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Friday, January 29, 2010

Piggy-Back Dinners

Piggy-backing is the concept of saving time by recycling ingredients and recipes from one night to another. Last week I cooked the following meals, using many of the same ingredients for different meals.

Day #1 - Fondue

We set up two fondue pots to accommodate the five of us. We cooked with teriyaki marinade. You could also use Italian dressing or plain oil, but we prefer teriyaki sauce - great on meat as well as veggies. We used: boneless chicken, steak, mushrooms, green beans, broccoli, grape tomatoes, onion wedges, cauliflower, green and red peppers. The onions take a while to cook, so we would just drop the onion wedges in and let them cook on the bottom. Here’s my favorite teriyaki recipe (I used the quadrupled amount for two fondue pots):

Teriyaki Marinade

3/4 c. oil (3.c.) 1 T. garlic powder (1/4 c.)
1/4 c. soy sauce (1 c.) 1 1/2 t. ground ginger (1/8 c.)
1/4 c. honey (1 c.) 2 T. chopped onion (1/2 c.)
2 T. vinegar (1/2 c.)

Combine ingredients.

Serve with rice, potatoes, or couscous.

Day #2 - Stir fry

Use leftover teriyaki sauce and ingredients from fondue to make stir fry. Add items to the skillet first that need to cook longer. Gradually add the rest of the ingredients according to cook time. Serve with rice (make enough for Day #4, too).

Day #3 - Chili

Chili (my recipe)

3-4 lb. ground chuck, turkey or chicken 1 t. crushed red pepper flakes
1 onion, chopped 1 t. ground cumin
1-2 t. minced garlic (from jar) 1 t. salt or to taste
1-2 c. green pepper, chopped 1 t. sugar
1 large can tomato juice 2 t. chili powder
6 T. flour 2 c. cooked kidney beans, drained

Cook meat, onion and green in non-stick pan until meat is brown. Drain fat and rinse
in hot water to remove additional fat. Mix flour, red pepper flakes, cumin, salt, sugar and chili powder. Add flour mixture and garlic to meat mixture and stir thoroughly. Add tomato juice and bring to boil. Simmer for a couple of hours. Add beans. Serves 6-8.

Serve with crackers and a veggie tray and/or a fruit tray.

Save some chili for Day #5

Day #4 - Javanese dinner

Make curried chicken below. Serve on rice and serve with the following condiments: coconut, grated cheese, raisins, pineapple, grape tomatoes, sliced red and green peppers, sliced bananas, raw chopped broccoli, grated or slivered carrots, sliced grapes, and mandarin oranges. Great for picky eaters - they can add the toppings they like. If there are those in your family who don’t care for curry, serve some of the chicken in partially diluted cream of chicken soup.

1 T. butter
1/2 c. onion, minced
1 1/2 t. salt, divided
1/4 t. pepper
1 t. minced garlic
2 t. curry powder
1/2 t. leaf thyme, crumbled
1 1/2 lb. cooked chicken

Melt butter in large skillet; add onion. Cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add salt, pepper, garlic, curry powder and thyme and cook 1 minute. Add chicken and simmer until flavors blend. (Add water if necessary.)

Day #5 - Potato Bar

Bake potatoes at 500 degrees for an hour or in a microwave.

Serve with:

Reserved microwaved chili
Chopped broccoli (steamed or microwaved until just tender)
Grated cheese
Cubed ham
Sour cream
Green onions or chives

Serve with a fruit salad, using leftover fruit from the Javanese meal.

Day #6 - Spaghetti Pie

One day earlier in the month I had a lot of spaghetti sauce and noodles left over, so I made it into a spaghetti pie: combine an egg or two, Parmesan cheese and spaghetti noodles. Dump into a deep dish pie plate and press with a spoon, forming a crust. Pour spaghetti sauce into the middle. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top. Bake, covered with foil, at 350 degrees for half an hour. I had frozen the spaghetti pie. When I used it the other day, I put it in the oven while partially frozen - I covered it with foil and just cooked it a little longer.

I served it with an Italian salad: broccoli, cucumbers and tomatoes chopped and tossed with Italian dressing. You can also toss the same ingredients with Ranch dressing for another option. We also had garlic bread make out of extra hoagie rolls I had frozen after a previous meal.

Do you have piggy-backing ideas? Please share!

More on dinner:
Hassle Free Dinners (52 weeks of piggy-back menus, instructions and grocery lists)
Dinner in 10 - Herbed Tilapia
Dinner in 15 - Citrus Salmon