Thursday, April 16, 2020

Play With Your Food

I know, Mom always said "don't play with your food - eat it".  I like to do both!!!
I am always concocting something different.  I have a ton of cookbooks - sometimes I use them - but most often I just use them for a basic idea.  THEN I wing it!!!!!
Some of our favorite meals over the years came from experimenting.

I tend to just throw things together, and it turns out yummy.  Maybe I am just not too picky - but I like most things I come up with.  There has been a few failures over the years, but not many.
Just a side note:  I was the pickiest eater on the planet as a kid!!!!

I figure every recipe out there - was made up by someone the first time.  So why can't I do the same thing?  Well, I do.
I am huge on anything with a crust, casseroles and soups.  You can just combine so many things and add a little cheese (LOL) and it's yummy eating.
You don't have to have a lot of money or a huge pantry - just experiment a little.  You can have a full belly and yummy eating with little.

This week so far I have played with my food a couple times with good results. (sorry no pics of it)
Here is a couple recipes I made with some things I had on hand.

(found a jar of long grain/wild rice in frig when cleaning)
1 C rice
3 C water - (with bouillon added for flavor)
Thinly sliced 5 baby carrots and added to this pan while rice was cooking
Cooked this until water absorbed
I added a chopped up pork chop (leftover) and about 5 chopped up broccoli florets
1 can of cream of mushroom soup and 1 can of water
I also added a big dollop of sour cream and mixed in.  Add seasoning as needed.

This was incredibly tasty.  I ate 2 big bowls over 2 days and put the remainder in the freezer for another day.
Just throwing together what I found and using up this and that and it turned out so yum.

I cooked a couple handfuls of elbow pasta until al dente
Placed in a skillet with chopped up pepperoni, rehydrated mushrooms, chopped onion, chopped bell peppers from freezer, cut up olives, a couple good dashes of dry parmesan cheese, and a half pint of pizza sauce.  Mixed all together and warmed.  Topped with shredded Italian cheese until melted.
YUM - tasted just like pizza!!!!

Here is an easy recipe to try.  It is good with fish or chicken (or even alone)
1 C corn
1/2 C milk
1 egg, beaten
1 C all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
salt to taste
oil to fry
Mix all ingredients except oil.  Pour 2 - 3 inches of oil in heavy fry pan, heat to 365*.  Gently drop batter by tablespoons in oil.  Fry until golden, turn once.  Makes 3 - 4 dozen small cakes.  (filter and save the oil)
So easy, minimal ingredients and so tasty.  NO CORN?  Use something else - I have used red beans before.  You could even use mixed veggies.  Whatever you use it will be tasty.

Fried corn - just add corn, onion, peppers, etc. to a small amount of butter and fry.  My other favorite is to substitute hominy for the corn!!!!!
Midwest goulash - ground beef, pasta, tomatoes (I added beans to stretch it as well).  Can add cheese if desired.
Open face gallate (one crust pie) - pie crust, cooked ground beef in bottom (use whatever you have), lots of cheese (and or sauce) and topped with sliced tomatoes and seasoning.  So tasty.  You can make this as a savory meal by adding whatever you have or make it as a dessert with fruit.  Bake until crust is done.
Stove top tacos.  Cook up taco meat with onions and/or beans (you can add corn too), top with broken tortilla chips and shredded cheese.  Cover with a lid until top cheese melts.  Serve with a side of lettuce and tomato if desired.
Individual frittata/quiche type dish.  Use leftovers - taco meat, rice, beans, corn, etc. and add eggs - start cooking in a very small pan until it sets - then placed on a griddle until it finished cooking.  There is no limit to what you can add to eggs to make a delish meal.

I hope this gives you a few ideas of how to PLAY with your food for something yummy and different.  Use what you have and nothing goes to waste and you save dollars.  No need to go out to some fancy restaurant to enjoy different foods.


  1. I also love doing this sort of cooking. One of my sister's once asked me for my soup recipes as her kids loved them - couldn't do it as I'm never really sure how it will turn out as I throw in different things each time!
    I've never made a lot of casseroles but I'm thinking of trying out some different one s over the next couple of weeks as our weather is still quite cold. Huge snow flurry just blew through and I had to wear my parka when grocery shopping this morning.

    1. I have always cooked this way and so did my Mom. My husband used to say - boy that was good, you'll have to fix that again - Weeellllll - I have to remember what I did first!! LOL
      It is sunny here today, but still quite chilly. Got in the 20's last night. Northern part of the state expecting snow tonight!
      I love casseroles - kind like soup only thick!

    2. I used to make up recipes with ground beef and what was in the pantry plus leftovers. My family called it "Yet Another Way to Serve Ground Beef". I usually could not duplicate the dishes.

    3. That is funny! Ground beef is a staple in my cooking - so much variety (plus I like it).
      I bet they enjoyed it too!

  2. Winging it is how some of the best dishes happen. The goulash looks amazing! I need to make some of that with what I have here. :)

    1. I think so too. That is one of my favorite go-to dishes

  3. All your dishes sound and look amazing.
    I have usually been a follow the recipe cook, but I'm trying to be more creative. Thanks for the tips.

    1. You are so welcome. Step out of your comfort zone a bit and get creative. You will be glad you did.

  4. If it is the first time I make something, I usually follow the recipe. After that I usually play around.

    1. I follow a recipe pretty close when baking - but just cooking I tend to do my thing.

  5. All looks delicious!

    1. Thank you. Hope you find something to use or consider.

  6. Yummy now I am hungers, I too love to experiment. I can only think of one time where it was inedible. I tried to make Pope yes, ca jun rice and you could not eat it. Hubs tried valiantly but even he had to give it up.

    1. Most foods go together - so why not mix them! I am guessing maybe it was TOO hot???? I have made things too hot for me before - I like spicy but not too spicy.

  7. Good advice!
    We love corn fritters.
    Last night used diced bell peppers from the freezer, diced onion from the fridge, and 2 small chicken breasts I diced. I cooked it like fajitas and we ate it on top of rice with a little cheese and salsa. It was delicious and definitely a meal I just "winged"

    1. That sounds delicious!!!! It most definitely sounds like something I would love to eat.
      Thanks for another great idea!

  8. I've never had a corn fritter. The next time I have leftover I'm going to try those.

    One of my son's favorite meals is pasta with ground sausage meat in pasta sauce, topped with cheese and baked in the oven. I call it homemade Hamburger helper. The pasta sauce I use has vegetables in it so the meal has most of the food groups in it. Just add a glass of milk and some fruit for dessert.

    I do like to play with recipes - I made a hot dog hash the other day that another blogger had posted. I switched it up a bit with what I had in my fridge and with the addition of a fried egg on top, it was delicious.

    Take care and stay well!

    1. Corn fritters are really good. I have eaten them just as a meal - but they are great for a yummy side. Good as a leftover for breakfast or lunch too.
      Oh your hamburger helper sounds yummy! You had me at cheese!! LOL
      That sounds good. I make hamburger has often - it takes me back to childhood. The idea of using hotdogs is cool - use what you have. It all sounds good.

  9. All your meal ideas sound wonderful! Just reading and seeing the pictures are making me hungry. I love corn fritters. I haven't had them in years. My mom made them for me when I was a child. She was a great cook and could squeeze a dollar until it would squeal! Your post brought back some good memories of when I was a child. Thanks for the great ideas for cooking.

    1. Glad you enjoyed it. If it made you hungry then it worked!!!
      I still cook a lot like my Mom did - just simple down home cooking.

  10. No way! I was a picky little kid eater too. But I love to mix everything all up and see what comes up. So yum. I love making all kinds of soups and stews to eat for breakfast because I'm a savoury breakfast eater. Yum.

    Your corn dish looks so yum. I love your spirit. It's all about playing in the kitchen to me. Just getting in there and having fun.