Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Tortellini Soup - Create a Soup

Although it sounds really fancy, Tortellini soup is actually a really easy soup that you can throw together in no time at all. It feels extra fancy with the special pasta, and you can change it up quite a bit depending on what ingredients you have on hand in your fridge / freezer and pantry. 

I picked up some fresh tortellini at the grocery store for a steal, but you can use the dried kind and it works just as well. (plus it can be a pantry staple that you can have on hand that will keep longer than fresh will)

You can add a wide assortment of vegetables. We had a few zucchini and some carrots from the garden. But you can add canned tomatoes, green beans, corn, or any kind of frozen mixed veggies. They even make specific "Italian" mixes that would be perfect to add to this soup. 

2 Tbs. olive oil, plus more for drizzling
2 carrots, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
2 zucchini, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
6 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 lb. fresh cheese tortellini
2 plum tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Sauté the vegetables
In a soup pot over medium-high heat, warm the 2 Tbs. olive oil. Add the carrots, celery and zucchini and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the broth and bring to a boil.

Cook the tortellini
Add the tortellini and cook for 5 minutes, or according to the package instructions. Remove from the heat. Stir in the tomatoes and parsley, and season with salt and pepper.

Ladle the soup into warmed bowls, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with the cheese and serve immediately. Serves 4.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Basic Classic Meatloaf

I think meatloaf has gotten a really bad reputation. It is featured lots of time on kids shows as the worst dinner imaginable - scary meatloaf striking fear into the hearts of kids eating dinner everywhere. I disagree, meatloaf can be one of the best dinner dishes around. It is a great way to sneak extra veggies into your dinner AND it allows for lots of room for pantry substitutions and leftover meatloaf is not just fantastic but makes amazing sandwiches later. 


1 1/2 pounds ground beef 
1 egg 
1 onion, chopped 
1 cup milk 
1 cup dried bread crumbs 
salt and pepper to taste 

2 tablespoons brown sugar 
2 tablespoons prepared mustard 
1/3 cup ketchup

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
In a large bowl, combine the beef, egg, onion, milk and bread OR cracker crumbs. Season with salt and pepper to taste and place in a lightly greased 5x9 inch loaf pan, OR form into a loaf and place in a lightly greased 9x13 inch baking dish.

In a separate small bowl, combine the brown sugar, mustard and ketchup. Mix well and pour over the meatloaf.
Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 1 hour.

If you are looking for ways to vary the recipe a little. You can use Oats instead of the breadcrumbs. This is a pretty common substitution. And if you are wanting to boost your veggie intake you can use a can of diced tomatoes instead of the milk that the recipe calls for. 

Of course, you can also add chopped veggies like carrots and bell peppers when you add the onions. Just saute the onions and chopped veggies of your choice prior to adding them to the meat mixture. 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Simple Ways to Start Eating Better - Pick One

So go ahead. Pick one. Any one. Or come up with your own. And if you do, please share.
  1. Add vegetables to breakfast. Whirl spinach into smoothies, scramble eggs with leftover veggies, or pile half a bagel with avocado, tomato, cucumber, or carrots.
  2. Opt out of high-calorie coffee drinks. Consider the difference between a Starbucks large white chocolate mocha at 620 calories and 27 grams of fat and a small cappuccino with low-fat milk at just 90 calories and 1.5 grams of saturated fat. This is an extreme example, but you get the idea.
  3. Swap your snacks. Rely on nutrient-rich whole foods instead of processed ones. A bag of potato chips and a small handful of nuts may have the same calories, but the latter will nourish and fill you up in the way chips will not.
  4. When it comes to sweets, keep portions petite. A small amount can really satisfy such as an ounce of dark chocolate, a scoop of vanilla frozen yogurt with berries, or a miniature cupcake.
  5. Split meals out with a table mate or take home half for the next day.Calories in restaurant meals are often way out of scale with healthy eating. Consider, for example, that the shrimp pasta at the Cheesecake Factory is nearly 2300 calories. Yikes.
  6. Skip or scale back sodas and sugary drinks. You may be surprised to know how much sugar gets added to iced tea, juices, and sports drinks. Go for good ole H2O, bubbly water with a splash of juice, fruity spa water, or hot and cold tea instead.
  7. Look for leaner cuts of meat. The meat you buy can have a significant impact on fat and calories. Choose sirloin over rib eye and you'll save nearly 100 calories and about 15 grams of fat in just four ounces.
  8. Close the kitchen after dinner to avoid late night snacking.
  9. Belly up to the bar a little less. The calories in beer, wine, and spirits can add up quickly.
  10. Pack a lunch instead of buying one. Homemade lunches tend to be cheaper and you get to control what's in there.
  11. When you eat out, ask for a veggie or fruit side. This will allow you to get plenty of produce even when dining out.
  12. Opt for less quantity, but more quality when it comes to buying poultry and meat. Organic, pastured chicken and grass fed beef, for example, are pricey but better for you, better for the environment, and nicer to beast on your plate!
  13. Expand your fruit and vegetable repertoire. A colorful variety of fruits and veggies is key for maximum vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals. Get inspired by going to farmer's market or signing up for a CSA. Sunchokes anyone?
  14. Add in foods high in omega-3s such as walnuts, flax seeds, chia seeds, salmon, and sardines. Most of us aren't getting enough of these healthy fats.
  15. Cook more often; eat out less. You'll probably eat lighter and eat better.
  16. Experiment with whole grain flours in baking. Whole wheat white flour and whole wheat pastry flour tend to do quite well in many desserts, pancakes, quickbreads, and the like.
  17. Explore more with beans and legumes. They're cheap, nourishing, delicious, with a huge variety of options from red lentils to chickpeas to pinto beans.
  18. Aim to fill half your plate with fruits and veggies. Round out the rest of your meal with protein foods and grains.
  19. Switch your peanut butter. If you're buying peanut butter with added sugar and partially-hydrogenated or hydrogenated fats, choose one with little more than peanuts and salt. One day, I promise, Skippy will start to taste like dessert.
  20. Honor your hunger meter. Eat when you're hungry. Stop eating when you've had your fill. This is often easier said than done, but it's always worth shooting for.
  21. Swap out processed grains for whole grains. Choosing brown rice, whole-grain bread, whole wheat tortillas, farro, quinoa, and so on, will increase the fiber and other nutrients in your diet.
  22. Aim for five or fewer ingredients in packaged foods. Read labels and shy away from processed foods with a laundry list of ingredients.
  23. Work more veggies into soups, stews, sauces and casseroles.Chopped onions, garlic, leafy greens, carrots, mushrooms, and other vegetables can be added quite seamlessly into so many dishes you already cook.
  24. Get smart on seafood. Learn which species are sustainable and low in environmental pollutants and which are best avoided. Seafood Watch is a good guide for buying fish and shellfish.
  25. Give whole grain pasta a try. It may take a while to find one that your family loves, but over time kids (and you) can really develop a taste for it.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Shredded Pork and White Bean Chili

1 pound Shredded Pork (leftover from a Pork Roast cooked in the Crock-Pot)
1 medium onion, diced
1 teaspoon ground cumin ( I end up using a pre-made seasoning mix for all the spices in the recipe)
2 teasponos chili powder
1 16-oz. can white beans, drained
1 16-oz can chili beans, drained
1 16-oz can kidney beans, drained
1 14-oz. can corn, drained
1 14 1/2-oz. can chicken broth
2 4-oz. can diced green chiles
2 cans of Chicken Broth

Toppings as you desire - Avocado, Green Onions, Cheese, Cilantro, Sour Cream

Cooking Directions

In large saucepan cook the onion, stir in cumin and chili powder; stir. Stir in remaining ingredients; bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes, until heated through and flavors are blended.

I just dumped the beans in the crock-pot. 

Added the Spice Mix and the Green Chilies. 

Then the leftover shredded pork and the cooked onions. 

Then I added the chicken broth and turned it on low to heat through and let the flavors meld. 

Top it with the toppings of your choice and enjoy! 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Easiest Yummiest Cornbread on the Planet

This is a recipe I have been making since forever. It whips up in about 30 seconds and is the most delicious cornbread you will ever eat. (Well, Of Course! It is at least half cake!!)


1 Yellow Cake Mix
(ingredients to make cake mix according to the directions)
1 Cup Water
1/2 Cup Oil
3 Eggs

2 Boxes Jiffy Corn Muffin mixes
(ingredients to make the muffin mixes according to their directions)
1/3 Cup Milk (2 times)
1 Egg (2 Times)

When I was first told how to make them, I was instructed to make each separately and then combine them. I don't make them that way, I just mix the whole mess up in a huge bowl. I then let the batter sit for 4-5 minutes while I spray the muffin pans. I think this makes for taller muffins. 

You will want to bake them at 375 degrees (this is splitting the difference on the temperature of the two mixes). Depending on the size of your muffins (I made regular sized ones and small bite-size ones) You will bake them from 15-20 minutes. I like them a little more browned, so they have a "crust" to them. So I leave them in for a just a few minutes longer. 

We eat them with butter and honey, but they are moist and sweet enough to eat just plain. 

Friday, October 10, 2014

A Few Kitchen Shortcuts!

Quick Kitchen Tips from the Weber Food $ense Program. 

  1. Strawberry Tip: Wash freshly picked strawberries & then take a wide plastic straw and insert it at the bottom of a strawberry–then push the stem out. This was previously published as a feature tip on Tipnut for Ask Your Neighbor – Helpful Household Tips.
  2. Measuring Tip: Rinse measuring cup in hot water before using syrup, oil, etc. Will pour out clean and not stick to cup. This was also mentioned in the 45 Cooking & Baking Tips – A Collection Of Timeless Wisdom tip list.
  3. Sugar In Fruit Pies: When making pie, sprinkle the sugar under the fruit instead of on top. This prevents pie from boiling over.
  4. Baking Fruit Pies: Cut four small slits into top pie crust and stand one piece of tubed pasta into each slit (choose pasta at least 2 or 3 inches long–cannelloni and cut ziti work well). The juices will bubble up the pasta ‘pipe’ and back down into the pie–instead of running all over your oven. Once pie has finished baking, remove pasta.
  5. Pie Dough Rolling: Try rolling pie dough between two sheets of waxed paper, the dough is easier to manage and doesn’t stick to the table or your rolling pin. Once the dough is in the desired shape and thickness, peel off the waxed paper and place directly in the pie plate. Cut off the excess. This was also included on the 45 Cooking & Baking Tips – A Collection Of Timeless Wisdom page of tips.
  6. Bigger Cakes From Mixes: To make a bigger cake from a mix, add 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 egg, 1 tsp. baking powder. *Found on loose page from an old cookbook. This was also included on the 43 Cake Baking Tips & Tricks page.
  7. Icing Cakes: For one layer cakes, turn the cake upside down before icing so that the top is perfectly flat and even. When icing two cake rounds or squares, place a layer of frosting on the top of one round, then place the other round upside down on top for a perfectly flat top. If the cake rose high and uneven in the middle when baking, you may need to slice a bit off across the top to lay it flat. This was also included on the 43 Cake Baking Tips & Trickspage.
  8. Neatly Cut Fudge: Use a pizza cutter to easily slice through flats of fudge and candy squares. Make sure the baking has been chilled or thoroughly set before cutting. The process is fast and easy and the result is nice, neat squares.
  9. Freeze Cookie Dough: Try preparing a few batches of cookie dough at once and freezing the extra that you won’t be baking that day. You can roll the dough in logs first before freezing (wrap the dough really well) and then just slice off and bake what you need whenever you crave freshly baked cookies.
  10. Soften Butter: A few different methods for speeding up the process of getting soft butter right from the fridge (without melting it): Grate the butter into a bowl–comes down to room temperature faster; Microwave for a few seconds at a time–watch closely because you don’t want to zap it too long; Cut butter into squares and put them into a bowl, insert bowl in a pan of warm–not hot–water.
  11. Remove Dough Quickly From Hands: Keep a small bowl of cornmeal nearby while kneading and working with dough. If you need to quickly answer the phone, the door, or rescue a runaway toddler while your hands are full of sticky dough, rub dry cornmeal on your hands. This removes dough faster than washing your hands in soap and water.
  12. Mashed Potato Warmer: Is there ever enough stove top space when preparing large meals (like at Christmas or Thanksgiving)? Here’s a way to get the mashed potatoes done early and out of the way: Prepare your mashed potatoes an hour or two before serving the meal and store them in the slow cooker (on low heat). Serve with the rest of the meal and they’re still hot and tasty :).
  13. Fluff Up Mashed Potatoes: Try adding a healthy pinch of baking powder to the potatoes when mashing them. For fluffier mashed potatoes, use an electric mixer to whip air into them. Any other additions? Me, I’m a real butter and splash of milk potato masher-er ;).
  14. Mixing Raw Hamburger: If you can’t stand mixing raw hamburger by hand and the wooden spoon just won’t do, try covering each of your hands in a clean plastic bag (or baggy) and dig in. The plastic bags will still give your hands and fingers free movement, yet keep them free from raw meat contamination. Did you know: Meatloaf aficionados declare that the ingredients must be mixed by hand or the meatloaf is doomed? Check out these favorite tasty meatloaf tips.
  15. Grilled Cheese Sandwiches: Try slathering mayonnaise on the outer sides of the bread instead of butter when making grilled cheese sandwiches. Makes a nice and crispy sandwich as well as tastes delicious. Another favorite addition of mine is chopped green onions melted in the sandwich with the cheese. Sweet, at least the green onions are healthy! If you have a favorite twist to Grilled Cheese sandwiches, please share and add them below. I’m officially hungry now ;).
  16. Cabbage Salad Kicker: To take a cabbage salad “out of this world” add chunks of banana just before serving. *Found on a loose page from an old cookbook. Cabbage Salad would be Coleslaw I believe. My mother-in-law always made hers with slivers of apple mixed in with the coleslaw (delish!). Bananas? I’m hesitant to try this lol. If you do, please let me know how it turns out.
  17. Greaseless Griddle Cake: When making griddle cake grease the pan for the first cake. After that rub a piece of raw potato over hot griddle instead of greasing. The cakes brown nicely and there will be no smoke. *Found on loose page of from an old cookbook.
  18. Slicing Meat Thin: If you need really thin sliced meat when cooking stir-fry recipes or other dishes, try partially freezing the meat before making your cuts. This will make the meat easier to slice very thin since it will hold firm while slicing, no more uneven cuts from the raw meat mushing underneath the knife blade.
  19. Stop Meat Edges From Curling: When grilling steaks or frying up pork chops, sometimes the edges can curl and the meat no longer sits flat in the pan or on the grill. To help prevent that, just cut a slit in the fat along the edge of the meat every inch or so before cooking.
  20. Baking Soda Meat Tenderizer: You can use baking soda as a meat tenderizer. Two different ways to do this: Sprinkle baking soda all over the meat, rub it in a bit and then let sit (refrigerated) for several hours. You could also make a baking soda/water paste and slather it over the meat. Let it marinate for several hours. Rinse meat before cooking to remove all the baking soda.
  21. Baking Soda Test: Do you have an old box of baking soda in the pantry and you’re not sure whether or not it’s still good? Fill a small cup half full with vinegar and drop a teaspoon of baking soda in it. If things start fizzing, the baking soda is active.
  22. Fresh Fruit & Veggies Washing Tip: Sprinkle wet fruit and veggies with baking soda then gently scrub and rinse. This cleaning method safely removes dirt and residue off produce. This was part of Tipnut’s Arm & Hammer week.
  23. Prevent Bacon Spatters: Bacon can be quite a messy item to prepare, try lightly dusting the bacon with flour before frying. This helps prevent the spatters and meat shrinkage.
  24. Veggie Roasting Racks: Try roasting a chicken or roast on top of long slices of celery or carrot sticks. The vegetables act like a roasting rack plus add flavor to the meat. You can eat the vegetables too, yum! Not only do the veggies work well as a roasting rack, there’s one less item to wash ;).
  25. Potato Flakes Thickener: Add dried instant potato flakes to homemade soups and sauces to thicken the consistency. This won’t change the flavor at all and is a sure trick when a dish sauce turns out too watery or thin.
  26. Natural Peanut Butter Storage: Here’s a tip sent in by reader Beth: Regarding natural peanut butter, the type that separates after it sits for a while. Store the unopened jars in the cabinet upside down. The oil will want to rise to the top again and will pass through the solid part to do so, basically stirring itself! Great tip! Thanks for sharing that Beth :)!
  27. Flour Bugs: Keep a couple bay leaves in the flour canister to help deter the bugs (flour Weevils) congregating in their favorite hangout. You can toss the leaves loose in the flour or make a rough pouch out of one layer of cheesecloth to keep the leaves separated from the flour. Another tip is to tape the bay leaves to the inside of the lid. Always try to keep flour and other grains in air tight containers, this will help keep pantry pests out.
  28. Squeezing Lemons For Juice: For those who suffer from arthritis or hand pain, use a nutcracker to mangle and squeeze wedges of lemons to juice them. Otherwise jab a fork into the fruit flesh, squeeze both ends of the wedge together (towards the fork) and then twist the fork every which way. Lots of juice!
  29. Herb & Spice Storage: To help preserve flavor, herbs and spices are best stored in airtight containers, out of sunlight and away from heat sources. Store the jars and containers in the pantry or a cupboard. Keeping spices and dried herbs in cute glass jars over top of the stove is a popular practice, but it does negatively affect the flavor of your spice collection.
  30. Make Your Own Celery Flakes: Instead of cutting off the leafy tops of celery and tossing away, try making your own celery flakes. Simply wash and dry the leaves well, place in oven at 180° F. until crispy dried (a few hours), crumble and store in an air tight container. Use the celery flakes in cooking dishes such as soups, stews, stuffing and anything else you’d like to add a little flavor.
  31. Crystalized Honey Fix: If your honey has crystalized, place the bottle or container in a pot full of hot water and let it sit for about 1/2 hour or until the honey is melted. Stir the honey well and the crystals will be gone.
  32. Soften Marshmallows: Slice open the top of a marshmallow bag then place in a large ziploc freezer bag. Freeze. Remove the amount of frozen marshmallows you need as you need them. Thaw and they’re soft and ready to use. If you have hard marshmallows in the pantry, try tossing a piece or two of sliced bread in the bag. Seal, then check after a few days. The marshmallows should be soft again.
  33. How to Keep Cookies Soft: Keep cookies moist and chewy by throwing a few slices of apple in your cookie jar to keep cookies soft. Don’t do this if you like crispy or crunchy cookies ;).
  34. Lunch Box Notes: When packing lunch for your child, include a little note just for them to brighten their day while they’re at school. I learned this tip from my son, when he was younger he let me know his friend had nice notes from her mom in her lunch every day–I’d say kids look forward to getting them ;).
  35. Use A Pastry Brush To Butter Baking Pans: Use soft butter and a pastry brush to grease decorative cake pans, bundt pans and muffin tins. The brush makes it much easier to get into all the grooves. Martha’s Good Things for the Kitchen booklet also suggests to butter the top of muffin pans between the cups as it helps remove the baked muffins easier. This was also included on the 43 Cake Baking Tips & Tricks
  36. Reuse Butter Paper Wrapping: Save the paper or foil wrap from blocks or squares of butter and use them to grease baking pans. Keep the paper refrigerated in a separate baggy. Not only do they do an effective job buttering the pans, it also puts to good use something we often toss freely.
  37. Muffin Tin Use: After stuffing peppers and tomatoes, arrange in a muffin tin before sticking them in the oven. They’ll stay upright and keep their shape perfectly! You could also do this with baked apples or other round or stuffed items.
  38. Fill Empty Muffin Tins With Water: If your muffin or cupcake recipe doesn’t fill all the spots in your muffin pan, fill the empty places 3/4 full with water. This will help protect those slots from darkening or getting scorched.
  39. Easily Color Shredded Coconut: If you’d like to color shredded coconut for toppings on cakes and desserts, simply put the coconut in a clean jar (only one half jar full at a time), add a few drops of food coloring in your choice of color, then cap the jar and shake it until all the coconut is evenly tinted. This was also mentioned on the 45 Cooking & Baking Tips – A Collection Of Timeless Wisdom page.
  40. Add Flavor To Cooked Vegetables: Toss in a bouillon cube or two to the boiling water instead of salt when cooking vegetables. Adds a delicious flavor to the veggies. Another alternative is to add a couple roughly halved cloves of garlic to the boiling water, then lightly tossing veggies in butter once cooked. This was also mentioned in the 45 Cooking & Baking Tips – A Collection Of Timeless Wisdom page of tips.
  41. DIY Non-Slip Bowls: No need to buy expensive mixing bowls with rubber bottoms–just set a bowl on top of a damp cloth and no more worries about it sliding around while you’re mixing something.
  42. Cheesecloth In A Pinch: If you’re out of cheesecloth you can use a sheet of paper towel or a coffee filter to line a colander or strainer and then strain liquid. Single use only and you may have to do in batches.
  43. Open Tight Lid Jars: If tapping around the lid with a knife won’t loosen a jar lid, try putting on a pair of latex gloves then twisting the lid off. This gives a good grip that won’t slip. Another helper: cut a square of leftover nonslip shelf liner and keep that on hand to unscrew lids.
  44. Separate Eggs With A Funnel: If you don’t have an egg separator and need just an egg white or yolk for a recipe, you can use a small kitchen funnel. Crack the egg gently then break into the funnel. The white of the egg will flow through the funnel leaving the yolk behind. No funnel? You could also clip a corner off a ziploc bag and use that as a funnel. Make sure to place the funnel inside a glass so the egg white is contained ;).
  45. Reuse Nylon Mesh Bags: If you buy veggies that are bagged in nylon mesh, you can use that mesh for various cleaning jobs around the house and yard. Just wad up the bag and use it as a scrubber.
  46. Finding Broken Glass Under Soapy Water: If you break glass in soapy water while doing dishes, to prevent cutting yourself while looking for it you can use a tall clear drinking glass or a wide clear glass bowl–keeping the top part above the bubbles, push the glass into the water and use it as a lens to look around and find the broken pieces.
  47. Protect Cookbooks & Recipes: Recipe cards and cookbooks getting a little grungy and marked with goop? To prevent this from happening or the damage from getting worse, place the cards and cookbooks in a clear plastic bag first before using them to prepare a dish. This will keep them from getting smudged up with gooey fingers, yet still be perfectly readable when doing a quick check on a measurement or instruction.
  48. Extra Oven Rack: Take out the extra oven rack when baking and you can use it for the cooling rack. Works for cakes, cookies, hors douvres, whatever you like. If you’re baking smaller items that might fall through, simply cover the rack with tinfoil first (fold foil tightly over the edges). Works like a charm!
  49. Put Out A Stove Top Grease Fire: Douse the fire heavily with salt or baking soda. Turn off the heat as soon as it’s safe to do so without being burned. This is a great way to use expired baking soda or the boxes you just replaced in the fridge, keep those in the cupboard beside your stove. Teach children how to do this as soon as they’re old enough to start cooking.
  50. Repair Rusty Dishwasher Racks: A co-worker found a way to fix up her dishwasher rack by using vinyl caps. You can buy repair kits that contain both liquid vinyl repair paint and vinyl tine caps or ends. They come in a few different colors too so you can match with what you have. Search Amazon for Dishwasher Rack Repair and you’ll find a few options. Prices range from $10 to $30 so it’s not expensive at all to get your dishwasher rack fixed up.
  51. Easy Jello Mold Release: Cover the open side of the mold with a plate and then flip. Let it sit at room temperature until the Jello drops out itself (about 45 to 60 minutes before serving). Just cover with plastic wrap and re-chill if you prefer serving jello molds cold. Tip #2: Dip the mold in hot water right up to the top of the rim (but not seeping over into the Jello) for about a minute and then cover the open side of the mold with a plate, flip over. If the jello doesn’t pop out onto the plate easily, dip the mold in warm water again and repeat.
  52. Remember to keep the handles of cookware turned in so they are completely over the stove top and they are not protruding over the edge of the stove at all. It’s far too easy for young children to reach up and pull a hot pot down on themselves or to bump into the handle and set a pan with hot grease flying when rushing around preparing a meal.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Pita Quesadilla

Due to a wild and crazy day, dinner plans went awry and it was time to improvise. I had my sweet husband pick up a couple of rotisserie chickens from the grocery store and decided to quickly assemble some quesadillas and use up some lingering ingredients that were nearing the end of their usable lives in my refrigerator. 

Gather your ingredients, the only things you absolutely need to have are pita bread and cheese. The rest of the ingredients are absolutely up to you. We added some chicken, salsa, tomatoes, and green onions. But jalapenos, pico de gallo, corn and beans would be a super addition as well. 

Cut your pita bread into quarters. If you have the kind that opens into pockets - even better! You can stuff you pita with your quesadilla toppings - otherwise we are just going to layer them on top. 

We picked out chicken meat off the roasted chickens and put it into a bowl. 

Spread your pitas out onto a baking sheet. 

Spread your pitas with salsa, we used two different types - a mild one and a hot, spicy one. 

Then lay pieces of your shredded chicken on top. This is where you will want to add any other toppings that you want "cooked". 

Sprinkle generously with cheese. And bake in your oven long enough for the cheese to get nice and melty. (About 5 minutes)

Once you pull the hot melty goodness out of the oven, top with your additional toppings. 

We let everyone make their own at this point.  We had some that added lots of toppings and veggies, and of course, one that just added BBQ sauce. 

This was an easy throw together meal that was satisfying and different than the normal quesadillas we are used to having.