WOE Day #3; Alien Grain (Quinoa) and Scarcity Breeds Innovation

Over the past weeks Weston and I have made some super crafty and innovative meals that would have been perfect to show on WOE.  Weston idolizes Gordon Ramsey while I’m more of an Alton Brown girl myself.  Together we’re quite the pair when it comes to utilizing the week’s groceries.  Our weeks begin with an ample amount of fresh groceries and grand meal plans.  Baked chicken with caramelized onion and butternut squash one night, bacon sausage stuffed zucchini boats another.  As the week progresses we end up with all these leftover vegetables, a butt of zucchini, a butt of onion, and you guessed it, a butt of butternut squash (leftover quantities too small to make an entire meal out of on their own.)  If they’re not cooked before we leave for the weekend we return to vegetables that are less than inspirational to cook with.  The solution? Thursday night Hodge podge soups and stir frys.  If we don’t get around to eating the whole pot or wok before the weekend it’s okay because then we freeze it.  Take the example above:  I made a delicious soup by cooking lentils and split peas in thai stock and adding in our vegetable butts.  I put the remaining 1/4 tube of greasy browned bacon sausage to flavor the ENTIRE pot!  This meal was rounded out with *corny honey cornbread on a chilly day.

You’ve heard of the term, “Scarcity Breeds Innovation?”  Weston and I practice this daily.  Not because we’re “poor college students,” we actually eat quite well.  As I mentioned before, it doesn’t make much sense to have a lot of food when we eat “at home” on the weekends.  I’ve also realized that if our fridge and cupboards have a ton available, I personally experience a sense of urgency and obligation to eat it and eat it all!  If you’re like me and hate seeing food go to waste, it’s daunting to have more food than you can (or should) eat lying around.  So we try to keep just enough.

When a recipe calls for an ingredient that we don’t have, we get inventive.  For example, I would’ve never thought to put black-eyed peas our taco casserole last week if my black beans would have been pre-soaked (ready to use.)  It turned out really good.  Crushed Everything Crackers and Fiber One cereal are amazing in place of croutons on salad and cottage cheese/squash/(insert tomato product here) equals a lazy lasagna.  However, I never would have known that if we possessed all ingredients to make the real thing.  Additionally, we’ve been known to make mean homemade pizza (guess which half’s mine) and don’t get me started on our secret burger recipe!

Tuesday nights Weston makes dinner.  Last night we had breaded baked chicken, steamed broccoli, and the whole grain quinoa.  Quinoa is an ancient whole grain and one of the few non animal sources for complete protein.  Cooking quinoa always amazes me because at first the grains are yellow but then they become almost transparent and little sprout things seem to come out of nowhere!  I guess that’s a whole grain for ya, but I think quinoa is from outer space, like aliens and Halloween gourds! The nutty flavor, especially when just cooked, is so mild that it is almost nonexistent.  It’s blandness allows for spices, sauces, and dressings to be added without competing flavors.  Meaning, I could have made my helping of quinoa taste like anything I desired.  I could make it spicy with chili powder, hot sauce, or mustard; savory with garlic, ranch, or cheese; sweet with brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon or honey (more on honey tomorrow.)  So what did my quinoa taste like last night?  Quinoa.  Well…I forked my chicken with it.

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One Response to WOE Day #3; Alien Grain (Quinoa) and Scarcity Breeds Innovation

  1. Pingback: WOE #5; Healthy Substitutions | Life's Lemons

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