Use It or Lose It

Have you ever had a fridge full of things nearing the end of their safe consumption? I was recently in that situation and did not want to waste what we did have–even if some had been purchased on clearance. Food is food. Right? So, I had to figure out recipes, or really, more like little game plans to use things as best as I could. This is how it went down:

Bolillo Mini Pizzas

FOOD TO USE: clearanced bolillo rolls, pepperoni

GAME PLAN: I split bolillo rolls into halves, added pizza sauce, mozzarella, and topped each with pepperoni. They baked at 350 F approximately 10 minutes–just enough to be lightly toasted with melted cheese. (Sprinkle oregano, Italian seasoning, or crushed red pepper flakes over the mini pizzas as desired.) These were a hit with my son’s hungry friends.

Oregano & Pecan Crusted Thin Chops

FOOD TO USE: thin chops, fresh oregano, pecans

GAME PLAN: I gave roughly cubed potatoes seasoned with salt, pepper, chopped garlic, and olive oil about a thirty minute head start to bake covered in a foil lined and covered pan at 350 F while I prepped the chops. For the thin chops, I threw a handful each of fresh oregano and pecans into the food processor with salt, pepper, garlic clove, the zest and juice of a lemon, and olive oil. I pulsed and added olive oil until I had the consistency of a paste to spread onto the chops. Once both sides of each chop was covered with the pesto, they were carefully placed over the hot potatoes, covered again with foil, and baked approximately thirty minutes. They had to reach an internal temperature of 145 F.

Gazpacho

FOOD TO USE: tomatoes, jalapeño, onions, sweet peppers, cucumber

GAME PLAN: I threw the veggies into a blender with some tomato juice, the juice of a lime, salt, and pepper.

Grilled Bacon Wrapped Asparagus

FOOD TO USE: asparagus

GAME PLAN: This was pretty easy. I sprinkled pepper and brown sugar onto bacon strips then wrapped the strips around asparagus pieces. I baked them on a cookie sheet at about 400 F for about 20 minutes. Adjust according to your oven and preferences.

Ginger & Basil Grilled Shrimp

FOOD TO USE: freshly picked basil, shrimp that I had already thawed

GAME PLAN: Shrimp was marinated in a combination of fresh chopped basil, ginger root (about a teaspoon,) salt, pepper, red chili pepper flakes, and Olive oil. Then I grilled the shrimp on the George Foreman grill until opaque–about three minutes.

Asparagus, Caramelized Onion, & Parmesan Frittata

FOOD TO USE: asparagus, onions

GAME PLAN: I beat 6 eggs in a bowl, added salt, pepper, and chopped pieces of asparagus. Then I threw in the caramelized onions and parmesan. I started the frittata in a pan on the stove. Once the edges had started solidifying, I baked it in the oven at 350 F until done–maybe 20 minutes.

Honey Dill Compound Butter

FOOD TO USE: fresh dill

GAME PLAN: soften a stick or two of butter (not margarine) to room temperature. Add freshly chopped dill and a couple tablespoons of honey. (I used local honey from Honey and Shrooms.) Mix well. Taste the butter mixture and add salt or other seasoning as desired. Place the butter mixture in approximately a two inch thick line down the middle of a piece of parchment paper. Roll as shown and twist ends to deal. Then place it into a freezer bag and allow it to harden in the freezer. This can be enjoyed as an addition to recipes, on corn, butter, or however you choose.

Honey Baked Brie

FOOD TO USE: brie cheese

GAME PLAN: I literally just baked the brie round in my convection toaster oven at 350 degrees F for about 20 minutes until it was melting inside. Then I opened it a bit with a knife and drizzled honey all over it. To be exact, I used Southern Illinois honey from Honey and Shrooms. Easy, creamy sweet and savory decadence.

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