Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Reinventing the Wheel

Well, yesterday was a rousing success. Our drive to the farmstand resulted in a bounty of produce. There are now about 20# of carrots sliced and processed in the freezer. That went much quicker than I expected, plus I got to use my crinkle slicer. You know, one of those gadgets from Pampered Chef that sits around and hardly ever gets used. Well, it got abused yesterday, so that was great. I also chopped and froze about 6 pounds of onions for soups and stews, as well as some jumbo bell peppers. I use frozen bell peppers for chili mostly. On my counter yet I have 4 pie pumpkins and several acorn squash to bake first then freeze. I'm thinking that we may stop again on our way to dance tonight, because the pie pumpkins are 2 for $1.00, and I can get 3 pies out of two pumpkins, so that's a huge financial savings there. We'll see how the rest of today goes though first. I want to make sure that I can get to the pumpkins while they are at their sweetest, and I don't know that I'll have a chance today.

So last night I totally reinvented the night before's dinner. It was a fairly cold and blustery day, and that warranted a pot of soup. I kept thinking about those 4 little meatloaves in the fridge, and thought they'd make a wonderful addition to a cheeseburger soup. A quick perusal through my fridge also found leftover corn, a few mushrooms that needed to be used, one lonely baked potato, and some baby carrots that were on their last legs. Sweet! The golden moment was the little nub of Velveeta from Sunday- nothing works for cheeseburger soup like Velveeta.

So I chopped up my mirepoix and got that sweating while I chopped up a few other ingredients to add in. The little meatloaves I just used my fingers to crumble up before tossing in- sauce and all. That worked so well. Usually when I make cheeseburger soup, I just use browned ground beef, and as that cooks, it separates. By using the meatloaves, we got these awesome chunks of beef throughout the soup. I baked up a batch of homemade biscuits to accompany, and we had a great supper that no one would have been able to identify as yesterday's dinner. And the best part? The kids gobbled it up. I had to pick the mushrooms out of their bowls of soup, but they both went to town on that bowl of soup. Big victory for Mommy, since they are not huge soup eaters. Hopefully they are getting over that as we head into soup season.

This was so good that I am writing down on my meatloaf recipe to make sure I have enough to make this soup the next day. It will kind of be a one-two punch thing. Knock out two dinners at once, since the soup really was effortless. Of course, so were the mini meatloaves. You can find the recipe here for Cheeseburger Soup, Erika's leftover version. Tonight we are taking a break from our weekly crock pot creation as I use the crockpot to reheat a meal from Sunday's company dinner. I'll share that super simple, and admittedly, somewhat embarassing recipe tomorrow.

So today I'm adding a question. What are your favorite one-two dinners? Another favorite of mine is ham one night, au gratin potatoes the next, and ham and bean soup later in the week. But what do you make knowing there will be leftovers? I'd love to know!


Claire said...

Hey, hey! I bet they didn't even know it was leftovers! NIce. I love soup! I like using left over veggies for omlettes or frittatas! Leftover chicken is also good to make curry chicken divan.

Erika said...

Curry chicken divan? Do share please!

Claire said...

Erika - It's one of my previous posts. Here's the link:

Here's another one for chicken chili that is great for left over chicken but doesn't leave left-overs itself (serves 4)

HOpe this helps a little!