veggies

Clean Out The Pantry

Recently we decided to give the “Imperfect Produce” service a try. The first box we got was really good, except for the lettuce. The second box had good stuff in it, too, but some of the stuff was on the verge of going bad–so that was a big disappointment. Overall, I wasn’t super happy with it because it felt like pressure to use the produce quickly before it went bad. I don’t mind “ugly” produce (like a weird shape or smaller than normal, etc) but I didn’t want almost too-ripe stuff. It didn’t seem like I was saving any money, either.

So it was a short-lived experiment. But the good news? We got random produce that I normally wouldn’t buy in the store and got to experiment a little bit. For example, we made a fennel salad that was really good.

We used this recipe, Fennel and Endive Salad, as an idea and instead of endive, used kale. I liked the flavor and crunch of the raw fennel. The salad went with a simple skillet dinner. We had carrots and celery, onions and mushrooms to use up so we cooked them in the skillet with chicken and then used a Tikka Masala “simmer sauce” packet I got at the store.

Dinner was pretty good and fairly easy. We’ve been trying to also work through the pantry and use up stuff that’s been in there too long. The simmer sauce packet was one of them. (I have another one for pad thai that I am thinking I will use with carrot or zoodle noodles!).

The reason to “eat through the pantry” was twofold. I was tired of buying stuff each week when we had things in the pantry and it was overflowing. We just needed to be better about eating stuff I buy!

Another “pantry meal” was stuffed peppers. I had a can of “fiesta” corn (corn with red and green peppers) and taco seasoning so I made some ground turkey taco meat and then stuffed the peppers from the imperfect produce box.

Then I topped it with cheese and baked it for 30 minutes.

The flavor was really good. We had salad with it. It was a tasty and filling dinner.

It was also nice to be creative and have something different.

So looking through the pantry now, I see a lot of things that I need to be creative with! Cans of black beans, polenta, cans of Rotel diced tomatoes, lots of refried beans…I’m seeing some bean enchiladas in our future!

What are some of your favorite “clean out the pantry” meals?

A Few Meals

I’ve been making a summer salad lately that is really good! The first time I made it, I blanched the asparagus (2 minutes in boiling water and then into cold water) and mixed it with cherry tomatoes from our garden, fresh mozzarella, chopped onions and Italian dressing. It was really tasty.

This time I made a greek version. Asparagus, onion, tomatoes and then made a greek dressing, added kalamata and black olives and feta. It was delicious! I love this salad and it’s a nice way to use up asparagus instead of just grilling it.

So we had the greek salad, some naan bread and Michael grilled some lamb chops. (He marinated the lamb chops in olive oil with fresh onions, mint, rosemary and thyme.) The lamb chops turned out perfectly on the grill!

The next night we had some friends over for dinner. Michael got some fresh salmon (with the skin on) to grill. Michael seasoned the salmon with salt, pepper, lemon juice and fresh thyme.

 

Our friends brought various veggies to grill that they bought at the Farmer’s Market. They brought zucchini, corn and Walla Walla Sweet onions.

The veggies were just seasoned with ghee, salt and pepper. Everything turned out so perfect! The salmon fell off the skin in perfect chunks, it wasn’t dry at all and perfectly flavored.

Dinner was outstanding and our new favorite meal! We can’t wait to recreate it. It all went so well together and the grilled onions were to die for! If you’ve never done it before, do it asap.

Look at this feast:

I’m going to be thinking about that dinner for a long time. I mean, it’s all simple, healthy things but it was all really stellar. And of course, the fresh salmon was a million times better than the frozen farmed salmon we get from Costco. I know, it’s convenient and cost-effective, but after having the good stuff…I don’t know if I can go back!

For dessert we grilled up peaches and topped them with whipped cream. That was all we had. The whipped cream was nice and went well with the peaches (and low in calories) but I think next time it would be better with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and some granola on top.

Yum!