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Easy Upgrades: Refreshing Everyday Foods

Are your pantry and freezer packed with last-minute meal options? Canned soup, frozen pizza or jars of pasta sauce -- they’re the type of convenience foods we tend to rely on repeatedly. Of course, they’re also the type of meals that tend to get a little too familiar after a while. What if you could transform those ordinary dishes into extraordinary masterpieces? Punching up old-school standbys takes little time. Start with the basics, add a few fresh and local ingredients and voila! You’ll get tasty results in the kitchen while supporting local growers, businesses and your community.

Recipes:

Start with Big Y Frozen Cheese Pizza:

BBQ Chicken

Cook a frozen, 12-inch cheese pizza according to package directions. In a medium microwave-safe bowl, combine 1½ cups cooked and chopped chicken tenders, ½ cup diced red onion, 2 teaspoons minced fresh cilantro and ½ cup barbecue sauce. Microwave on HIGH for 2-3 minutes or until chicken mixture is heated through. Place on top of pizza and place in a 350˚F preheated oven until warmed through.

 

Hawaiian

Cook a frozen, 12-inch cheese pizza according to package directions. Top cooked pizza with one ½ cup chopped pineapple, 1 cup chopped deli ham, ½ cup chopped red onion and ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese. Place in a 350˚F preheated oven until pineapple and ham are heated through and cheese is melted.

 

Start with Pasta Sauce:

Minestrone Soup

In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine 4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth, 1 cup water and a 26-ounce jar tomato, basil and garlic pasta sauce; bring to a boil. Stir in 2 rinsed and chopped celery stalks, 1 rinsed, peeled and chopped carrot, ¼ cup chopped onion and ¾ cup rinsed and chopped green beans; cook for 10 minutes. Add ¾ cup cooked spiral pasta, a 15-ounce can drained cannellini beans, ½ teaspoon Full Circle Market Organic dried oregano, ¼ teaspoon Full Circle Market Organic garlic powder and ¼ cup Food Club grated Parmesan cheese. Cook for 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

 

Start with Boxed Mac & Cheese:

Beefed Up Mac & Cheese

Prepare 1 box macaroni and cheese according to package directions; set aside. In a large saucepan over medium heat, brown ½ pound lean ground beef. Cook for 6 minutes or until meat reaches an internal temperature of 160˚F as verified with an instant-read food thermometer, stirring to break up large clumps; drain. Wash hands after handling raw beef. In a large bowl, combine prepared macaroni and cheese, cooked ground beef and 1½ cups chopped tomatoes and 1 cup chopped spinach. Place mixture in a greased 9x13-inch baking dish and top with ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese. Bake in a 350˚F preheated oven for 15 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

 

Start with Canned Soup:

Chicken & Dumplings

In a small bowl, combine 1½ tablespoons cornstarch and 1 tablespoon water to create a slurry. In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine 1 cup Big Y low-fat milk, 3, 14.5-ounce cans chicken with vegetables soup, ½ teaspoon Full Circle Market Organic garlic powder and 1 teaspoon ground Full Circle Market Organic black pepper; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and mix in cornstarch slurry, stirring well to combine. In a small bowl, combine 2¼ cups original pancake and baking mix and ⅔ cup Big Y low-fat milk until soft dough forms. Drop by 8 spoonfuls onto chicken mixture and cook, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Cover pan and cook for an additional 10 minutes.

 

Cheesy Broccoli & Bacon

In a large skillet over medium heat, combine one 10.75-ounce can condensed broccoli cheese soup, 1 cup Big Y low-fat milk, 1½ cups chopped broccoli, 2 minced garlic cloves and Full Circle Market sea salt and ground organic black pepper to taste. Cover and cook over low heat for 10 minutes or until warmed through. Serve with 1 cup cooked fettuccine noodles and garnish with 1 strip of cooked and crumbled bacon per serving.

 

Start with Big Y Canned Tuna:

Tuna Melt Quesadillas

In a large bowl, combine 2, 6-ounce cans well drained tuna, ½ cup light mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons chopped onion, 2 tablespoons chopped celery, 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese and Full Circle Market sea salt and ground organic black pepper to taste; mix well. Spread mixture evenly over half a 10-inch flour tortilla and top with sliced tomatoes. Fold tortilla in half and press together to flatten. Repeat 3 more times. Coat a large skillet with Food Club non-stick cooking spray and place over medium heat. Once hot, add prepared tortilla and cook for 2-3 minutes per side or until golden brown. Repeat with remaining tortillas.

 

Tuna Cakes

In a large bowl, combine 4, 6-ounce cans well drained tuna, 4 finely chopped scallions, 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, 2 tablespoons Dijon-style mustard, 1 tablespoon light mayonnaise, ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, ½-¾ cup plain breadcrumbs and salt and pepper to taste; mix well. With moistened hands, shape tuna mixture into 12 patties. Heat 1½ tablespoons olive oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat until hot but not smoking. Add a few cakes in a single layer and cook for 3 minutes per side or until golden brown. Repeat with more oil if needed and remaining cakes, wiping out skillet with a paper towel between batches.