Katie Surprise

by Katie on March 23, 2009

We are not a wasteful home. It is very rare to see food thrown away here. We usually find some way to use every scrap we can find in the fridge. No one who has ever lived with me will find this surprising. 
Thankfully, neither of us is a picky eater either. Apparently Brandon was growing up, but I tell him all the time I’m not sure this would have worked had he continued those habits into adulthood. 
I’ve always followed recipes rather loosely. If I don’t have some of the ingredients one calls for? I improvise by substituting with something similar or that “fits” with the other ingredients, or just leave them out. I never buy something to use in just one recipe.
And, I’ve always been a fan of making things up to combine and reuse leftovers, or use some ingredients that have been sitting around for a while. My college roommates and I dubbed each of these recipes a “Katie Surprise”. 
Most of them involve combining lots of things into one baking dish. Surprisingly enough, I’ve never really had a total flop with any of these meals. 
The only one that came close was a few years ago, when I had some rice, meat and other things mixed in a casserole dish, uncovered in the oven, and couldn’t figure out why the rice was still crunchy after an hour in there. Then I remembered there was a reason I left the lid on the pot when cooking rice on the stove. 
Granted, I’ve never made any Katie Surprises twice, either. Which means they are always bearable, but at times less than desirable. 
A few months ago, I made yet another one of these dishes for dinner, and Brandon started to catch on to this habit. 
About halfway through dinner, he said, “You like experimenting, don’t you?”
“Actually, yes, I do. Which means you have a whole lifetime of Katie Surprises ahead of you.”
I’m not sure if he was excited about that statement…
We were trying to clean out the fridge before my parents arrived last week, so we tried another Katie Surprise with leftover ingredients from making Mexican cornbread casserole, mixed with ranch style beans we had with burgers – a week earlier. 
It turned out to be some sort of Mexican sloppy joe substance. Brandon ate his as a burrito. I preferred it with tortilla chips. Either way, it wasn’t bad and got rid of several containers of leftovers prior to “the invasion”.
We ended up even feeding it to our guests before dinner this past week as a dip – and actually got complements on it. Not bad for a Katie Surprise.  
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