I love to write new recipes, recreate favorites, and experiment in the kitchen, not just with a freshly stocked pantry and overflowing refrigerator, but also when the funds have dried up.  Since my budget has been limited, I have not been able to go out and purchase ingredients when needed or as desired, but I was able to create some of my best recipes because I was forced to make something out of nothing.  It was a challenge at first, but then it turned into something fun.  I am not saying this is how we should all live our lives day in and day out, but sometimes it keeps us from spending what we do not have or do not need to get.  This is where the fun kicks in

I’ve developed a fun and challenging game for you, creating new dishes with whatever is left in your pantry or refrigerator when you have not been able to shop at the grocery store.  Sometimes, this can be a challenge because you have very little on-hand to make an easy meal.   I bet you will surprise yourself with what you find and create.  Start out  by taking a few extra minutes to investigate and get to know your semi-bare food stock.  That will start the wheels turning in your head, as you figure out that nothing can turn into something great.  I bet you can come up with some delicious meals you never thought possible.  There are just 3 simple rules to play this challenge.  1.  No shopping for any ingredients is allowed  2.  No borrowing ingredients is allowed  3.  Have fun, be creative, and share with us what you made

After trying this challenge, come back here to the comment section on the website and tell us how it went.   Inform us on what you found and what you made from it.  It may even become a family favorite and something you will crave later.  Your invention, as I call it, may even spark a fire in someone else to try yours or create their own.  Just imagine the possibilities from this challenge.

Even though you may feel that you have no cooking skills now, all it takes is a little patience, practice, perseverance, and creativity.   I will get the ball rolling by adding one of my own.  Good luck and keep us posted.

Chicken Strip Pizza



2-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

salt and ground black pepper to taste

½ -1 tsp garlic powder

1-2 diced/chopped shallots

½ lb chopped mushrooms

1 Tbsp chopped chives (fresh/dried)

½ – ¾ cup shredded cheddar cheese


1. Pre heat oven to 425°.

2. To make chicken cutlets, cut chicken horizontally across the center/ from top to bottom, but do not cut all the way through.  Open it like a book.

3.  Place opened chicken in a Ziploc® Brand Bag and pound to ¼-inch thickness using meat mallet or skillet.

4.  Remove chicken from bag and cut into long chicken strips.

5.  Lay strips on greased baking sheet or on cooling rack on baking sheet.

6.  Sprinkle salt, pepper, garlic powder, shallots, mushrooms, chives and cheddar cheese on top of each strip of chicken, covering all over.

7.  Bake in oven for 10-15 minutes.  Serves 4-6.


Original Ingredient: Replace With:
chicken boneless skinless chicken tenderloins, steak, pork, or extra firm tofu
garlic powder 2-3 cloves grated/chopped garlic or ½ – 1 tsp minced garlic
shallots ¼ onion
chives green onion, onion, or leek
cheddar cheese soy-based cheese or any type of shredded cheese


– To maintain freshness, wash chives immediately when you bring them home from the store.  Dry off and store wrapped up in paper towels in a Ziploc ®Brand Bag in refrigerator.

– Clean mushrooms by wiping with a damp paper towel.  Don’t rinse under water.

–  Simply grate garlic with a zester/grater to make garlic paste.

–  For an alternate way to make garlic paste, peel and finely chop garlic.  Add a pinch or two of salt on top of garlic and rub garlic repeatedly with sides of knife.

–  Rub fingers on stainless steel underneath water to remove garlic smell from hands.

–  Mashing/cracking garlic first allows for easier peeling.

–  Place dried herbs in mortar and pestle and gently crush to draw out flavor.  If you do not own a mortar and pestle, gently rub herbs with both hands.