Ravioli Lasagna with Leftover Tomato Bisque is something that I made this past week that was super easy and utilized leftovers. I am not one to waste food. Typically, my family doesn’t mind eating leftovers, so I’m pretty lucky in that department. We are doing some shelf-cooking and so I used (mainly) what I had on hand. I did have to go out and buy some fresh cheese filled ravioli. This is what I made but I am going to add in here what I will do the next time because it sounds good.
What I Actually Cooked
First, I utilized the bacon and fire roasted tomato bisque that I had leftover from a couple of nights ago. I could have just eaten it up, as soup again, but I wanted something a bit different. In my 13×9 greased dish, I put a layer of the fresh cheese filled ravioli, then the sauce, mozzarella, and repeated those layers. I cooked that, covered, at 350 for about 30 minutes. Then, I took the cover off and baked for another 10 minutes. I let it set for about 5 minutes before serving. It was delicious.
What I Will Do Next Time
This is where I get excited! Taking something I threw together to see if it would work and then expounding on it to make it even better. That way, I have 3 recipes in my arsenal of goodness. I have the tomato bisque, the easy ravioli bake, and then the adult version of that ravioli bake. Makes my heart happy.
I would like brown up some ground beef with garlic, onion, Italian seasoning, and my seasoning. Drain that off. In that same skillet, I would cook up some fresh portobello mushrooms, chopped up spinach, and some peppers (red, orange, and yellow). Add the meat back to that skillet and incorporate all of that together and then add your leftover soup to heat it all through.
In that greased 13×9 dish (oven set to 350 to preheat), layer a bit of the sauce on the bottom, then your ravioli (get 2 bags), then more of the sauce. Next add some mozzarella, fresh parmesan to the top and repeat the layers ending with the cheese. Cover and bake for the same time frame as before.
Weekly Menu March 19 is up and ready. I have not taken time off of cooking because these people insist on eating every single night. Honestly, a lot has gone on and I’m just not with it. So, with this week, we are taking it easy (we meaning I) and it is going to be survival of the fittest.
Chew on your own tongue and call it a night.
Lasagna. Now, this isn’t my super cheesy and expensive lasagna but it’ll do in a pinch. I had 3 boxes that were 1/2 full of gluten free noodles. Why? I dunno. Honestly, I need to eliminate the word ‘why’ from my vocabulary. Also making some garlic bread (gf for one of my kids).
Pizza night. It has moved due to some big changes in our house. I think this will be pizza night for the next unforeseeable future.
Cheeseburger soup. It’s always a winner.
Today is my Oak’s birthday AND my sister is coming to town! My siblings and parents are meeting up at a little local place to celebrate the greatness of her existence.
Today is the reception celebration for my baby boy child. He got married last summer and this is their planned day. I will be getting my hair done, helping however I can and celebrating.
Tonight (the 18th), I had 2 bags, 1/2 full (cause why not) of tortilla chips. We also had some leftover cheese sauce and some meat. It has been a busy day cleaning house and just putting my life back together. Still, these people insist on eating every single night.
Since it isn’t “chewing on our tongue” Sunday, I had to do something in between cleaning up pee and laundry. I got out my big cookie sheet and sprayed it well. From there, I poured on the chips and sprayed those with cooking spray. I tossed them around with chili powder and spread them out.
In a bowl, I got my ground beef, added seasoning, chili powder, and a bit of water to help it stick. I poured that over the chips. Then, I added my cheese sauce. Got that in the oven and baked it at 350 for about 30 minutes. In the mean time, I cut up some lettuce to pour on top. One pan meal means easy clean and very few leftovers. Those will be eaten tomorrow for lunch by my kids.
Here is a Twist on Frito Pie with Spanish Rice. I had some leftover chili from the week prior. It was not enough to fill four bowls, so I stretched it with some extra ingredients and rice. This was a winner for my family. I hope I can remember everything I did. Honestly, I tend to find joy in reinventing leftovers so we aren’t eating the same thing over and over. The downsize is, I don’t remember how I made it.
That’s about it LOL. Have I ever written out my exciting chili recipe? I dunno. Should I add it? I dunno. Chili isn’t hard. You can even buy it in a can, which I never knew until recently. Who buys chili in a can when you can make more, with ingredients you are familiar with, and it is cheaper. Mind boggling.
I put the instant pot on saute and threw in the rice and garlic (with a bit of butter to keep it from sticking). Whirl that around until the rice is sauteed up and then add in the crushed tomatoes and seasoning. Whirl more. Add in chicken bouillon and water. Turn it off and then put on the lid. The knob needs to be on the sealing function and I hit the rice button. Once it is done, I did a quick release.
Assembling the Frito Pie
Grease a 13×9 dish. On the bottom, add the rice and then the leftover chili. I crushed the bag of fritos and poured that over the top. I baked this at 350 for about 30 minutes. Then, I pulled it out and added some cheddar. I popped it back in the oven for another 15 minutes. Serve with the optional toppings above.
Honestly, I Don’t Even Know the Day of the Week. It has been a whirlwind for the last several weeks. That, however, is not the plot of this post. I have cooked, a lot, as usual. We have eaten a lot. Date nights…not so much. Well, we have had one in the last month, the rest of the time we didn’t. So, here are some of the things I cooked over the last couple of weeks.
The Past Couple of Weeks
Of course, we have had pizza night. One night we ordered in food. There have been a lot of leftovers from birthday celebrations. Since January 24th, we have had ten birthdays. Over the next few weeks, we will have five more birthdays. These are mainly my children, grandchildren and in-laws.
That’s a lot of celebrations.
H’s Big Day
He wanted sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, green beans, and macaroni & cheese. I kid you not. Did I make it all? Yes, yes I did. Also, for the other people who don’t want side dishes, I made chili and boiled some hotdogs.
I had some chili left in the pot, but not enough to eat leftovers for the next night. We that knowledge, I threw it all in a gallon-sized baggie and put it in the freezer. The next week, I purposed to finish up what was in my freezer. I found that bag of chili. Creative juices begin. I made Spanish style rice and frito pie (sort of but not really). It was very good.
Every month (more or less), we get together at My Oak’s house and do lunch (or supper) for the birthdays of that month. This time was no different. We gathered, we ate, we laughed, and we (I) cried. From there, Martha sent me home with leftovers. I threw all the veggies in a baggie and, you guessed it, froze them.
With that, I made vegetable beef soup tonight. I didn’t have many veggies from mom but I did find some leftover lima beans in another freezer. Some potatoes were cut up and a can of corn was added to the soup. I marinated stew meat in garlic and worcestershire sauce. It was fantastic.
A’s Big Day
She requested stromboli, so I made three of those and chicken noodle soup. She shares a birthday with my sweet mother-in-law. Dane wanted a taco trifle, so I made that. There was some leftover meat and I prepared that extra and some ate regular old tacos. There was enough leftover to have for the next night. Score for me.
Hitting the Bottom of the Barrel
Bless this bag of salmon’s heart. It has been living in my freezer for way too long. Finally, I decided to cook it. I am not a big salmon fan. I love catfish caught by my husband and son-in-law and Tilapia. We don’t buy it often. So, I made salmon in my instant vortex air fryer and garlic/butter/parmesan rice. Fan-freaking-tastic.
Also, my last freezer meal of the cook fest back in December. Taco bake. I will officially be done with freezer meals. All the odds and ends that I have tossed in my freezer are cooked up. I think there may be a loaf of french bread in the freezer so I will make cheesy/garlic bread out of that when I make lasagna next week. For some reason, I have three boxes, half full, of gluten free lasagna noodles. I can’t stand that, so obviously, I am going to use those up. Oh, lasagna soup… Dang, I love soup.
We will have hamburgers this week and honestly, I can’t remember what else we had the past couple of weeks. I am crawling, slowly, out of my hole, which is a good thing. That post will be forthcoming, yet difficult.
Here is our February 5 Weekly Menu Options. There will be some rollover meals that I didn’t use last week (ie my Zuppa, Croquettes, and the Mystery Meat). Sadly, I still have not gotten my groceries ordered, but will do so as soon as I hit “publish” on this post.
Basketball is close to winding down cue angels and I am super thankful. Don’t get me wrong, I love watching my kid play but five nights a week is just a bit too much for this mama and her sanity. I am sure there will be a little break before districts and before summer ball.
This month is also HEAVY with birthdays, so lots of birthday person supper choosing. I enjoy that because these are nights when I simply have to cook and not worry about what to cook. The birthday person picks the menu and dessert. I love having my family all around. It is certainly much more quiet around here then it used to be back when all seven kids were at home.
Mystery Meat, which turned out to be deer and has been marinating in BBQ sauce (now if it sucks, I will have B make hamburgers instead)
In an effort to get to the bottom of the freezer, we discovered three bags of meat. So, two bags were identifiable and then other not so much. Our Mystery Meat and Croquettes will give us at least three or four meals because of how much it made.
Taking a Gander in my Freezer
As I was trying to get my groove back on this Friday morning, I hurried to check the freezer and pull out the bags of meat that were in question. Now, my husband didn’t know what any of the bags were, so I was going in blind. While my granddaughter was playing, I scurried out to the garage and found the three gallon sized baggies and a 1/2 bag of yeast rolls.
Once in the house, I pulled out my instant pot. I normally do not use it on the crockpot function because I don’t believe it works so well. However, my crockpot was dirty and my other one has seen better days, so I had no option. Completely frozen, I put in the mystery meat. From the looks of it, it was stew meat but from the smell of it, it was deer. I never cook deer meat. Ever. My son-in-law kills them and cooks it but not me. He does throw things in my freezer from time to time. Once, I opened it and an entire hind quarter was staring at me.
Texting the Man Child
I texted him and he said it could have been him, it could be deer meat, it could be something else. Really, zero help. So, I got a cup of water in their and set the crockpot function on low for about eight hours. He said if it was deer meat, to cook it low and slow to get the gamey taste out and to soften it up.
I mean, that’s what I did because I do not like to waste or throw food away. Whilst his daughter was running about my feet, I gagged a bit while I fit this all in the instant pot. The smell was not my favorite. Once the lid was on, I really didn’t think about it anymore.
Onto the Other Two Bags
One baggie had leftover ham in it. The other baggie, I sort of giggled at when I started looking closer. On the bottom of the bag were two slices of ham. However, the rest of the bag had turkey. I am guessing this was leftover Thanksgiving meat from my mom’s house because I rarely cook turkey. It just is never moist (you are welcome, Susan for using that word).
I let them thaw out while I pondered what on earth I could do to make it work. While I was pondering, I was cleaning my house. Again, it’s Friday and I typically clean the house on Friday. I have been so busy lately that I clean when I have the chance. Today, I cleaned around my girl baby (best helper ever).
Cleaning Out the Fridge and Pantry
I finally tackled the pantry and pulled out all the bits and pieces that I didn’t even know I had. For next week, I will do something with this huge bag of tortilla chips. It was a little bag and about a 1/2 bag but I combined them and now they need to go in something.
Nacho night? Maybe. I dunno yet.
There was a couple of good sized onions and one weenie one. I set it out to use. There was also two little bags of instant garlic mashed potatoes. Gluten free, so I pulled those out. Once I was in the fridge, I found a zucchini that needed to be eaten, a tiny bag of green onions, a bit of cheddar…really, just a little bit of this and a little bit of that in all the places.
Croquettes it is (well, my version of it anyway).
Gluten Free Flour
Mashed Potatoes (I used Instant Idahoan Garlic Mashed Potatoes)
First, I got my water started for the garlic mashed potatoes. Once that was boiling, I through in the instant potatoes, mixed, and set aside. Then, I got a huge mixing bowl out and cut up my meat into small pieces. There was a lot of meat (hence using three eggs to bind it). I added the chopped up onion and green onions. Also, I added in the minced garlic and seasoning. I did not heavily use my seasoning mix because the ham was pretty salty and so were the mashed potatoes. From there, I added the cheddar and mashed potatoes.
I had to leave to pick a kid up, so I covered that and it just hung out in the bowl while I was being mom. When I got home, it was cool enough to add in the eggs. If you add those eggs in with the hot mashed potatoes they will scramble up and that is not what you want.
Assembling the Croquettes
Once all of this was done, I got my hands in there (gross) and mixed it well. Like a meatloaf, do not overmix this stuff. I got a plate out and put my gf flour on it. While I was patting away, I was melting a pat of butter in a nonstick pan. I could fit seven croquettes in my skillet. Let them cook for about four minutes (or until golden brown) on each side. I had a lot of meat, so it made about 28. We ate it tonight, will probably eat it tomorrow night with some corn and leftover rolls. I also got a bag and will be freezing some for next week. Cook once, an ample amount, and eat that night and freeze for another night. Key to frugal living and shelf-cooking.
What I Will Add if I Make This Again
Next time, I will cut up some fresh mushrooms, a bigger onion, and some spinach. I could be wild and add in some cream cheese. Honestly, I wanted to add in the rest of the Feta cheese but didn’t want to waste it if these sucked. They didn’t suck, so I might add that next time. Oh, a mushroom sauce or brown sauce would be good over it. The possibilities are endless.
As for the Mystery Meat
My son-in-law checked it and it is definitely deer. He said to keep on cooking it and then decide what to do. I have a person I know that is super sweet and she lives on deer meat. When I saw her today, I asked her what she thought. She said to drain it, season it, and then pour bbq sauce over and make sandwiches. Easy enough. So, currently, that meat is marinating in the bbq sauce and I will reheat it tomorrow for lunch and then for meals on Sunday.
Since I made the huge mistake of having Ham and Hashbrown Casserole two weeks in a row, tonight we are Making Magic Out of Leftovers. This is such an easy recipe and everyone really does enjoy it but I am not one to repeat meals too often (with the exception of pizza night). So, Zuppa Toscana will be, once again, pushed off until next week. God forbid we have two different soups in a week. Here is how I transformed my casserole into a fantastic soup using bits and pieces from my fridge as well (hence the shelf-cooking tag).
Ham and Hashbrown Casserole
Last night, we had ham and hashbrown casserole. I had fully intended to have it again tonight with the lima beans and some garlic bread (gf bread for one of my people). However, as much as we like this recipe, I was kind of over it. My family would never tell me they were tired of eating it but I know I am therefore I am sure they are as well.
When I did my bulk freezer cooking, I had enough ingredients to make this casserole twice. In making it twice, we ate on it, at least, four times because it made so much. We would have it as a main dish one night and a side dish the next. Wasting food, around my house, is not something I will do if I can help it. We eat it until it is gone or I freeze it. This time, I am repurposing it.
Realistic Shelf-Cooking with Leftovers
I looked in my fridge and I had a half a bag of bacon bits, some heavy cream I needed to use up, the casserole from last night, a few green onions, and some lunch meat ham that was ending its life. One child grabbed my crockpot and I set out to see what I could do. Normally, I would create a roux and add some sour cream, cream of chicken (or mushroom), and play around with the seasonings. This time, however, I didn’t have sour cream and I didn’t want to make my gf cream of chicken.
First, I dumped the leftovers into the crockpot. I then cut up the ham and tossed it in there. From that point, I added some water to loosen it up and the heavy cream. Since I added liquid, I did sprinkle in some chicken bouillon powder (nutritional yeast would have worked as well). I really wanted to saute up some fresh mushrooms, garlic, and onion but I didn’t want to take the time to do it. The mushrooms will be used for pizza night and the rest, I was just to lazy to do it.
I popped on the lid and set it to low. After a bit, I stirred it up and tasted it. It needed no seasoning but I did add some cheddar just because cheese makes everything better. My fear was that my potatoes would turn to mush but since I used cubed hashbrowns, they have kept their form. I’m restraining myself from stirring too often. Once you take the lid off the crockpot, you lose that seal and it takes a while to heat it back up.
I ate a bowl for lunch. For mine, I sprinkled on some green onions. It is fantastic! So now, we will ate it yesterday, today, and likely tomorrow for lunch. I serve one of my kids’ soup with gluten free saltine crackers.
This past week, I am working through the last of my freezer meals. I pulled out a few and last nights was “phenomenal” according to my husband and children. Tonight we had ham and hashbrown casserole but the winner was the glazed sweet potatoes. My husband stated that the meal consisted of Chopped Up Angel Wings with a Side of Manna. So, without further ado.
You can use any type of chicken you have on hand (canned, breasts, thighs, etc.) but make sure you cube it into bite sized pieces and cook well. I sauteed mine up in butter. Place in a greased 13×9 dish once it is finished cooking.
In a bowl, mix the soup, 1 1/2 c. cheese, milk, seasoning mix, and taco seasoning. Spoon this over the cooked chicken and top with corn chips and the rest of the cheese. From this point, I did cover mine well and froze it. I thawed it out from that point.
Now, the corn chips that were placed, frozen, and thawed were a soggy mess. I baked it at 375 for about 30 minutes and tasted it. It was not my jam. So, I stirred up those nasty little things into the chicken, added some more cheddar, and crushed up a 1/2 bag of doritos. I got that back in the oven to melt the cheese.
Still wasn’t to my liking, so I added more seasoning mix (I really don’t think I seasoned it when I made it to freeze) and I added more taco seasoning. This time, I stirred all that up (including the doritos on top) and topped it with a bit more cheddar. Baked it for 10 minutes and that is when the angels starting singing. Bart topped his with sour cream, I topped mine with some green onions. We lapped the dish up and there were not leftovers.
Glazed Sweet Potatoes (Manna)
2 cans (18 ozs. each) sweet potatoes, drained
1/4 c. butter
Syrup, 1/4 c.
1/4 c. brown sugar
Cinnamon, 1/4 tsp.
Place sweet potatoes in a greased 13×9 dish. In a pan, combine the butter, syrup, brown sugar and cinnamon. This needs to be brought to a boil. Pour over sweet potatoes and bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes.
*I did not originally bake mine. Mine was covered tightly, marked, and placed in the freezer. I thawed it out and baked from there.
Last week did not go as planned. I mean not even a little bit but here is our January 30 Weekly Menu Options. There will be some rollover meals that I didn’t use last week. On a bright side, by the time I ordered groceries (for last week), I only spent $76. That is a positive. I am determined to order groceries tonight to be picked up tomorrow and get back into my routine. Depression be gone.
Ham and Hashbrown Casserole (rollover from last week)
Glazed sweet potatoes
Cheesy Mexican Chicken
Date night for B and I! Due to the events of last week, we didn’t get a date night but come hell or high water we will this week.
**Kids will eat leftovers.
Pizza night (we didn’t have this past week a homemade pizza but did order Papa John’s because life got in the way)
Zuppa Toscana (rollover from last week)
Saturday – Shelf-Cooking
There is some mystery meat in our freezer. We have no idea what they are, so what I will do is thaw them out and create something around whatever meat that is. Might want to pray for everyone.
I don’t cook. Leftovers, find what you can, or starve LOL.
Please do not do what I do. Label what you put in the freezer! We know one unmarked baggie is ham which I will probably do a chowder of some sort with that. The other two bags, we are literally clueless. If it is stew meat, I can definitely figure out how to do some sort of something with that. My fear is that it is deer meat and this girl doesn’t cook deer meat. Ever.
Ha! I got my January 23 Weekly Menu Options posted on Sunday and not Wednesday! Look at me…winning in life. I am hoping that this week returns to a bit of normalcy, but that is always subject to change. Last week was a roller coaster of events and emotions. So, here is to a ‘normal’ week of basketball, doctor appointments, therapy, grandchildren, and celebration!
Ham and Hashbrown Casserole (Yes, again but it is a great main dish and then it is a great side dish. This is my last one from my freezer cooking batch)
Green beans with bacon
Rolls (gluten free for one child)
Happy birthday to my son-in-law! We are hoping he will be ready to celebrate but understand if he just isn’t feeling it. This is his pick and if he decides it is too much, we will probably do burgers or something.
Date night for B and I! Woot Woot! #dateyourspouse
One of my children will be tackling how to make spaghetti.
Leftovers. It is a rare day that I have to throw out food because it wasn’t it. We either eat leftovers once during the week or we have it for lunches. There are times when I get totally wild and take leftovers and create a whole new meal out of it.
Case in point, last week, I made chili. The next night I took my hotdogs and put them in the air fryer. Once they were done, I got out hot dog buns (or gluten free buns), laid a slice of cheese on it and threw it in the air fryer. All of this was done while the little bits of chili was being heated through.
When the buns were done, I laid the hotdog on top, layered it with chili, and then topped it with some cheddar. This was shelf-cooking at its finest. I had enough hotdogs for everyone to have two. There were some leftover hotdog and gluten free buns in the freezer, leftover chili, and a bit of cheese. I try really hard not to waste anything.
I don’t cook. Leftovers, find what you can, or starve LOL.
No notes for this week unless you count my diatribe for Friday! Maybe I will start some sort of posts that revolve around what I do with the bits and pieces of my leftover meals.