It never ceases to amaze me how much food that teenagers go through. I say “go through” rather than “eat” because I feel like they waste a lot of it. Not sure if it’s because they always leave the dang chip bag open or if they just get sick of eating so much of the same thing all of the time. I don’t know one person that enjoys stale chips, potato, corn, or otherwise. I also think that normal average appetites could not eat an entire half gallon of ice cream and want to eat the second half gallon before it becomes freezer burnt! There could be another reason too… bagels aren’t as appealing without cream cheese, turkey sandwiches need bread, and cereal generally needs some sort of liquid, milk or otherwise so that the roof of your mouth isn’t in sheer pain the following day. If either one of those things runs out before the other… well, you get where I am going with that. Which brings me to my next point. Not sure if you noticed, but teenagers generally and conveniently do not “like” leftovers. I think it was a couple years ago, after realizing that our weekly household budget takes a $400.00 ding… EVERY SINGLE week, I decided I would need to become an expert in “new dinner”. It’s not leftovers, just “new dinner” made from leftovers. I have a small disclosure here before I go any further. I admit that I am not a very good cook. I actually used to have a food blog, but I only created it because I was always so annoyed when I would receive so many texts from kids all afternoon (while I was trying to wing it in the kitchen) and they were always wanting to know what was for supper… hence the blog title, Supper Is Ready. I have never been good at following a recipe and having it turn out perfectly the same every time. Besides, who ever has everything they need in their pantry all of the time, especially having grazing teens around? No disrespect to The Pioneer Woman as I am one of her biggest fans. She posted a lovely pic of her fully stocked pantry on her blog yesterday and I couldn’t help but think how super unrealistic it was, at least for me! Needless to say, I have gotten really good at taking what I have on hand, using up things that are otherwise going to go to waste, and calling it dinner! It’s always different, it’s always delicious, and has ultimately shaved about $150.00 off my weekly food budget!
My oldest daughter, Allison made a fancy, authentic, Mexican dish on Monday, which was delish by the way! She went to the grocery store and spent about $30 on its “special ingredients”, you know the kind of “special ingredients” that The Pioneer Woman keeps as “basics”. To be honest, I don’t even know where you would look for these things at the grocery store. Needless to say, there was about 1 1/2 Cups of some “red sauce” left that she spent most of the day simmering after she spent forever chopping and blending different things for. There was 3/4 bag of tostada shells which were ironically stale… hmm, go figure, and a partial bag of frozen chicken. The cilantro was wilting, and one out of the three limes was hard as a rock, so you know they were well on their way to the compost pile. Here’s what I did, I made lasagne! Well, lasagne with a twist that is! I added jarred mild salsa to Allison’s “red sauce” to stretch it farther. I used the stale tostada shells as the “noodles” and created layers with all that, the cooked chicken and grated cheddar cheese. I even topped it with the zest of lime and lovely cilantro. Baked it at 350 for 1/2 hour.
Next time you think of throwing food in the trash, think beyond the specialty aisle of your local grocery store. It will really pay off and maybe your hungry teens won’t realize they actually just ate leftovers!