Wednesday, December 05, 2007

WFMW: Quick "Bare-Pantry-Leftover" Meals

This week, Shannon's Works for me Wednesday is THEMED! Yay ... love those ... because I don't have to scour my brain for ideas! Today, it's the WFMW: What Do I Fix? Edition. When you've had a hectic day, everyone is tired, hungry, and you don't feel well, but still have to fix dinner on whatever is in the pantry... here are a couple easy suggestions (one that I make, and one that my husband made just last night). Usually, we are using leftover veggies, or veggies that weren't fully used in another recipe (like half of an onion, or half of a red pepper, or an extra un-cooked steak).

Creamy Chicken and Bacon Pasta

This is a take-off of the "hay and straw" pasta dish (which is another fast and easy dish to fix). I love this, because it's so fast and easy, and you can toss in whatever you want! I usually will add whatever I have in the fridge (mushrooms, onions, etc.), but if you don't like something on the list, just replace it with something you do like. The key is the spaghetti, cream, and the Parmesan cheese. As long as you keep those three things on the list, you can change everything else. It looks like a lot of steps, but once you read through it and familiarize yourself with the recipe and the instructions, you'll find that it goes a lot faster than you think. I usually have dinner (serve with a side salad and bread) on the table in 15 minutes.

Spaghetti (enough for your family)
2 frozen chicken breasts, sliced into strips
olive oil (for cooking chicken strips)
salt / pepper (to taste)
1/2 onion, sliced thinly (or chopped)
1 clove garlic, minced (use garlic powder if you don't have fresh garlic)
4 slices bacon
6 fresh mushrooms (optional), cleaned and sliced
2 tablespoons real butter
1/2 bag frozen peas and carrots
1 - 2 cups heavy cream (depending on how much spaghetti you make)
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese (or more, depending on how much spaghetti you make)

My mouth is watering already.

Begin by placing a large pot of water on to boil. Add a mound of salt to the water (about a quarter-sized mound is perfect). When the water comes to a rolling boil, cook spaghetti according to package directions. For a quick meal, angel-hair only takes like 6-8 minutes. For the thick spaghetti (which I adore), it will take 12 minutes.

In a medium-sized frying pan, cook bacon until crisp. Set aside on paper towel to drain, then crumble. To the bacon drippings, pour enough oil into the pan to coat the bottom and keep the chicken from sticking. Add the chicken to the hot pan, and season liberally with salt and pepper. Cook thoroughly, and remove from pan -- set aside. To the same pan, add the 2 tablespoons of butter, and toss in the onion, garlic, mushrooms, and frozen veggies. Cook over medium-high heat until the onions are soft, tender, and caramelized. Add the chicken and crumbled bacon. Cook until heated through. Everything should be done right around the same time the pasta finishes cooking.

Drain the cooked pasta and put back into the pot. Add the chicken mixture, the Parmesan cheese and the heavy cream slowly. Stir pasta well. Add enough cream that it coats the pasta and mixes well with the Parm cheese so it makes a thick sauce. Adding more whipping cream will make it creamier, adding more Parmesan cheese will thicken it. I usually do not go by measurements here, but rather, eyeball it. Season with salt and pepper to taste (it wont need much, but it will need it, because the cream is not salty).

Steak and Noodles

I had to work late last night, and I came home to a delicious meal that my husband "threw together" from stuff in the pantry. He didn't have exact measurements, so he kind of just eyeballed it, too. You can substitute the peppers and onions for the frozen stir fry vegetables.

Egg Noodles (or whatever pasta you have on hand)
1 steak, cut into strips
1 garlic clove, chopped or minced
red peppers cut into strips
green peppers cut into strips
onion cut into thin strips
leftover brown (beef) gravy (we had 1/2 jar in the fridge)
1 envelope Lipton Onion Soup Mix or Beef Onion soup mix
2 Tablespoons of Soy Sauce (I think that's how much he used)

Begin by placing a large pot of water on to boil. Add a mound of salt to the water (about a quarter-sized mound is perfect). When the water comes to a rolling boil, cook pasta according to package directions.

In a large (family-sized) pan, add a little bit of oil, and the steak. Cook until done. Add the garlic and vegetables and continue to cook until tender. Add the gravy, the soup mix, and soy sauce. Add enough water to make a nice sauce. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer until ready to serve. Serve over pasta.

You can also add broccoli, carrots, or anything else that floats your boat!


Stacey said...

That's what I'm talking about... yummy, quick and tasty!

Anonymous said...

What time did you say you were having us over for super?? SHHH Don't tell anyone.... yours are by far the best sounding recipes.

My Trendy Tykes said...

I can actually make the steak and noodles tonight! I was wondering what I could do with that steak.

Thanks for sharing!


♥.Trish.♥ Drumboys said...

these sound awesome and I am hungry again now

Anonymous said...

YUMMY!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I love it! Sounds wonderful!