Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Recycling from the Frig

I've always been a very wasteful person, and I am trying to get better at this. I am especially wasteful when it comes to food. So I've been working extra hard and using all the ingredients on hand in my frig when cooking instead of going out and buying ingredients for some recipe that I want to try.

As a kid, I never understood how we could ask Mom (as she had onions and hamburger frying in a pan), "What's for dinner?" and she would reply, "I don't know yet." What do you mean you "don't know"? You're cooking! How can you not know what you're making? But she said maybe it would become goulash or chili, or maybe sloppy joes or fried rice. She didn't know yet, since she hadn't looked in the cabinets and frig yet to see what else she had. She just knew she had hamburger that needed to be cooked up.

Now I get it. Lately I've been looking in the frig and pantry to see what I have on hand, and figuring out what I can make from it. Here are a few of my recent food creations:

The other day I looked in the frig and saw that I still had a few ears of corn and a couple of red peppers and an onion left from the farmer's market, and this is what I came up with...
Mmmmm. Fried corn! Nothing like the sweetness and slightly salty and nutty flavor when you caramelize onion and corn!

The next day was Christmas, and I brought leftovers home. Aside from a little leftover fried corn, I had leftover steak, roasted green beans, and some sauteed onions and portabello shrooms in red wine sauce sitting in the frig. So this is what it became...
I put everything on lettuce with some chopped tomato and a little Olive Garden Italian dressing, and viola! A very tasty salad!

Then the other day we were starving at breakfast (well, more like brunch) hour. I had a bunch of eggs in the frig, a bag of soft potatoes sprouting in the pantry, and spinach and scallions going bad in the frig, and a package of bacon and leftover cheddar. So I came up with the idea for a frittata, which I've only made once in my life about 15 years ago. So I found my cast iron skillet still packed in the garage (I think maybe the only other time I've ever used it was the last time that I made a frittata. But now having used it again, I think I may be in love and this may become a staple in my kitchen and replace my non-stick skillet!)

So first I cooked up the bacon on my George Foreman grill...
...while I blanched the baby spinach in boiling water and drained and cooled it...

...sliced up the potatoes and scallions, and tossed them in the skillet to fry.While that was cooking, I mixed together beaten eggs, soy milk, shredded cheddar, salt, pepper and crumbled bacon.

I put the spinach on top of the potatoes...
...and then poured the egg mixture over the top of it.
I think I cooked it on the stove top for about 5 minutes or so before popping it into the oven to bake (I think the oven was on 400 degrees). And this is what came out of the oven...Not bad at all! I froze most of it in single servings, so I can bring it down and heat it up when I need a quick breakfast.

So I'm definitely getting better at "recylcing" stuff from my frig and using up old ingredients. Right now I have some sausage and potato soup thawing in the frig that I made a few months back. I hope it's still as good as it was, because originally it was one of the best soups I've ever created!

But for now, it's time for me to go eat some healthy oatmeal. Bon Appetit!