While talking with other mom’s it amazes me how many of them say they don’t cook for their families and instead eat take out or go out to eat EVERY night. I can only imagine how much that costs. Plus if your children are eating from the kid’s meals at restaurants it means they are eating hamburgers, nuggets or grilled cheese pretty much every night.
I recently showed a mom (that eats out nightly) some of my Crockpot Tuesday meals and told her how easy they were and she said, “Yes they look good, but my kids won’t eat that, all they like are nuggets.”
While I in no way claim to be a gourmet cook, I do enjoy coming up with new recipes from items that are on sale during the week or in my stockpile. My kids know that the meal on the table is what they will be eating since I don’t short order cook for them. That means they are exposed to a variety of flavors. Yes they might complain about it, but they do eat it.
I will also admit I don’t plan out menus for the week. I know that many frugal bloggers find this to be a good way to cut costs, and I have tried. However it doesn’t work for me. I like to be able to eat what sounds good to me that day. That does not mean that I run to the store and buy items specifically for a recipe. Instead it means I take what I have bought on sale and is in the freezer, refrigerator or pantry and make it into a meal. Sometimes that requires a bit of creativity and ends up with a new dish.
That’s exactly what happened with today’s Stockpile Recipe. I knew I wanted to use ham and at first thought of Scalloped Potatoes. However, I realized I only had 2 potatoes. My first thought was to make a stove-top version of Jazzed Up Potatoes that uses instant mash potatoes, but when I looked in my pantry I saw the tortillas that I bought at Aldis for 99 cents, which inspired this recipe for Quesadilla Casserole with Ham.
Here’s what I used from my sale stockpile:
- 2 Ham Steaks – dice them small (I got these on sale for $2 each)
- 1/2 block of Cream Cheese – 50 cents (bought here for $1)
- 1 Package Tortillas – 99¢ at Aldis
- 1 Package Shredded Cheddar Cheese – $1.25
- 2 TBSP of Mild Salsa – about 5¢ – Got whole jar for $1.49 at Aldi’s
- 1 Can of Green Beans (not pictured)
Preheat oven to 365 degrees
The first thing I did was to mix 2 TBSP of salsa that I had left over in the refrigerator with half the block of cream cheese.
Then I did the following in layers.
- Spray the 11×13 pan with cooking Spray
- Spread 3 tortillas on the bottom of the pan
- Spoon the cream cheese mixture on the tortillas
- Place half the diced ham on top
- Cover with three tortillas
- Place remaining diced ham and green beans on top. Then put 3/4 of cheese on top.
- Top with last 4 Tortillas and pour on the remaining cheese
Cover the pan with foil and place in the oven. Cook for 35 minutes. Then remove the foil and cook for additional 5 minutes to brown the cheese a bit.
I served it with some sliced cucumbers.
Everyone in the family really enjoyed Quesadilla Casserole with Ham and it only costs $6.79 for the whole family. This is less then the price of one meal when you eat out.
This is definitely a “make again” meal, but I’ll probably make a couple changes. First I’ll double the amount of cream cheese mixture and put it on both layers. This will make the dish a bit creamier. Also, I’ll replace the green beans with corn. That’s what I originally intended to do, but I didn’t have any canned corn in my stockpile, so the green beans sufficed.
I’ll admit this isn’t the lowest fat or necessarily the healthiest meal I’ve ever made, but it nourished the family, was easy, very frugal and expanded the kids taste buds beyond hamburgers and chicken nuggets.
What’s your Favorite Meal from your Stockpile? I would love to hear other’s ideas.