Authors: tABLE health
Going grocery shopping can be exhausting. Between making a list, carving out the time, doing the actual shopping, waiting in line and then finally unloading and putting away the food we are often times too tired to cook or prepare anything when we are done! Enter a scraps and bits meal to make life easier.
While a leftovers meal combines all of your cooked food from the past few days, a scraps and bits meal encourages you to use the leftover raw or plain foods you have with a few pantry and fridge staples to create an interesting and otherwise impossible meal (and avoid a third trip to the grocery store in five days). For example, I recently had an excess of leftover cooked kabocha squash. I also happened to have some milk and mozarella cheese that was on its way out, so I combined it with onions, some dried herbs and lasagna noodles I had on hand and made a delicious and low fat squash lasagna. If you follow just a few simple steps and guidelines I promise that weekly scraps and bits meals are within your reach.
Make three lists of what you have . Make nne list for raw ingredients (zucchini halves, plastic bags of diced onion, frozen wild salmon, spare ounces of goat cheese), one for basic cooked ingredients (steamed brown rice, grilled chicken pieces) and one list for pantry items (diced tomatoes, canned beans, vinegar, etc). If you need help with the pantry part, we’re posting on that in a few weeks!
Think about the food groups. Consider which of the items you have on hand are proteins, which are starches, and which are veggies. Choose one or two from each that are basic enough to go well with lots of flavorings.
Salad and soup are always good. When you’re stymied by what to make, consider a quick salad or soup- most things go well in either one or the other and they are healthy and delicious!
Don’t be afraid. Bits and scraps meals require you to generally go without a recipe and create a meal on the fly. I promise that you can do it and it won’t be nearly as bad as you fear it could be. Just taste your food as you go and that you can always make a dish saltier, spicier or more flavorful…making it less seasoned definitely presents more of a challenge.
Remember Cooking basics. You don’t need any fancy techniques to make a bits and scraps meal, you just need to be able to saute, steam, roast, grill and pan sear in order to create culinary magic. Check this out for a refresher on some of those methods.
Season it up. Use different spice and flavor profiles to turn your ingredients that would otherwise go to waste into an ad-hoc, impromptu culinary masterpiece. Check out our next post for a comprehensive flavor pairing list!
For some inspiration, check out my ingredients and latest bits and scrap meal below!