In this week’s installment of sh*t that I make at home with food that I scavenge at work, I bring to you four--count 'em, four--success stories of clever, resourceful home-cooking. If you missed last week's adventures in the frugal yet undeniably awesome life of mine, you should probably get yourself up to speed.
This week in the Time Inc. Food Studios, I dug up:
- One (16-oz.) package of sealed, fresh ground chicken that had not yet reached it’s expiration date (this never happens–I have reached Nirvana)
- A bunch of fresh cilantro
- 1/2 of a ripe avocado
- Tomato paste that literally "expired" 10 days ago but it’s going in the take-home bag anyway
- A plastic zip-top bag of an unidentifiable white shredded cheese
- Two heads of Lacinato kale
- One yellow onion
- One small tub of Greek yogurt
Avocado Egg Salad
One of my first weeks of working here, I had to peel about 100 hard-boiled eggs, and the sulfuric, ghastly scent has forever stained my supple palms. That being said, it was an effective, hands-on (pun intended) learning experience in flawlessly removing the shells of hard-boiled eggs. In fact, for the first egg that I peeled to make this salad, the shell slipped right off in ONE PIECE. Such has never happened to me, so I took a picture of it. I needed more eyes than just my own to witness this feat of greatness.
For my avocado egg salad, loosely based off this recipe. I combined avocado, scallions, spicy brown mustard (from my own fridge), Greek yogurt, salt, and pepper in a bowl, and mashed this all up until it was creamy. Then, I simply tossed in my chopped hard boiled eggs, and mixed it all up with some chopped fresh cilantro. Yes, the eggs that I used were my own, but I love eggs so much that I have carefully mapped out a monthly egg budget because I tell myself that I am worth it. This was incredibly easy, and I offended everyone who I ate lunch with the next day. A true success.
A Veggie Frittata
I’ve also allotted some of my egg budget to go towards frittata-making. Even though I make frittatas most weeks because they are the ultimate “kitchen sink” dish for veggies that you don’t know what the f*ck else to do with, this week’s was especially noteworthy. This past week at Cooking Light, our Editor in Chief, Hunter Lewis, went on Facebook Live and made the most simple and delicious turmeric omelet with scallions and tomatoes. Needless to say, it was promptly scarfed down after the recording was over.
My fellow intern and I often try to take the cooking tips we learn from helping out with Facebook Live to our own kitchens, and we are sometimes successful (We also like to sing “I Wanna Be Like Hunter” to the tune of “I Wanna Be Like Kanye” when he graces us with his kitchen skills. I will surely perish if he should ever find this out). In attempt to mimic this eye-opening turmeric moment, I sautéed roughly chopped scallions and kale in extra-virgin olive oil and a heaping spoonful of turmeric (my spice caddy is more legit than I realized), then stirred this mixture into to a bowl of 8 beaten eggs. I baked this in an 8-inch square pan for about 20 minutes at 350°F. While nowhere close to Hunter’s omelet, it still made for an excellent breakfast for throughout the week.
To throw a wrench in last week’s meal prepping plans, I’d planned on going out of town this past weekend. To say that this made things slightly difficult is a gross understatement. Now, not only did I need to resuscitate food that's on the cusp of eternal spoilage, but I needed to also extend its life for an extra 4 days so that I have something to eat when I returned back home last night. Fortunately, I am what most would describe as a sorceress in the kitchen, and when saving money is the motivation, this nice Jewish girl will surely find a way.
With a package of ground meat and a need to freeze (in order to increase the longevity of my food), this situation overtly screams the exact same thing that I scream upon stepping outside on a frigid morning without wearing adequate layers and cold-weather accessories: CHILI!. I found this recipe and followed it as much as my wallet would allow. I went to the grocery store (this was right after hell froze over) and bought canned tomatoes, a jalapeño, and red peppers for my chili. Ringing up at $5.97, these ingredients already put me over my monthly grocery budget by $0.97, so I had worked up a mini sweat by the end of checking out. At this point, I had most of the ingredients that the recipe calls for, and my chili came out great. After tasting the mystery white cheese, I discovered that it was clearly shredded mozzarella. Although cheddar would have been ideal, beggars cannot be choosers and cheese is f*cking cheese.
The last meal I made before heading out of town was maybe my favorite of the week. I did my favorite thing, which is using the food I make out of salvaged ingredients from work, and then re-purposing the leftovers. Do you follow? Basically, I took about a cup of my chili, tossed it in a small skillet over low heat, then carved out a small divot in the center and cracked an egg into it. Behold, SHAKSHUKA!
I have eagerly awaited returning to the pride and joy of my freezer, chicken chili, as well as coming into work today, where I pray the giveaway shelf abounds with more goodies for me to play with in the coming days. Stay tuned.