Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Trying to use what I have

I'm not a fan of New Year's Resolutions. I'm especially not a fan of the hordes of people who did make them now crowding up my gym. But I will admit the start of a new calendar year is not a bad time to think about how to improve one's life. So, call it what you will. Food-wise I'd really like to reduce waste. This means eating all leftovers or re purposing them and also creating recipes around unused ingredients from other dishes and items from the pantry and fridge. So, in the spirit of, I bring you a dinner made from ingredients I already had in the kitchen. These recipes are all a little loose to give you options to use what you have.

Deer Meatloaf

Yes, we're still working away at the deer meat in our freezer. So instead of using the traditional beef or pork-veal-beef mixture, a deer-loaf it was.

approximately 24 ounces ground deer
1 1/2 cups grated onion
1 cup breadcrumbs soaked in 1/2 cup milk (any kind) until milk is absorbed
2/3 cup ketchup (or bbq sauce or a mix)
a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce
1 cup chopped fresh parsley (plus any other herbs you might have, I used a few tablespoons of thyme)
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x5 inch loaf pan with Pam or other cooking spray. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, using your hands to completely mix (this is really the fun part). Press meat mixture in loaf pan and place in oven, uncovered. Bake approximately 1 hour or until meat pulls away from sides of pan or thermometer read 160 degrees. Pour of excess fat and let sit for 15 minutes before slicing and serving.

Roasted Potatoes and Red Onions

I've never roasted my potatoes with red onions before, but that's what I had. And it was serendipity as they brought a great sweetness to the dish.

Rinse potatoes (I had yukon golds) with skins on and cut into bite-sized chunks. Peel and cut onion into equal amount of chunks. Place in a single layer in oven-safe dish or baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. Bake with meatloaf for approximately 45 minutes or until potatoes brown, stirring a few times while baking with a heat-resistant spatula.

Simple Salad

It often feels like a race to finish fresh vegetables before they go bad. A good solution is a chopped salad. I chopped one Romaine Heart into bite-sized chunks, rinsed in a colander and dried. Then tossed with crumbled feta and dressing (leftover from New Year's Eve Dinner)

The result: a balanced meal and leftovers of leftovers. Of course.

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