Making the most of what is in your Fridge

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As cries of “Mom, there’s nothing to eat!” ring through the house, you may be tempted to run to the nearest convenience store or fast food restaurant and pick up a quick convenient meal fix. 

Rather than over spending your budget by making these quick, small trips throughout the week (which can add up fast), try using some of these flexible recipes to make the most out of what you have on hand.

What to cook with fried chicken

If you have frozen chicken breasts in the freezer, you can easily manage a meal by improvising with the other items you may find in the fridge of pantry. 

Recipe with chicken broth

Do you have rice on hand? cook it with chicken broth, season with salt and pepper, and serve under baked chicken, or cook the chicken in a casserole dish with rice, a can of cream of chicken (or mushroom, celery, or anything else on hand) soup, and a cup of water. Top with salt, pepper, and shredded cheese. 

Pasta with chicken

Most Italians would kill you for that, but if you have any kind of noodles on hand, from spaghetti to linguine, to egg noodles, you can serve these with shredded chicken and a cream sauce or marinara sauce. 

Plain chicken recipe

No rice or noodles? Season your chicken with any spices you have on hand. Lemon pepper is an excellent spice that goes well with nearly any vegetable side dish. Use basil and oregano for an Italian touch, or blackened seasoning for that fresh off the grill taste.

Ideas on how to cook ground beef

Quick beef meatballs recipe

Ground beef is a great place to start for a variety of hearty and satisfying meals. Mix with chopped onions, breadcrumbs, and Worcestershire sauce to make meatballs. These are great on their own or over spaghetti. 

Quick Beef meatloaf recipe

To make a delicious meatloaf, just mix a pound of ground beef with one egg, half a cup of milk, a cup of breadcrumbs (or crumbled crackers), and other ingredients as you see fit. These can include diced onions, diced potatoes, Worcestershire sauce, and anything else you like in a meatloaf. 

Homemade ground beef burgers (the easy way)

A little salt and pepper is all you need to season your ground beef and shape it into hamburgers. You can also brown the beef in a skillet and combine with any pasta and red sauce for a hearty Italian dish.

Homemade burger
By now means my burgers look like this...

What to cook pork with

Pork tenderloin and pork chops rarely need more than a little seasoning to make a delicious dinner. 

Ways to cook pork chops

Pork chops served atop hash browns and sprinkled with shredded cheese are a personal favorite in our home. Pork chops seasoned with a dash of salt and pepper are great with a baked potato loaded with whatever you have in the fridge, or canned green beans. If you have time to plan ahead, consider marinating your chops in soy sauce and garlic for an oriental flair.

Mac and Cheese recipes

Mac and cheese may not seem like a very satisfying supper, but can be easily dressed up with just a few easy extras. 

Mac and Cheese pasta salad

Consider adding shredded chicken, beef, or crispy bacon to your macaroni and cheese to make a heartier dish. Mix your macaroni with a can of nacho cheese soup for a spicy kick. 

Baked Macaroni and Cheese

For baked macaroni and cheese, mix your cooked macaroni with a can of Campbell’s cheese soup and some shredded cheese of your choice. Top with breadcrumbs or french fried onions and bake in the oven at around 350 degrees for fifteen to twenty minutes. For other baked pastas, just mix your cooked pasta with the sauce of your choice, top with cheese or breadcrumbs and bake as above.

In conclusion

The next time you think there’s just nothing left for supper, pull out what you DO have and get creative.

If you need some help, try going to sites such as All Recipes and search for recipes by ingredients. Enter the items that you have and see what comes up.

Challenge yourself to go one day longer than you think you can without grocery shopping every week and watch your bills shrink and your repertoire of unique dinners grow!

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