5.02.2012

A Fun Addiction

I am going to be totally honest with you; I have a food addiction. I love buying food. I also love to cook, but I often cook larger portions than what I can eat, then I feel like I have to eat it, because god forbid any of it go to waste...but I want to cook something different, so I need more space... So I am constantly buying food, making food, giving food away and eating food in an effort to have room in the fridge (and freezer) to fit new food. Just like books, I like to have a stockpile of ingredients on hand, JUST IN CASE. I mean, what if I run out!? I would die without enough food or books! And by enough, I mean stacks and shelves and boxes (and fridges and pantries)...

So, just like my book challenge, from time to time instead of buying new things, I go through the cupboard and play the "make something out of what you have" game. It's kind of like Top Chef. In some episodes, they get a mystery box and have to make something out of what's in the box. Of course, they have the entire Top Chef pantry to work with as well. Well, mine is no Kenmore Kitchen, but I make do.

This makes it so I don't waste food. And it's fun. The only twist is that it usually either involves a lot of veggies that are about to spoil, or no veggies, since I use them up pretty quickly normally. This week was a no veggies week. This week what I had on hand was:

- 12 - 20 oz Beer (I had a friend's 32 oz beer that was half full in the fridge. I'm not sure why)
- 1 Serrano (left over from White Bean Chicken Chili)
- 2 Bratwurst (freezer)
- 1 cup Cheese (almost to it's "throw away by" date) 
- 1 cup Beet Greens (I cut them off the beets and didn't know what to do with them)

I paired these items with a few pantry staples:

- 2 tbsp Butter
- 2 tbsp Flour
- 1.5 cup Quinoa Pasta
- 1 yellow Onion
- 2 cloves Garlic
- 1 cup Unsweetened Almond Milk
- 2 tbsp Spicy Brown Mustard

To make: Beer Bratwurst Mac N Cheese

First, put the brats and the beer in a pot. Cook until done (about 20 minutes to be safe). Also, start a pot of water to boil. Once boiling, add pasta and cook until done (about 10 minutes). Drain.

While the brats and pasta are cooking, sweat the onions, garlic and beet greens in the butter, then add the flour, stirring to make a paste. Add milk, Serrano (minced, with seeds removed if you don't want it too hot) and mustard; stir. Remove the brats from the beer and add 1 cup of beer to the sauce mixture. Once stirred in, add cheese.

Cut bratwurst and add to mixture. Stir. Add drained pasta. Stir again! Whew. That's a lot of stirring, huh? Now you are done. If you like, you can put the mixture into a casserole, top with cheese and bake for about 25 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly. Or you can just eat right away, which is what I did this time (I usually bake mine. I like the crispy cheese top. But I was hungry).


The verdict? YUM! Note that the sauce will be a bit brown, depending on what kind of beer you use. My beer was a brown ale. Also, note, this DOES taste like beer! So if you don't like beer, you may want to either use a lighter beer, less beer or no beer. 

Do you ever play "clean the pantry" and come up with something great? Do you prefer your mac n cheese baked or straight from the pot? What should I do with the rest of the beet greens?

14 comments:

  1. Things looks way better than my 'clean the fridge and pantry' dishes. My husband is never a fan of those meals! :)

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  2. Yum! That sounds delicious. My gluten free heart aches for mac & cheese. ;)

    I am not so great at cleaning out the pantry... but i am not one to really stock my pantry so I don't have much on hand usually as I usually buy everything with a recipe in mind (besides pantry staples like flour, etc). I did really use up a lot of things I had on hand when i made that pasta puttanesca, though, as i used some capers, whole tomatoes, and kalamata olives that I had on hand. So I felt good about that! :)

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  3. I *should* clean the pantry more, but I'm not very good about it! We're moving in a few months though and I hate packing up and moving food so I should get on this. You've inspired me!

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  4. My clean the fridge recipes either get put into eggs or into a stir fry kind of dish. I'm so uncreative sometimes. Yours looks awesome. I'm hungry now.

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  5. This is awesome! Like Carrie, my clean the fridge meals usually turn into a stir fry. I'm much better at experimenting with baking than cooking! I like to saute beet greens with scrambled eggs and add feta and avocado, or a little salsa and wrap in a tortilla. Yum!

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  6. That sounds really good! I love a good grown up mac n cheese. but I usually make it with chicken and onions. brats and beer sounds better.

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  7. I play this game all the time. In fact, I'll have to do it tonight. Some times I come up with a winner recipe and other times we're just eating things to get them out of the way.

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  8. Nice! I too love to cook and hate to waste food which means sometimes I'm the only one eating leftovers though... There are websites that help you put a recipe together when you input the random ingredients you have I love these!

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  9. I don't love to cook and am not very creative in the kitchen. I'm sure my husband wishes I was, but oh well. I cook and the food tastes good. Good enough:) Great job being creative in the cooking dept!

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  10. This is brilliant! Ever watched the show Chopped on Food Network? You could be a contestant! We generally don't run out of food and always have a frozen pizza on hand for the times we're low on food fuel. But, I like the way you think!

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  11. I am just not creative enough to come up with anything like this. I agree with Nilsa about you being on Chopped!

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  12. This is awesome. That looks amazing and sounds delicious.

    I play pantry clean out all the time. That's where half the recipes on my recipes page come from. You and I are very alike, it seems.

    Beet greens are awesome. MacGyver LOVES them in salad. I like them lightly sauteed with a little balsamic vinegar. You can use them any way you'd use swiss chard. I do not recommend beet greens in soup.

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  13. Sounds really yummy! I think I might just have to try it sometime. Mac N Cheese is good just about any way you serve it up!!!

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