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Friday, May 29, 2009

My Ongoing Quest: Not to Go to the Grocery Store

So ... to continue with my quest to prepare balanced meals without going to the grocery store in order to use up some of the food in my fridge, freezer and pantry ...

I was delighted to come across a recipe for Strawberry Snap Pea Salad the other day because ... you guessed it ... I had strawberries and sugar snap peas I needed to use up. When I first looked at the recipe, I was skeptical about whether the ingredients would go well together. As I was talking to one of my daughters on the phone while preparing it, she was convinced it would be disgusting. But it wasn't!

So here's the recipe:
equal amounts of sugar snap peas and strawberries, cut into bite-size pieces
red or white onion according to your taste, cut into small pieces
mint leaves, coursely chopped - I used about 1 tablespoon for four servings

Dressing (this made enough for my four servings with some left over):
1 T. mint leaves
1/4 c. sugar
1/8 c. balsamic vinegar
1/8 t. pepper
1 t. cornstarch
1/4 c. plus 1 t. water

In a small saucepan, bring to boil 1/4 c. water, 1 T. mint leaves, balsamic vinegar, and pepper. Lower heat, simmer for 5 minutes. In cup, stir cornstarch and 1 t. water to make a paste, then stir paste into saucepan. Bring to full boil. Remove from heat and allow to cool 10 minutes. Strain the cooked mint from dressing. Use just enough dressing to lightly coat salad. Serve immediately or chill. (Adapted from a recipe in the March/April 2009 Ohio magazine, p. 29.)

I was pleasantly surprised at the bright, fresh flavor of this salad. I'm not a big fan of mint in my food, but this was good! And I was happy to use up some of my mint!

Yesterday for lunch my husband sauteed some baby spinach in olive oil with some garlic, salt and pepper. I like to buy the large containers of baby spinach at Sam's because it is so reasonably priced. But we often ended up with it spoiling before we could use it all. We have begun to sautee it - it's quick, healthy, and it uses up a lot of spinach! So, we finished off our baby spinach and had a healthy and interesting green vegetable.

My fruit compote turned out well - raspberries, cranberries, dried apricots (diced), and strawberries with sugar to taste. I brought the ingredients to a boil and simmered until it was thickened. I made so much of it that we're going to serve it warmed over vanilla ice cream tonight when guests comes to dinner. We tested it out last night. :)

Last night my husband grilled veal and red peppers with a basil/parsley/lime/garlic rub on both. Love using my herbs!

I'm really enjoying being creative as I try to use up food we have before going to the grocery store. It's a fun challenge plus we're eating very interesting meals. :)

What have you been cooking lately? Email subscribers comment by clicking here which will take you to the original blog.

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