Like the combination of salami and okra, this blog is dedicated to recipes that are born from sometimes unusual mishmashes of leftover ingredients we have on hand at home. We both work full-time so there is always time pressure, especially on weekdays. I do most of the daily cooking, and together my husband and I try to create meals for our family that follow three basic guidelines:

1. Delicious and nutritious.

2. Frugal use of ingredients

3. Edible to everyone in the family

We try to limit takeout food to once or twice a week because it's not good for our waistlines, the cost adds up and can put a strain on the family budget. At the end of the day, I just want to go home and stay home after work. I've found that in the time it takes me to drive to the store and pick up ready-to-eat takeout, I can usually put together something quick at home.

David and I grocery shop together
on the weekends for the entire week. Sometimes we impulsively buy an interesting ingredient at the store with no plan for cooking it, and later I'm not sure how to incorporate it into our meal plan. Thus, by the end of every week, I'm inevitably left with only a few ingredients, many of which do not traditionally go together.

These recipes are a result of those experiments. Some combinations work unexpectedly, some combinations may not appeal to you -- they don't all appeal to us!

When writing up these recipes, I try to be accurate, but often I put together these dishes by sight or taste or availability of ingredients. Most of the photos are David's. We'll note it when someone else contributes a pic.

The wins come when my family says, "I thought this dinner was going to be crazy, but it's actually good."

We hope you'll have the same reaction!

Elizabeth & David

Monday, January 2, 2012

Roasted Spaghetti Squash and Beet Greens with Pasta

Every winter, I buy a spaghetti squash. I'm not sure why. No one in my family likes it. I remember how excited my kids were the first time I bought one. They thought it would taste like real spaghetti. They were terribly disappointed when they tasted it.  Another bait and switch vegetable. Since then, I've tried to prepare spaghetti squash many different ways - with tomato sauce, with parmesan, baked, steamed, etc. Nothing has worked. Until tonight.

This time, I roasted the spaghtetti squash that had been sitting on my counter for several weeks. I decided to combine with some beet greens saved from David's recent beet purchase. It always seems like such a waste to throw out those greens.  Here's what I made:

1 spaghetti squash - I cut the squash in half, drizzled each face with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. I roasted them face side down in a 425 oven until soft (about 30-35 minutes)

1 bunch beet greens - I sauteed 4 chopped garlic cloves (we love garlic -- cut down to 2-3 if you like a less garlicky taste) with a half an onion in about 2 tablespoons of olive oil with a little salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.

1 cup of pasta (I used Barilla Plus macaroni - any small pasta shape or type would work, I think)

1/2 - 1 cup cannellini beans (We like Eden brand)

Toss all together and add more olive oil if you'd like (David added about a tablespoon, but I thought there was enough oil from the greens and the squash) and Parmesan cheese. You could also add more red pepper flakes, salt, and/or pepper to taste.  This served two people.


Note: if you don't have beet greens at home, you could use any green you may have lying around or in your freezer - spinach, kale, chard, etc...