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Posts Tagged ‘Pantry Cleanout’

Monday, September 21st, 2009

Fake It Don’t Make It Stuffed Shells

library-81231I can’t explain what the box of giant shells was doing in the cupboard.  At some point I must have thought that stuffed shells were a good idea but I can’t imagine why.  So after looking at them for several months I pulled them down.  Great.  Except I didn’t have any ricotta cheese.  That probably would have deterred a smarter person but I pressed forward convinced that I could make it work. Read the rest of this entry »

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Friday, January 23rd, 2009

Soup, It’s What’s For Dinner

Dinner… every. single. night.  It plagues me.  I have not successfully managed to be consistent about planning.  It makes it so very hard to get through the week.  I find thinking of what to make for dinner way more exhausting than anything that happens at the office.  I even find it exhausting on the days when I’m not in the office.  Like today.  All I did today was take the kids to the library, the playground and out for a snack.  That’s it.  The rest of the day was spent around the house and still at 5pm I had no idea what we’d be having for dinner.  

And all of that wouldn’t be a problem if I could just reach into the freezer and find something to too into the oven to bake until hot.  Don’t get my wrong, that happens from time to time especially when things get really hairy but I don’t like to keep processed foods in the house.  We always have ingredients but never anything to eat in a hurry.  I try to keep some extras or other meals I’ve prepared ahead of time in the freezer but I can never seem to stay ahead of the game.  Anyway, back to tonight’s dinner.  

I thought and thought and thought about it and around 5:15 it came to me.  Out of nowhere.  Soup!  Tomato soup!  A quick search turned up a few possibilities.  My criteria were simply that it be quick and consist of pantry items I had on hand to wit, Rachael Ray’s Quick Creamy Tomato Soup.  It’s consists of virtually nothing.  I even fancied it up by tossing a crushed clove of garlic in with some olive oil before the tomatoes and broth.  Of course then I unfancied it by adding 1/2 teaspoon of dried basil instead of fresh but you know, whatever.  I didn’t make true toppers either but we used some dinner rolls we had on hand to make quick garlic toasts.  All in all a really satisfying dinner for 30 minutes worth of thought and work, combined that is.  I still need to be better about planning.  The chest freezer is almost empty it’s almost time to place another order for meat.  I can’t remember anymore when our last order was but I believe we were wearing t-shirts when we picked it up.  Apparently 100 lbs of meat lasts a long time.  

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Monday, June 2nd, 2008

Short and Sweet

A-ha!

Water, measuring spoons and a paint brush occupied Chase painting and measuring on the deck while I made dinner.  

Cleaning out the cupboards

We’re still out of AP flour.  I made the same old shortbread but subbed in 3/4 of a cup of oat flour and 1/2 a cup of cake flour to rave reviews.  Here’s how they looked packed up for my mid-class snack.

Cooking from the farmer’s market

I hate beets but my resolve to cook and eat fresh had me buy a bunch in spite of this.  I used a recipe from Deborah Madison’s book Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone that I borrowed from the library.  This is the second time that I’ve borrowed it I think I’m going to invest.  Super simple… grate three pounds of beets on a box grater (they will dye your hands, I learned the hard way).  Melt on tbsp butter in a skillet, add beets and cook briefly, stirring.  Season with S and P, add 1/4 water cover and cook over medium heat for another 3-5 minutes.  Remove lid and cook out any remaining liquid (I didn’t have any)  Stir in a tbsp balsamic vinegar (you could also use red wine vin or lemon juice).  Taste for seasoning and stir in 2 tbsp chopped parsley.  This might be a little off the original but is pretty much how I made it.  I will definitely make them this way again if for no other reason than to change up the veg every now and again, even Chase ate it. 

 

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Tuesday, May 13th, 2008

Hi There

Now that I don’t HAVE to sit at my computer it’s hard to motivate myself to post. Sunday was commencement. I still can hardly believe that they actually called my name. I was sure that at the last minute someone would rip the rug out from under me and I’d find out I was one credit short or somesuch. Talk about an emotional roller coaster. I think Erin hit the nail on the head when she said it was probably some colossal mind game on the part of the administration. I barely held it together. Only the fear of being remembered as the only person weeping at their graduation kept me from totally falling apart.

Things have been pretty low key here since then. I am fighting the customary cold that always descends upon me at the end of the semester. It comes like clockwork as soon as the last task, in this case graduation, is completed. We’ve just been hanging out. Now that the rain has finally stopped we were able to get out a little today and walked to the grocery store this morning and then to the park this afternoon. It’s been a long time since Chase has fallen asleep in my arms but she was close tonight. We’ve had a busy week but I’m inclined to think that she is having a growth spurt or something. She strikes me as unusually sleepy.

I completed another project. I loved the first bubble so much that I made her another. This fabric was so much easier to work with than the last stuff. It’s impossible to be intimidated by working with knits after having handled that… whatever that hideous gauzy stuff was. I have to give credit to my machine though, I don’t think I could have done it without my viking. That machine has totally revolutionized sewing for me. I have the base computerized model but now that I have worked with a computerized machine I will never.. ever go back… ever. The instruction manual is about 10 pages long, thus I actually read it. The most important piece of information in there is that most problems can be solved by either rethreading or using a new needle and it turns out to be 100% true. I have not yet had a problem that wasn’t solved one of those two ways. Not to mention that the thing doesn’t have to be oiled ever! I think it’s time she was given a name don’t you?

We had leftovers for dinner tonight. I kind of like leftovers, leftovers are kind of my “thing.” I have something of a reputation among my friends for coming up with creative ways to turn leftovers into something a little bit snappy. Ben grilled ribeye steaks for us on mother’s day. I have a few go to’s for leftover grilled meats but as I am feeling a little under the weather I wasn’t in the mood for any of my old standbys. I poked through the fridge and freezer and came up with several half bags of veg and a sheet of puff pastry and steak potpie was born. I made a little roux and then a sauce with chicken stock and a little milk with a little dollop of horseradish. It was quite good. I stuffed the leftover bits of pastry with frozen raspberries for a dessert treat.

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Monday, May 5th, 2008

Naan on the Barbie

I saw Steven Raichlen making these on his show over the weekend and was salivating over them.  They fit perfectly into our cooking out theme and paired with shish kabobs turned out to be something of a pantry friendly dinner.  I started thinking about this way before noon while, as usual, Erin and I tried to hold off on eating lunch until a respectable hour.  What better way to stifle hunger than to think about dinner?  You’d think in time you would learn not to go down that road but the lesson never seems to take.  We’re on about day three of chicken for dinner.  It may not have been three consecutive nights but we definitely have way too much chicken in the freezer and I’m not buying any more meat until some of that is under control.  

That being said, even though I started planning in the morning I forgot all about it until 4:30.  The bread needs at least an hour and a half of rising time so it was a race against the clock to get things together so we could eat as close to our regular time as possible.  You can find the recipe here.  I mixed the dough by hand and started the kneading in the kitchenaid but it made this giant tall ball after a few minutes and had the motor straining so I finished the kneading by hand.  The recipe says to punch down and to form 2″ balls to yield 15 but I was only able to get 11, I can only assume that I was rolling them too big.  

I froze 6 portions to be defrosted and rolled out for grilling later and prepped the other 5 for tonight.  As written I think the recipe has you butter the topside of the bread after putting it down on the grill but I’m pretty sure that he buttered the dough before slapping it down on the show.  That made the most sense to me so that’s what I did.  Ben didn’t have any problem with sticking it’s a really great recipe.  Nothing beats hot fresh bread with dinner.  I guess it really should have been lavash but hey, you take what you can get.  It was quite an international feast actually.  Bread from India, kabob from, where, Turkey I guess and a little condiment inspired by tzatziki or raita.  Nobody cared where it came from as they stuffed their pie holes full of naan.  I think Chase ate about two bites of chicken but ate an entire piece of bread on her own.  The chicken marinated in a little olive oil, dijon and the juice of two lemons with a couple of cloves of grated garlic, rosemary, parsley, salt and pepper.  A good supper and I’m down to one last package of chicken!  

Even though I know the sooner I finish the work I have to do the sooner my summer begins I still refuse to work on anything.  Like right now for example I should be working on my pretrial order but I’m writing this instead.  last night I cleaned up the office in spite of its having been a total disaster for the last several months.  It just had to be done last night.  I added two drawers under my desk and mounted shelves that have NEVER been up on any wall even though we bought them when we moved into our last place four YEARS ago.  Better late than never.   I guess I’ll go get cracking on that work.  Oh, so our stimulus check arrived and I guess I shouldn’t have talked about it out loud because I actually heard the water heater heave oh, thank god before it conked out.

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Monday, March 17th, 2008

Ever So Slowly

bobs-shoes.JPGWorking on my paper that is. I really think that I *know* enough to just write it without belaboring the research phase any more but I always hesitate at this point. Hopefully I can pull something together tomorrow. I’ll read the rest of my articles tonight, call it quits on the research and start writing tomorrow. The picture is called Bob’s Shoes. Who’s Bob? Why that’s me. Bob, also sometimes called Bop, Boppa or sometimes just plain old Dad.

We went took a little trip to the store today to buy some fruit. Nothing special but they had some guy dressed up as a leprechaun. Poor guy, must have drawn the short stick. Chase was like, mommy, what’s wrong with that weird green man? She wouldn’t say hi to him but kept leaning around me to see where he was going. She probably would have liked him more if he was handing out fruit leather. I was looking at the Sigg bottles and thinking about getting her one for her water and ditching all the sippy cups. I have to think about it until our next trip. She really wants to drink from a cup without any lid, really really wants to. It’s the only way I can get her to drink any milk. So I don’t know if she’ll be interested in the bottle or not. I don’t know, maybe it’s worth a look at Klean Kanteen too. Read the rest of this entry »

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Sunday, March 16th, 2008

Plain and Simple Chocolate Cupcakes

chocolate-cupcakes.JPGDon’t you love blog kismet? I bookmarked this recipe just a couple of days ago. Lo and behold tonight after dinner Ben was whining about needing some moist chocolate cake to chase down his supper. These cupcakes really delivered in spite of being thrown together in about 5 minutes flat from the most rag-tag bunch of ingredients that you can imagine. I didn’t have time to wait for butter to defrost and come up to temp so I used some odds and ends from the fridge. A little stump of plugra supplemented with some whipped butter that we use for buttering a piece of baguette. I subbed buttermilk for regular milk to finish off a carton I had bought for making muffins. For good measure I threw in a lone egg from a carton that was evidently left behind when a new one was started. Then I proceeded to not actually measure anything. That is to say, I measured all of the dry ingredients, even the fractions of cups, with the one cup measure. Last but not least I used a vanilla bean instead of vanilla extract. So, yeah, I might as well not have used the recipe at all but it provided a good jumping off point.

The one thing that you must heed from the original recipe is to only fill the cups 2/3 of the way full. If you don’t they will sink in the center and that’s kind of sad even though they will still taste great. To gild the lily, I dug a container of precious vanilla buttercream out of the freezer. Soooo good… and it made the cupcakes really decadent.

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Wednesday, March 5th, 2008

Steamed Vegetables with Warm Prosciutto Vinaigrette

steamed-veg.JPGInsalata di Verdure Cotte al Prosciutto
Lidia Bastianich

Lidia is one of my favorites. Maybe my all time favorite tied with Jacques. I’ve had Lidia’s Italian Table for years and don’t think I’ve ever cooked out of it. That made it the perfect target for my first ever ‘true’ roulette. I sent Danielle a message earlier today with the name of the book and she hit me back with a page number, 219. I was disappointed to see that the recipe called for beets but was otherwise happy to give a giant tray of veg a go. I probably could have made this entirely from what I had on hand but since I planned to go out anyway decided to supplement what would otherwise have some from the freezer and cupboard with some fresh goods. Read the rest of this entry »

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Tuesday, March 4th, 2008

Coriander Chicken

coriander-chicken.JPGThis is a super simple and quick supper that was easy to whip up on a busy weeknight. There’s not much to this recipe so I pretty much followed it to a T though I did cook the chicken for 1 or 2 minutes longer that the recipe suggests. The whole dinner takes about as long to make as it takes the rice to cook. This hardly qualifies as a pantry cleanout meal because it has hardly any ingredients. On the flip side I didn’t need to buy anything special to make it, just took thighs out of the freezer and rice of the shelf. Read the rest of this entry »

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Monday, February 25th, 2008

Shortbread Cookies

shortbread.JPGWanting to make cookies but having no sugar can prove problematic. I’ll tell you how we ran out of sugar. When the new Costco in Columbia opened they had a new product a giant, I mean GIANT bag of organic fair trade sugar. We got hooked and we got low I went back for more but there wasn’t any. So instead of figuring out an alternative I griped about it and hoped the situation would resolve. Meanwhile, the amount of sugar we had on hand reached a critical low this morning. Thankfully there was enough left for coffee because I don’t want to think about what could have happened if there wasn’t. We’d have been trying to sweeten our java with whatever we could find, tootsie rolls, hard candies or god forbid, honey.
Read the rest of this entry »

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