Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Empty fridge meal contest

Soo...what to make for dessert when your oven coils break and are being shipped by Dec. 21? Yes, that's right no oven until Dec. 21.

Well, today I made some no-bake cookies with crunchy peanut butter and yesterday I made my grandma's fudge with 70 percent cocoa and semi-sweet chocolate. Both were amazing.

Brandon jokes that it's like I am on Top Chef where they keep taking away your appliances mid-way through a cooking test. So far I have made beef stew with our local beef (and I substituted a little Coke instead of wine/beer and it was divine. I adapted the famous Julia Child beef bourguignon recipe and didn't use mushrooms or carrots and instead used sweet potatoes in place of carrots. Mmm. Brandon loved it and the girls liked the steak although it was wasted on Sophia who is not feeling that good right now.

Also we had stuffed ricotta shells with homemade pasta sauce that I made in a 12-inch skillet, pizza toasts today in the skillet, and we are toasting english muffins in the skillet for breakfast, which according to Rhulman are how they really are made.
Picture from Rhulman's site
Homemade English Muffins

Which brings it all back to how much of a better cook you can become when forced to improvise. I mean some of my favorite recipes have come about on those empty fridge days, including my family's favorite--roasted spicy cauliflower. Roast cauliflower, butter, chopped garlic, red pepper flakes and kosher salt in oven at 350 until roasted. mmm.

I dare you to try to use what you have in your fridge and pantry and to try to make some new items from scratch this week. With careful planning it can be done!

When making something new:
  • Have your mis en place in order (everything measured and cut)
  • Use your imagination
  • Try reading cooking blogs like Ruhlmans that makes things from scratch or KERF or other blogs.
  • Reread your kitchen's cookbooks.
  • Find out the right cooking technique for a stew (dutch ovens are amazing) or how to properly cook your recipe right then mess around later with adding on. A great item I learned to cook was steak and then salmon. Many times I will reread the recipe for a couple of days to learn the steps. Then, I don't have to rely on the recipe and can do it by memory later on.
What are some of your favorite empty fridge meals? There is a $5 Starbucks card to one lucky random commenter. Comments will be done by Friday, Dec. 16!!!


Ali said...

You are adorable. Nothing creative comes to mind right now, but you continue to inspire me.

Jessica Brown said...

quesadillas! tortillas + cheese + all kinds of things! random veggies? Lunch meat dregs? Spices? Salsa? Whatever. MM MM

Erin said...

Ali, I know you must have something that you like to cook--you do those once a month meals. That's awesome. Jess-right! I love quesadillas!

Keep the comments coming. :) ha.

Allison said...

Chicken noodles with carrots and celery (all stovetop), red beans and rice, soup, soup, soup - all homemade of course. Love the quesidillas idea!

Laura said...

pita pizzas! Let the kiddos pick their toppings. And I sometimes substitute hummus for tomato sauce. Erin you are so creative, I get hungry reading your blog :0)

Erin said...

Guys! Love it. Allison, did you ever do the small noodles and cut them up and act like they were the lipton noodles that come in the box?

Laura-great idea! Hummus or white bean dip would be awesome!

I was just thinking too that egg sandwiches are good to use up eggs or custard or quiche--which is actually really easy and not hard at all if you have a blender.

Erin said...

Jessie Ragain wrote that she was unable to post because of blogger but that she makes soups.

Julz said...

I do the quesadillas quite a bit now that I have my new quesadilla maker. Love it!

But when it seems there is nothing in the fridge and we need something quick, it is usually the ol' family staple inspired by my dad - fried egg sandwiches. :) Grilled cheese with a tomato is always good too!

LaRonda said...

Breakfast food of some kind. Eggs or homemade pancakes. Quesadillas are also at the top of the list.