Monday, March 7, 2016

Spring Cleaning Cuisine

March begins the start of the Spring cleaning season. It's a time to sift through the fridge freezer and pantry and toss out whatever you can to make room. However don't' be so trash happy Sometimes those foods can be used instead of being thrown out. Think of it as Spring cleaning cuisine.

Of course home chefs should check the dates of their canned foods. However most expiration dates usually have a three year window. You can easily use any canned food or  soup in  tonight's meal. If you overbought soups at your grocery's ten for one price sale, then repurpose them as sauces. Any cream based one, such as celery or mushroom can be a great sauce for a noodle casserole.Cans of tomato sauce will go into sauce but zing it up by adding a pinch of pepper  for arrabiata or better yet, make steak pizziola or chicken parm with it.Mix it with rice to create a form of spicy Mexican arroz.  with chicken or  shrimp.Canned veggies  can also have their turn. Canned corn, one of the most versatile can be turned into tasty salads with black beans and chopped fresh peppers or as a filling for tacos. One great idea is adding it to various soups such as potato to give it color and sweetness. Canned string beans are not only good hot but also cold in a summery  salad. Add chopped onions  along with just oil and vinegar for a vinaigrette dressing. The same for beets. Make a salad from those canned ones for a nice side with grilled steak or chicken.

Cleaning out the fridge and freezer is a whole other experience.  Soured milk is considered vile and instantly tossed into the garbage but hold on. It is useful.It can be used in making cheese as well as polishing silver.Glam girls can use it as part of a  homemade face mask.Smear it on ,let it dry then rinse it off. If you have any sour cream and it's still good, then use it in a variety of dishes. Try it to enrich casseroles as well as a sub in for ricotta in pastas.Sour cream also gives homemade coffee cakes an unbelievably rich crumb and density. It's also a good toppings for desserts too. Those mini dishes of leftovers , like leftover peas, carrots or broccoli can add some color to omelets. Toss in a cup of that still viable pepperoni and ham for a fun frittata.Any extra eggs can be hard boiled for egg salad. Give it a light   pinch of  tarragon to enhance the flavor. What about all those mysterious  foil wrapped packages? Probably left overs from the holidays.The meat is fine, whether it's turkey , chicken or ham. You can easily defrost it in the microwave and have it with gravy  or as part of a sandwich.

This is the time for Spring cleaning. However look at the food you;'re tossing out/If it's before the expiration date or still relatively good use it. Consider it a bonus of Spring cleaning your kitchen.

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