It’s long overdue…bits of this, stalks of that. The bumper crop at the farmer’s market is stuffed into my crisper and it’s bursting at the seams. When you can’t find the eggs, it’s time to Clean Out the Fridge!
What we have in our fridges will vary, but in mine, it’s usually a hodgepodge of veggies in various states of wilt, nubbins of cheese that are too good to waste, and maybe, if I’m lucky, a lone sausage or bit of smoked something-or-other. Individually, they’re poor, lonely ingredients that got left behind like McCauley Culkin in Home Alone (I know, so sad, right!?) And they’re going to be up to no good if you don’t use them soon.
So, here’s a few recipes that will use up the odds & ends…substitute with your overstocks (they’re sure to be different than mine), and, with a bit of grain here, some eggs there, you’ll have some pretty darn good meals – dare I say new additions to your repertoire (even when you’re not using up wilted kale, not-quite crisp peppers, and almost-old cheese!)
Tonight I have a leftover wilted kale, manchego, and cheddar quiche in the oven, but I don’t know how it’s going to come out yet, so I won’t post the recipe, but I will say 5 eggs plus a cup or so of cheese, a little milk or half and half, and whatever’s been loitering around your fridge too long + a 400 degree oven for ~ 20-25 minutes = quiche. With or without crust, it’s all good. (just grease your pan if you’re not using a crust!)
Show your wilted veggies who’s in charge!
Delicious Quinoa Pilaf
2 cups cooked quinoa (cooked in chicken stock)
1/2 finely diced red pepper
½ finely diced red onion
5 cloves garlic, minced
~1 cup blanched asparagus, cut into 1” pieces
1 t olive oil
Cook quinoa in chicken broth as directed (2:1 ratio)
Sauté onion, pepper & garlic in olive oil until fragrant. Add blanched asparagus & cooked until all are combined & asparagus is heated through. Toss with cooked quinoa.
Slightly Spicy Hummus with Peppadews &Turkish seasoning
Ok, so the only thing that was getting old was the peppadews, but hey, I’m trying to use it all up, and why buy hummus when homemade is so easy AND so good! Plus, I always have too many cans of chickpeas in my pantry!
1 can of chickpeas, juice of 1 lemon, 1/8 cup tahini, 1 t Penzey’s Turkish seasoning, 1/4 t Penzey’s Aleppo pepper, about 4 cloves of garlic and 3 peppadew peppers. Oh, and a dash of saffron & roasted garlic infused olive oil I mixed up in a jar last week (great to have around!). Sprinkle with zahtar if you have & serve (preferably with cut up veggies that need to be eaten and crackers that are leftover from last time you had cheese & crackers)
Leftover Roasted Chicken Cacciatore
This is good with any leftover chicken that you’re tired of eating, and used up a bunch of things I had dribs and drabs of in my fridge
6 oz shredded cooked chicken
½ onion – diced
½ roasted red peppers
¼ cup diced kalamata olives
handful of fresh basil, chopped
3-5 cloves garlic
T olive oil
Dash powdered fennel
1t Italian seasoning
1 cup leftover marinara sauce + about ½ water swirled around jar
Splash of dry sherry to deglaze pan
Serve over whole wheat pasta
Saute all veggies but marinara, deglaze once they’re nice & caramelized. Toss in chicken, marinara & water & let simmer about 10 -15 minutes or while pasta cooks.
Toss & serve
Faux French Country Turkey Stew
1/2 cup dry Great Northern beans, soaked (or 2 cans cannellini or great northern)
2 links Chicken Sausage (mine were roasted garlic)
1 cup shredded leftover turkey (or chicken)
2 cups kale, chopped
1 T olive oil
2 carrots, diced
2 ribs celery, diced
3 t chicken base ( Better than Bouillon, Penzeys, Knorr, whatever)
A bunch of fresh herbs – or dry if you don’t have fresh; I used thyme, tarragon & sage
1/2 t garlic powder
1/4 t smoked paprika
1/4 fennel powder (it makes things taste like sausage!)
2 leeks, rinsed well & diced
2 shallots, diced
4 cups water
sort, rinse and soak beans as per directions
heat olive oil & saute leeks, shallot, carrot, celery until soft. Add chopped sausage
Add kale, stir
Drain & add beans
Combine chicken base with water, add to pot & bring to a boil, then reduce heat & add spices. Cook, stirring occasionally, until beans are soft – about 1/5 hours.
Serve alone, over rice or with a nice crusty bread