Tag Archives: pimento cheese

Leftovers. What’s in the fridge?

19 Mar

Dinnertime.  What to fix…?  The fridge is full of leftovers, so lets pull something together.  What is in the fridge tonight?

Leftover…

  • chicken
  • chopped onion
  • parsley
  • orzo
  • carrots
  • pimento cheese
  • crusty bread
  • berries

I usually keep chicken and vegetable stock as a staple in the pantry, so I decided to make soup.  I pulled out my soup pot, put it on the stove, and added 2 tablespoons of butter.  When that was hot and bubbly, I added the chopped onion.  While those began cooking, I coarsely chopped the leftover carrots and tossed those in with the onions.  After about 4 minutes, I added 2 cartons of chicken stock and chopped fresh parsley.  I gave it a  nice stir to mix.  It started to smell delicious!

That started bubbling away.  Next the chicken went into the soup.  It was leftover grilled chicken and seasoned nicely.  The wonderful smoky scents wafting through the kitchen were warm and comforting.  I began preparing the sandwiches.  I spread the pimento cheese (home made, by the way, leftover from a dinner party a few nights prior) over the crusty bread and got a big skillet out for the sandwiches.  I added the orzo to the soup and gave the it a nice stir.  After a couple of minutes, I tasted it.  Ah yes…it was well on its was to yummy! I sprayed the skillet with fat free cooking spray and in went the sandwiches.  Grilled pimento cheese sandwiches have become a family fav.

The children set the table.  Out went the berries, soup, and grilled cheese sandwiches.  Voila!  A quick dinner was on the table, and since leftovers were used, it was a super budget friendly meal.  Leftovers are fantastic for a quick meal.   Toss something simple together and enjoy a nice family meal.  And remember, since you cooked dinner, the kids are washing all that tuppperware from the leftovers!   Bon Appetite!

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Pimento Cheese

16 Jan

I moved to the southeastern part of the country about 15 years ago.  I had spent my entire life prior to that living in the midwest.  My culinary roots are steeped in basic farm to table food.  I was not exposed to a lot of different food growing up.  Strictly regional and deliciously 50’s Americana food is what I ate growing up.  When I started cooking, I began with what I knew.  I pretty much nailed good midwestern cooking.  You know, roasts, whole chickens, potatoes, green beans, and the crowning jewel…lumpless rich gravy!   Yummy, but basic.  Which is exactly the way to begin something.  Learn the basics first.  Get some techniques down.  Become confident.  Then stretch your wings!

When I moved to this part of the country,  I read “Gone with the Wind”, a great Southern classic.  A friend had suggested reading something southern in celebration of moving to the southern part of our country.  Yes, its fiction.  But I came from Illinois, the “Land of Lincoln”, and I found that reading this book was a colorful expansion of culture, and a wonderful one at that.  I caught myself up on southern history and southeastern geography as well.  I tried to immerse myself in my new home town in a new and unfamiliar part of the country.  Naturally, that led me to learning about southern food.  In doing so, I discovered a new favorite appetizer.

I had never heard of pimento cheese prior to moving to this part of the country.  I am thrilled to have not only discovered it, but to have a whiz bang recipe for it that I love.  I whip this up quickly and let it sit in the fridge.  Believe me, it does not last long in my house.  We toss it on crackers, slather it on sandwiches, and heat it up in quessadillas.

As with most of my recipes, I do have some secrets that go with this one.  I usually add a tablespoon or two of diced jalapeno peppers to this recipe.  This brings nothing but praise from my teenagers, who tend to  like a little zip in their food.  I also usually mix 1 cup each of 2 different kinds of cheddar cheese, such as a mild cheddar and a sharp cheddar.

Years ago when I began making and tweaking this recipe, I liked to chat about it. You know us foodies…we just have to talk about food!  Anywhooo, I was chatting about pimento cheese with a lovely elderly lady with whom I shared a friendship.  This lady was the epitome of southern charm and graciousness.  Never without lipstick, she had the most beautiful gray hair, always perfectly coiffed.  Her clothes were always perfectly modest and pressed.  She had a lovely lilt to her voice and was proud to have her roots firmly planted in the south.  As I excitedly told her about my new found fondness for pimento cheese, she inquired as to my recipe.  I shared it with her.

Sure my recipe was basic.  I thought it to be a great starting point.  When she heard it, she oh so gently lifted her hand to her mouth and cupped it around her lips.  A secret was about to be revealed!  (Usually ladies do this when they are proudly revealing that they just got an additional 25% off on a new dress, or what the neighbor spent on their new car.  There is an exciting element of collusion when the mouth gets cupped in such a way!).  “Do you add any vinegar to your pimento cheese?” she asked with raised eyebrows and a proud little smirk.  Why no, I said.  A little thrill went through me and I asked her how much to add.  She held her hand up like she was holding a bottle of vinegar.  She then gestured tilting of the bottle to a quick 2 count and said that was how much to add.  Brilliant!!

So my pimento cheese evolved simply into what it is today.  I don’t want to jazz it up too much so it holds true to what it is.  But adding the vinegar is fantastic, as is adding the diced peppers.  Try it and tell me what you think!  Bon appetite!

Amy’s Pimento Cheese

  • 2 cups freshly shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/4-1/3 cup mayonnaise -do not use salad dressing
  • I small jar pimento, undrained
  • 2 T. white vinegar
  • Salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients in a bowl, cover, and refrigerate.  This gets better as it sits in the fridge, but it sure doesn’t last long!   Use as desired!

Raiding the fridge

29 Aug

Two of my children have left for college in the past week.  For years my house has been the place where my kids and their friends often gathered.  With all the hubbub around my house, it has been normal for me to keep the kitchen loaded with lots of food.  And I cook big, because I just didn’t know how many kids would end up around my dinner table.  Hear that noise?  Sound like brakes?  Yup.  Last week that came to a screeching halt.

My kids left for college, and so did their friends.  I am left with one little chickadee in my nest (if you can call a big honkin high school football player little…). Food consumption in my home suddenly has changed.  The result is a fridge is loaded with leftovers.  I am still getting used to my much smaller family unit (albeit temporary) and haven’t made the mental adjustment to downsize my cooking.

So dinner tonight (and probably tomorrow night too!) consisted of leftovers.  And wow wow wow!  It was good!  I raided the fridge for dinner.  This is what I piled up:

  • 3 kinds of greens (lettuces)
  • leftover chicken-I cut it into cubes
  • leftover sliced bell peppers
  • goat cheese (but any kind will do)
  • cashews

Then I made home made vinaigrette.  Here is my winning recipe:

  • 1 cup good quality olive oil
  • 1/2-3/4 cup vinegar-I like apple cider vinegar for this one
  • 2 T. honey
  • 3-4 T. Dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste

I whisked this together and poured it over the salad.  My 15 year old son and I noshed on this and it was delish!  It was so easy to create meals from leftovers, and quick.  Our meal was healthy!  In included animal protein in the chicken, a good source of calcium and plant protein in the cashews, fiber in the greens, vitamin C in the peppers, and was packed with vitamins and minerals.  The flavor was fantastic, and cleanup was minimal.

That’s it. Simple dimple.  Leftovers can deliver a fast meal loaded with flavor.  Try it!  Look in the fridge and freezer.  Get creative!  Use that leftover pasta sauce to add to cooked vegetables.  Use that leftover steak or chicken for a salad.  I have even used pimento cheese, which I may from scratch as a crowd pleasing appetizer, to make grilled cheese sandwiches.  Fabulous when paired with tomato soup!  Dig into those leftovers and dine with ease!