I'm not going to lie. I spend way too much of my money eating out. My weakness is definitely Panera. But, I've realized lately just how much money I spend on fast food and grabbing lunch at a nearby restaurant, and it's waaaay too much. I know a lot of people are in this situation. They enjoy eating out, but don't have the extra money. Now, I also like to cook, so I figured I'd use my love of cooking to end my eating out habit.
I am always looking up recipes online and in the various cookbooks we own, but I never seem to have the ingredients- frustrating! So, I've sort of been left to adapt the ingredients we often have around the house to make delicious meals. I love starting with something basic and adding just a few extra ingredients to make it spectacular! A few of my favorite adaptations are: adding sprinkle cheddar cheese to Kraft Macaroni and Cheese (very simple addition, but to me it makes the macaroni so much better!) and adding fresh cut up carrots and celery, and even chunks of freshly cooked chicken, to a can of Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup.
Here are a couple of my very favorite easy recipes for delicious restaurant-quality meals:
1. Tuna Salad Sandwich
Start with: one can tuna (Drain Tuna. Dump in bowl.)
Add: chopped veggies- onion, green onion, celery, hard boiled egg OR diced pickles (you can also use pickle relish)
Put together: Layer a couple lettuce leaves, cheese (provelone is delicious,) and tuna salad between two slices of bread.
Very easy recipe and also very adaptable to the ingredients you probably have at home.
2. Potato Soup
Start with: can Cream of Chicken (You can also use Cream of Celery, Cream of Mushroom, Cream of Potato...) OR you can start by simply boiling milk and butter
Add: First, boil cubed potatoes and chopped vegetables (carrots, broccoli, celery, onion, green onion, cauliflower, virtually any vegetable will work great), cubed chicken, bacon, turkey, or anything else you may have around that seems good.
Cook: Once the potatoes are soft, and the veggies are just as firm as you want them (you could also steam the veggies) drain the water. Add the can of soup + milk (or if you opt not to use the Cream of ____ Soup, just add milk,) Mix in all the veggies, season with salt and pepper, and any other seasonings- I usually use Oregano, Garlic, and Jojo's Potato Seasoning. Once you mix everything together, add shredded cheese. That's it!
I hope you enjoy these recipes and see that you don't have to spend all the money to enjoy a delicious restaurant-inspired meal! And, I would love to hear your favorite go-to recipes as well!