In my last post, I mentioned that I’m trying to use up the food in my fridge, freezer, and cabinets. That’s where Chopped: Elf Edition comes into play. If you’ve ever seen the show Chopped on the Food Network, you know that the competing chefs are given a basket of quirky ingredients that they must combine with pantry staples to create an appetizer, a main course, and a dessert — one basket for each course.
Now, they often have crazy ingredients in a basket — like strawberry soda in the main course basket. My version is a bit more tame. At the beginning of the week, I take out some ingredients that I must use within the week. (For refrigerated things, that means I put a note on the fridge – I don’t actually leave them out. For frozen things, I defrost.) My task is to come up with lunches and dinners that use everything I have designated for a given week. Sometimes, it’s easy — pasta and sauce. Other times, it can be a challenge. How many ways are there to use crushed tomatoes and creamed corn? Sometimes, my experiments work and become treasured recipes. Others, well, let’s say that skipping the occasional meal isn’t the worst thing.
The key is to try as hard as you can to use the food you have. Dig into the depths of your cabinet and start using things up. Me? I just found that I have 3 bottles of molasses. (There was a clearance!) I’m seeing gingerbread in my future!