13 July 2007

Making something from nothing

These days I feel like I spend so much time washing dishes and wiping counters, and weeding and moving hoses, which allows for a lot of introspection but not a lot of time for blogging. After I made dinner a couple times this week, I realized that I had been creating something out of nothing. Saturday afternoon I hit the grocery store to look for some dinner inspiration and boneless pork chops were on sale for "buy one, get one free." This made the per-pound price only $2 which is a bargain for any type of boneless meat these days. I picked up two packages, put one in the freezer, and left the other in the fridge for Sunday's dinner (what did I get for Saturday's dinner, you ask? BOGO tilapia fillets which I fried up in a pan. Came to $3/pound which might be the cheapest tilapia I've ever seen) Sunday night I sauteed the pork chops and made a creamy gravy with the drippings. There were two chops left over, plus some sauce, so I thinly sliced them, put them in a container with the gravy and put them in the fridge for a future dinner.

The designated leftover night arrived, and I cooked the remainder of a package of fettucini that I found in the pantry (I weighed it and it was a little more than 5 oz). Then I mixed the sliced pork and gravy with a can of cream of celery soup, about 1/2 cup sour cream, 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese, and the cooked noodles. I put it all in a greased 10x8 baking dish, sprinkled more cheese on top, and baked it until it started to bubble on the edges, maybe 20 minutes. It turned out really yummy!

Then the next night, I happened to have leftover cooked shredded chicken in the fridge, as well as a bag of mixed greens from the garden. They had been in there for 10 (!) days but had been washed and spun dry, so they were still crisp and fresh. I also cut up some tomato, cucumber, and onion, and had some pita bread so we ate chicken salad pitas for dinner. They were delicious. And there was enough left that I got one for lunch the next day.

Both of these dinners were created with leftovers that were used in a completely different way than they had been served the first time. I certainly don't expect you to ever be able to reproduce them (I'll never even be able to reproduce the pork casserole because I didn't measure anything when I made the gravy or the casserole) but this is the sort of living that reduces waste and encourages creativity with what you have. And I think that is the definition of being frugal.

1 comment:

Lena said...

I'm getting better at that but still need lots more practice- and ingredients. It would be much easier if I had more ingredients always in stock!