Your favorite frugal fellow is back, and she’s just as well fed as she was last week from all the miscellaneous food items that she’s collected at the Time Inc. Food Studios. I’m really starting to love this new chapter of my life where I solely feed myself with food that is selected at the discretion of forces beyond my control. Not only is this wildly liberating, but it’s cheap as hell, just like moi.
The food on the giveaway shelves of the walk-in pantry that I so graciously welcomed into the comforts of my humble kitchen last week included:
- 1 spaghetti squash
- 1 zucchini
- 1 bag of microwavable carrot, cauliflower, and parsnip mix
- A small hunk of Gorgonzola cheese
- 1 small container of green olives
- 2 eggplants
- 1 bag of broccoli slaw
- 1 small container of Greek yogurt
- 8 ounces of pork tenderloin (most people would be deterred by its expiration date, but not this girl)
- Some pancetta
And with these various foods, I bring you three success stories:
A Pancetta, Zucchini Ribbon, and Roasted Veggie Salad
If the descriptors for the name of this salad strike you as an odd, unlikely combination, well, that’s because they are. However, my choice to subsist off of food that is completely random and unpredictable has taught me a very important lesson: kitchen sink meals are more than likely going to be delicious. Just because you’ve never seen a combination of specific ingredients on Pinterest doesn’t mean that you can’t eat certain foods together. Don’t be afraid of putting X vegetable with Y cheese and Z meat. Just do it (#NotSponsored #YOLO). But seriously, if it tastes awful then you’ll know for next time, but truly abysmal combinations are few and far to come by.
Sure, there are some legendary food pairings that can’t be touched, and if you’ve got the ingredients, then do it up. However, adopting a “kitchen sink” mentality is, in my opinion, the most important way of thinking that a home cook can adopt. This will help create less food waste while letting you take more pride in the unexpected, creative dishes that you’re churning out. It may not look pretty or have an appetizing ring to it, but when it comes to salads and stir fries, there ain’t no shame in your kitchen sink game.
Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, let me tell you about this cluster-f*ck of a salad. I disregarded the directions on the microwavable carrots, cauliflower, and parsnips and roasted them instead because it’s my kitchen and I call the shots here. I shaved my zucchini into ribbons and salted them slightly so they’d lose their raw, crispy texture without becoming soggy and wet. Next, I tossed both of these veggie elements with some raw spinach, and then topped the whole extravaganza with crispy pancetta (a.k.a. bacon, but for rich people, a.k.a. ME this week) that I fried up in a skillet. The salty pancetta rubbed up on all the veggies, creating a dreamy, savory coating that tasted better and better with every bite. Wins all around.
Broccoli Stir Fry AND Slaw
The bag of broccoli slaw that I took was not in good health, and I felt it was my responsibility to give these vegetable shavings a new lease on life. I drove home just a little bit quicker that day, knowing that I had a bag of slaw that needed immediate medical attention. I am basically a certified EMT of vegetables. I split the bag in half, tossing one half in Greek yogurt, rice vinegar, and fresh herbs for a light “cole slaw” and stir frying the other half with chopped eggplant, sesame oil, and finished it with a little teriyaki sauce. I slept deep and sound that night, knowing that I salvaged what the kitchen professionals at work deemed to be unsalvageable. HA.
Spaghetti Squash with Pork, Gorgonzola, and Olives
This meal is the epitome of how I am still able to eat varied and exciting foods, despite the fact that I almost never go grocery shopping. I managed to score a raw pork tenderloin, and it’s food items like these that are too hard to pass up. I cubed it, sprinkled on some salt and pepper, and cooked the pork cubes in a skillet. I then added this to the spaghetti squash that we experimentally cooked in a slow cooker at work that day (don’t ask). To finish it off, I sprinkled everything with crumbled Gorgonzola cheese and briny green olives, this dinner was a rich and savory hit. Between the fancy olives and the swanky cheese, this was clearly the most expensive meal I ate all week. While I feasted like the Queen of Sheba, my roommate was telling me that she was concerned about not making rent this month. I took pity on her monetary concerns but could not relate as I was too busy chowing down on my fancy ass, pan-seared pork tenderloin dinner.
I then spent the weekend at my parents, where the fridge is always fully stocked and the home-cooking is done for me, so I’m feeling fairly #blessed right about now. Stay tuned for next week’s scavenging and resourceful cheffin’, as I’m back on my own dime and my own time.