Start at the Deli

Recipe Building Blocks

Cheese Quesadillas. Linda Larsen

We all love delicatessan food, and we all have our favorites at our local deli. The Busy Cook, however, looks at all that food in a new way. Think of the deli case as a source for prepared ingredients that can jump start your recipes and save lots of time! Vegetable salads can become quesadillas. Add some cooked leftover pasta to fruit salad for a great lunch recipe. And prepared meats can be transformed into a hearty main dish recipes with just a few ingredients. These foods can become wonderful home cooked meals in very little time, with just a bit of imagination on your part - and the recipes below.

Roasted or Fried Chicken


Roast Beef

Ham and Pork


Vegetable Salads

Fruit Salads

Pasta, Potato, Meat Salads




  • Make sure you taste the salads and other foods before you buy them so you know you like the seasonings before you put them into a recipe.
  • Add more of your favorite ingredient to the deli food to make the finished dish seem more home made.
  • Stir some low-fat mayonnaise or sour cream, mixed with a little milk, into the salads when you add more ingredients so the salad stays creamy.
  • Serve the roast chicken "as is" one night, and use the leftovers for any of these recipes the second night.
  • Browse the selection at your deli and pick out some great pizza toppings. Put them on a Boboli crust with some sauce and cheese and you have designer pizza in a flash.
  • Any stew or meat sauce makes a great baked potato topping.
  • Toss deli meats and vegetables with pasta sauce, heat, and serve over spaghetti for a quick meal.