As you can tell from Kris’s daily musings, we are a family of foodies. All of us like to eat. Most of us are pretty good cooks. Of the three sisters, I consider myself the least talented cook. Kris excels at making delicious comfort food for big crowds. Jen can enjoy some yummy meal in a restaurant and then recreate it for a gourmet dinner. To be sure, I fed my family for years, but no one is ever going to name me cook of the year.
But, there is one thing I do pretty well. It’s what I call “what you got” cooking. It comes from a Louisiana phrase…”What you got goes in the pot.” I do a lot of “what you got” cooking.
To understand why, you need to know something about me. I cannot stand to throw away food. If there’s a leftover, I’ll eat it. If there’s something I can freeze, it gets frozen. And, then, I’ll come up with a way to use it.
Recently I was trying to figure out what to have for dinner. I hadn’t gone to the grocery store as I should have. So, I opened the freezer door, hoping I would find a small pork chop or chicken breast I’d forgotten about. Nope! But, I always have 3-oz packages of taco meat, made with homemade taco seasoning. As a bonus, I had frozen tablespoons of the green chili my son made last weekend. And, tucked behind some bananas was a package of white corn tortillas I had frozen, separated by waxed paper so I could take them out individually. (It’s an illness.) I always have a bag of lettuce, salad fixins, and salsa in my frig, so I was ready to prepare a killer taco salad.
I fried the torts in a little canola oil and let them drain on paper towels to cool. Meanwhile, I mixed the green chili (made with turkey meat) and the taco meat (made with extra lean ground beef) and put the mixture into the microwave to warm up. As that was happening, I worked on the salad: chopped butter lettuce, finely chopped red onion, a few Kalamata olives, a piece of avocado, and a fresh and yummy Roma tomato. By now, the torts were cooled and crispy and could be broken into pieces onto the plate, topped by the lettuce and veggies. The meat mixture was nice and warm; that went on next. A few scoops of salsa, and I had a feast. I could have added a little shredded Mexican cheese, but why tamper with perfection?
For me, this was a satisfying dinner. It was very low in calories and fat, but bursting with flavor. It used up some items in my refrigerator and freezer. And it cost me, well…almost nothing. Can’t beat that for a throw-together meal!