Thursday, February 7, 2008

Cooking Fun

Saturday found the chez with a wide array of leftovers. Mostly chicken in nature, but also a bowl full of sausage and kale chili, made by me. Additionally, Joe failed to consume the four baked potatoes his wife baked up with the weekly chicken roast. Go figure, he'd asked for them....

Keeping up with the resolution to purge the fridge once a week, there was a pile of food to be cleared out. But how frugal is that if it all gets thrown out? Well, not frugal at all -- unless one final mess of a meal is made to make use of it all. Enter the pot of junk stew that was dinner on Saturday night -- enough to feed all of us. There was also a lump of leftover pizza dough -- which beautifully doubles as the basis for a crispy loaf.

All of this was dumped into a pot (pictured here before it was set to simmer for a few hours), mixed with a can of diced tomatoes (opened, a few days prior, but not needed), a partial bottle of pizza sauce and the remnants of other dinners (a little bit of the rissotto from earlier in the week, some errant chicken stew, etc.). We thinks of this as "composting for consumption."

I made up a delcious batch of chicken and asparagus alfredo on Thursday night. The meal looked good, was kind of "upscale," and cost perhaps four dollars to make (and it served up lunch the following day). The ingredients were: left over chicken bits, half a bunch of white asparagus, half a package of Knorr alfredo mix, a cup of low fat milk, 3/4 cup chicken stock and a sprinkling of assiago cheese. A couple of tablespoons of the special Norwegian cheese (brought back from a trip by a flight attendant friend) made the dish really pop.

The meal was quite "light" for alfredo -- even the asparagus were white! I managed to cut some fat out by using the powdered mix instead of heavy pre-made alfredo sauce in a jar. The mix is far cheaper than using "real" cheese. Because it could me mixed with regular 1% milk, it wasn't one of those "heart attack on a plate" meals.

I simply sauteed up the asparagus with some EVOO and the butter (very salty), added the chicken, stock, milk and then the powdered mix, with a good shake or two of dill. It was all stirred well and allowed to reduce/thicken a bit. A generous sprinkling of Assiago cheese added and then it was all tossed with the cooked noodles, topped with freshly ground pepper.

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