Mix and Match Meals

soup-stew-Ed Note: The following article, authored by Deborah Taylor-Hough, is a great way to use up leftovers, clear the cupboards, or shop your pantry instead of the grocery store.  Some of the ingredients may not be real food friendly – so substitute what works for your family, your budget, your time schedule, and your pantry.  This is a very practical, helpful article.  Read on!  In fact, I would suggest printing this out and saving it in a convenient location.

Mix and Match Meals

The following recipe is one I prepare regularly to use up leftovers or clear out the cupboards. I keep a copy of this taped to the inside of my pantry door at all times. I’m always amazed at the meals I can create from this simple, basic formula. I also save money by choosing ingredients I have on hand. Sometimes I even surprise myself with a delicious nearly-gourmet combination or two! This is also an excellent way to use up leftover turkey, pot roast, or ham from big family dinners.

Choose one (1) food from each of the following groups:

Breads and Cereals:

  • Macaroni

  • Spaghetti

  • Rice (long grain, white, or brown)

  • Noodles

  • Bulgar

  • Any pasta

Sauce (1 can soup plus 1.5 cans milk, broth or water or make your own cream sauce from real food ingredients)

  • Cream of Mushroom

  • Cream of Celery

  • Cream of Chicken

  • Cream of Potato

  • Tomato Soup

  • French Onion Soup

Protein (1 pound or 1 cup cooked)

  • Chopped beef

  • Chopped pork or ham

  • Ground beef or turkey

  • Chicken

  • Turkey

  • Tuna

  • Salmon

  • Mackerel

  • Cooked dry beans

  • Frankfurters

  • Keilbasa

Vegetables (1.5 to 2 cups canned, cooked or raw, clean out the fridge or freezer)

  • Carrots
  • Peas

  • Corn

  • Green beans

  • Lima beans

  • Broccoli

  • Spinach

  • Mixed vegetables

  • Celery

  • Green Pepper

  • Whatever you have around

1/2 to 1 cup cheese (any kind) can be stirred into sauce at the end of the cooking time. (Optional)


  1. Choose one food from each of the four groups above.

  2. Stir together in skillet.

  3. Season to taste with salt, pepper, soy sauce, onion flakes, garlic, or whatever spices you enjoy.

  4. Bring to a boil.

  5. Reduce heat to lowest setting.

  6. Cover pan and simmer 30 minutes until pasta or rice is tender.

  7. Stir occasionaly to prevent rice and pasta from sticking.

  8. Stir in cheese, if desired.

  9. Serve.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

To bake in oven: Mix all ingredients in casserole dish and cover tightly; bake at 350 F for one hour.

One of my family’s favorite Skillet Meal combinations is something we’ve started calling International Sausage Skillet.  Follow the above recipe using sliced Keilbasa, penne pasta, French onion soup, and Italian-style stewed tomatoes.  Yum!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Deborah Taylor-Hough is the author of a numerous popular books including the bestselling Frozen Assets cookbook series, Frugal Living for Dummies®, and A Simple Choice: A practical guide for saving your time, money and sanity. She also edits the Simple Times email newsletter. To visit Debi online, go to:

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