Kitchen Creativity

As I wrote the other night in my post Q&A, Will thinks that I should blog more about the every day things that I do around here - cooking, homeschooling, etc.

So today's post has to do with being creative with just a few ingredients. Yesterday was shopping day, and I didn't get over to the store for a number of reasons. Thus, today's lunch was one of those "hmm, there's not much in the house...what can I do with what I've got?" lunches.

We've also been through various seasons where the money for food was limited - and I've found it's one of the best ways to work my creativity muscles! So, I'm thankful for the chance to practice creative cooking.

I think it's also beneficial for the girls, now that they are old enough to actually help me with meal prep. It helps them learn which foods & seasoning go together well - and which ones don't (trial and error!). It teaches them (& me!) spontaneity. It shows them that sometimes, they'll have to do without - and how to make do, joyfully...and tastefully.

I thought I'd share a few of my favorite dishes that were borne out of a mostly-bare pantry. And please - feel free to share any creative recipes that you have!

Cottage Cheese & Frozen Fruit "Ice Cream"
(this is what we had for lunch today!)

1-2 cups lowfat cottage cheese
1-2 tsp sweetener of choice (I use a sugar/stevia blend)
frozen fruit of choice (I used a peach/mango/berry mix)

Put cottage cheese, sweetener, & frozen fruit in a food processor. Blend until the mixture is really smooth (resembling ice cream) - I let it go for 2-3 minutes. You can serve it immediately, but if you put this in the freezer for a little while it's pretty amazing. My girls like this as much as ice cream!

Serves 3 hungry little girls, about 1 cup each!
English Muffin Garlic Bread
(one of Will's all-time favorites)

English Muffins (a 6-pack will make 12 pieces; 12 will make 24 pieces, etc)
garlic salt
shredded cheese, Italian seasoning, etc

Preheat the oven to 350F. Cut the English muffins in half (like you would to toast them, you know?). Put as much butter as you'd like on each half, then sprinkle with garlic salt to taste. Use Italian seasoning if you'd like. Place muffins on a baking sheet and bake for about 5-8 minutes (keep a close eye on them!); just as they are beginning to get golden, add shredded cheese if you want. Bake a few minutes more until the tops are a delicious golden color, or until the cheese is melty. Wait a couple of minutes before trying one!

(I'd plan on 2-3 of these for each person!)
(Will wanted a fried egg sandwich one evening, and we had no bread left. But we did have waffles...)

2 frozen waffles
1 egg/egg substitute
1 slice of cheese
ham/bacon/sausage (optional)

Toast the waffles. In a small pan, fry the egg to your liking. Then place the cheese and/or meat on top of the egg to heat through. Make a sandwich using the waffles! THIS is actually Will's favorite kitchen creation.

(serves 1!)
Berry-berry "Lemonade"
(...created on the day we didn't have any juice in the house)

Water, about 2 quarts
Frozen berries
a lemon
a little bit of sweetener
a dash of cinnamon

Fill a pitcher with some ice and a cup or two of frozen berries. Slice up a lemon and throw that it, too. Add sweetener and cinnamon, and then fill the picture the rest of the way with water. Stir well. Let it sit for a few minutes. Then enjoy! My girls now prefer this to juice (...and so do I!).

(I use my 2-quart pitcher for this, but I end up making it 2-3 times over because the girls drink so much of it!)
Kind-of-like Fried Rice
(we eat this quite a bit!)

a pat of butter (or coconut oil, or olive oil...whatever you use)
2-3 cups leftover (chilled) rice.
1-2 eggs/egg substitute equivalent
2-3 cups veggies (carrots, broccoli, asparagus, peas, corn, green beans...whatever you've got on hand!) - precooked until fork-tender
salt, pepper, etc to taste

Heat butter over medium-low heat. Beat the eggs in a small bowl, then scramble them over medium heat till they are well-cooked. Add rice and veggies, and heat through. Add seasonings to taste (my girls also ask for a bit of soy sauce sometimes). Mix well and serve!

(This serves the girls & I for dinner, and there are never any leftovers!)

What are your favorite recipes that were inspired by "what have we got here?"

Cooking creatively,
for His glory!

I may be sharing this post at the following Link-up parties!

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