Home Assignment #1

For this first assignment, we were asked to respond to the following:

  • How does meal planning generally work for you?  Do you have a routine or strategy, or is it spontaneous?  Without judgment, talk about what works and doesn’t work about it.

In our household, I am responsible for meal planning, which I aim to do weekly prior to the Saturday grocery run.  This weekly meal list is on the refrigerator for the week once created.  Alas, due to the general busy-ness of life, this task can fall to the wayside, then the entire week is off: We end up eating out, ordering pizza, etc., more than desired.

What works: When we plan the meals & shop accordingly, we all eat more healthfully and do not waste food.  We are also more likely to eat dinner together as a family when it is a planned meal.

What doesn’t: If I miss the plan/shopping on Saturday.  This class has been a great reminder that healthful, easy meals are possible on a weeknight, even without advance planning.  It’s also a reminder that I can delegate 🙂

I’d really love to have 5-10 solid go-to weeknight meals that I can make without thinking about it, that taste great, are healthy, and take <30 minutes to make.

  • How does your pantry inventory look?  Do you think you have what you need to prepare food the way you want? What do you still need?  What do you have that isn’t necessary?

This was an eye-opening exercise, to take stock of our pantry.  Before going through the list, I thought we’d be really well stocked.  As I went through our pantry, I realized that some of our herbs were WAY old, and we have a limited whole-grain presence in the household (i.e., only whole wheat pasta and brown rice).  There are so many additional opportunities here, thank you for the ideas.

FOOD PREP: The second part of HW #1 is to prepare two meals with items you have on hand, and to blog about the experience.

Recipe #1: Sicilian-Style Tuna Steaks (Tonno alla ghiotta)

I made this dinner on the weekend of the April snowstorm, when we weren’t going anywhere.  (Alas, I did not take pictures.)

I have just about never created a meal from scratch, only using what we have on hand.  I buy ingredients for the recipes I make, so this was quite a challenge for me.

I started by looking in our freezer, and found we had Tuna Steaks available.  I searched Epicurious & found the Sicilian-style tuna steaks recipe, and decided to go for it.  We didn’t have capers or pitted green olives, so I substituted the kalamata olives we had on hand, which offered the salty/olive taste needed.  I had golden raisins instead of traditional.  Although the recipe called for fresh herbs, we didn’t have any on hand, so I used dried instead.  I served the tuna over a bed of soba noodles.

Overall, a great success!   It was super tasty & I’d definitely make this again.

Recipe #2: Egg & Ham on Toast

Maker:S,Date:2017-10-17,Ver:6,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar02,E-Y

This is a super simple recipe for a tasty lunch, which is toast, lettuce, tomato, ham, with a sunny-side up (or poached) egg on top & balsamic vinegar with salt & pepper.

We didn’t have ham, so I substituted smoked salmon.  It was delicious!

 

 

 

 

Homework Assignment #1: First impressions and menu items based on the pantry inventory

 I was really unsure how much I might learn in a basic cooking class, especially considering that I have been cooking on my own and with people for the good part of a half century.  However, in my first class, I was very pleased to pick up a number of handy useful tips from how to properly hold a knife to the proper way of cutting various vegetables.  We all had very different menu items to prepare in the first class. Our menu items of tomato sauce and pasta was admittedly basic, but still it was fun to prepare this for others in the context of the class. Eating dinner together with all of the diverse dishes was really great. The big impression I was left with was how excellent everything tasted!  I think the flavors of the meal rivaled that of some very good restaurants and it was all prepared by us beginners!

For our homework assignment, we were ask to comment on the following questions and

  • How does meal planning generally work for you?  Do you have a routine or strategy, or is it spontaneous?  Without judgment, talk about what works and doesn’t work about it.
  • How does your pantry inventory look?  Do you think you have what you need to prepare food the way you want? What do you still need?  What do you have that isn’t necessary?

 

The evening meal planning for my wife and I usually is based on what meat will be prepared.  This would involve either going to the store to purchase the meat or to remember to pull it out of the freezer to allow it to defrost in time.  Non-meat dishes usually involve more preparation and are handled mostly by my wife.  She is anxiously waiting for me to “graduate” from this class so I can start preparing more of the meals and hopefully interesting tasty dishes. I think it would serve us well to prepare the menu for the entire week. That way we could purchase all of the things we need at the grocery store and have them ready to prepare on the given days of the week.  So we have somewhat of a routine, but it is quite flexible. I will work on trying to prepare a week’s menu and then have some reliable standbys to include as well.

We do have a pretty well-stocked pantry with lots of different beans in cans (black, great white northern, kidney), rice (plain white and basmati), pasta (spaghetti, cannelloni, etc.), different oils (olive, grape, canola and argan), and a wide arrange of spices which I have arranged alphabetically in a special drawer.  Many times my problem for deciding on what to eat is just not knowing a good recipe to prepare.

For my first recipe, I would like to use up the very nice Italian cannelloni shells that we have in the cupboard.  I have found a spinach ricotta cannelloni recipe as given below:

I was really unsure how much I might learn in a basic cooking class, especially considering that I have been cooking on my own and with people for the good part of a half century.  However, in my first class, I was very pleased to pick up a number of handy useful tips from how to properly hold a knife to the proper way of cutting various vegetables.  We all had very different menu items to prepare in the first class. Our menu items of tomato sauce and pasta was admittedly basic, but still it was fun to prepare this for others in the context of the class. Eating dinner together with all of the diverse dishes was really great. The big impression I was left with was how excellent everything tasted!  I think the flavors of the meal rivaled that of some very good restaurants and it was all prepared by us beginners!

For our homework assignment, we were ask to comment on the following questions and

  • How does meal planning generally work for you?  Do you have a routine or strategy, or is it spontaneous?  Without judgment, talk about what works and doesn’t work about it.
  • How does your pantry inventory look?  Do you think you have what you need to prepare food the way you want? What do you still need?  What do you have that isn’t necessary?

The evening meal planning for my wife and I usually is based on what meat will be prepared.  This would involve either going to the store to purchase the meat or to remember to pull it out of the freezer to allow it to defrost in time.  Non-meat dishes usually involve more preparation and are handled mostly by my wife.  She is anxiously waiting for me to “graduate” from this class so I can start preparing more of the meals and hopefully interesting tasty dishes. I think it would serve us well to prepare the menu for the entire week. That way we could purchase all of the things we need at the grocery store and have them ready to prepare on the given days of the week.  So we have somewhat of a routine, but it is quite flexible. I will work on trying to prepare a week’s menu and then have some reliable standbys to include as well.

We do have a pretty well-stocked pantry with lots of different beans in cans (black, great white northern, kidney), rice (plain white and basmati), pasta (spaghetti, cannelloni, etc.), different oils (olive, grape, canola and argan), and a wide arrange of spices which I have arranged alphabetically in a special drawer.  Many times my problem for deciding on what to eat is just not knowing a good recipe to prepare.

For my first recipe, I would like to use up the very nice Italian cannelloni shells that we have in the cupboard.  I have found a spinach ricotta cannelloni recipe as given below:

 

Spinach Ricotta Cannelloni

https://www.recipetineats.com/spinach-ricotta-cannelloni/

Preparation Time: 20 mins

Cook Time: 35 mins

Total Time: 55 mins

Juicy, perfectly seasoned spinach and ricotta filling inside cannelloni pasta tubes, topped with a simple, tasty tomato sauce and melted cheese. I use dried tubes which are quick to fill using a piping bag or you can use fresh lasagna sheets (though they will end up thicker and larger, I prefer using the tubes). Great for freezing once cooked.

Ingredients

Sauce:

1 tbsp olive oil

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

1 small onion, finely chopped

800 g / 28 oz crushed tomato

1 cup water (swirl in tomato can to clean out)

Handful basil leaves, torn, or 1 tsp dried herbs (e.g. Italian mix, oregano, thyme, basil)

Filling:

250 g / 8 oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed (Note 1)

500 g / 1 lb ricotta, full fat please (Note 2)

1/3 cup grated parmesan

1 cup shredded cheese (Mozzarella, Colby, Cheddar, Tasty, Gruyere, Swiss)

1 egg

1 large garlic clove, minced

Grated fresh nutmeg (just a sprinkling) or 1/8 tsp nutmeg powder (optional)

Salt and pepper, to taste

Cannelloni

18 – 22 dried cannelloni tubes (Note 3)

1 – 1 1/2 cups shredded Mozzarella

More basil, for garnish (optional)

Instructions

Sauce:

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add garlic and onion, cook for 2 – 3 minutes until translucent. Add tomato and water, stir then turn heat down to medium. Simmer for 5 minutes, then season to taste with salt and pepper and stir through basil (or use dried herbs). Set aside.

 

Filling:

Place spinach in a colander and press out most of the liquid (don’t need to thoroughly squeeze dry).

Place Spinach in bowl with remaining Filling ingredients. Mix, taste, adjust salt and pepper to taste (different cheeses have different saltiness).

Assemble & Bake:

Preheat oven to 180C/350F.

Choose a baking pan which will comfortably fit about 20 cannelloni – mine is 21 x 26 cm / 8.5 x 10.5″ (the base, edges are sloped outwards).

Spread a bit of sauce on the base.

Transfer filling to a piping bag with a large nozzle (that fits in the tubes), or use a strong ziplock bag. Or do this step using a knife (it’s a bit tedious though!).

Pipe the filling into the tubes. Place in baking dish.

Pour over remaining Sauce, covering all the tubes. Cover with foil, then bake for 25 minutes.

Remove foil, scatter over cheese. Return to oven for 10 minutes until cheese is melted.

Serve, garnished with extra basil if desired.

Recipe Notes

1. I use frozen spinach for the convenience and also because I’m a sucker for the whole “snap frozen” thing. To use fresh, use about 500g/1 lb sliced spinach leaves or baby spinach leaves, saute with a little oil to wilt down and remove excess liquid. Cool then proceed with recipe.

2. Low fat ricotta is harder and drier, so it’s more difficult to pipe into the tubes plus once baked, is not as juicy and moist.

3. The cannelloni tubes I use are the dried ones sold in boxes at supermarkets and delis. They are about 11 cm / 4.5″ long and 2.5cm / 1″ wide. They do not need to be boiled before cooking in the oven.

You can also make this using fresh lasagna sheets. Just roll Filling up inside, place in the baking pan seam side down. I prefer using dried tubes – refer in post for the reason why.

4. Best way to MAKE AHEAD: Cook covered per recipe without the cheese until the cannelloni is cooked (just jab it, you will easily be able to tell). Then leave it covered and cool and refrigerate. The sauce will dry out a bit so give it a little sprinkle of water (literally about 2 tbsp, dripped all over) plus a generous drizzle of olive oil, then cover with cheese, then bake for about 15 minutes at 160C/320F until it is reheated and the cheese is melted with some golden bits.

FREEZING: Cook per recipe, then let it cool, cover then freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw before reheating in the microwave or oven.

I do not recommend assembling then refrigerating before cooking, the pasta will likely bloat and leave you with a dry sauce.

 

Comments: This was a very classic Italian dish.  As far as taste, I think the spinach melded well with the cheeses in the pasta shell, giving a rich flavor combination with the tomato sauce.  We actually had this dish for three different meals. It froze well and tasted great the second and third times.

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The ingredients for the cannolli

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For my second recipe, I will make a dish with black beans.

Caribbean Rice and Black Beans

https://www.thespruce.com/caribbean-rice-and-black-beans-3060144

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 small onion (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup roasted red pepper (sliced)
  • 1/2 green bell pepper (thinly sliced)
  • 4 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 2 cans black beans (15 to 16 ounces each; rinsed and drained)
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar (or cider vinegar)
  • 4 dashes Tabasco
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth (or chicken broth or water)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • salt to taste
  • black pepper to taste
  • 3 cups white rice (cooked)
  • Optional: chopped fresh cilantro for garnish
  • Optional: sliced green onions for garnish

Instructions

  1. Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet or saute pan over medium heat. Cook the chopped onion with the red and green bell peppers, stirring constantly, until the onion is translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute longer.
  2. Add black beans, vinegar, Tabasco, and 1/2 cup of broth or water.
  3. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Check and add more water or broth, if necessary to keep the beans moist.
  1. Stir in cooked rice, cumin, and oregano; heat through. Taste and adjust seasonings.
  2. Serve with additional Tabasco sauce.
  3. Garnish the beans and rice with chopped fresh cilantro or sliced green onions.

Tips

  • Alternatively, the beans may be served over the hot cooked rice if you prefer to keep them separate.
  • For an even faster preparation, microwave 2 packages of “ready rice” as directed on the packages. Add to the bean mixture and stir to blend ingredients.
  • Replace the white or cider vinegar with red wine vinegar.

 

Comments: This was a very tasty and satisfying dish that both my wife and I really enjoyed. The cumin, oregano and dashes of the tabasco sauce really made the flavors stand out from just mixing black beans and rice.  I would certainly make this dish again.

 

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I roasted the peppers myself instead of using roasted red peppers from a jar.

 

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The final product made for a nice lunch as the temperatures get warmer.

Assignment #1

Meal planning has been at the top of my mind since having kids, trying to balance easy, quick meal prep with healthy, kid-friendly meals. Seems like I can stick with planning meals ahead for a few weeks in a row, then inevitably something gets in the way.

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Either the kids get sick, we go out of town for a weekend, or some other circumstances throw off my meal planning game for that week. During those weeks, I’m scouring my pantry (pictured) for anything I can throw together to pass as a ‘meal’!

So as it turns out, I was very comfortable with this week’s assignment, considering I often create my own recipes based on the contents of my pantry, freezer, and fridge!

Even though I’m just getting to posting my assignment, I actually completed the meals a couple weeks ago now. I was in luck for week one when we had some left over veggies from my son’s birthday party, brown rice (which I always keep in stock), and a random stir fry sauce packet!

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So I turned to one of my staple meals, Stir Fry! I sauteed the broccoli, baby carrots, and snap peas in olive oil, then added the sauce mix. And at the same time, I cooked the brown rice in my rice cooker (I struggle with rice prep – the rice cooker has been helpful in this area!). To top it off, we had some left over fruit from the party too – so not a bad meal!

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For the second meal that week, I utilized a few items from our freezer – bag of tator tots, corn, hamburger, and grated zucchini (frozen from our garden), and a couple pantry items I usually have on hand – cream of mushroom/celery soup and green beans and cheese slices. Altogether, these items make a comfort casserole from my childhood – Tator Tot Casserole! 🙂

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To make this, I brown the hamburger, mixing at the bottom of the pan with all the veggies and soups , then add a layer of cheese to the top, then carefully lining up all tots. Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes.

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As I said, making a meal on the fly is common place at my house and honestly, I have a tendency to adjust and add random things when following a recipe too. I like to experiment! But one of the reasons I’m taking this class is to become more comfortable using different ingredients and incorporating some new staple meals that I can turn to that are even healthier and hopefully, more plant-based going forward. I was very excited that we were given suggestions for pantry items (so helpful!) and I know once I get used to a few new recipes, I’ll be able to add them to the line up!

~Elizabeth

 

 

 

 

Home Assignment #1

Cooking with what’s on hand.

I’m a bit behind in posting; I actually did my cooking during the blizzard. It was the perfect day to make soup. I pulled beef soup bones from the freezer and simmered them for a long time in water with tomatoes, onion, garlic, and herbes de provence.  I was out of carrots and celery, so I added frozen mixed vegetables after removing the meat from the bones.  It turned out very well and was the perfect, hearty blizzard meal.

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My second recipe was a very nice honey, lime, garlic vinaigrette for a salad.  The recipe called for equal amounts of lime juice and olive oil.  Next time, I would use a lighter tasting oil – the one I used overpowered the other flavors a bit.  I loved how simple it was to make in the jar — the most difficult thing was cleaning the garlic press afterward.  I will definitely start making my own dressings from now on!

My second recipe was a very nice honey, lime, garlic vinaigrette for a salad.  The recipe called for equal amounts of lime juice and olive oil.  It was very nice, but next time 20180414_134756I would use a lighter tasting oil – the one I used overpowered the other flavors a bit.  I love how simple it was to make in the jar — the most difficult thing was cleaning the garlic press afterward.  I will definitely start making my own dressings from now on!

I also surveyed my supply of spices.  I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised to find I had several things that were years out of date that I don’t recall using.  It was nice to remove them and make more space for the things I use regularly.  I will make a point to do this more often!

Elaine

Vicki Interrante: UMN Cooking for Wellness: Home Assignment 1

HOME ASSIGNMENT 1:

  • How does meal planning generally work for you?  Do you have a routine or strategy, or is it spontaneous?  Without judgment, talk about what works and doesn’t work about it. 

I almost never cook any more.  Fortunately, my husband loves to cook and is a great cook, so I just eat whatever he prepares.  His routine is to think of a meal, then go to the store and buy whatever he needs to make that meal.  Unlike me, he almost never buys anything that ends up going to waste.  Since it’s just the two of us at home now, whatever my husband makes for dinner usually lasts about 3 days so he only has to cook about 2x/week.  My Mom also buys food and cooks when she comes to visit.  Between me and her, that’s how our pantry gets full of things no one ever uses.

  • How does your pantry inventory look?  Do you think you have what you need to prepare food the way you want? What do you still need?  What do you have that isn’t necessary?

The main problem with our pantry is that I never go through it to throw away old things.  Also, our walk-in pantry has started to accumulate a lot of non-food items that add to the clutter.  I realize that I really should clean it out, even if it pains me to acknowledge the waste of having bought things that now have to be discarded because they’re past their expiration date.  I’ve actually gotten somewhat better at not buying extraneous food items recently because my husband does almost all of the food shopping now.

I was hoping to clean all of my cupboards and then take before-and-after pictures, but so far I only have the “before” ones:

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This is the main kitchen pantry.  I notice cake supplies from what must be at least 8 years ago when my daughter still lived at home.  I also see many tubs of caramel dip for apples.  I guess I buy a new one every year but we rarely finish it.  Only a few items are really still edible: the cereal, nuts, raisins, flour, almond flour, brown sugar, dry beans, jams (at least one of them) and the canned coconut milk (maybe).

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Here’s the walk-in pantry.  Ugh.  A lot of this stuff has got to be more than 3-5 years old, but I see a few things that I’m sure are still edible: mangos, sugar, canned beans, dry pasta, artichoke hearts, cereal.  On the upper shelf I see a reminder of why plastic bottles of water are a bad idea: over time the plastic degrades and probably leaks all sorts of toxins into the water.

 

Here’s the rest of it: assorted oils, lots of tea, rice, various spices, some leftover hot chocolate from an event I organized in 2014, god only knows what in the fridge and freezer, and multiple jars of salt.  Each of these jars is from a different time my Mom visited.  She is a lot like me with respect to her food buying habits.  She knows we don’t use salt, and therefore is afraid we might not have any when she gets here, so she brings a jar with her and then leaves it for us because it would be a waste to throw it away.

Using only what you have on hand in your pantry and refrigerator, prepare two recipes from cookbooks you own or an online search.

Ok, so here’s where I have to admit that I started assignment 2 before finishing assignment 1, which left me with some fennel tops that had to be used.  I checked the internet for what to do with fennel tops, and found that they can supposedly enhance broth.  So I decided to use up some old chicken broth and frozen cauliflower and make cauliflower soup, just like we did in class.

 

I chopped the stalks, but left the fronds intact so they’d be easier to remove before blending.  I noticed that the broth was labeled as “best by June 2017” but it feels like 2017 was not that long ago, it didn’t say “will be toxic after June 2017” so I opened it up and it smelled okay, so I went ahead and used it.

 

Step 1, add the fennel to the broth and simmer a while to try to get the fennel flavor into the broth.  Then, add the frozen cauliflower and bring to a boil.  I removed the fennel fronds after everything had cooked because I had doubts about how well they’d blend up, and they didn’t taste very delicious when I went to try some out of the pot.  Fortunately we have some chickens who will enjoy them.

 

Step 2: We don’t have an immersion blender, but we do have a regular blender, which worked just fine.  As taught in class, I added one egg yolk to give it more thickness. Now I know what that hole in the top of the blender is for.

The result tasted really bland, so I figured I should add some pepper (because we don’t do salt).  I wasn’t sure how much to use, so I guessed at about 2/3 t.  That turned out to be a bit too much; I should have started with 1/4 t. and added more if needed.  Even though it was spicy, it still didn’t taste that great, so I added some cheese.  Everything tastes better with cheese.

 

In the end, it was okay – edible, but nothing I’d want to make again.

IMG_3155The next day my husband said he added some fresh chopped tomatoes before finishing the leftovers and that it was really delicious that way.  This is why I let my husband do the cooking.  He’s just so much better at it than I am.

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We were asked to make two meals, so for the second one I figured I’d use that bag of bean soup I’d found in the cupboard.

 

Unfortunately, again, the package was expired, but this time in April 2016.  I figured the dry beans were probably fine, but that packet of whatever looked like it was definitely not still okay to eat.

Step 1:  Soak the beans overnight.  In the morning I realize that I should have used more water, but it’s okay.  Most of the beans seem wet still.

 

Step 2: Rinse the beans and return them to the pot; add a box of bone broth. Set aside an onion, some garlic, and a can of diced tomatoes to add later.

 

Step 3:  …  This is why I hate cooking.  … I put the pot on the stove, covered it, sat down to work, and when I came back an hour or so later to check on it, all of the broth had completely evaporated.  Ugh.  Why did it evaporate if I had the top on??  I try to fix it by adding water, but the hiss and smell as the water hits the bottom of the pan tells me that I’m too late.  I go ahead and add enough water to cover the beans, and try to stir it, but then find out that the bottom 1/4″ of beans are burned into a crust on the bottom of the pan.  At that point I realize that stirring is probably a bad idea, so I just pour everything that’s not still stuck to the bottom of pan into another pot.  After tasting it, I recognize that nothing has survived of the broth and all I have are burnt beans in water. I can’t add more broth now, because that would make it too watery, and I can’t cook off the water because then the beans would get too mushy.  So I go ahead and add the can of tomatoes and chopped onion and garlic and hope for a miracle.

 

After a few minutes more of cooking, it still tastes pretty bland, but at least not too burnt and awful.  I decide to add pepper for more flavor, but remember my mistake of last time and only use about 1/4t, of cayenne this time.  It doesn’t seem to change the flavor at all.  So I dig out the black pepper and add another 1/8t or so.  I still can’t taste the pepper, but I’m afraid to add more so I just call it done.

 

My husband says it’s surprisingly good for having been burned.  I can tell he’s trying to be kind.

JIM’S HOME ASSIGNMENT 1

Meal planning generally does not work for me. I generally don’t get that far. I typically will have some kind of lean meat (pork or chicken) available that I can season and put in the oven, then find some frozen vegies to microwave or steam. Then I’ll typically throw some rice in the rice cooker or butter some bread. Dinner!

Whatever the meal ends up being, it is typically a spontaneous plan and I look for something easy.

My pantry is a bit of a mess. I did get rid of a bunch of candy from who knows when (candy canes and other Holiday type stuff). I do have oils and vinegars. I have fresh garlic but no onions. I also have some preserved garlic that I prepared a while ago and keep in the fridge – cloves in salt water. I have rice (brown and white).  I have a tub of mix of legumes. I do have nuts and seeds, mustard ketchup and soy sauce. I have honey, maple syrup and molasses. Not sure if I have whole wheat flour or just white flour but I have flour. I don’t have much for baking – I don’t do much baking. I have a variety of dried herbs and spices but nothing fresh (except garlic). No pasta at this time but I typically do have some healthy choices. I have canned diced tomatoes and tuna.

In the fridge I have a fresh green and red pepper but that’s it for vegies. I have butter, yogurt, eggs, and hard cheddar cheese. I have frozen pork, fish and chicken but no plant based protein.

I used my tub of mixed legumes to make vegie chili this weekend. I had most everything the recipe on the tub called for but not everything. I used dry onions, preserved garlic and caned tomatoes instead of fresh but otherwise I had most everything. I used up all my olive oil but added a bit of ghee to saute the vegies. I put everything in the crock pot and let it slow cook. I forgot how hot my chili pepper was. I put in a little too much but serving with a healthy amount of yogurt helped a lot!

There was a fair amount of work involved (mostly cleanup) but I have a lot of chili to freeze for later. I want to work with more fresh vegies and will be looking for some ginger, limes, onions, peppers, etc. and trying some more simple side dishes using the fresh stuff!

 

 

 

Assignment #1

Self-reflection…cooking for one has resulted in little cooking (e.g. Tuesday, long day, tired–frozen pizza; Wednesday, ditto – grocery store Sushi).  Taking this class to learn cooking skills so I eat better and cheaper.

Kitchen inventory…could check off about half of the items on the Pantry recommendations.  Often wonder about shelf-life of these dry ingredients….I know I exceed the shelf life by the tastelessness of some things.

Food prep…I heard lecture in Cancer Center where I work on the power of brussel sprouts (study had subjects eating raw B SP).  After that I bought frozen brussel sprouts and tucked them away in my freezer.  So I found a recipe for cooking b sp and they were good – much to my surprise!  [I will add this simple recipe and picture later.]  Same night I got out frozen IKEA swedish meatballs – no idea how long they were in freezer.  No cooking required–after heating them in microwave they were dry and rubbery–awful!!  probably needed to add moisture; next time might try putting them in the skillet with the brussel sprouts and maybe the oil and steam from b sp will tenderize the meatballs?

Questions: Are any of the knife sharpeners you see in kitchen stores any good?  If I use beans in a recipe I usually buy canned.  What are the pros and cons of canned versus dry?

Marilyn