What I Cooked Last Night

Sometimes I make up these crazy meals that turn out to be wonderful. When that happens, i think it is worth sharing. Occasionally something turns out to be a total disaster, then it is the story, rather than the recipe that is worth sharing. My kitchen creativity is best used on leftovers. I can work tasty magic with leftovers. Be sure to read the first post, "About My Cooking Style" which will help in following recipes when given, or to recreate meals from my prose.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Crazy Leftover Night

Faced with a strange array of leftovers and no time to go to the store--amazing how often this happens to me-- creativity was the name of the game. From Monday I had about half of a London broil and maybe three cups of mashed potatoes. From Tuesday I had about two cups of pinto beans cooked with lots of garlic & onions and half a bag of baby spinach. After grabbing a few staples from the icebox I had the makings of a very interesting meal that turned out to be quite tasty.

First I diced up a green bell pepper and an onion and set them to cooking in a large saute pan with about a tablespoon of oil. While they were sweating it out I mixed about half a cup of shredded cheese into the cold potatoes and then made them into patties by cramming them into a peanut butter jar lid. After dredging them in flour they resembled great big biscuits. I began heating two tablespoons of oil in my cast iron skillet and then added the pintos to the onions and peppers. When the oil heated up I began frying the potato cakes until golden brown. Once the cakes were all finished I diced up the steak and added it to the pan with the veggies along with 1/3 cup of salsa. Salt and pepper took care of the seasoning as there were already some strong flavors in the mix. Once everything was heated through, supper was ready.

I tossed a big pile of raw spinach on each plate, then placed two potato cakes on each pile. Last I ladled a good portion of the vegetable and beef mixture over the top. A dollop of sour cream finished it perfectly. I put some three cheese Ranch dressing on the table, but it was superfluous. The components seemed perfectly balanced. I must say I was surprised at how good it was.

I may never have this exact combination of items on hand again, but this was simple and could be adapted to other foods. Chicken instead of beef, black beans instead of pintos, maybe even rice cakes or even grits cakes would be tasty. A veggie on the side would be okay instead of the spinach, but we usually have that in the house. The point is that even if it is never repeated, I fed my family a delicious and healthy meal that took little time, no precision and my two year old ate raw spinach for supper.

What's in your fridge?


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