One pot meals, also known as casseroles are great money and time savers. Here’s a recipe that uses all those leftovers in a new, economical and tasty way.
Money’s tight for many families, including myself. Here’s an economic recipe I learned several years ago as a destitute divorcee struggling to make ends meet.
If you have leftovers of anything- meat, vegetables, rice, beans, etc. Do not throw them away. Even a couple of tablespoons’ worth adds up. Keep containers in the freezer to save your treasures, and use them in recipes such as this.
The ingredients are as close as your garden or local supermarket.
For this recipe, you will need:
· 1 Box Mac ‘N Cheese
· 1 Cup cooked beans, any variety- if using canned, rinse first
· 1 15oz can diced tomatoes or 1 ½ cups diced fresh tomatoes
· 1 Cup diced onion
· One pound of leftover meat, or one 8oz canned ham, 1 regular can tuna (2 servings)
· 1 Cup frozen mixed vegetables
· ½ Cup cooking oil, canola, extra light olive oil, etc.
· 1 Cup skim or low-fat milk (whole is fine)
1. Cook the pasta according to the directions in a large pan or pot. Place in colander to allow the pasta to drain.
2. Make the cheese sauce using the 1-cup milk and the ½-cup oil. It takes a few more minutes for it to come together and tighten up, but it will. Trust me.
3. Mix in the pasta and the rest of the ingredients. Add salt, pepper and spices to taste.
4. Heat through and serve.
This freezes well so you can eat one serving tonight, and have 3-4 more meals for later.
To help save money:
Buy dry beans and cook them at home. Soak overnight, and then simmer on the stove or in a crock-pot until done. Freeze in 1-cup servings in zip lock freezer bags. Use 1-cup beans for each “can of beans” called for in recipes.
Buy diced tomatoes by the can when they’re on sale. Plain is fine, but several manufacturers provide tomatoes with different vegetables and spices added. Add those to your different meats for additional flavor.
For a vegetarian meal, add 2 cups of beans. Mixing different variety of beans gives a unique flavor to this dish.
If you don’t have a full pound of meat, don’t worry- for each ½-cup or 4oz serving, add ½-cup of beans to give the recipe more protein.
Add 1 cup of chopped greens (swiss chard, spinach or other) to the dish for even more flavor and vitamins.
This is a great recipe for bringing a casserole to church or work. It truly is a “one-pot” meal.
Published in: Cooking