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Extra guests without the extra food

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Typical scenario; Parents come home from work and kids come home from all their activities with the call of, "Hey mom can my friend stay for dinner?"

Original plans for dinner are now put on hold to accommodate the extra mouths to feed. But how can one do that on the spur of the moment? Especially when the original plan included giving everyone some of what is left over in the refrigerator to clear it out?

Easy, take out all the leftover meats and vegetables that you have. Take a look at what you really have in front of you. If you have at least 3 pieces (or servings) of chicken (even if they are from different times), about a quarter pound of deli meats, between a cup or two of vegetables. You can have a delicious dinner with the addition of one or two fresh vegetables and some pizza dough.

Here is how; Take out a large fry pan, the kind that is about 2"deep, cut up all meat and deli into bit sized pieces. Cut up your vegetables and set aside. Now cut up a fresh medium onion and 3 or 4 stalks of celery into small pieces. If you have a pizza dough, take it out at this time as well. If you don't have a pizza dough, you can quickly make one or you can use a frozen biscuit dough as well.

With all of the prep work now done, let's get to work. Pre-heat your oven to 375. Put your pan on the stove and heat it up with a couple tablespoons of oil added to the bottom. Toss in your raw onion, celery and deli meats. Let this cook until tender. Add in the rest of your meats that were previously cut up.

ontinue to stir this around in the pan for 2 minutes. If you did not have any vegetables in your refrigerator, you can add in a can of sliced mushrooms at this time or a small can of peas. Once all of the ingredients are stirred in together and have had a chance to meld flavors, now comes the time to add in some sauce.

The next step is to find your family's favorite sauce. This can be a duck sauce, bar b que sauce or even a tomato base sauce. Pour in a quarter cup of sauce first. If it does not coat all of what you have in the pan, add in another quarter of a cup. It is not supposed to be liquid, it is simply supposed to coat all the ingredients. Once this is done, let it all simmer for another minute or two.

At this point you can serve it as is over pasta or rice if you don't have any dough. However, if you do have the dough, divide the dough into 12 even pieces. Each piece should be rolled out into a 3 to 4 inch circle. In the middle of the circle add a spoonful of your meat mixture. Now pull all the sides up around the filling and twist the top so it closes. Turn them over on the pan so they wont open up. Bake at 375 for 10 to 15 minutes or until the tops of the puffs are browned.

If your family is on a low carb diet, this same mixture can be served alone on top of fresh spinach or next to a garden salad. Be sure to use the sauce that you know already is a winner in your family. This will ensure the maximum number of people enjoying it.

This is a simple way to take leftovers for 4 and stretch it to serve 6 to 8 people, depending on serving size. It may sound like a lot of work, but it really is quite quick. The longest prep time is cutting up the meats and fresh onion, which should really only take ten minutes. The cook time is another 10 minutes tops and the baking is 10 to 15 minutes. A meal for that many to be ready in 45 minutes is easy for anyone to do. Even less time if you aren't baking it in the dough.

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