I've talked before about wasted food here, here and here. According to Jonathan Bloom, author of American Wasteland, we toss enough food every day to fill the Rose Bowl. That's a lot of wasted nutrition, effort, and money, not even considering the negative environmental impact and the whole there-are-kids-starving-in-X-country guilt factor.
This was on my mind as our family prepares to go out of town and leave the fridge unsupervised, all its remaining contents moldering quietly, only to be rediscovered and tossed on our return. Not this time, I vowed!
First I called upon that old standby, Rock Soup. If you remember the story, it's basically a hodge-podge soup made of whatever is on hand. In our case, I had leftover pot roast gravy with vegetables (all but about an ounce of the beef was eaten), leftover spaghetti noodles, and fresh onions, carrots, and celery. Since I'm not a cook-it-from-scratch kinda gal, I called upon Rachael Ray for inspiration. Here's her recipe, with my tweaks:
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO), plus additional for drizzling
- 3/4 pound chorizo, casings removed and diced (I had 1/10 lb beef pot roast)
- 2 large russet potatoes, peeled and cubed (I only had the cooked potatoes in my pot roast)
- 4 ribs celery, chopped
- 4 carrots, peeled and chopped (reduced because I had some in the pot roast)
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 rounded teaspoon (about 1/3 palmful) sweet paprika
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
- 1 bay leaf, fresh or dried
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained (I used kidney beans)
- 1 15-ounce can diced or stewed tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons hot sauce (I cut this back to 1 tsp.)
- 6 cups chicken broth or stock (I used a combo of pot roast gravy and broth)
- 2 cups stale bread , cut into bite-size cubes (skipped this and added my spaghetti noodles)
- A handful of flat-leaf parsley or cilantro, chopped, optional
Then last night I checked out the "crisper" drawer and found spinach, bell peppers, and green beans that would not survive our absence. If you like stir-fries, try this one, inspired by a recipe for Chinese-Style Spicy String Beans from Bon Appetit.