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Cooking With What You Have

We are currently living in a confusing time where most of us cannot leave our homes.  At first, this sounds great, but then you are hit with reality.

You, and probably your spouse are working from home, and your kids’ school has canceled until next month, so they are home with you.  The kids are bored and hungry and are not afraid to tell you about it.  Pretty soon, you and your spouse are hungry too.

You either didn’t go to the grocery store to stock up, or you did, but all that was left were empty shelves.

Now you have no fresh groceries, a hungry family, and 30 minutes to get dinner on the table before everything falls apart, and you start pulling your hair out.  Don’t worry, try out these simple recipes with ingredients you probably already have.

Spinach and Cheese Strata

Courtesy of SmittenKitchen

Ingredients (Serves 6-8)

1 (10 ounce) package frozen spinach, thawed, squeeze of all excess liquid, and chopped
1 1/2 cups finely chopped onion (1 large)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
8 cups cubed French or Italian bread in 1-inch cubes (1/2 lb)
6 ounces coarsely grated Gruyère (2 cups)
2 ounces finely grated parmesan (1 cup)
2 3/4 cups milk
9 large eggs
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

  • Sauté onion in butter in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat until soft, about 5 minutes. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and nutmeg and continue cooking for one minute. Stir in spinach, remove from heat and set aside.
  • Spread one third of the bread cubes in a well-buttered 3-quart gratin dish or other ceramic baking dish. Top with one-third of spinach mixture and one-third of each cheese. Repeat layering twice with remaining bread, spinach and cheese.
  • Whisk eggs, milk, mustard and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper together in a large bowl and pour evenly over strata. Cover with plastic wrap and chill strata for eat least 8 hours or up to a day.
  • The next day, let it stand at room temperature for 30 minutes while preheating the oven to 350°F. Bake strata, uncovered, in middle of oven until puffed, golden brown, and cooked through, 45 to 55 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Tomato Soup with Bacon Grilled Cheese

Courtesy of Martha Stewart

Ingredients

1t EVOO

½ diced small yellow onion

1 minced garlic clove

Coarse salt and ground pepper

1 can (14.5 oz) whole peeled tomatoes, torn

1T heavy cream

2 slices bacon

2 slices sandwich bread

1 oz grated cheddar cheese

Fresh pesto or Salsa Verde (opt.)

  • In a small pot, heat oil over medium-high. Add onion and cook until translucent, 5 minutes. Add garlic, season with salt and pepper, and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds. Add tomatoes with juice and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer; cook until onions are soft, 15 minutes. Transfer to a blender with cream; puree until smooth. (Use caution when blending hot liquids: Remove cap from lid and cover opening with a dish towel.) Season to taste.
  • In a skillet, cook bacon over medium-high until browned and crisp, 10 minutes; drain on paper towels. Remove pan with fat from heat. Layer 1 bread slice with half the cheese, bacon, and rest of cheese; top with second bread slice. Return pan to heat. Cook sandwich until cheese is melted and bread is browned, 4 minutes, flipping once. Serve with soup, topped with pesto if desired.

State Fair Chili

Courtesy of Saveur

Ingredients  (Serves 8)

¼ cup canola oil

1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped

1 rib finely chopped celery

2 lb. ground beef

¼ cup chile powder

2T tomato paste

2T paprika

2t kosher salt

6 cloves finely chopped garlic

2 (28 oz.) cans whole, peeled, tomatoes, hand crushed

2 (15 oz.) cans kidney beans, drained

Ground black pepper

  • Heat oil in a 6-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and celery, and cook until soft, about 6 minutes. Add beef, and cook, stirring, until browned, about 25 minutes. Add chile powder, tomato paste, paprika, salt, and garlic, and cook, stirring, until browned, about 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, and bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring often, for 1 hour. Add beans, and cook, until thickened, about 30 minutes. Season chili with salt and pepper.

One Ingredient Ice Cream

Courtesy of Food52

Ingredients  (Serves 4-6)

1 bunch bananas

  • Peel bananas and cut them into small pieces
  • Freeze for just 1-2 hours on a plate or tray. (Or leave them in the freezer indefinitely — just let them thaw a little before making the ice cream.)
  • Blend, blend, blend in the food processor — scraping down the bowl when they stick.
  • Enjoy the magic moment when they turn into ice cream! Try mixing in other fruits, nut butters, or chocolate.
  • Freeze any leftovers and process again when ready to serve.