Wednesday, January 27, 2010

I Recycle

For any of you that know Rob and I really well, you know that we're not green. We're so not green we're practically purple. We don't buy the twisty lightbulbs, I drive a huge SUV, and we trust Al Gore about as far as we can throw him. It's not that we don't believe in being good stewards of the beautiful Creation that we've been given, we just hate being told what to do. I guess it's because we're both quite strong-willed people, firstborns, and rebels at heart. For me, being rebellious is sometimes a struggle, I know it's a pride thing. As I was growing up, I kept looking to the day when I could do whatever I wanted. I get a thrill from not following the status quo, breaking the rules, thumbing my nose at "the man".

But, I recycle food.

In most areas of my life, I am more than happy with mediocrity and keeping my life as simple as possible. For some reason, I am a contradiction in terms when related to food preparation. My motto is: if in doubt, make it yourself. To prepare most things homemade requires planning, organization, creativity, and an investment in time and resources. I realize that food is my passion because I am willing to make the investment in preparing almost everything we eat. Part of the willingness derives from my love of serving my family and the other part is simply that I love to create. I am certainly not a perfectionist, but this is the only area of my life that I consistently challenge myself. Every year my parents would go to school conferences and hear, "Your daughter is extremely intelligent, if only she would live up to her potential". I was simply satisfied with mediocrity until I found my love for food.

Back to the recycling. I really enjoy using my creativity to make more than one meal from leftovers. If I have lots of food left over from a meal, I'll freeze some of the ingredients to use in a future meal. Last week the stomach bug hit our household and the night after I made meatballs. Let's just say that no one was really into eating and I stored the meatballs in the freezer for another time. When I saw the recipe for meatball soup on the Pioneer Woman website, I knew I had a use for them. Of course, being the rebel that I am, I made my own recipe. With the soup I made cheesy buttermilk biscuits. They have been in our refrigerator for quite a few days, so today I made "croutons" for my tomato soup [for lunch]. I'm going to try to make breadcrumbs with the remaining biscuits and see if I can make passable chicken tenders for dinner. We had friends for dinner on Friday night and we had beef tenderloin with a mushroom sauce. I used the leftovers for beef stroganoff.

Here are the recipes from my recycled food:


1 lb ground round
1 egg
1 cup slivered fresh spinach
1/8 cup parmesan cheese
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
1 tsp garlic salt
1 small can tomato paste
1 small onion, finely chopped

1. Mix all ingredients and form into bite-sized meatballs. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
2. Brown meatballs in saute pan on two sides.
3. Bake browned meatballs at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Top with marinara sauce or keep for use in soup.

Meatball Soup

2 T olive oil
2 large carrots, peeled and chopped coarsely
1 medium onion, chopped coarsely
2 medium-sized zucchini, chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 cups fresh spinach, sliced
1 pt cherry tomatoes
1 small can tomato paste
2 cans chicken broth

1. In a large stockpot over medium heat, saute carrots and onions for 2 minutes. Add zucchini, garlic and spinach, and cherry tomatoes and saute for an additional 3 minutes.
2. Add tomato paste, stir and add broth and at least two "can-fuls" of water using the tomato paste can.
3. Add the meatballs, desired amount of salt and pepper and serve. The thickness of the soup is to your liking, add more water if soup is too thick.

Cheesy Buttermilk Biscuits
1/2 cup butter
2 cups flour
1 T sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp garlic salt
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup freshly grated cheddar cheese

1. With a pastry blender, combine until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
2. Stir in buttermilk (you may need to add water to make the mixture "stir-able") until dough leaves the sides of the bowl.
3. Turn dough onto a slightly-floured surface. Knead lightly 10 times.
4. Roll to 1/2 inch thick. Cut with a floured cookie-cutter.
5. Place onto ungreased baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes.

Beef Tenderloin with Mushroom Sauce
whole beef tenderloin (about 6lbs)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup burgundy wine
salt, pepper
3 large portabello mushrooms
1/3 stick butter
1/2 cup red wine
1/4 cup blue cheese
1/2 cup light cream

1. Marinate tenderloin at least four hours in olive oil, wine, salt and pepper.
2. Grill on high heat until both sides are seared. Roast at 400 degrees for an additional 45 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 145 degrees for medium-rare.
3. Allow meat to rest. Slice and cover with mushroom sauce.

Creamy Mushroom Sauce
Saute mushrooms in butter over high heat until browned. Reduce heat to medium and deglaze pan with red wine, allow wine to "cook off" for about 2 minutes. Add blue cheese and cream and stir until combined. Top sliced tenderloin with sauce.

Beef Stroganoff
leftover beef and mushroom sauce
2 T butter
1 pkg button mushrooms, sliced thinly
1 medium-sized onion, sliced thinly
2 cloves garlic, chopped
3 T flour
1/4 cup red wine
1/2 cup chicken or beef broth
1/2 cup sour cream
cooked egg noodles

1. Slice beef and portabellos into bite-sized pieces.
2. In a large saute pan, brown mushrooms, onion and garlic over medium heat for about 2 minutes.
3. Sprinkle flour over vegetables and stir. Slowly add red wine and stir. Add broth and stir until thickened.
4. Add beef and portabellos, cover and simmer for about 10 minutes.
5. Right before serving, add sour cream and stir until combined. Top buttered egg noodles with stroganoff.

1 comment:

  1. Me too! LOVE this! It makes you feel much better about not chucking it...and a whole new meal out of the deal. Double bonus! Glad you "recycle" :)