There is finally a little crisp in the air here in Central Texas and I am excited to start doing some cooking. I survive the heat of the summer by only using our microwave, the gas grill or the toaster oven. Surprisingly, you can feed a family of five very well with just these appliances!
The relief from the heat inspires me to experiment in the kitchen. Lately, I have been in full frugalista mode by trying to lower our food waste. I have made improvements, but there is still a ways to go.
Peruse some of my creations and ideas for future meals!
1. Tortilla Casserole
I used some leftover seasoned chicken from tacos, layered it in between corn tortillas with cheese and black beans. I mixed up a sauce with plain yogurt and salsa verde and added that to the layers. Baked it in the oven for 30 minutes or so and YUM-MY!
I make the best corn chowder you have ever tasted and it is the only recipe that I do not share because I make it for our annual New Year’s Day Soup Party. I cannot fine one that is close to refer to you. Here is what my recipe does not have in it: flour, bacon or other vegetables besides corn and potatoes. I garnish it with cheese and roasted poblano peppers, then serve with cornbread and a salad.
3. Speaking of Salad
I could live on soup and salad for the rest of my life. My favorite combination for fall is pears and arugula. What are your favorite salad ingredients?
4. Eggplant Parmesan
I do not believe that eggplant is a fall vegetable, but I cannot bear to turn on the oven when it is in season. So, I save this dish for fall. I was going to make this version the other day, but my eggplant froze in the refrigerator. I made the sauce and put it over chicken roll-ups instead. The sauce caramelized in the oven and I was scraping the yummy bits off of the pan.
5. Candied Nuts
My new frugalista self has stopped buying candied nuts at the grocery store and I am making them at home. I like the nuts on the aforementioned pear and arugula salad, and they are surprisingly easy to make. We use Texas pecans because we are lucky enough to have pecan trees. Try this version.
I like pumpkin as a savory ingredient, so I make pumpkin soup or a great pumpkin sauté with black beans. I am going to make this pumpkin and black bean tostada from the chefs at Dean & DeLuca.
The Cranberry Tart with the Nut Crust from Martha Stewart’s Entertaining book is out of this world. No, really. People who do not enjoy the cranberry like this tart. Pile on the whipped cream and it will disappear. I am thinking of adding a layer of chocolate to it this year. Too much? Nah!