I don’t always make gourmet meals and follow laborious recipes. That’s right, some of my most successful meals are quick, easy to make and usually made with whatever I have in the refrigerator. Sometimes there is just not a lot in there! I guess my second confession is that I HATE HATE HATE going to the grocery store. I’d rather eat nails. Sometimes when I am alone I make popcorn casserole. Popcorn casserole is just regular old popcorn but by adding “casserole” it makes it sound healthier.
Tonight was one of those nights. I have been gone for a week. I went to see my beautiful grandbabies in Wisconsin. I walked away from a refrigerator of fresh ingredients for my juicing. Turns out a week later—not so fresh. I didn’t want to waste them so I conjured up this menu: Pork chops and stuffing and a new green bean dish.
My family would eat stuffing any day of the week for any meal. It has made a huge resurgence into our world this past winter. The experimental phase here came into play because I had very little of several kinds of bread. I had a ton of celery that was starting to get soft and as always lots of onions. I like one dish meals so I heated up a stove top casserole pan (Le Creuset, love of my life!), melted butter and threw in a ton of thinly sliced celery and onions to sauté until soft. As they softened I added poultry seasoning, salt and pepper.
As these cooked, I cut up the bread that I had. Don’t laugh and say “Oh no you didn’t,” because I Did. A slice of white bread (the heel), a plain bagel, 3 English muffins and some homemade coarse bread creams—oh and 2 hamburger buns and an onion bun.
I added the bread mixture to the softened celery/onion mixture and some canned chicken stock until it was the texture I liked. I dotted the top with butter and threw it in the oven at 350 degrees. About 15 minutes later I topped the casserole dish with frozen, yes frozen pork chops and continued baking for about half an hour—uncovered. I’ve used this method for years and everyone thinks I have been slaving away for hours.
Tonight new recipe however was the hum dinger. I had frozen green beans. I knew I needed to serve some veggies, but I also knew I needed a jazzy twist. So I nuked the frozen beans until they were unfrozen, drained the excess water and stuck them in the microwave again for about three minutes.
In a small bow I added the juice of ½ lemon, some white vinegar and olive oil (a 2 to 1 ratio of acid to oil), salt, pepper and whisked to emulsify. To the green beans I added the vinaigrette and about a cup of chopped green onions—tops and all (also on their last legs in my refrigerator). Now, vinaigrette beans are not all that unusual—but to this I added about ½ a cup of salted, shelled pistachios and served at room temperature. It was the hit of the party. Cause really, shouldn’t every meal be a party?
Oh the lengths I will go to avoid the grocery store!