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Gleaning the Cupboards & Evicting Tenants April 29, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Humor, Life Balance, Vegetarian Recipes.

IMGP3594bSometimes when cooking, we choose an appealing destination (e.g., a rustic veggie lasagna) and  figure out how to get THERE from HERE.

We purchase necessary ingredients, prep them, assemble them, and toss them in the oven to wait for enticing aromas to fill the house.

Other times, we start by assessing  which ingredients have been loitering about the kitchen long enough, then choose how best to combine them to get from HERE to THERE.

That’s what I did yesterday.

I gleaned the shelves of fridge and pantry, gathering ingredients to “evict” via evocative creations/concoctions.

My impromptu ingredient safari yielded:  5 onions (ready to bolt), 2 green bell peppers (starting to blush red), 1 small head of cabbage (that winked  when I opened the crisper), 1 cup of uncooked Quinoi  (humming “one is the loneliest number”), 1 cup green beans almondine (leftover from the previous evening), and 2 cups of oats (singing “mares eat oats and does eat oats and little lambs eat ivy . . . diddle-dee di-dee doo . . . wouldn’t you?”).

Not exactly enticing, eh?  And none of these “America’s Got Talent” hopefuls seemed a bit concerned with their fast-approaching expiration dates.

Undeterred, I combined these “lost & found” ingredients with a few staples to create four delicious and nutritious dishes ~ 2 sides and 2 entrees:

1.  I simmered the Quinoi in 2 cups of water for 15 minutes, seasoned it with salt, pepper, and a splash of extra virgin olive oil, and stirred in the cooked green beans almondine . . . almost instant Quinoi Pilaf!

2.  I chopped the cabbage, added grated carrots, and tossed with dressing (1/2 c. Miracle Whip, 3 Tbsp. sugar, and a splash of champagne vinegar) . . . cool and creamy Cole Slaw.

IMGP40963.  I chopped the onions and peppers and sautéed them in olive oil, using 2/3 of the mix to make a spicy Vegetarian Lecsó (with fire roasted tomatoes and spicy cayenne pepper).

4.  I used the rest of the peppers and onions to make Kidney Bean Burgers and a dozen meatless “meatballs.”

Kidney Bean Burgers

2 cups oats (rolled or quick), uncooked
16 oz. can kidney beans, drained & rinsed
1/4-1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 Tbsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/4 – 1/2 tsp. salt (or garlic salt)
1/8 tsp. fresh cracked black pepper
1/4 c. water
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 c. sautéed onions and peppers

Mix thoroughly and blend in food processor or Ninja.  (If mixture is too wet to shape into patties, add a bit more oats, 1 Tbsp. at a time.  If too dry, add a bit more water, 1 Tbsp. at a time.)  Chill.

Shape into 6-7 patties or 24-30 meatballs ~ or mix & match, making a few of each.   Burger patties and “meatballs” can be wrapped and frozen at this point.  Just thaw, before cooking.

To serve, sauté in a nonstick pan to heat and brown on all sides.

Note:  The original recipe called for 4 oz. black beans, 4 oz. chickpeas, and 4 oz. white beans.  Rather than opening 3 cans and using only 1/3 of each, I substituted one 16 oz. can of kidney beans.  I made a second batch using a 16 oz. can of black beans.

In a subsequent, highly untouted, non-scientific taste test, all test subjects prefered the kidney bean burgers to the black bean burgers.  The control group fled the scene when they learned we were having pommes frites (instead of French fries) with dinner.

Fooled ’em!   ;)

I also eliminated half of the suggested seasonings and ingredients from the original recipe because 21 ingredients is, at least, ten too many (except when I have house guests and want to hide in the kitchen for hours on end).

If you enjoy creating tedious and convoluted concoctions (or have house guests), consider adding:  1 tsp. jalapeno (mince it . . . mince it good) * 1 Tbsp. finely diced garlic * 1 Tbsp. chopped artichoke (seriously? who has 1 Tbsp. of artichoke sitting around?) * 2 Tbsp. chopped black olives * 1 tsp. dried oregano * 1/2 tsp. paprika * 1 Tbsp. fresh minced parsley * 1/2 tsp. red chili flakes * 1/4 tsp. ground sage * 2 Tbsp. seasoned bread crumbs * 1 egg (or egg substitute).

Hmm . . . maybe the original recipe evolved from gleaning cupboards, evicting tenants, and/or avoiding house guests?  ;)

Aah . . . that’s better!

More ideas:  Get Your Grains On (AgriGirl) * Tammy’s Top Ten Tips For Less Food Waste (AgriGirl) * Lazy Sunday ~ Leftover Edition (Rufus’ Food & Spirits Guide) * A Month of Meatless Meals * Six Word Saturday (Show My Face)


1. Stephanie - April 29, 2012

We used to make a “chili burger pate” that was pretty similar to your kidney bean recipe, but with mixed kidney, pinto, and black beans. Basically, you bake it in a shallow pan instead of shaping burgers and frying. Way easier, if not as delicious! Served with cornbread, of course.

I’m sure I’ve had 1 T of artichoke floating around. I probably just ate it off a spoon, though.

nrhatch - April 29, 2012

Ooh. . . thanks, Stephanie. Next time, I’m making this into a “meatless” meatloaf! 😀

The artichoke just made me laugh . . . how is 1 paltry Tbsp. of artichoke going to make its presence felt in the midst of all these other seasonings and ingredients?

2. cuhome - April 29, 2012

You’re an artist!!! I think of all those America’s Got Talents that have hit the garbage, not the saute pan, and I envy your creativity!!! Now I am hungry . . .

nrhatch - April 29, 2012

Thanks, Janet! This is my favorite ways to cook . . . start with ingredients that need to be used and figure out what to make with them. And it saves lots of money because we rarely end up wasting food (except for when the occasional experiment goes awry or runs amok).

3. Barefoot Baroness - April 29, 2012

Kudos You!! This is such a good thing to do, all should take heart.
I love to do this. I feel most creative and frugal at the same tie. I have a very willing test subject, sometimes more so than I even I. But then I knew what goes into the newly created dish.

nrhatch - April 29, 2012

Isn’t it FUN to create new concoctions? I often make soup to clean out the veggie drawer ~ it’s never exactly the same twice.

Tammy’s also got a great way to “use up tidbits of this and that” in her post today about Grains. And Greg and Katharine cleaned out their fridge with loaded baked potatoes.

4. sufilight - April 29, 2012

Ooh, this sounds good, Nancy! I am going to try the kidney bean burgers as I want to cut down on eating meat and hopefully encourage my s/o. I would love to see your meatless meatloaf recipe! Was smiling at your hiding in the kitchen, LOL.

nrhatch - April 29, 2012

Sometimes it’s overwhelming to cook for a crowd of house guests . . . other times, it’s a relief! 😉

I’m not sure how to make meatless meatloaf . . . yet.

I’ll probably start with this recipe (adding worchestershire and catsup), pack the mixture into a loaf pan, and bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. Maybe I’ll make a vegetarian gravy to pour over the top. With a side of smashed potatoes.

Ooh . . . I’m getting HUNGRY! 😀

Booksphotographsandartwork - April 30, 2012

You mean there is such a thing as vegetarian gravy?!!! Do tell.

nrhatch - April 30, 2012

I either make a light roux (flour and oil) and stir in a vegetarian bouillon cube (hydrated in water) or vegetable stock . . . or I heat the vegetable bouillon/stock and stir in a Tbsp. or two of cornstarch (mixed with cold water).

Simmer until thickened.

nrhatch - April 30, 2012

You could also make a gravy with red or white wine ~ blush wine might look a bit odd. 😉

5. CMSmith - April 29, 2012

Good for you! I’m going to learn how to cook like this when I grow up.

nrhatch - April 29, 2012

Let me know if you need any tips . . . after you grow up. 😀

6. kateshrewsday - April 29, 2012

My favourite kind of recipe, Nancy: inspired by what’s in the cupboard 🙂

nrhatch - April 29, 2012

It’s a great way to keep things from getting lost in the back of the fridge or buried on pantry shelves.

And it’s wonderful to know we’ve got burgers and meatballs in the freezer for a quick dinner . . . with French fries/ pommes frites/ or Brit chips! 😀

7. Jackie L. Robinson - April 29, 2012

I not only love your humor in this post, but also the innovative style of creating something from what seemingly isn’t a ‘meal.’ Sometimes these are the best. Did the very same thing myself yesterday and the result was D-licious! Can’t imagine having had the same success in my early years of cooking – if I can even call it that. Nice to be a bit more ‘seasoned’ and have some creativity in the kitchen. This was a pleasure to read. xo

nrhatch - April 29, 2012

Thanks, Jackie! I had fun writing this to describe what I “bagged” on my Safari.

Glad you ended up with D-licious results on your foray too! It is so much fun playing with food once we get the basics mastered.

8. Patricia - April 29, 2012

The burgers sound delish. Going to try some next week.

nrhatch - April 29, 2012

Bean Burgers are great to make, wrap, and freeze on the weekend for a quick mid-week dinner.

The first time I made them, I made a mini patty to fry up to see if the seasonings needed to be adjusted. At the time, I think I was debating whether to add the oregano or leave it out.

I can see so many ways to play around with the basic recipe to make Greek Burgers (with oregano, olives, and feta), Pizza Burgers (with italian seasoning, tomato, and mozzarella), etc.

Enjoy! If you come up with a new classic, let us know. 😀

9. You Were Born To Succeed - April 29, 2012

You are a clever girl. And your dishes sound delicious – reminds me of a line in a song, or could be a line in a song.

On another subject, I constructed a crystal healing grid for Tigger yesterday. This has worked very well for my cats and for various people, as well. Re cats: Fiona, whom I adopted 4 years ago, had bumps all over her skin when she first came to live with us – I mean all over. Made a grid for her, and 2 days later all bumps were gone. Skin completely smooth. Not to say that Tigger will respond the same way, but the energy is there for him, and he will respond in his own way. Good wishes for Tigger!

nrhatch - April 29, 2012

Thanks so much, Nancy! Please keep sending healing energy his way. 😀

Tigger is seeming more and more like his “old” (younger acting) self ~ more pep, more energy, more sass, more attitude, more playful. Could be the new diet, the antibiotics, or . . . good vibrations from YOU!

You Were Born To Succeed - April 29, 2012

My pleasure, and it’s all good! He’s getting bombarded with healing from all sides. I’ll keep the grid active indefinitely; certainly until he is completely recovered and has passed muster with his vet. I love doing this type of healing, not only because the recipient benefits, but also because I learn so much. Keep us posted, and thanks for the opportunity.

nrhatch - April 29, 2012

Thanks, Nancy! Having our little buddy “pass muster” with the Vet would be the best recipe ever! 😀

10. Pocket Perspectives - April 29, 2012

Nancy, this is hilarious… if I could add humor and banter like yours as I’m cooking, maybe I’d cook more often…..

nrhatch - April 29, 2012

Thank you, Kathy. Glad it provided a bit of a chuckle for you ~ I had FUN writing this account of my time in the kitchen.

But chopping all those onions was no laughing matter. 😉

11. Zen and Genki - April 30, 2012

Will definitely try the burgers, thanks!

nrhatch - April 30, 2012

Enjoy, Anne. Have fun playing around with the seasonings to suit you and yours. 😀

12. Tilly Bud - April 30, 2012

What a unique way of looking at recipes – getting from here to there. Perhaps, if I look at them like that, they might stop being so frightening 🙂

nrhatch - April 30, 2012

Some people pull out a recipe and shop for ingredients.
Others pull out ingredients and shop for a recipe.

I stumbled on the Bean Burger recipe while looking for ideas to use rolled oats ~ because every time I looked at the cannisters in the cupboard, I saw . . . Oatmeal Raisin cookies. 😉

13. bluebee - April 30, 2012

Ooooh, that Veg lecso is just the ticket for us Downunder now that we’re heading into winter – yum. Love quinoa, and cabbage is such a cheap, delicious, versatile and underrated veg – and it lasts. Very resourceful, Nancy, and thanks for the VL recipe 🙂

nrhatch - April 30, 2012

Yay! Hope you enjoy! My SIL introduced us to Lecso ~ she makes it with Hungarian sausage swimming in the paprika-seasoned broth.

If I don’t have Hot Hungarian Paprika on hand, I use Cayenne Pepper instead.

Using canned fired roasted tomatoes makes a delicious version, but it’s also great at the height of the summer when fresh tomatoes are falling over the vine.

14. thirdhandart - April 30, 2012

Thank you Nancy. I’m going to try making the Kidney Bean Burgers. Have you ever made the bean burgers using a can of chickpeas instead of the can of kidney beans? If so, did you like them? Never heard of a Ninja® before. I was picturing a person using ninja like moves to chop up vegetables. 😆

nrhatch - April 30, 2012

I haven’t made burgers with chickpeas (yet) because I love them so much (as hummus, falafel, or just sprinkled into salads) that they don’t stick around long in the pantry.

In contrast, I’ve never used kidney beans for much other than chili or 3 bean salad and thought it would be nice to find something else for them to do to earn their keep. 😀

The Ninja happened because we don’t have a blender and our food processor is older than our marriage, clunkier than clogs or crocs, and more cumbersome than the rest of our kitchen tools combined. The Ninja is small enough (and squat enough) to sit quietly on the counter until its services are required.


15. Booksphotographsandartwork - April 30, 2012

Fabulous recipes. I can’t wait to try the burger!!! The fewer ingredients the better for me. I have been throwing a can of chickpeas and corn toegther with maybe one other item. I like things fast and easy.

nrhatch - April 30, 2012

I love chickpeas “straight up” . . . definitely my favorite bean. I prefer kidney beans in chili or minestrone rather than “standing on their own” ~ but I do enjoy them in 3 bean salad.

I’m not intimidated by L~O~N~G recipes . . . but they seem more convoluted than necessary. So, I generally try to streamline them a bit before using.

16. suzicate - April 30, 2012

That flirty cabbage winked at you, that scoundrel!
Some of our best dishes have been composed of clearing the fridge and cabinets…love when we throw the creativity around in the kitchen…our tummies are rewarded big time!

nrhatch - April 30, 2012

I’ve always found cabbage rather . . . cheeky! 😆

Some of the best meals start with “extraneous” ingredients in need of adoption. Probably because we step out of our standard repertoire and expand our creativity.

17. Perfecting Motherhood - April 30, 2012

I love going through my pantry and make up new dishes with what I find. Those kidney bean burgers sound great. I’ll need to try them out.

nrhatch - April 30, 2012

Oh, good. Hope you and boys enjoy them! 😀

18. sweetdaysundertheoaks - May 1, 2012

Nancy when it comes to beans I am not a black bean lover so I really like your idea to use kidney beans and we love pinto beans at our house and I think they would make a great bean burger. I think I’ll give your recipe a try using the pintos!

nrhatch - May 1, 2012

I mix and match beans all the time in soups, salads, and casseroles, with good results ~ I expect these burgers would be GREAT with pinto beans. Definitely good seasonings for pintos!

19. jeanne - May 1, 2012

very creative! My husband is the creative cook…I prefer a recipe as a guide.

nrhatch - May 2, 2012

How FUN! I love it when BFF plans and cooks for us.

I use recipes as guides to creativity . . . rather than blueprints to re-creation. I don’t like baking for that reason ~ too many constraints.

20. eof737 - May 2, 2012

Oh you got me on the tenants. 😉

nrhatch - May 2, 2012

Tricky, eh? 😉

eof737 - May 2, 2012

Right… I kept thinking what about the tenants? And then got it. 😆

nrhatch - May 3, 2012

And, of course, that niggling question in the back of your mind . . . HOW did she evict them? With poison? 😯

21. Team Oyeniyi - May 5, 2012

WOW – they must have interesting classes in Law School back in your day! 😉

Well done!

I made a big pot (family sized) of lamb shank soup today. Normally that is made by cleaning our the fridge, just as you did. With my lot, there is never anything left to clean out, so everything was fresh from the market.

2 lamb shanks
5 potatoes
2 cups of beans
quarter cabbage
quarter small red cabbage
6 mushrooms
4 carrots
1 turnip
2 onions
1 red pepper
2 zucchini
tomatoe paste
hot chilli flakes

All finely chopped within and inch if their lives to stop “picking” when eating.

I forgot the pumpkin!

nrhatch - May 5, 2012

That’s a lot of chopping and dropping, Robyn! Soups and stews are wonderful ways to clean out the crisper drawer . . . for those of us who don’t live with 4 young appetites. 😀

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