On Sunday morning, I set out to make my shopping list for the week. I knew I needed milk, eggs, and a few things for lunch and dinner. I had watched Sara Moulton making egg rolls with cabbage, carrots, and pork earlier in the morning, which put me in the mood for stir fry. I went looking for something in the freezer, which led to me cleaning and organizing the freezer. In there, among many, many other things, I found a quart of tomato sauce I had made a few months ago. I figured I ought to eat that rather than make stir fry, and I didn’t end up going shopping on Sunday. I decided I’d stop off at the store on Monday after work and pick up zucchini noodles to have with my tomato sauce. That’s not what happened though.
A friend and I went to Trader Joe’s at lunch time on Monday, mostly to kill some time outside of the office. I have never seen zucchini noodles there before, but figured I’d look to save a stop that evening. I didn’t find them, but I did see some kale, shredded carrots, and shredded cabbage. I picked those up thinking I could sauté with my tomato sauce and it would be close enough in concept to my zucchini noodles.
When I arrived home, I started cooking the kale in just a bit of olive oil. I didn’t add any liquid because I thought it would get too soupy. I added red pepper flakes, black pepper, and some salt and cooked over medium-high heat for a few minutes. The kale actually ended up getting nicely browned! I added the carrots and cabbage and continued to cook in the same way and the cabbage picked up some color as well. I then added some of the tomato sauce and some brown rice I had in the fridge and stirred it all up. It was way too dry and way too thick. To think I was concerned it’d be soupy! I loosened with a bit of water and continued to cook until the sauce tightened up a bit. I served with some parmesan and devoured. It was far better than I thought it would be. Really excellent and quite healthy.
I used about a third of my vegetables and sauce and figured I’d end up making the same thing two other nights this week. I came home tonight though and just wasn’t feeling it. I didn’t have any more rice…and didn’t intend on making any. It’s been fairly cold here on Long Island the past few days and was kind of in the mood for soup. No reason I couldn’t transform these same ingredients into soup, am I right?
I added a quart of chicken stock to a pot and brought to a simmer. I threw in the kale along with some red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper and cooked for a few minutes. I added the carrots and cooked another minute or two, then added the cabbage. I’m a fool and my pot was full to the brim, so I took a bit of the stock out, then added the remaining tomato sauce. There actually ended up being meatballs in the bottom of the container, which was a delightful surprise on the one hand because…meatballs. On the other hand, this was a non-liquid ingredient going into my completely full pot. The meatballs slid in and of course the liquid spilled over. It’s just more cleaning, right? Dang. Well anyway, I let the soup simmer for as long as it took me to wash a sink full of dishes and then ladled myself up a bowl. I covered in Parmesan and dug in. I resisted the urge to add some olive oil too. This was another success — even better than the ‘stir fry’ from a couple of nights ago. I also packed up a few jars of soup for lunch tomorrow and Friday.
I’m pretty impressed with how these dishes turned out. They share nearly all the same ingredients, but ended up with completely different form factors. They were both very satisfying and the ridiculous amount of vegetables made them really quite filling. I was wary of dumping tomato sauce into the soup, but rationalized it’s basically the same thing as adding some diced tomatoes, onions, and garlic, right? And that was the case. And it was delicious. I still have so much food in the freezer to cook through, but based on the outcome of these dishes, I’m actually looking forward to it!
I’ve been meaning to clean out my freezer for several months now and just haven’t gotten to it. It’s full of chicken carcasses, vegetable trimmings, leftover tomato sauce, and frozen fruit. While it’s clear I need to make chicken stock, I started this task much too late in the day to complete that. I decided I’d round-up the loose bananas, apple slices, IQF pineapple and strawberries, and coconut milk, and then portion the fruit into sandwich bags so I can easily make smoothies in the morning.
I made up six bags, so I’m all set for this week. I also needed a little snack today, so whipped up a smoothie this afternoon using one of my bags. I’ve seen so-called smoothie bowls cropping up on YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, and in my Feedly feed and have been meaning to try out the concept. I took one of my bags and mixed in my NutriBullet with a bit of water. I poured into a bowl and topped with some cashews, dried cranberries, chocolate chips, and Mandarin segments. Not quite as photogenic as those Pinterest beauties, but I’m a believer! What a great, simple idea. I’ll definitely be making another smoothie bowl in the near future.