One good thing that has come from the new stay at home and social distancing norms we’re all experiencing during the Covid-19 outbreak is…you never have to wear pants…oh, oops!   I mean we all have more time for home cooked meals.


For some of us, this is not out of the ordinary, but for others, having the time to cook has been a blessing in disguise.  


You may have stocked up on all kinds of odd ingredients in the beginning of the quarantine and perhaps now you are wondering what to do with all the leftover items in your fridge.


I’d like to suggest three basic meal formats with which you can use up whatever ingredients and seasonings you have on hand.  

Quick and Easy Stir Fry

First up is a quick and easy stir fry.  This is probably a pretty obvious choice for using up leftovers, especially veggies, but it works great with meats and herbs, as well.  


The main things to remember with stir fry is that you want to cut everything into similar bite sized pieces, then cook the “hard” items that take the longest, like carrots, first, adding ingredients with lesser cook times as you go.  Feel free to add pre-cooked ingredients at the end and cook just long enough to heat them up.  


Dress the entire mess with sauce at the end and add a little cornstarch to thicken if you like.  Fresh herbs go in last, after you’ve removed the skillet from the heat.  


The best part about stir fry?  Change up the sauce and you’ll create a completely new taste sensation every time.


Read on to find 7 different sauce recipes to make your stir fry different every time.

Chicken Soup - Good for What Ails Ya

Nothing is a more classic representation of good, wholesome home-cooking than the humble chicken soup.


If you don’t have a chicken soup recipe in your repertoire, you should.  It’s SO easy to make and despite the name, you don’t actually have to add chicken.  I know, I know, it ain’t chicken soup without chicken, but you all know what I mean, so I am going to forge ahead regardless.  


The basic chicken soup recipe can be tailored to fit whatever you’ve got in your cupboards, and that is why it’s next up on the list.


If you don’t have time to slow cook or intend to forgo the meat, use broth or stock instead of water.  In a pinch, you can use consomme or bouillon.  It’s almost impossible to mess up, in truth.   When in doubt, add more salt or maybe some grated Parmesan.  


Consider using your Instant Pot or other pressure cooker to infuse the flavors quicker.  Make use of frozen veggies, cubed potatoes, rice, or whatever starch you have on hand.  If you want something lighter, replace noodles with “zoodles”.  Simply add to the soup at the end, after you remove it from the heat to get the perfect consistency every time.


Here’s a website that has better than 40 variations on your basic chicken soup recipe.  

Pie - it's not just for thanksgiving

We’ve saved maybe the best for last.  If you think pie is too much work and you’ve never made a pot pie or other savory, crusty dish, then you are seriously missing  out.


This is another recipe that is so simple to make with what you’ve got on hand and it works with many different sauces as well.  


Want a quick peek at the tutorial?  Sautee some onions, possibly carrots and celery too, then add your meat and veg and cook, kind of like a stir fry.  Add flour to coat the ingredients and thicken the sauce, then add your liquids.  Stir until thick.  You can deglaze the pan with wine if you are fancy (pinkies up) and you can use broth, milk, cream, soy milk, or whatever floats your boat for the liquids.  Season it up and you’re ready for glorious crustitude.


Transfer to a pie plate or casserole dish and top with crust (you can buy one that is just as good as the one you might make).  I ALWAYS cheat here.  


That’s it, it’s super simple and your family will think you are a genius.  (Use this good will to get them to do this dishes.)


Click here for 29 savory pie recipes you will not want to miss.

One Response

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