The Poorman's Meal #Sponsored by OXO

A few weeks ago I talked about how to regrow green onions using nothing but leftover onions, a glass, and some water. It's a great way to stretch things a little further in kitchen and hardly requires any work at all. Today I thought it was time for my next tip: how to reduce kitchen waste, especially from produce that isn't being used up quickly enough.

Let's face it, we've all been there. Sometimes you have an over abundance of food from the garden or a recent shopping trip and sometimes you just plain forgot you had something and it's starting to look a little sorry. I frequently find myself in this situation, so every other week I make a dish I've always known as The Poorman's Meal. I'm sure it has a billion and one other names, but that's what I've always known it as, so we'll just keep the name for now (even though it's probably not politically correct.)

This dish consists of whatever odds and ends I have on hand that are starting to get old. In our case it's usually some really wrinkly bell peppers, onions and potatoes that have started sprouting, and the last sausage in the package that I've forgotten to use up. The nice thing about this meal is that there is no recipe. I've seen it made with green beans and bacon instead of sausage and peppers, you just toss whatever leftovers you have in a skillet, cook them up, and season it with a little salt, pepper, and garlic. This meal couldn't possibly be easier and it's a great way to reduce your kitchen waste while spending only a trivial amount of time actually cooking. 

Don't forget to keep reading after the recipe for a quick review of a great tool from OXO that will help you on your quest to reduce waste in your kitchen. 

Want more tips for using up your leftovers? Make sure to check out our posts for Southern-Style Sawmill Sausage Gravy (to use up expired milk) and Banana Split Bread (for brown bananas.)

DISCLOSURE:  Today's post was sponsored by OXO as part of Chef’s Mandoline Slicer 2.0 Campaign, through the blogger outreach program. They have provided me with a mandoline for evaluation, but no other compensation was given for this post. 

DISCLOSURE: Today's post was sponsored by OXO as part of Chef’s Mandoline Slicer 2.0 Campaign, through the blogger outreach program. They have provided me with a mandoline for evaluation, but no other compensation was given for this post. 

The Poorman's Meal
makes approximately 3 servings

Ingredients

1 tablespoon salted butter
1 large potato, cut into ¼ inch thick slices
1 bell pepper, sliced
1 small onion, sliced
6 - 8 ounces sausage (I use Andouille)
sea salt, black pepper, and garlic, to taste

Directions

  • In a saucepan melt butter. Add sliced potato, bell pepper, onion, and sausage. Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, flip the potatoes so they brown on both sides, then cook for an additional 10 - 15 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender. Season with sea salt, black pepper and garlic powder before serving.

Notes

If you find you're out of one of the ingredients listed, try substituting the missing ingredient for something you do have. I've seen this made in a number of different ways and it's always been tasty. If you want a real treat, trying making it with maple sausage links instead of the andouille, fry or scramble some eggs, then serve it as breakfast for dinner. This is one of those meals that's tasty any time of the day.

OXO Chef's Mandoline 2.0 | Not Starving Yet

Review

 

OXO Good Grips Chef's Mandoline Slicer 2.0:

When I talk about reducing waste in the kitchen the first thing that springs to mind for most people is food waste. The simple truth is this: most people toss a good portion of the groceries they purchase each week. Often times it's leftovers that have gone uneaten or produce that has spoiled before it could be used. This translates into a lot of money that goes straight into the landfill. This wasted food and money is one of the reasons I make sure to incorporate dishes like the poor mans's meal into our menu rotation frequently—it cuts down on one form of the waste I frequently see in our kitchen.

Now I want to give you a little food for thought—food isn't the only thing that people waste when they're cooking. Time is another thing that is frequently wasted, but it's not something most people stop to consider.

If you're anything like me then you've probably wasted plenty of time standing at the fridge wondering what to cook. You've also likely wasted time searching for missing ingredients in your disorganized pantry or making last-minute trips to the store because you've discovered half way through a recipe you're missing a key ingredient. Anyone who has cooked a meal has been there, but what you may not realize is that you've also been wasting time by using tools that aren't quite up to the job at hand. This may sound like common sense, but having the right tool for the job can save a lot of time and that extra 15 minutes you save by using a more efficient tool can make the difference between a home cooked meal and ordering takeout for the third night in a row because you're too tired to cook.

That said, I've actually been a naysayer when it comes to using some of these time-saving tools in my kitchen. I don't have a large kitchen, so every tool I own needs to be a multi-tasker and it needs to perform well. To date I've not had a good experience with using a mandoline as the one I've own for years is a bit of a heath-hazard. The blade is always falling out and at one point took a huge chunk out of my hand that resulted in a trip to urgent care. Early in our marriage my poor husband came home to an unlocked apartment with a trail of blood leading clear across it, then discovered I was no where to be found. I was at urgent care receiving nearly 15 stitches while he wondered how an axe murdered got into the apartment.

After that I tucked the mandoline away and went back to using a knife, which works well for most tasks, but it's not always the most efficient way to cut up a huge pile of potatoes or vegetables (especially if you want them thinly and evenly sliced.) 

When OXO offered to send me the new version of their chef's mandoline I was curious to see how it differed from the model I had from their competition. The first change I noticed is that the blades are permanently stored in the mandoline, you'll still need to slide them out to adjust the type of cut you want, straight or crinkle, but they're locked in to place firmly and won't fall out. Even fine-tuning the thickness of your slices is simple—there's a red slider bar that adjusts in 0.5-mm intervals allowing a paper thin cut or something thicker like I used for today's recipe. You can even make julienne, waffle, and French fry cuts with the turn of a knob. The easy adjustment knob and the blades that stay put solved the two biggest pet peeves I had when using a mandoline. It was incredibly easy to set the thickness I want and produce a pile of potatoes that were uniform in size and therefore cooked evenly.

A mandoline may not be for everyone, but there are certain times when using one is much faster—especially if you have a huge pile of potatoes, zucchini, squash, or onions that you need to cut into uniform slices. If you find yourself performing this task on a regular basis, then it's definitely a time saving tool you may want to consider for your kitchen. 

Where to Purchase


OXO Good Grips Chef's Mandoline Slicer 2.0: Find it on Amazon or purchase it directly from OXO

Disclosure


This post contains my Amazon affiliate links. I try to keep advertising unobtrusive and to a minimum in order to provide you with the best experience possible. Purchases made through these links provide me with a small income and ensure I can continue providing you with quality content.

Today's post was sponsored by OXO as part of the Chef’s Mandoline Slicer 2.0 Campaign through the blogger outreach program. They have provided me with a mandoline for evaluation, but no other compensation was given for this post. 

Our Thoughts on Hello Fresh #NotSponsored

I've had a lot of people ask me about meal services and my Facebook feed has been inundated with people talking about their experiences, so I decided it was time to try them out—starting with Hello Fresh (since they had an awesome Black Friday deal this year.)  

Though we frequently post sponsored content, today's post has not been sponsored by Hello Fresh (just in case you were wondering)

Though we frequently post sponsored content, today's post has not been sponsored by Hello Fresh (just in case you were wondering)

Ordering
 


The process was straight forward, you have three plans to choose from: Classic, Veggie, or Family. Then you'll need to select how many people you're cooking for (options were 2 or 4), how many meals you'd like delivered, and your delivery date

I opted to go with the veggie plan. My little guy is a self imposed vegetarian, so I knew anything with meat wasn't going to pass muster with him, but I could always add a protein source if anyone else wanted one. I actually opted for that route with one of the meals to stretch the meal a little further so I had lunch for the next day.

Hello Fresh Menu 12/2 - 12/8

What's in the box?

 

Two blocks of ice, a frozen food bubble bag (to help keep things cool), a reusable recipe book, and three meal kits from the veggie plan: Protein-Packed Rice Bowl, Pesto Flatbread (aka Posh Pizza), and Jamie's Easy-peasy Tomato Tagliatelle with Asparagus, Fresh Basil & Parmesan.

Each meal comes in its own separate box so there is no confusion about which ingredients are used in a particular recipe. If you happen to be allergic to (or don't particularly enjoy) one of the ingredients in a recipe it's easy to remove it and substitute something else.

Protein-Packed Rice Bowl
 


Time it took to prepare and cook: 30 minutes (as listed on meal card) 
Quality of ingredients: Excellent
Any trouble with this recipe? Yes. The recipe called for sesame seeds, but they were missing from my box.
Picky kid approved? Yes. He ate my entire serving plus part of the leftovers. 
Would I make this again? No. This is a bland, but serviceable meal. It's real downfall is that it's exactly how I made fried rice when I was in college and couldn't afford to order takeout.

Pesto Flatbread

 

Time it took to prepare: 30 minutes (as listed on meal card)
Quality of ingredients: Excellent
Any trouble with this recipe? No
Picky kid approved? Yes, in fact he ate most of my share too.
Would I make this again? Absolutely, this was my favorite meal in the box.

Tomato Tagliatelle

 

Time it took to prepare: 25 minutes (as listed on meal card)
Quality of ingredients: Good. The basil arrived slightly discolored, which is likely because it was shipped on ice and got too cold (basil is very temperature sensitive.) It didn't affect the final dish at all.
Any trouble with this recipe? No, but I felt like it needed more salt.
Picky kid approved? Mostly. He picked out the larger asparagus pieces and ate the smaller ones. To be fair, that may have been because his two front teeth were loose. 
Would I make this again? Yes, this is a quick and easy meal I can make from items I generally have on hand.

Added bonus

 

I had a little bit of produce leftover from two of the meals (half a zucchini and half a can of corn) which I used as side dishes later in the week.

 

How to Cancel


Hello Fresh makes cancellation easy, although it is a multi-step process with a survey at the end. The nice thing is that you also have the option to have a box delivered bi-weekly, monthly, or even pause your subscription (in case you're heading out on vacation.) Otherwise you click on No Thanks and either cancel right away or schedule one last delivery. 

After I cancelled my subscription I did not receive another delivery, although I do still get emails from Hello Fresh. You'll need to unsubscribe from those separately if you no longer want to hear about the service.

My Thoughts

 

Meal services such as this really have a lot going for them and I see why they appeal to such a large number of people. You really can't beat the convenience of having everything you need delivered to your door, requiring minimal work on your part to ensure you have a tasty and healthy meal on the table in under 45 minutes. 

If you're always pressed for time and struggle to get a healthy meal on the table every night, then a service like this can be a blessing. It's also great if you find yourself stuck in a rut, always fixing the same handful of things. You'll have three new meals to try out and if you like them you still have the recipe cards so you can make them again.

The problem is, you really pay a premium for the convenience. Three meals at full price would have set me back $59 (and considerably more for the other plans.) To put that in perspective, I spend slightly more than that a week to feed our family 3 meals a day plus snacks (my budget for the entire month is around $400.) The price isn't something I could afford on a regular basis, but that doesn't mean I wouldn't use the service again.

There are a number of instances where I could see myself ordering again, not just for myself, but for someone else. This would make a great gift for a recent graduate, young professional, or busy mom (especially one who's recently had a baby.) I'd even consider subscribing again if I went on vacation and had a kitchen to cook in so I wouldn't have to spend part of my vacation obsessing over what to feed everyone.  

Have you tried Hello Fresh or another meal service? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Prosciutto and Green Onion Cheeseball #Sponsored by @carnivoreclub

Earlier this year I made an off-handed comment to my Grandmother that I wish I had more family recipes to cook from. I have the handful that she was willing to write down, but things like my great-aunt’s cheeseball or the taco salad I loved so much when I was a kid were doomed to be nothing but distant memories since the family members who made them had already passed on.

In a moment of clarity, which is rare these days considering that my Grandmother is in the advanced stages of Alzheimer’s, I received a much-needed little tidbit—she had a copy of the cheeseball recipe. It was on a notecard, in a folder, in the back of a cabinet, near the fridge.

The downside is that it's been several years now since her house was sold, I couldn't just pop over and start digging through her kitchen. Then I remembered that I had taken two mementos when she moved: a set of framed photos of my grandparents in their younger days and a stack of papers in a crumbling manilla folder which I'd found in that exact spot.

It was full of recipes clippings that looked interesting, so I took it home to dig through later and had yet to take a closer look. Knowing it was still siting in my old bedroom six hours away I called my mom to set her on the enormous task of searching for the missing notecard. She found the long-lost cheeseball recipe and in a stroke of luck I had several packages of prosciutto sitting in my fridge which had been part of the December Carnivore Club box. 

This may have been a rough year, but the final few days brought me my favorite recipe from my childhood and a box of meat to help me recreate it. I couldn't have asked for a better end to 2016. Happy New Years everyone!

Today's recipe was sponsored by Carnivore Club who has provided me a box of incredibly tasty meats from LA QUERCIA in Norwalk, IA. No other compensation was given for this post, but it does contain affiliate links.

Today's recipe was sponsored by Carnivore Club who has provided me a box of incredibly tasty meats from LA QUERCIA in Norwalk, IA. No other compensation was given for this post, but it does contain affiliate links.

Great-Aunt Helen's Prosciutto and Green Onion Cheeseball
makes 8 servings

Ingredients

¾ cup chopped walnuts, toasted
16 ounces cream cheese, softened
3 green onions (6 - 8 shoots, green part only), diced
3 ounces prosciutto, finely chopped
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

Directions

  • In a skillet, set over medium-high heat, toast the walnuts until they have darkened slightly (approximately five minutes.) Stir the nuts frequently so they don't burn, then set the toasted nuts aside to cool. 
  • In a mixing bowl combine cream cheese, green onions, prosciutto, and Worcestershire sauce. Mix well (you can use a stand mixer to speed things up), then turn the cream cheese mixture out into a plastic wrap lined bowl. Cover the cream cheese mixture with plastic wrap, then shape into a ball.
  • Before refrigerating roll the ball in toasted walnuts, re-wrap in plastic wrap, and allow to chill for at least two hours (but preferably over night.) 

Notes

In case you were wondering we used LA QUERCIA's Berkshire Prosciutto in our cheeseball. It has a mild flavor, which makes it a great choice for a cheeseball.

This recipe is flexible, so feel free to double it or cut it in half as needed. It's the perfect quick and easy treat to bring along to a party or family gathering.

Make sure to keep reading for a full review of the December Carnivore Club box

Today's recipe was sponsored by Carnivore Club who has provided me a box of incredibly tasty meats from LA QUERCIA in Norwalk, IA. No other compensation was given for this post, but it does contain affiliate links.

Today's recipe was sponsored by Carnivore Club who has provided me a box of incredibly tasty meats from LA QUERCIA in Norwalk, IA. No other compensation was given for this post, but it does contain affiliate links.

What's in the Box?


The December box included five delicious offerings from LA CUERCIA in Norwalk, IA

Berkshire Prosciutto
Speck Americano (applewood smoked prosciutto)
Prosciutto Picante (with fennel and red chili)
'Nduja (spicy prosciutto spread)
Spicy Borsellino Salami (with pimenton and red chili)


Review

 

Some days the stars align and meat magically appears on your doorstep. It's a wonderful feeling, even more-so when that meat happens to be the one ingredient your mother recently told you she remembered from a long-lost recipe you'd been lamenting over. This is how I felt when I opened the December Carnivore Club box and saw it was filled mostly with prosciutto from my go-to meat company LA QUERCIA. When I put together an antipasto plate or charcuterie board it's usually with coppa, prosciutto, and salami from LA QUERCIA (by way of our local Hy-Vee Supermarket.)

Fortunately the box was made up of a number of options our local store doesn't stock, so I got to munch happily on some new-to-me varieties as I set about recreating the cheeseball of my childhood memories using the Berkshire Prosciutto. It has a very mild flavor, which makes it a perfect for times you don't want your meat to be the dominant flavor. The Speck Americano, which is smoked and Prosciutto Picante, which is rubbed with fennel and red chili have a more pronounced flavor, so I used them on a cheeseboard alongside a selection of local cheddars and potter's crackers. Sometimes the best advice to putting together a winning cheeseboard is K.I.S.S (keep it simple stupid).

As my husband says, those are sound words to live by.

I was excited to see some 'Nduja included in the box as well. It's a spicy sausage spread that I'm only familiar with because of Carnivore Club. It tasty on top of a fresh baguette or crackers, but I've been used it several times to create a spicy tomato sauce to top some fresh pasta. I've been told it's also excellent as a pizza topping so if we have any left that's next on my list of things to try.

Last but not least was the Spicy Borsellino Salami. It's flavored with pimenton and red chili, which gives it a nice kick without being overly spicy. It's another meat I feel that the K.I.S.S principle applies, it's perfect with a slice of baguette, a bit of cheddar, or even on its own.

Would I order this again? Absolutely! I was excited to see my go-to brand featured in the box this month. It gave me a chance to try a few things our local stores don't carry.
 

Price


Pay as little as $50/month with a recurring subscription (monthly, bi-monthly, and quarterly plans available) with a three month minimum or purchase a single box for $55. 
 

Where to Subscribe

For a limited time you can Save 10% off your order from Carnivore Club using coupon code EATMEAT Offer valid through 1/31/17

Disclosure


Today's recipe was sponsored by Carnivore Club who has provided me a box of incredibly tasty meats from LA QUERCIA in Norwalk, IA. No other compensation was given for this post, but it does contain affiliate links.

 

 

 

Microwave Scrambled Eggs #Unprocessed

Most of my days start off the same way—with a strong cup of something highly caffeinated and Icelandic-style yogurt topped with homemade granola. I rely on the jolt of caffeine and sugar to get me going and chase off the black cloud that hangs over my head early in the day. I am not a morning person, a fact I've mentioned numerous times, and just to be safe you're best off not talking to me before noon.

You have been warned.

I realize this isn't the healthiest way to start my day, so one of my goals this month has been to diversify my breakfast choices. My goal is to eat less sugar, more protein, and perhaps toss the occasional veggie in there for good measure. I was wracking my brain for easy ideas when I realized I was overthinking the matter. All I needed to do is go back to the beginning, one of the first things my mother taught me how to cook was microwave scrambled eggs. It's the perfect meal for anyone unable to start the day off gracefully (or in my case, isn't inclined to start the day at all.)

Does my mother know me well or what?

This recipe is so simple I never thought to share it with you before, but a few recent conversations made me change my mind. I was operating under the assumption that most people relied on microwave scrambled eggs to eat a cheap and healthy meal when they were pressed for time. It's been a staple in my household for years, but after talking to my house guests over Labor Day I realized that most of my friends likely survived their late nights of "studying" by skipping breakfast or chowing down on cereal as they ran out the door. They didn't know you could make perfectly fluffy scrambled eggs in the microwave in under 2 minutes.

I guess they didn't grow up with a Microwave Mama like I did (hi mom!) 

We've teased my mom endlessly over the years about her love of the microwave, but her cooking methods only reinforced that it was possible to have a nutritious meal on the table without having to resort to a heat and eat box. This is a lesson I took to heart, even if I did spend many a morning eating cold pizza as I scrambled out the door (don't judge, it was college after all, and I do love pizza.) 

This recipe may be simple, but it's proof that eating a healthy, unprocessed breakfast doesn't need to be time consuming. It's also a great recipe to use with children of all ages. I've never met a kid that didn't love to crack eggs or take over the tedious task of stirring. These days my pre-schooler wakes up wanting to make his mama breakfast, which brings a smile to my face every single time.

Microwave Scrambled Eggs | Not Starving Yet

Microwave Scrambled Eggs
makes 1 serving

Ingredients

2-3 large eggs
2 tablespoons smoked gouda, shredded
top with fresh chives, salt, and pepper, to taste

variations to try

Florentine: Spinach, green onion, and fire roasted tomatoes
Southwest: black beans, bell pepper, sweet corn, and pepper jack
Italian: Italian sausage, fire roasted tomatoes, and mozzarella
Farmer's: Ham, bacon, sausage, and cheddar
Irish: Hash browns, corned beef, and swiss cheese
Lazy: Skip the chives and use Penzey's Fox Point Seasoning instead

Directions

  • In a microwave safe mug or bowl, add all of the ingredients, then give everything a good stir. Be careful not to overfill the mug, the eggs will double in size and can run over the top.
  • Microwave uncovered for 30 seconds. Stir ingredients, then continue to cook in 30 second increments until eggs are fully cooked. Keep in mind that cooking time can vary widely from mug to mug. It's best to keep a close eye on these the first few times you make them.
  • Top with chives, salt, and pepper before serving. Enjoy!

Notes

If you decide to try out some of the variations, keep in mind that you'll want to pre-cook ingredients like bacon or sausage before adding it to the eggs as it may not cook fully in the microwave. 

Instead of using a coffee mug or bowl I prefer to use This Soup Dish from Good Cook. The handle doesn't heat up even after two minutes in the microwave. You can pick up the red dish on Amazon, or check your local grocery store where you'll likely find them in a variety of colors (I have them in black, blue, and purple.)

Disclosure

This post contains my Amazon affiliate links. I try to keep advertising unobtrusive and to a minimum in order to provide you with the best experience possible. Purchases made through these links provide me with a small income and ensure I can continue providing you with quality content.