Wednesday, April 29, 2009

It’s Spring Cleaning Time Again!

Hola and happy hump day!It’s hard to believe it’s this time of the year again! Time to whip open windows, start the spring cleaning, and get the BBQ dusted off and ready to fire up! I can almost smell the fragrant summer air now! =) Today I thought I’d do a little post on spring cleaning your kitchen since I(and many others I’m sure)usually end up having overflowing cupboards and pantries with who knows what stuffed behind your newest purchases. While it’s great to have a variety going for your kitchen, it can also be a big money waster because you didn’t know you had 5 jars of pasta sauce, so you went out and bought 5 more—and the next thing you know, the first 5 become expired and sure enough some of your hard earned money goes into the garbage. It’s also a great idea to just take random inventory or even a quick look through what you have because it might inspire dinner for the night! My biggest problem is our jumbo freezer in the garage. It get’s so piled up with things that when you finally get the chance to dig to the bottom, you kind of wish you didn’t! Can anyone relate?! Anyway, I picked a few items that people usually have stocked up, and if you’re like me, you have a lot of something and your looking for ways to get rid of it albeit a meal! Bon appétit & happy Spring!

10 Things to do With That Jar of Pasta Sauce

  • Zesty Chip Dip—Combine equal parts sour cream(reg or light) and pasta sauce in a bowl; stir in grated Parmesan cheese, ground pepper and oregano.
  • Quick Ratatouille—Sauté chopped bell peppers, zucchini, onion, eggplant and garlic in olive oil. Add 2 parts pasta sauce to 1 part water and some fresh basil; simmer until vegetables are tender.
  • African Stew—Sauté chopped onion, garlic and ginger with curry powder; add 1 jar pasta sauce, 2 cups water, 1 can white beans and a diced sweet potato; simmer until tender. Stir in 1/4 cup of peanut butter.
  • Buffalo Wings—Lightly coat chicken wings with equal parts pasta sauce and hot sauce; roast at 425 F for 40 minutes.
  • Pizza Potatoes—Make a deep slit in baked potatoes, then stuff with some pasta sauce, chopped pepperoni or meatless pepperoni, soy crumbles, etc. and shredded mozzarella cheese. Bake at 400 F until cheese melts.
  • Baked Beans—Simmer 1 cup with pasta sauce with 1/4 cup honey mustard, 1/4 cup brown sugar, and 1 large can white beans until bubbly.
  • Sweet&Sour Franks—Brings 4 cups thinly sliced onions, 1 cup pasta sauce, 1/2 cup water and 2 Tbsp brown sugar to a boil; cover and simmer 40 minutes. Serve on hot dogs or turkey dogs!
  • Italian Quesadilla—Spread some pasta sauce on a tortilla or pita bread; top with grated mozzarella cheese, sliced mushrooms and shredded chicken; fold in half and pan-fry until golden.
  • Sloppy Joes—Brown bulk Italian sausage,chicken sausage, or soy sausage, chopped onions, and bell peppers; stir in pasta sauce&heat; spoon onto whole wheat rolls.
  • Eggplant Rolls—Grill or broil thinly sliced eggplant until tender. Spread with pasta sauce and ricotta cheese; roll up and secure with toothpicks.

So you have a lot of..Jarred Roasted Red Bell Peppers

  • Puree with garlic, nuts, olive oil and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese for roasted red pepper pesto.
  • Toss in pasta, rice, or omelets for an added pizzazz.
  • Put on pizza, focaccia, or a grilled Panini.

So you have lots of..Packets of Italian Dressing Mix

Combine with balsamic vinegar or EVOO, then..

  • Toss with cold rice, garbanzo beans and chopped red bell peppers for a refreshing rice salad.
  • Use as a marinade for chicken breasts.
  • Toss with couscous, shredded rotisserie chicken, green onions and fresh spinach.

So you have a lot of…Frozen Butternut Squash

  • Toss with short pasta, sausage and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.
  • Add to risotto.
  • Puree or mash with aged Cheddar cheese for a great alternative to mashed potatoes.

So you have a lot of..Frozen Tortellini

  • Cook, then sauté until browned and crunchy and toss with a green salad.
  • Toss with beans and dressing for a pasta salad.
  • Add to chicken broth with some fresh or frozen vegetables for a quick soup.
  • Combine with sautéed garlic, fire-roasted tomatoes and basil.

Or if your spring cleaning leaves you too tired to cook, have someone else do it for you and head on over to KFC—have you heard about their new Kentucky Grilled Chicken?! The chicken has between 60-180 calories and 3-9 grams of fat per piece. That’s a substantial savings from the Original Recipe chicken which clocks in at 130-160 calories per piece with 8-24 grams of fat. Click here to find out more!


Laura said...

this is such an awesome post! Thanks for sharing all of the insight :)

Jenny said...

i love this post! so creative girl - i am definitely saving your suggestions =)