I’m on a kick to use up and clear out food that has been hanging out in my freezer, especially the freezer over my kitchen fridge. In general, this is stuff that has overstayed its welcome and that I overlook regularly in favor of newer things from the store or whatever. I want it gone! I made a pretty decent dent on things this past week and have plans for using up even more items this week. I do love the creativity forced upon me with some of this stuff.
This came about because of a pack of little smokies I had in the freezer; I really didn’t want to make pigs in a blanket or do any of the traditional cocktail style recipes since it would just be Michael and I eating them and we really needed more of a main dish. I made a number of changes to the linked recipe; namely using the little smokies instead of andoille or smoked sausage, I thought I was out of celery so skipped it, had frozen jalapenos in the freezer so subbed those for the bell pepper and used one cup of regular white rice instead of the 2 cups of instant called for. I kept the same amount of liquid. Oh, I also added some red pepper flakes and a large amount of Cajun seasoning. It was really spicy and really good. The avocado served alongside was a perfect accompaniment.
Rustic Ham & Bean Soup
Just your basic ham and bean soup, although the broth did turn out to be super flavorful because I had some turkey broth in the freezer that I wanted to use up so cooked the beans in that with the ham joint for extra flavor. And the ham chunks were cut by my husband so they are a lot bigger than I would generally prep them (I wondered why he was so eager to help me with putting up the extra ham — apparently I am rather stingy in my slicing and chunking. :)).
Cube Steak w/Mushroom Gravy, Mashed Potatoes, Roasted Broccoli
Usually I make chicken fried steak and gravy when I have cube steak on hand, but I wasn’t feeling the production of breading/flouring/frying so went with a much simpler preparation. Well, it’s not like chicken fried steak are hard, just messy. So..these steaks were a lot tidier. This was a nice comfort food type of meal. Again, using up my freezer store — the cube steaks were leftover from a family pack I purchased early last fall.
Chipotle Kissed Sweet Potato Chili
This is the crock pot recipe I have been trying to make for a couple of weeks and just haven’t gotten it together enough before work to make it happen. I finally realized that I prefer crock pot recipes on days when I’m busy but not working a full day. I’m out of the house for a minimum of 10 hours on my full work days and crock pot meals just don’t taste good to me when they’ve been sitting for that long. Anyway — this is a recipe from Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker, by Robin Robertson. Nothing from the freezer was used up, but I did make use of the last bag of sweet potatoes I bought at Aldi when they were on major sale over the holiday. This chili was delicious, but not at all attractive. I asked Michael to puree part of the chili to thicken the broth — since it just calls for water and both the beans and the potatoes had held their shape well, the broth was pretty thin and odd. He took the immersion blender to the chili with a little more enthusiasm than I was expecting. Still, fantastic and much greater than the sum of it’s parts would lead you to believe.
Mushroom & Cheddar Quiche
I made two of these quiche a couple of weeks ago when I had a serious baking kick and froze one for a later date. It was nice to have this one on hand for an easy meal after work. I think prepped meals, either frozen or just the night before, are going to be more successful for me after long work days than crock pot meals, honestly.