April 23, 2015 – Freezer Clean-out Time

Since we’re winding down on this trip, I took everything out of the freezer and I could not believe what all I have in there. I won’t list everything, but suffice to say – we could probably live off this inventory for 2 months!!

I wasn’t going to admit this on any ‘social media’ – but, then I realized some good recipes and ideas are coming out of this cleanup project, so like everything else in my life, I’m hanging these ideas out for everyone.

The bad part is, I will be making dishes I can’t possible duplicate; as in the dish we had today – a dish from Noble Pig’s blog: Skillet Bowtie Bacon-Cabbage-Ham-Mushroom Pasta.

The following is a statement I make so often upon seeing a recipe which sounds too good not to make, but…….

But, I don’t have Bowtie pasta, bacon, or ham, or sour cream… …

Here’s the recipe and I think the original would be very tasty, but with the revisions I had to make, I think it was wonderful!! I made kind of 1/2 a recipe of the below –

Skillet Bowtie Bacon-Cabbage-Ham-Mushroom-Leek Pasta – Altered to fit our ingredients Author: Noble Pig, 12/28/12

1/2 lb bowtie pasta, dry (I used 4 oz. Spaghetti Rigati)
6 slices thick cut bacon, diced (I used 1/4 cup prosciutto bits)
4 leeks, white parts only, sliced (no leeks, I used 1/2 on onion)
8 oz sliced mushrooms (I used dried morels and porcini)
2 cups leftover ham, cubed(no ham, used ~2 cups seasoned alligator bites a cook gave me in Louisiana and I froze)
8 Tbs butter (~ 3 T. clarified butter from freezer)
1/2 head green cabbage, shredded (used green)
1/2 head purple cabbage, shredded(no purple- didn’t use)
Garnish with: freshly ground black pepper (added Truffle Salt – great addition of musky flavor.)
dollop of sour cream (had none – not needed)

1. Make pasta according to package directions. Let sit in the water to keep warm. Kind of bastardized the method from here, but pretty much close:

2. Sauté bacon over medium heat until slightly brown. Add leeks and continue to sauté for about 5 minutes more. Add mushrooms and ham and cook until done. Remove from pan.

3. Without wiping the pan, melt butter and add cabbage. Cook until softened, about 5-8 minutes. Add bacon-ham-mushroom mixture to the cabbage as well as bowtie pasta. Toss together and serve immediately. serves 6
Apr 22 Alligator, Mushroom Pasta 1  Onions, reconstituted morels and porcini mushrooms
Apr 22 Alligator, mujshroom pasta 2  Cabbage, pasta and sautéed alligator added to the onion mixture –
Apr 22 Alligator, mushroom pasta plated a great combination of flavors: Morel and Porcini mushrooms, prosciutto bits, sautéed cabbage and onions tossed with pasta and chunks of Louisiana seasoned alligator and seasoned with Truffle salt and lots of freshly ground pepper – what a dish!!

And, because we have so many goodies in the freezer, I don’t think we’re going out for Mexican tonight after all, as we had planned. In fact we may not have dinner at all…also found some Vanilla ice cream in the freezer and I have bourbon, maple syrup and peanut butter….know where I’m going with this?????????????? Probably will be our dinner.

Peanut Butter Bourbon Milkshake
Dec 1 P.Butter Honey Bourbon Milkshake
2 oz bourbon
1/2 oz maple syrup
1/4 cup crunchy peanut butter
1 cup vanilla ice cream (we use frozen yogurt)
1 cup of ice cubes (or use however many to make as thick a shake as you prefer)

Combine all ingredients in a blender, and blend until fully incorporated and frothy.
More dishes which turned out very tasty from leftover packages:
Apr 21 Hawaiian Pork Tostada Hawaiian Pork and rice from a Medford, OR restaurant – diced the pork, added the rice and a can of refried beans spiced up with taco sauce and packaged up in 1/2 cup baggies. One morning, spread the filling on a crispy corn tortilla topped with tomatoes, green onions and cilantro for a Tostada dinner.

Apr 18 Hawaiian Pork burrito For brunch, used the filling in a burrito and topped again with tomatoes and green onion and served with a grapefruit and banana salad. Four more pkgs. are left to think about.
How easy can a dinner or brunch be for a busy family?

Apr 21 BBQ Rib Pizza A pkg. of BBQ Ribs with sauce morphed into a wonderful pizza! Brush a pizza dough round with BBQ sauce, then layer chopped rib meat (or BBQ Pork roast meat), cheese slices (I had Taleggio cheese), tomato slices, dried basil and red pepper flakes sprinkled over and baked. Sprinkle with green onions as it comes out of the oven.

It was a good feeling to scratch out a few items on my list of freezer goodies, but I have a couple pages to go yet, so I’m anxious to see what dishes  develop out of this little experiment. I’m thinking the real challenge will be to have on hand some of these same packages again so when I have to go freezer diving, I can recreate them.  More to come……

March 21, 2015 – 2 For 1 Dinner – For Two

For many of us our kids are out of the house and we’re cooking for two now. It’s a whole new world of not taking advantage of some recipe(s) because of the quantities or using 1/2 cans of whatever. So, I’m finding more and more that it is more interesting to do something a little different with leftovers like this. (but, then I love leftovers!!)

This is one of those 2 for 1 dinners and to top it all off, the two only take 1/2 the original recipe! Because of that, the remaining black beans, enchilada sauce and black olives get used, so no waste.

One is from yesterday – the dip was a very informal “sit around the deck with a glass of wine and chips” dinner and this morning’s champagne brunch was burritos, taking advantage of the remaining dip mixture – we really enjoyed both. It’s an adaptation of a recipe from The Girl Who Ate Everything blog.

Chicken Burrito Dip and Burritos – a 2 for 1 Dinner

For the dip – 1st entrée:
1 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
1/2 cup cooked white rice (minute rice works great here)
1/2 (14.5 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 (10 oz) can Old El Paso mild enchilada sauce
1/2 cup corn kernels (from a can or frozen)
1/2 can (4.25 oz.) sliced black olives
1/4 cup sliced green onions
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 1/4 cups cheddar cheese, divided
Tortilla chips for dipping
For the Burritos – 2nd entrée:
the remaining dip from above
Finely chopped jalapenos to taste – if candied jalapenos are available, these add a great flavor
1/2 cup finely chopped onions
4 6-7-inch Flour tortillas, wrapped in foil and heated for 10 minutes in a 350°F. oven
Additional grated cheese & sliced green onion for garnish
Fresh Cilantro for garnish

For the dip (1st dish):
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients except the cheese. Stir in 1 ½ cups of the cheddar cheese. Pour mixture into a pie plate or another small cooking dish. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until cheese is melted and dip is hot and bubbly. Serve with chips. 6 servings or 4 servings (using 2/3 of the above mixture) if making the 2nd entrée.

To plan on making the 2nd entrée, hold back 1/3 of the dip from above.

For the Leftover Chicken Burritos (2nd dish):
To the leftover dip, add the amount of chopped jalapenos you prefer plus the remaining black beans, enchilada sauce(holding back 3 T. to drizzle over burritos before baking) and the black olives.
Combine well and divide between 4 tortillas. Roll up burrito style and place in a baking dish, seam side down, which has been sprayed with cooking spray. Drizzle the held back enchilada sauce over and bake in the oven until heated through. Place 2 burritos on each plate and top with the garnishes.

Off to check out the refrigerator and see what leftovers are awaiting me. 🙂

March 19, 2015 – Leftover Cod Tacos, Part II

Couldn’t stand it, we so enjoyed the cod tacos from the leftovers yesterday, that we went back to Filly’s again last night for another round of the Cod. Only this time I ordered the cod AND a take-home box and put the cod in the box and split a BLT with Roy.

Made a variation on the taco today –
Leftover Cod & Pepper Tacos with Lemon-Jalapeno Tartar Sauce
This is a take-off from a recipe in 300 Best Tacos cookbook.  Yield: 4 tacos
3/4 cup roasted peppers – green/red/yellow bells or Poblano type
(I used 1/2 a roasted red bell plus 1 roasted Poblano)
4 – 6 oz. leftover cooked cod, flounder or other delicate white fish
4 6-inch flour tortillas
Lemon-Jalapeno tartar sauce (*see below)
Fresh cilantro, chopped
4 green onions, thinly sliced
Lemon wedges
Assemble the tacos –
Layer on each tortilla:
1/4 of the roasted peppers
1/4 of the cod pieces
A dollop of Tartar sauce
1/4 of the green onion slices
Drizzle lemon juice over all.

Heat the peppers and set aside. (I added 1/2 cup cooked rice I had in the refrigerator to the sautéing peppers)

Slice the fish into ‘sticks’ about 3/8” thick; wrap in foil and set aside.

Wrap the tortillas in foil and set aside.

 Heat the tortillas in a 350° oven for 6 minutes; add the pkg. of fish and continue for 5 more minutes. Remove both from oven and assemble taco.

Variations –3/19/15 – I added 1/2 cup rice to the peppers (1/2 bell + 1 Poblano) while I sautéed them. Great addition to the tacos.

* Lemon-Jalapeno tartar:
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 T. sweet pickle relish
1/2 T. capers, coarsely chopped
1 Jalapeno pepper, as much of the membrane and seed removed as preferred (If you can find Candied Jalapeno, use them and delete the sweet pickle relish)
1/2 T. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. prepared horseradish
1/2 tsp. lemon zest

Whisk all the tartar sauce ingredients together and set aside to add to the tacos.
 still have 4 oz. of cod left and now the quandary is….how to play with the it. Decisions, Decisions.