According to the Weather Channel it’s a sweltering 7 degrees above zero in Berea, Kentucky this morning and when you look out your window you might be surprised to see snow drifted up onto you porch. We’ve had anywhere between 2 and 5 to 6 inches of snow already. The snow plows are just starting to roll and it’s still snowing and blowing, so who knows how long you’re going to be stuck at home, unable to get to the grocery store.
If you’re like most people, the first thing you’re going to do is open the fridge and panic. No matter what you really have on hand, it never seems to be enough when winter weather hits. But don’t fret. Even if all you have in your fridge is a few eggs and a bunch of left overs, you can come up with a hot, nutritious meal that will warm your family and help keep those home fires burning.
Eggs: That old commercial is right. Eggs ARE versatile and they’re a great source of protein. If you have enough you can always scramble, fry, boil or poach but what if you only have one or two? Boil them, chop them and add them to a salad for extra protein, add some mayonnaise, onion and pickle relish and make egg salad sandwiches, or add them to rice along with chopped onion and leftover vegies for a hot, hearty meal. You can also stir eggs into your rice as you’re cooking it, adding a little extra water, some spices and/or chopped vegies, and you’ll have a richer, protein packed meal.
Soups: A can of chicken noodle soup all by itself may not be enough to feed your family but when you add an extra can of water and an equal amount of rice you’ll have a more filling meal. Or prepare the soup with a little extra water and stir in cooked pasta, macaroni or noodles. This is also a great way to stretch a can of tomato soup.
Leftover vegies: One serving of this and one serving of that in the fridge? Put it all together in one big pot, throw in some onion, a little seasoning, and some broth and make a kettle of vegetable soup. No broth? Saute the onion and any leftover meats in a skillet with some butter first and use the drippings to flavor your soup.
Potatoes: Potatoes are a great way to stretch a can of soup. Or slice them up for fried potatoes or french fries and top with that leftover chili. Use leftover mashed potatoes to make potato pancakes and you can even use them to make potato bread. Make stuffed, twice baked potatoes by first baking them, then slice in half lengthwise, scoop out the middle and mix with sour cream and a little butter and seasoning, put the filling back in the shells, top with cheese and/or bacon bits and bake until lightly browned on top.
Leftover meats: Chop or shred beef, pork or chicken and make tacos if you have taco shells, or quesadillas or wrapped sandwiches if you have tortilla shells. Add to soups, rice or pasta for extra protein. Add mayonnaise, chopped onion and some pickle relish to shredded chicken to make chicken salad. Add ketchup and brown sugar to beef or pork to make barbecue or sloppy joe sandwiches.
What if your pantry is just… bare? Don’t forget about that bag of flour! Make pancakes, waffles or even bread or muffins. And don’t forget little extras you might have like a couple slices of cheese or a jar of gravy. Even if all you have is some limp celery, a jar of peanut butter and a couple of bagels, you have the makings of a nutritious meal.
This is just the first snow day of the season and here in Berea we’re sure to have more to come. No matter how hard you try to stay ahead of the snow and keep that fridge and pantry stocked, every now and then you’re going to be caught off guard. Step back from the fridge and take a good look. Then go take a look at your pantry. Most people have the makings of at least one tasty, nutritious meal right there in the kitchen.