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Friday, December 4, 2009

Frugal Habit: Food Rescues

Our department party was canceled because bad weather is in the air. Yes, possible snow. Or sleet. Needless to say, I am disappointed because it's always fun to have a big potluck feast in the land of competitive cooking, Louisiana style. One colleague said, "Oh, I'll have to bring the crawfish dish I made to my church." Noooooooooooooooooo.

Next problem. What to do with the cream cheese laden wraps I made. I rolled up a cream cheese, feta, roasted pepper filling in a basil wrap. Then, you slice these on the diagonal and make these snazzy little pinwheels. I used to make these all the time, to great acclaim, but then forgot about them. They returned to consciousness when I noticed the frozen wraps and numerous rectangles of cream cheese in my fridge.

I am of the frugal genre that does not like to waste things. That is why I retrieved several soda cans out of the trash at work today and brought them to the recycling bin. That is why I once brought a big box of nice men's shoes that were awaiting trash pick-up down the street to Goodwill, where they were snapped up. Cream cheese doesn't freeze well, plus two people can't consume that much rich food without a crise de foie.

OK. Here's the brainstorm: cut them up and put them in soup where they will turn to cream cheese dumplings! I tried a few in some leftover soup and they were good! So I'll put them in soup today and tomorrow. I figure the richness is canceled out by the vegetables in the soup.

Then I'll make some more for the rescheduled party. Monday at school.

A cell phone and a bunch of cream cheese wraps. Two rescues in 3 days. Not too shabby.

What food rescues have you performed?


Funny about Money said...

So, the party was oggi? Wellll... I'm SOOOO cheap, I'd probably cover them tightly in plastic wrap and hope they'd last till Monday.

Food rescue? Hmm. This very evening, what should be cluttering the fridge but some of the whipping cream friends left behind at TG, conveniently at hand to spike some scrumptiously sauteed scallops.

Scallops...First cook some pasta al dente. Set aside: rinse out and dry the pasta pan. Skim the bottom nicely with olive oil. Sprinkle scallops on all sides with ground New Mexico pepper. Cut up some cilantro & mince some garlic. Heat olive over medium to medium-high flame; toss in garlic and escalopes. When one side is cooked, turn the scallops, add the cilantro, stir around a bit until just barely cooked through. Squeeze a couple of key limes over the limes; stir some more, allowing lime juice to reduce. Add dollop (or two or three dollops) of heavy cream. Sprinkle with salt and fresh-ground pepper, to taste. When cream is warm to the point of being almost hot, the scallops should be about done. Stir in a fistful of chopped tomatoes. Stir. Briefly, very briefly.

Place pasta on a plate, arrange the scallops on the pasta, pour cream sauce over the top. Sprinkle on more salt if desired (take it easy). Sprinkle fresh-ground Parmesan over this.


Funny about Money said...

oops: Limes over the scallops, not over the limes.

Frugal Scholar said...

@Funny--Your rescue sounds better than my rescue. (No-they won't last till Monday. They will get slimy)

Shelley said...

Cream cheese dumplings sound to die for! My mouth is watering. I had tons of leftovers from our big Thanksgiving party. Froze turkey bits in plastic ziplock bags in one cup servings. Froze white wine in ice cube trays. Froze cooked apple pie (not sure if this was good, but will find out). Froze ice cream scoop portions of fattening cornbread dressing and then transferred to large ziplock bag. Peas as for turkey; will use in soups. Fast fading vegetable salad became stirfry with turkey bits. Will make carrot cake muffins this weekend for running club Christmas party (not yet cooked, just bought too much). Salsa dip will go with turkey and scrambled eggs into a tortilla for a running club night.

I may have to make some cream cheese wraps this evening...mmmm.

Frugal Scholar said...

@Shelley--Sorry to disillusion you, but the "dumplings" were just ok, nothing to do on purpose. Your leftovers sound a lot more promising.

Tanya said...

Probably too late to help you on this one-- but if you're using it to bake, you can freeze cream cheese. I definitely wouldn't eat it straight defrosted or in cheesecake, but I often make muffins, coffee cake, etc. that calls for cream cheese, and that can be frozen and defrosted without any noticable taste or texture difference.

Duchesse said...

I bring bbq'd boneless chicken thighs to a potluck, because around here many cheap out on "vegetarian dishes". Only one casserole of baked beans is needed, right? People hit that chicken like a shark, especially guys, who do not apreciate tofu salad redolent with cumin.

My rule is, if I wouldn't serve it to a guest in my home, I wouldn't bring it to a potluck.

Frugal Scholar said...

@Duchesse--Here people are the opposite and everyone brings main dishes--often the same ones. Once there were 4 jambalayas. So I try to bring a starter or a vegetable dish. My most successful this year--a big plate of roasted asparagus. I got that idea from YOU.