Creamy Noodles with Ham and Tomatoes (URS: Chef’s Choice)

If you’re the chef, you get to decide what’s for dinner. Share a favorite recipe with us and check out how I give leftovers new life.

This month I’m doing a Pantry Challenge. What that means is that I’ve been trying to make good use of the things that we already have in the pantry, fridge, and freezer. It’s been a good experience overall.

While I didn’t intend to shave a ton off the budget, we did spend less on groceries. I’ve almost got the freezer ready to thaw. And, the cupboard is bare. Or almost. (You can read my goals for the challenge here.)

This last week of the month has involved a lot of “experiments”. Having written a cookbook, I have gotten my family pretty well-accustomed to experiments.

I hold my breath as I bring something to the table, wracking my brain to see if there’s an alternative food item in case this is a train wreck.

I’m thankful that so far this month we haven’t had to run out for take-out after I’d served a meal. That has happened before! Even I didn’t like what I made.

This month, however, it’s been pretty good cheap eats. If you’ve missed it, you can read through our daily log and see how I’m “really” feeding my family. Yes, really.

One type of experiment has been to makeover leftovers so that they are new and different the next day. This is totally in line with a pantry challenge — as well as the theme of Ultimate Recipe Swap this week: Chef’s Choice.

I worked in an upscale restaurant years ago and observed one interesting practice that got embedded in my single, twentysomething mind. To create the day’s specials, the chef scanned what he already had in the refrigerators and created something on the spot.

He didn’t dream something up and then go get the ingredients. He worked from his pantry first.

See? A Pantry Challenge is cool, after all.

This pasta dish is made up of leftover spaghetti from the night before as well as the Easter ham that I sliced and froze month’s ago. Yes, really. And it was totally fresh. It tasted just as good as it did on Easter Day. I had a tomato and basil from the produce box and just a bit of cream.

Chef’s Choice. Delicious.

Ultimate Recipe Swap

URS Guidelines

Remember: Each week at Ultimate Recipe Swap, there is a posted theme. You are welcome to share any recipe that fits the theme and contains a link back to Life as MOM. If you’re curious about the upcoming themes, I have a calendar here. This week’s theme is your choice.

If you have a recipe that fits the theme, please link it. However, things like Beef Strogonaff will be deleted from Chicken week because it doesn’t contain chicken. Please keep this meme as helpful to others as we can.

And don’t make me the bad guy! ;)

What is your recipe of the day?

Read Newer Post
Read Older Post


  1. I didn’t see the linky (maybe it’s my browser?) but I wanted to share this recipe for stir fried pork chops & peppers. It goes together quickly and is super tasty!

  2. This cheesy breaded chicken is quick and delicious:

  3. My recipe is for Chicken Paprika. It is one of my husband’s favorites. Not only is a great make-a-head, but the marriage of flavors is amazing.

  4. I love creating recipes of the fly, I almost always have cubed cooked chicken and ham in the freezer that I can add to my creations. I will use pasta or potatoes, rice or sometimes boxed stuffing as the binder and then added in a cheese sauce, homemade creme of soup base, or perhaps gravy as the sauce. Homemade biscuits is often the topping. I keep bags of frozen mixed vegetables on hands to add to my creations. Its creative and sometimes I come up with winners and sometimes flops.. which is why I try to keep a few cans of soup on hand for flop nights.

  5. Mmmmm, my choice almost always involves pasta, and classic spaghetti is a favorite. I’ve recently learned how to make it a one-pot meal, and pretty healthy to boot!

  6. This recipe is similar to something I whip up when I’m in a big hurry. Looks good.

  7. I just found your blog and I wanted to participate, so I hope you don’t mind that I linked a previous post.

    I also like to cook from the pantry, so I am looking forward to reading about your efforts.

  8. Made this for lunch today. Used spaghetti squash instead of spaghetti. Forgot to add the red pepper. It was very delicious. Thanks for sharing.

Thanks so much for participating in this conversation about "a mom's life."

This is a place where moms can be themselves. Remember that each mother's path looks a little different. Please keep your comments respectful and kind. Reasonable minds will disagree in a nice way.

So let's talk about it, using "our big girl words."

Share Your Thoughts