Monday, January 31, 2011

Has Beans

I'm still holding fast to my personal challenge of eating up the food I put away for winter. So far this year, I've spent just over $50 in groceries for myself. That doesn't count what I spend on ingredients for the business, and admittedly there's a little overlap (since who eats the leftover stuff but me?), but I've done well at remembering to pull vegetables from the freezer and use what I have in the pantry. The number of empty canning jars in the cupboard has probably doubled this month!

That said, I'm the first to admit that the meals I make from these preserved foods aren't always glamorous. I've blogged about my broccoli pizzas here so much over the years that it's not worth posting yet another picture, and the same must also be said for my hash brown concoctions and other staple dishes.

Once in a while, though, I do try something a little different.

Case in point: Last week I had a couple of small pizza crusts left over from the market, but I didn't want the same ol' broccoli topping. Instead, I thawed a bag each of green beans and wax beans, and in the process I also unearthed a jar of frozen peach salsa.

You see where I'm going -- salsa for the sauce, beans on top, shredded cheddar over all, and a quick cook in the oven, all of which left me with a tasty new lunch pizza variety.

Tonight, too, I made the best of what I had. After making a batch of pac choi filling for this week's rolls at the market, I had some spicy peanut sauce leftover. Out came the rest of the thawed beans, into the pan they went, and the leftover sauce helped heat up the vegetables for my dinner. (I even crumbled the last sesame crackers into the mix for a little extra pizzazz.)

I think this is one of the best parts of food preservation. True, eating thawed vegetables from the freezer or cracking open a jar of tomatoes doesn't begin to compare to eating fresh produce. But with just a little out-of-the-box (literally!) thinking, I can throw together meals without a whole lot of fuss, measuring, or stress. That means a lot to me this time of year.

So what are you doing with the need-to-be-eaten has-been food from your freezer this year?

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At 1/31/2011 7:15 PM, Anonymous Lisa said...

I've been trying to stretch the time between shopping trips by using the stuff I canned and froze last summer & fall. It definitely makes a dent in the grocery bill, though we can't compete with your $50 for the year!

At 2/01/2011 8:43 AM, Blogger The Baklava Queen said...

Well, remember, that $50 is for JUST me. I do occasionally share meals with the Renaissance Man, but he has done some cooking this month, too, so the figure is skewed. (It also doesn't include the splurge of a $10 tin of tea yesterday!)

But having the stash in the freezer and pantry has definitely helped me limit what produce I buy.


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