Cheap and Easy Three Course Meal Using Remnants in the Fridge; Quiche, Salad, and Tart

Often times when I am cooking, I feel like I am a contestant on chopped. I open my fridge and pantry to see my weird assortment of items left over from other recipes that need to be used up.

Throwing together these random ingredients can evoke a stroke of genius, creating a brand new dish full of delight. Other times, a complete inedible disaster. But hey…at least I tried right?

Part of not going overboard on our grocery budget is making the most of what we have before buying new ingredients. Once you get a hang of this, you will see the difference in your bill and enjoy the rewards of your budget.

One recipe that I often go back to is my “lets-empty-out-the-fridge quiche.”

Quiches are simple to throw together and hard to mess up. If you have eggs…milk…a pie crust and random meats and veggies…you can make a quiche.

This time I had spinach that needed to be used up before it wilted to a slimy disaster, prosciutto left over from an antipasto plate, half an onion from I have no idea what, a few sweet peppers and remnants of cheese from a bag labeled “pizza cheese” for our homemade pizzas.

We are soon leaving on our annual credit churning trip (see our first two here: Norway and Europe). So, using up the eggs in our fridge was a must…

What do all of these ingredients equal? Quiche!

cheap-and-easy-three-course-meal-prosciutto-quiche

You could easily switch out the fresh spinach for frozen. Just thaw and drain the frozen spinach before placing in the pie. Don’t have small sweet pepper? Use whatever you like! Bell peppers, asparagus (I suggest blanching it first) or even some steamed broccoli florets chopped would be great in this quiche.

Many don’t have prosciutto lying around too…well I haven’t put it past me to use a few slices of ham lunch meat chopped into small pieces and sprinkled through my quiche. You can cook a few slices of bacon, chop and use in place of prosciutto too! Heck, be adventurous and skip the meat entirely. Substitute pizza cheese with any type that is your favorite! Whatever works for you and of course what is available in your fridge. 😉

makings-prosciutto-quiche
The ingredients for the quiche…and an espresso for encouragement 🙂

Prep your piecrust with poking holes in the frozen pastry using a fork and bake in the oven at 400 degrees for 8-10 minutes. This prevents a soggy disaster when you add the quiche ingredients to the pie.

Then, chop your ingredients!

Saute the onions and peppers in a skillet at medium heat with two tablespoons of EVOO. You want the onions to yellow and tenderize. Then add your spinach for a few minutes until wilted.

Add the veggie mixture to the pie crust and get started on the filling. Whisk together the eggs, milk and spices. Then, pour over the top of the veggies and sprinkle the quiche with your cheese.

 

Voila! Now ready for the oven 🙂
prosciutto-quiche
Bubbly, golden goodness

“Empty The Fridge” Quiche

  • Prep Time: 10m
  • Cook Time: 30m
  • Total Time: 40m

Ingredients

  • 1/2 large white onion, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 c overflowing, fresh spinach
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/4 c pizza, or Italian, or any type of your favorite cheese blend
  • 1 tbsp. EVOO
  • 1/3 c milk (1%, 2% or heavy cream)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 frozen pie crust
  • 1/3 c sweet peppers, diced
  • 2 pieces prosciutto, chopped

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Poke holes in the frozen pie crust using a fork. Bake in the oven for 8-10 minutes. Then, chop your onions and peppers. Sauté the onions and peppers over medium heat in a skillet with EVOO until the onions turn yellow and tenderize. Add the spinach until wilted. Remove from heat. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Add your veggie mix to the prepped pie crust and sprinkle the chopped prosciutto evenly over the veggies. Whisk together the eggs, milk, and spices. Pour the egg mixture over the veggies and meat. Top with your cheese blend. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until set. To bubble and brown the cheese, set your oven to broil and watch the quiche until the cheese is evenly browned, a few minutes. Be careful! You can easily burn the cheese and crust.

The Opportune Side

A great side dish with quiche at dinner is a fresh salad. Mine was created with the rest of my fresh spinach, a gala apple from the back of the fridge, a handful of wonderful walnuts for crunch, a handful of dried cranberries for a kick of tartness, and some leftover feta cheese from another recipe. Normally, I would suggest goat cheese for this salad but since my husband refuses to eat goat cheese, we stuck with feta. Top with a homemade, simple balsamic vinaigrette and you have a winner.

apple-walnut-cranberry-balsamic-vinaigrette-salad

Apple, Cranberry, Walnut Spinach Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette

  • Prep Time: 3m
  • Total Time: 3m
  • Serves: 4
  • Category:

Ingredients

  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 3 tbsp. EVOO
  • 1 tbsp. Balsamic Vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/4 c dried cranberries
  • 1/4 c walnuts, chopped
  • 1/4 c apple chopped, gala
  • 4 c fresh spinach

Instructions

  1. Chop the apple and walnuts. Top the salad with the dried cranberries, apple, walnuts, and feta cheese. Whisk together the balsamic vinegar, EVOO, black pepper, and salt. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad. Serve.

Time for a Cheap and Easy Dessert

I didn’t want to waste the rest of the apple from the salad, so I thinly sliced the remaining and got to work making a “crustless tart”. I tossed the apple slices with a splash of apple cider vinegar (weird I know but trust me) and half a teaspoon of vanilla extract.

After greasing a small dish, I lined the apple slices, slightly overlapping across the dish. Top with a tablespoon of butter chopped to small pieces, half a tablespoon of brown sugar, sprinkle with cinnamon and some sliced almonds and pop in a preheated oven of 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.

This would have been great served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream but sadly I had none in my freezer…maybe next time. After all, this was my attempt at using up what was left in my fridge.

Crustless Apple Tart

  • Prep Time: 5m
  • Cook Time: 25m
  • Total Time: 30m

Ingredients

  • 1/8 c sliced almonds
  • 1/2 tbsp. light brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp. butter, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3/4 c apple, gala, sliced thinly
  • 1 splash apple cider vinegar

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a small dish. Slice the apple thinly and toss with the apple cider vinegar and vanilla. Line the small, greased dish with the apple slices, fanning them out evenly. Top the apples with the chopped butter, sprinkle with the cinnamon and brown sugar and sliced almonds. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the apples are tender. Serve alone or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Enjoy!

All in all, this was a great, quick, and easy meal. We used up a lot of leftovers and veggies that would have otherwise gone bad.

The best part? If you have two pie crusts, and some extras…double the recipe and freeze the other quiche! When ready to eat, just thaw and heat in an oven at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes. (Reminder! If you do double the recipe, cooking two quiches in the oven at once prolongs the cooking time to double!)

I’d say that was a job well done…yes I am still enjoying my espresso…

What are your “go-to” recipes when you need to clean out the fridge? Do you have a favorite quiche recipe/ingredients? Share them below!

As always, we love to hear from you! Comment below suggestions, questions, or ideas for future posts. To receive our newsletter directly to your inbox, subscribe on the right hand side! Until next time friends, CHEERS!