meal

We are getting close to grocery shopping day and as it usually goes, we have very little left to eat. So tonight, I was looking for what to feed the kids for dinner and found a can of chicken noodle soup in the back of the pantry.

I was really tired today, for some reason, so really wanted to stick with a one dish meal, so I proceeded with the doctoring.

This was a huge hit with both kids and Ian even at the veggies. Huge! He refuses almost all veggies.

A Better Can of Chicken Noodle Soup

1 can chicken noodle soup
1/4 cup small cubes of the meat of your choice*
1/4 cup frozen peas
1/4 cup finely diced carrots (I chopped up those new bagged shredded carrots and it worked great)

Put it all in a small pan or microwavable bowl. Heat and Serve.

* I used left over pork taco meat and it added just a little bit of Mexican flavor to the soup, which they loved. Any leftover meat with a little seasoning on it would work great for this, ground meat, chicken, pork, whatever. If the meat isn’t seasoned or you have to cook fresh, try adding just a pinch of taco seasoning or some Mrs dash or something.

I always find myself getting in a rut with what I feed to the kids. There is only so much I can get them to eat and I am finally to a point where I don’t have to fix two meals, one for each kid, which is great in some ways, but the pallet is simply limited. So, every now and then I go on a rampage, rummaging through the fridge and freezer, frantically looking for something different, something original.

On one of these fitful missions, I was rummaging through the cheese/lunchmeat drawer (you know, the little one in the middle of the fridge) and saw I had salami and mozzerella, tortillas and right above on the shelf was a jar of marinara. Meanwhile, Ada is whining and moaning about how she didn’t get her pizza because we didn’t make it to the Towne Center that day (we do this a couple times a month, the library and slice at our amazing community meeting place)

And wallah! The invention of the Pizza Quesadilla.

This one is great for the kids. Ada loves to help me make these, makes her feel like such a big girl. Her favorite part is to spread the sauce, but eek, make sure you have a paper towel handy.

Pizza Quesadilla Recipe

2 soft taco/fajitas size flour tortillas
2 T Bottled pizza or marinara sauce
6 slices of salami or 10 slices of pepperoni
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 teaspoon olive oil

Place one of the tortillas on a flat surface and spread the sauce over it evenly with the back of a spoon or a rubber spatula.

Spread 1/2 the cheese, then put the salami/pepperoni on, then top with the rest of the cheese.

Top with the other tortilla

drizzle just a bit of olive oil (1/2 teaspoon) in a medium skillet and then place the whole quesadilla in the pan. Drizzle just a touch more olive oil on top and cook over medium heat until golden brown on one side. Flip and cook until other side is golden brown.

Remove from pan onto cutting board and let sit for a minute or two. Cut into six pizza slice shaped wedges and serve.

Notes:
  • This works just as well with corn tortillas if you or your kids prefer them. I think quesadillas are better with corn tortillas, but of course my kids prefer flour.
  • I have a jar of marinara in the fridge at all times. It is oh so flexible. You can use it as a sauce on pasta and chicken of course, but you can also use it when a recipe calls for a couple of tablespoons of tomatoe sauce or to use as a tomato base for any other kind of sauce you may want to make. Kids love to dip pretty much anything in it and of course it makes great pizza sauce for this recipe.
  • As far as toppings go, keep it minimal and flat as you will have to flip this in the pan. But other than those rules, you can use anything really. Whatever your kids like or you want to sneak in there. You could chop up some spinach. Thinly sliced mushrooms or onions would work great. Finely chopped chicken is also a good option.
  • My daughter prefers orange cheese to white cheese (yes, she’s four) and so I add a little bit of cheddar to the mix, just for the color. Again, be creative, do what works for you.
  • It’s important to put a little cheese on the bottom and a little on top.  This helps to keep the tortillas from slipping and sliding apart.

In this post I have recommended the Oxo Good Grips Medium Silicone Spatula and the Anolon Advanced 10-Inch Open French Skillet. I have a ton of OXO products and they just simply make great stuff, so I can confidently recommend these spatulas even though I don’t own this particular one. It comes in fun colors too, always a bonus.

Now, onto the skillet.  I have three of these pans (two 10″ and one 8″) and they are by and far the best skillets I have ever owned.  I love them and they have gone on my short list of things people get as gifts from me.

This recipe is a classic example of how to be creative and whimsical with food, especially with your kids.  They will love this one.

This is one of those dishes that I just made up out of the sky one day. Hmmm, what to eat for lunch, combine a bunch of random stuff and poof, great dish. Well, some of the time it works out that way. As is also the way with these types of dishes, the ingredient list may seem a little eccentric, but it is a clean out the randoms in your kitchen kind of dish and boy is it good.

As with all my recipes, I recommend that you try it and customize it to your own liking. That is what cooking is all about. If there is an ingredient that you don’t like, or don’t have, omit it or substitute for it.

Since this is a kitchen cabinet meal, use what you have. No chicken? No problem, this would be good with any meat, no meat or tofu. Perfect use for leftover meat from last night’s dinner. Pretty much any vegetable would be great in this and any kind of rice will do just fine. The green olives and peperccinis are pretty integral to the flavor of the dish, but if you are strongly averted to one or the other, this dish will stand up just fine with just one of those. Don’t be afraid to get creative and make this dish your own.

Funky Chicken and Mediterranean Rice Salad

1 c. cooked cubed or shredded chicken
2 c. cooked brown rice
1/2 c. chopped red pepper
1/2 c. roughly chopped mushrooms (I like cremini, but any kind will do)
1/2 c. finely chopped or shredded carrots
1/4 c. finely chopped red onion
1/4 c. chopped green olives (my favorite are the garlic stuffed ones, but any will do)
1/4 c. chopped peppercini peppers (you can find these by the olives)
1/4 c. Italian Salad Dressing (this is My FavoriteNewman's own parmesan and roasted garlic salad dressing, use yours)

Putting this together is pretty simple.  Mix it all together and serve. The chicken and rice should be pretty warm when added.

mmmmm, tasty!