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Stretching your budget: 3 dishes from 1 food item

Have you ever gone to the grocery store and bought too much food? Don't worry, you can use that food before it goes bad.

CLEVELAND — How many of you have done this: You go to the store, you're meal planning, then ... Oops! You've bought too much.

I know I'm guilty of it. So, instead of letting things go bad, we've tapped Chef Eric Wells, of Skye LaRae's Culinary Services, to help us get three dishes out of one item. Let's stretch those food budgets!

Check out his suggestions below using rotisserie chicken...

Dish 1: Rotisserie Chicken Fajitas 

  • 2 chicken breasts from a rotisserie chicken, skin and bones removed 
  • 1 tablespoons vegetable oil 
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, cored and sliced thin 
  • 1 medium yellow bell pepper, cored and sliced thin 
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, cored and sliced thin  
  • 1 medium onion, sliced thin 
  • 1 tablespoon cumin 
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder 
  • Salt 
  • Pepper 
  • Soft flour tortillas 
  • Salsa 
  • Shredded cheese 
  • Sour cream 

Directions:

Slice chicken breasts and set aside. Heat a large, cast iron or non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add oil. Add all the peppers and onion, sautéing for about 3 minutes. Add chicken and continue sautéing for about 2 minutes. Add cumin and chili powder along with salt and pepper. 

Remove from heat and serve fajitas in tortillas and topped with salsa, cheese and/or sour cream. 

Yield 6 servings 

Dish 2: Rotisserie BBQ Chicken Sliders

  • 2 chicken thighs from a rotisserie chicken, skin and bones removed 
  • 2 chicken drumsticks from a rotisserie chicken, skin and bones removed
  • 1 cup barbecue sauce 
  • 1 dozen slider buns, sliced 
  • Pickles 

Directions:

Chop chicken thighs and drumsticks and set aside. Heat barbecue sauce in a medium pot over medium heat. Add chopped chicken and toss well, cooking until heated through. 

Serve on slider buns topped with pickles. 

Yield 6 servings 

Dish 3: Homemade Chicken Broth 

  • Bones from a rotisserie chicken 
  • 2 quarts water 
  • ½ cup celery, diced 
  • ½ cup carrots, diced 
  • ½ cup onions, diced 
  • 1 bay leaf 
  • 3 thyme sprigs 
  • 1 garlic clove 
  • 1 paper coffee filter 

Directions:

Place chicken bones and water in a large soup pot. Add more water to cover bones, if necessary. Place pot over medium heat. Add celery, carrots and onions. Place bay leaf, thyme and garlic in the coffee filter. Wrap filter with twine and place in pot.  

Every 15 minutes, using a ladle, strain and discard foam from atop simmering broth. After about 1 hour, strain broth, discarding the vegetables. 

Cool broth and place in a covered plastic container. Refrigerate for up to 1 week or freeze for 6 months.  

For more recipes from Chef Eric Wells, check out his book, HERE.

Or, visit his company's page, HERE.

Credit: Credit: Lindsay Buckingham

Next, it was my turn. On my most recent trip to the store, I bought way too many potatoes. Like, way too many.

So, instead of letting them go bad, I whipped up three dishes that were relatively quick, easy and delicious.

Dish 1: Hashbrown Burrito Bowl

  • 4 Idaho potatoes
  • Black beans
  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • Salsa
  • Avocado 
  • Butter
  • Onion powder
  • Garlic powder
  • Salt 
  • Pepper

Directions:

Peel potatoes. Grate them into a big bowl using cheese grater or something similar. After grating, put them on thick paper towel and squeeze out liquid until dry. Put them back in the big bowl. Add seasonings, salt and pepper (a few shakes of each).

Heat up a frying pan to medium heat using butter or olive oil. Add potatoes. Let the get crispy on one side. Then, flip over and crisp up the other. 

Add to a serving bowl. Then add desired toppings of black beans, avocado, salsa and cheese.

Dish 2: Instapot Mashed Potatoes

  • 6 Idaho potatoes 
  • 3/4 cup of chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup of milk
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste 

Directions: 

Select "steam" setting on Instapot. Let it warm up. Peel potatoes, then cut in halves. Add potatoes to Instapot, chicken broth, salt and pepper. When the timer goes off, use a fork or masher to mash potatoes. Add milk and butter and stir!

Dish 3: Roasted Potatoes

  • 3 Idaho potatoes
  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 3 pieces of bacon 
  • Olive oil
  • Onion powder
  • Garlic powder
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Parsley

Directions:

Wash potatoes. Cut into cubes (leave skin on). Pat dry with paper towel. In a large bowl: Add potatoes, healthy coating of olive oil, salt and pepper, onion and garlic powder, and parsley. Set aside.

In a frying pan, cook bacon until only slightly crisp. Remove and set on paper towel. Once cool, cut bacon strips into tiny pieces. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

On a baking sheet, spread potatoes evenly. Then, top with bacon. Cook for 25 minutes, or until potatoes are cooked through. 

Pro tip: You could also add fresh bell peppers and onions to this dish!

Well, there you have it. Six dishes using two food items. One suggestion? You don't have to eat it all in one night! You can store many of these dishes in the freezer, for a meal weeks down the road.

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