Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Shift Work Bowls

Since Nellie’s dayjob requires her to work the swingshift (3-11), she finds herself looking for ways to create meals for one at noon as well as use up the leftovers generated by the folks who are feeding themselves in the evening.

Inspired by some chain restaurants that are marketing “bowls” of various flavors and mixtures, Nellie has come up with a few of her own. She bakes them in a moderately hot (375 F) oven for 20-45 minutes, depending on the density of the ingredients.

Here are the basics:
Start with an oven proof soup or cereal bowl or a single serve Pyrex bowl. Spray with cooking spray or grease with butter or bacon fat.
The amount of each ingredient will depend on the size of your bowl. You’ll want to keep the amount of food in the bowl to stay at a quarter to half inch below the rim.
Base: something starchy such as cubed bread, cooked rice, cubed, cooked potatoes, frozen (thawed) hash browns, etc…
Small amount (about ½ cup) of a binding ingredient. Nellie uses one egg beaten with 2Tblsp milk OR ¼ can of cream soup. If using egg mixture, cover and refrigerate overnight or while at work.
Main ingredient: Meat
Other add-ins: Cheese, finely chopped onions, roasted garlic, roasted peppers, shredded carrot, etc… anything goes!
Toss the above together and place in the bowl. Bake until heated through. Top with more cheese and place in oven until cheese is melted.
Extra toppings: 2 eggs cooked your favorite way, a dollop of sour cream, Ranch dressing, etc….

Here are some of Nellie’s favorites:

Southwest I:
Leftover cornbread crumbled into the bowl. Toss with taco meat, shredded cheese, chopped onions, diced jalopeno and green chilies. Bake at 375 F for 20-30 minutes until heated through. Sprinkle with cheese and place in oven until cheese is nicely melted. Add two eggs sunny side up.

Southwest II
Toss cooked rice with chicken fajita meat, shredded Pepperjack cheese, green chilies and ¼ can cream soup (chicken, celery, mushroom – your personal favorite.). Melt more Pepperjack on top and serve with sour cream & salsa.

Rice, tossed with refried beans, cream of chicken soup, taco meat, julienned roasted Poblano and shredded cheese. Bake until heated through, about 20 minutes. Top with more cheese and place back into oven until cheese melts. Add a dollop of sour cream and salsa.

One slice cubed bread tossed with bacon bits or ham or browned sausage and shredded cheese. Beat one egg with ¼ cup milk and pour over mixture in bowl. Cover and refrigerate over night or while at work. Bake at 375 until eggs are done. It should be firm to the touch and have a nicely browned - but not burned – crust on top. Melt some more cheese on top.

Reuben Bowl:
One slice cubed rye bread tossed with diced corned beef, sauted onion strips, ¼ cup sauerkraut, and shredded Swiss cheese. Beat one egg with ¼ cup milk and pour over mixture in bowl. Refrigerate overnight or while at work. Bake at 375 until heated through, about 20 minutes. Melt some more Swiss over the top and drizzle with 1000 Island dressing.

Veggie Bowl:
Toss cooked, cubed potatoes with a sauted mixture of sliced mushrooms, shredded carrot, diced celery, onion, roasted red peppers, chopped spinach or broccoli florets. Stir in ¼ can cream of mushroom soup. Place in bowl. Bake until heated through, about 20 minutes. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Check back next week for some more ideas.