A couple of weeks ago I thought I had a fail when I was making supper. I bought a pack of rotini noodles. It was a brand I don’t typically use. I ended up overcooking them and then they had a starchy taste. I wasn’t impressed at all.
I had the family coming for supper. AHH!! What was I going to feed them now that the noodles were bad?
Well, I’m on a kick to not waste food so I started trying to think how I was going to salvage this supper.
I ended up getting some Yard Sauce from the freezer. (Yard Sauce is something I make and freeze when the garden is producing. HERE is the recipe) I got a pound of hamburger and a pound of sausage. I found some bacon cheese in the refrigerator along with some pepperoni and doctored something together in a layered hotdish lasagna sort of way.
I served it for super half apologizing. Everyone LOVED it and went on and on about how it was so good. I agreed. It was really good.
A few days later the same people were all gathered. We were again eating supper and the conversation turned to how good the previous supper of the hotdish lasagna was and could I make it again. DARN. I don’t know if I can.
So…what’s a mom to do but try? We ended up having a family potluck picnic and I decided to try to make it again. I thought I would take some pictures as I go so maybe if it turns out again, I’ll have some kind of recipe.
Here I have the cooked noodles and the fried hamburger, pork sausage, and chopped onion along with the yard sauce. I had plenty of basil in the garden so added some extra along with more fresh garlic. We’re a garlic family. I cooked the yard sauce down until more of the water was absorbed.
Then…I started layering it all up in a cake pan.
Noodles, sauce, cheese (I had bacon cheese), and pepperoni.
Then the rest of the noodles, the rest of the sauce, and pepperoni.
Then I topped it with cheese. This was a mix.
I popped it in the oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
Can you believe I forgot to take a picture of the finished dish??? AH!! I did.
This batch was really good and everyone agreed that it was really good.
Later Kalissa was telling me that there’s a new television show out from the Pioneer Woman. It’s something about cooking on a low budget. Kalissa said I need to get on the show as I’d win for sure. I went on to explain to Kalissa that I can cook low budget and it’s good but what I’m best at is figuring out some way to make something now so tasty or past its prime turn into something really good.
The problem is that I can’t replicate the recipe…This time I did okay but next time, who knows?
I rarely use a recipe if I am making a main dish meal for supper. I just look in the frig or freezer and be inspired by what I see. Often whatever it is that I find inspires the next meal.
How about you? Are you a recipe user??
Nope. Can’t follow a recipe (nor pattern!) to save my life!! Not that I haven’t tried! And nothing ever tastes the same! Especially when I was using my own canned tomatoes, and we had many, many varieties all ripening at different times. I would simply pick what was ripe and fit the fruits to the jars. Never knew what kinds were going into the jars together. Just big or small was all I was concerned with. :)
You and your yard sauce that I now make, is turning me into a (scrap) cook.
I envy you. With recipes everywhere, I can never think of anything to cook. My sister, on the other hand is much like you. Loves to cook and everything she makes is good. Me, not so much. I have decided my gift, if I have one, is sewing. Sure wish some of that cooking talent had been passed along to me.
I’m like you. Pull whatever is in the fridge and create something. I have a ton of cookbooks for “inspiration “.
Would marinara sauce be a substitute for yard sauce? I don’t have a vegetable garden.
YES. Marinara would be a great substitute.
I usually use a recipe. If I like the dish having made it according to the recipe, I rarely change it. I certainly make some things without a recipe. Making desserts is one of my favorite foods to make, so I think it is more often important to follow a recipe – at least for me! I have often wondered how the early settlers made things!
Very seldom use a recipe. Now, my grandkids are cooking wanting the recipes. They keep telling me to made them a cookbook. I just can’t figure out how to tell them there really isn’t a recipe. I just wing it with what I got. So the joke is on me.
Oh dear, I learned to cook in 4H and was indoctrinated with following recipes. I am 72 now and still use recipes when I cook. I do like recipes from Taste of Home and Church Cookbooks because they are always tried and true, however.
Hi Jo, I’m a improvise type cook. I may start with a plan or recipes but use what I have to make it work. When I get rave reviews from my family or guests I usually think to myself ” well, I’m glad they enjoyed it cause they may never taste that exact flavor again! ” I sent you my “basic muffin ” recipe. Boy does that one ever get a work out! Ha! Glad your family loved your creation!
Hi Jo, I do use a recipe, but somewhat loosely. I often make changes to it (I call them “tweaks”) and basically put in whatever I think will work. I admire you for putting together something from just looking through your fridge/pantry. My grandmother was like that – a lot of her baking was without recipes, me, I need the recipe as a sort of starting point and then doctor it up to how I like. Like you, my family love my cooking, I do love it and enjoy experimenting with recipes to make it mine. Your dish looked delicious.
I know this is going off subject, but I hope that Ray and his partner are OK. They live in Ft Meyers, FL, right where Hurricane Ian hit. Hope we hear from him soon.
I follow recipes when I’m baking, but when cooking dinners I always wing it. When my daughter started cooking, she couldn’t understand how I didn’t have recipes I followed, but now she does the same! We love using a few random ingredients and coming up with a yummy meal :-)
Your dish looks delicious, and I may try something similar but no garlic. I would never have thought to add the pepperoni. I also make your yard sauce and it’s a go to for many of my hotdishes.
I do usually use a recipe. That is what I have always admired about you/your posts-how adaptable you can be!!! I think it is a marvelous quality to have and use! Keep up the good work, you have never failed me! Hugs,
I can’t follow a recipe and rarely follow a pattern. I’m a fly by the seat of my pants girl. Sadly, that does mean that nothing tastes the same twice. But truthfully, I’m not sure it does following a recipe either!
I hope all of your Florida blog followers are safe.
I can cook by a recipe or improvise. Sometimes, I start with a recipe and then ad lib according to what I have on hand. For example if I am making meatloaf, I will look at some recipes and use some of their ideas and add others. Now my children are moving out and call me to ask how I make chili, etc. I just can’t tell them I often add mayonnaise to my gravy. They would never eat it again. (They don’t like mayonnaise. Lol. I have found when my gravy doesn’t taste quite right, like it’s missing something, stirring in a big blob of Dukes mayonnaise will make it perfect.) I start with some basic ingredients for chili and then add whatever I have….especially leftovers from tacos!
I can use a recipe or not. I’ve been cooking for 47 years! Sometimes I get tired of my own cooking and look for something new. My husband likes to cook and MUST follow a recipe. No substitutions.