Cleaning the Refrigerator Casserole

using up left-oversMy refrigerator was stuffed.

I’m not sure how it happened, but somehow the left-over’s got out of control. I had lots of  little containers full of little bits of stuff.

It was time to be creative.

Buddy was my “sous chef” for supper – and he loves thinking outside the box! Normally he comes up with all sorts of wild ideas and I remind him to stick to the recipe.

But not tonight!

He grabbed different things from the fridge and together we figured out somewhere to use it!

He used up some of the extra milk we got on sale to make his favorite pudding. We put that in parfait glasses. Then he did a layer using the dibby-dab of cream cheese mixed with the chocolate ganache that I had hidden in the back of the fridge. He topped it with the last of the whipped cream from the dessert the other night.

Then he found two graham crackers in the cupboard and crushed them on to sprinkle on top. I grabbed the last two tablespoons of crushed walnuts that were in the freezer and added them to the crumbs.

Dessert was done, now it was time for the main dish.

We started with the left-over chicken and cream sauce.

I dug out the chicken and cut in up. Meanwhile, Buddy found some left-over turkey, some gravy, part of a container of mozzarella cheese, a bit of left-over onion dip, and some cold buttered noodles.


We cooked up the two odd packages of pasta that were open in the pantry. Mixed the whole thing together with the left-over cream sauce and added enough milk to coat everything.

I was just pouring into a casserole dish when buddy discovered a small container of crushed saltines.

We tossed them with a little Parmesan cheese and sprinkled the whole works on top.

It baked for about 40 minutes at 350 degrees and we had a one-of-a-kind delicious casserole – almost entirely of left-overs!

Don’t you just love an (almost) free meal!

Picture by Luigi Chiesa

BLT Soup

Here’s another great recipe from Nana’s kitchen, just in time to warm up your lunch table!

BLT SoupWe love BLT’s in the summer, so when we found this recipe in a magazine, we thought it would be fun to enjoy the tastes in the middle of winter.

It is a quick & easy soup. Next time we will use our frozen tomatoes from the garden in place of the canned called for in the recipe to cut down on the salt.

Be sure to put the lettuce on just before serving.

While it doesn’t replace BLT’s, it is a good, economical substitute in the middle of winter!

BLT Soup
From Nana’s Kitchen

  • 8 slices crisply cooked Bacon
  • 1 28-oz can crushed Tomatoes
  • 1 14-oz can Chicken Broth
  • 1 15-oz can cooked White Beans (cannelloni or navy)
  • 1 ½ tsp. Italian Seasoning
  • 2 tsp. Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 cup shredded Leaf Lettuce
  • ¼ cup thinly sliced fresh basil leaves

Coarsely crumble bacon and set aside. In a 2-quart saucepan, stir together tomatoes, broth, beans and seasoning; bring to a simmer and stir in vinegar.

In a small bowl, toss together lettuce and basil. Ladle soup into large soup plates or bowls. Garnish each serving with crumbled bacon and lettuce and basil. Yield: 6 servings

(Italian seasoning includes onion, garlic, rosemary, parsley & basil)

Until next time,

Nana Shirley

A Real Cook

“Oddly, it is not real cooks who insist that the finest ingredients are necessary to produce a delicious something…Real cooks take stale bread and aging onions and make you happy.”

~ Susan Wiegand, Cooking as Courtship