Sunday I cooked a pasta soup that is very common around our home. It does vary depending on what we have on hand. You can use fresh or canned ingredients. Simple variations in the types of pasta can make it fun for the kids or make it seem like a new recipe. Basically, I use ground meat OR chicken breat chunks that I season with salt, pepper, and onion powder (you could use fresh onions or both). I brown this and when it is done I add canned tomatoes (diced, chunky, stewed, whatever) and let them cook mushy. I then squish it up, so my kids do not see "too many" chunks. Beyond that I just add water (4-6 cups) and lots of seasoning. I sometimes add sliced mushrooms and for "those who don't like mushrooms" I mince up some, so they never know they ate it. Shhh.. don't tell! You could add carrots or anything your crew will go for. My seasonings are SALT, pepper, ONION POWDER, garli & garlic powder, 4-5 DRIED BAY LEAVES, PAPRIKA (ONES I THINK ARE A MUST IN CAPS). Seasonings are all personal preference. Cook to rolling boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente. DO NOT OVERCOOK OR THE SECOND DAY MEAL WILL NOT BE AS GOOD!! Adding grated parmesan cheese at the end of cooking is yummy, too. I love to add grated mozzarella or croutons, but my crew is not so adventurous.
Now, I would not really call this a recipe (this is not a recipe swap) and I make this SUPER FAST, but my point here is to cook double what you want with the key being stopping it at a stage that it does not get mushy for later. So, I served this with salad and fresh baked rolls the first day. This pasta continues to cook in the hot liquid and absorb the liquid, so it is less of a soup and more of a main entre pasta. The second day (today) I served it with salad, corn, steamed brocolli, sliced cucumbers.
It is not about just "having leftovers". I try to skip a day so we do not have to eat the same thing for two days in a row. Also, I try to vary the sides or make the dish morph into something else (soup becomes a pasta entre). I am currently thawing a HUGE commercial size double pack turkey breast (10 lbs. or so). My mother shared this with me and I had some she cooked at her house, but I plan to do more than JUST roast it. My Momma was saying that she was not sure what to do with it because it is such a HUGE quantity. I said, "Oh, I think I know what I would do with it...." Think outside the norm... everyone ROASTS turkey, but I am gonna treat it like boneless, skinless chicken breast!! I'll let you know later, but I am thinking of:
- Broiled Chicken Chunks (seasoned with salt, pepper, onion powder), Quick Veggie Sides or packaged side dishes
- Gumbo with Rice
- Turkey Parmesan with Pasta, Salad, Homemade Bread
- Turkey Strips w Cream Gravy, Mashed Potatoes, Carrots
- Turkey Almost-Chik-Fil-A Nuggets), Quick Veggie Sides or packaged side dishes
I'll post a follow-up to let you know!!! Just writing this helps me plan. One more thing... What is your FAVORITE SEASONING? I have about five must haves, but ONE transforms everything for me. I'll try to post on that tomorrow. Join me and tell me yours and what you do with it!!