfast or brunch item, but as I stated in Some Like it Hot: Breakfast Solutions, I never would have time to make it in the morning.
- 1 1/2 TBS butter
- 8 slices bacon, ham, or other lunch meat (chopped)
- 1 cup chopped veggies
- A few basil leaves, torn
- 8 large eggs, beaten
- 5 oz goat cheese (thickly sliced)
- Salt and Pepper
- Grated Parmesan (or other hard cheese)
- Large handful of arugula leaves (or leafy salad)
- Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing
Preheat your oven to Broil. Melt butter in a large (preferably non-stick) skillet. Cook the meat until brown and crisp. Toss in the veggies and cook for another minute or two, then add the basil.
Beat the eggs and pour them into the skillet. Gently shake skillet over medium heat. Frittata will begin to set at the bottom. Top with goat cheese. Arrange your slices nicely. Season generously with salt and pepper.
Sprinkle grated parmesan over frittata and place pan under the hot broiler for a minute or two until the eggs are set on top. PUT AN OVEN MITT ON YOUR HAND. Remove pa and oh-so-carefully slide frittata onto a large plate. Lightly dress arugula leaves with vinaigrette, then pile on top of the frittata. Cut into wedges and serve with crust bread.
And there you go. Brava and Bravo, good friends. You are brilliant.