Cooking in the time of Covid -19: Throw together something on a Tuesday

I got to a point in this lockdown where I was almost at the end of grocery supplies and I was grabbing things that needed to be finished off from the fridge and their containers recycled or thrown out. I call these ingredients  the lingerers.   

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The first lingering thing I saw in the fridge was a radler. I like radlers but the fact that there are 3 in the fridge is an obvious indication that I am not a drinker. I have occasional gin and tonics, pretty tropical drinks, bloody ceasars and radlers but I can count the number of drinks I have in a year pretty much on one hand. That’s just me and I don’t really care what anyone else thinks. But on Throw Together Tuesday I figure I’ll drink this while I cook and get serenaded by Alexa.

Ok, what’s next. Ah…I found a lone can of red kidney beans at the back of the pantry, on it’s side, just pushed over, most likely when we were looking for another ingredient or when younger inhabitants re-stock our shelves. The can was almost a casualty of overcrowding. Now to the fridge. What have we here? Balsamic vinegar dressing  – about an eighth of a bottle. Ok, what can I do with these? How about drain and rinse the beans, thinly slice a clove of garlic, chop the sliver of onion from the fridge and lets throw them in a saucepan with the balsamic vinegar dressing and let’s add some Himalayan salt and some fresh ground pepper.

    

I let the mixture simmer for a bit on medium heat, added in the beans, stirred to make sure they were all coated with my concocted brew, before covering and reducing the heat to low.

  Earlier this morning, I realized I had one more bag of seasoned chicken in the freezer.with this being cooked and consumed today, chicken is on the grocery list for tomorrow. I want to make it quickly and easily without using oil that causes the lingering smell of fried chicken in the house (and you know this recipe is all about ridding the kitchen of lingering anything). So, I am going to use my Tefal “air-fryer” and fry 6 pieces at a time for 30 minutes. While that cooks I am going to rummage through the vegetable crisper in the fridge. I am in constant battle with myself to use up all the vegetables I buy. I lose my mind when a half used cucumber or half a bell pepper goes soggy and floopsie. Its a waste of money, and more importantly, a waste of food. I was raised not to waste either. I found 1/4 bag of carrots and some red, yellow and orange sweet peppers (bell peppers) and smidgen of bottle of maple syrup (about 2 tablespoons worth). Let’s see what I can do with that.

I found a couple pinches of dried oats and a handful of salted sunflower seeds in a little baggie in one of the kitchen cupboards. So to counteract the sweetness of the maple syrup, I stirred in the oats and the nuts and stuck it in the oven for 25 minutes at 350 F. The result was a nice blend of sweet and salt that glazed the veggies to perk up the meal.

I served the finished meal with a side salad of mixed greens. And there you have it, a meal thrown together with lingering ingredients that needed to be used up. The alternative was them going to waste. Now I have the time to really look at what I have, use it all and make grocery lists as I deplete ingredients, I have saved money, reduced my time at the grocery and realized that the cooking skills I have acquired from my family have allowed me to be creative while feeding my family nutritious, satisfying and tasty meals. We all have to stay home, keep our distance and stop the spread of a terrible pandemic. We can all get organized, we can all use our creativity and flare and daring. I have learned to let cooking centre me, relax me and give me time to think, solve problems, strategize, pray, and put a smile on my face when I remember learning to make meals with my mother and later my sister, and now I am doing the same thing with my husband and my son. With every meal, we make a new a memory and to me that’s pretty comforting. Stay home. Stay safe. Stop the spread and make memories. Let’s take what we have discovered about ourselves now with us when we transition to safer, healthier times. ~Daniella and family.

 

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