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 Post subject: Meals you make when you run out of produce
PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2014 8:38 am 
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Chard Martyr
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Location: Wolfville, Nova Scotia
I'm living a new very rural life and am finding myself running out of everything during the week! Until my garden gets going and I stock my pantry and freezer with preserved stuff for the winter in an attempt to be legitimate homesteader not driving to Superstore once a week in addition to the farmar, I don't know what to do when it's Tuesday and all we have in the fridge is three potatoes and a carrot (for example, we actually have five potatoes and a couple scallions). I never really realized how often I used to go to the grocery store on my way home from work, and our work lunches turn beige as early as Tuesday.

I guess I should be making more soups and casseroles and stuff on Sundays and freezing them, but my husband eats so much that leftovers barely ever last more than a day!

So I'm just curious what you people do for pantry-only meals. I always have pantry basics (I make a lot of seitan so I always have those things, cashews, nooch, noodles, usually beans, always lentils, etc...). Tonight I'm going to make a destined-to-be-boring potato dal that I'm going to try to make interesting with some berbere.

Also, I realized that I ALWAYS need lemons and I never remember to buy them. I wish it was possible for me to plant a lemon tree.


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 Post subject: Re: Meals you make when you run out of produce
PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2014 9:30 am 
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This always happens in our house around Thursday! The fridge is spilling over with produce Saturdays (the day I usually do my grocery shopping) but looks so bare by Wednesday evening. My go-tos are the Arabian lentil rice soup from AFR, pasta with marinara, and lentil dal with rice. Mudajara because even when I'm out of produce I almost always have a couple of onions.

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 Post subject: Re: Meals you make when you run out of produce
PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2014 9:33 am 
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i had this happen pretty regularly when we were in the US and we had no access to a car. After the first time, when we got to go grocery shopping I made sure we got frozen collard greens and broccoli, and those thrown in at the end of cooking pasta and topped with some kind of sauce (hint- Esme) were a good stopgap. i don't normally like frozen veg but it's better than nothing.

ETA: not sure what you need lemons for but if it's juice you can buy a bunch and freeze into cubes. also, last year i found powdered lime juice, which can be pretty useful.

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 Post subject: Re: Meals you make when you run out of produce
PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2014 11:07 am 
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Chili. Canned beans, canned tomatoes, canned corn and whatever veg I have left. Or mexi-rice skillet type thing. Or chili baked potatoes, especially if I have a weird small amount of chili left over or frozen.

This time of year I eat way too many veggie burgers, as my husband always wants to grill and they're a sure bet for something in the freezer on nights when I'm not able to/not up to cooking.

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 Post subject: Re: Meals you make when you run out of produce
PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2014 2:46 pm 
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this is me like all winter. it's a little harder in the summer, but i really like peanut sauce with noodles, tortilla soup from appetite for reduction (you can mess around with this recipe a lot. it's just a good base), arabian lentil and rice soup from AFR, lots of lentils and curries. but yeah, it's a bummer not to have any fresh produce in the house. it's pretty easy to get sick of pantry stuff.

do you buy frozen veg when you go to the store? i like to stock up on frozen vegetables and then only use them when i've run out of fresh. i keep bags of frozen brocc/cauli mixes and some stir fry mixes that already have the noodles in them.

canned corn is good to have around for soups, too.

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 Post subject: Re: Meals you make when you run out of produce
PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2014 3:09 pm 
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I'm not sure what stuff you're buying (as far as fresh produce), but can you also just start buying more of whatever veggies will hold up for a while in the fridge? Like cabbage, carrots, eggplants, squash, sweet potatoes, etc. Even things that start getting a little bit limp in the fridge by the end of a week, like broccoli or peppers or whatever, I am generally fine with once they're cooked even if they're less appetizing raw.

Also, my strategy for keeping leftovers around with a hungry partner or housemate is to put some portions out of sight right away, before sitting down to eat, so that they (or I!) don't just keep eating until the pan is empty. If he's eating them out of the fridge later, then maybe they just need to go directly into the freezer before sitting down to dinner. I figure if someone is still hungry after eating a reasonably sized portion of something nice, that's a great time for a post-dinner peanut butter sandwich.


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 Post subject: Re: Meals you make when you run out of produce
PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2014 3:11 pm 
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Good advice here! I try to make sure I never run out of legumes, canned tomatoes, onions and spices so basic dahl, chili, curry and soup can always happen. Frozen veggies add the much needed variety. Fresh home baked bread goes well with everything and makes even the most simple soup into a meal.

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 Post subject: Re: Meals you make when you run out of produce
PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2014 3:23 pm 
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Oh yeah, as far as my actual meals, I do a lot of the same as other people here (lots of lentil soup or other types of beans or pasta with canned tomato type meals) but another one of my favorites is making a quick miso type soup with whatever I can find to put in there; a lot of times I start with sauteeing onion, garlic and carrot and cook it with a bunch of dried seaweed (I got a huge pillow of it at a korean market and have been using the same bundle of it for probably two years now!) and add a bit of soy sauce, vinegar, and sriracha, then cook either soba or rice noodles in it, and add a bunch of miso at the end. Sometimes I have put kimchi or sauerkraut instead of vinegar/sriracha. This is also just a generally good quick easy meal for me even when I have more produce, and I have added mushrooms, broccoli, dark leafy greens, etc. to it as well.


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 Post subject: Re: Meals you make when you run out of produce
PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2014 3:24 pm 
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canned tomatoes and salsa really stretch things out! tomato paste is another good canned tomato product to add to stews - even tacos!

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 Post subject: Re: Meals you make when you run out of produce
PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2014 4:09 pm 
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Broccoli, Cauliflower, and Cabbage all last a bit longer in the fridge so I always get some of those. Frozen fruit is great for smoothies especially tons of frozen bananas if you like smoothies.

Otherwise, we make lots of pasta, not just marinara but lemon, miso & pine nuts, chopped olives and sundried tomatoes, Mac & cheese, and just EB & nooch on really lazy days. The eternal beans and rice is another great one that you can batch cook really easily and there are so many different recipes. Having soaked cashews helps, actually a lot of the Isa Does It recipes are pretty pantry friendly. I know Vegan on the Cheap is too.

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 Post subject: Re: Meals you make when you run out of produce
PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2014 4:25 pm 
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Bags of frozen spinach are my end of the week best friend! I add to pasta with esme sauce, pasta with red sauce and white beans, or lentil dahl.


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 Post subject: Re: Meals you make when you run out of produce
PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2014 4:33 pm 
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While waiting for your garden to get going might also be a great time to start sprouting!


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 Post subject: Re: Meals you make when you run out of produce
PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2014 4:58 pm 
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erynne936 wrote:
Bags of frozen spinach are my end of the week best friend! I add to pasta with esme sauce, pasta with red sauce and white beans, or lentil dahl.

Oh yeah, frozen spinach is the best. Either thrown in sauce as is, or made in to spinach balls. Num num.

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 Post subject: Re: Meals you make when you run out of produce
PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2014 6:01 pm 
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Onigiri (rice balls)! If you keep sushi rice, nori, and furikake or sesame seeds in your pantry, that is all you need.

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 Post subject: Re: Meals you make when you run out of produce
PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2014 7:07 pm 
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I second buying veggies that last longer in the fridge, always having onions and garlic and a bag of lemons around, canned tomatoes, and frozen spinach. Just being prepared when you know what the problem is goes a long way.

Until then, rice and beans.

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 Post subject: Re: Meals you make when you run out of produce
PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2014 7:09 pm 
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I know they're not ideal but canned/frozen veggies are good to have on hand for times when you're all outta fresh. One of my favorite cheap/easy meals is veggie fried rice with crappy canned veggies (and some tofu and/or kimchi thrown in if I have it on hand). Frozen or canned spinach is good in Indian dishes like palak tofu, or a potato curry.

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 Post subject: Re: Meals you make when you run out of produce
PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2014 7:47 pm 
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electric_claire wrote:
I figure if someone is still hungry after eating a reasonably sized portion of something nice, that's a great time for a post-dinner peanut butter sandwich.

Speaking of peanut butter sanwiches.... :) a pb&j is a good go-to in this situation. Or breakfast-for dinner type meals. Waffles or pancakes and a potato hash.

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 Post subject: Re: Meals you make when you run out of produce
PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2014 7:49 pm 
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Pancakes! Pancakes for dinner is the best when you are out of EVERYTHING EVEN ONIONS. Which happens to me more often than I care to admit.

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Well! Fruit is stupid! These onions taste nothing like fruit! - allularpunk
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 Post subject: Re: Meals you make when you run out of produce
PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2014 8:10 pm 
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I often keep sweet potatoes on hand - they have more flavor and nutrition than regular potatoes, and they seem to keep just as well. I love them diced up in dal or chili.

And I don't like the texture of most frozen vegetables, but I like to keep some frozen kale, peas and corn in my freezer for produce emergencies. Dried mushrooms and seaweed can come in handy too.


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 Post subject: Re: Meals you make when you run out of produce
PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2014 8:44 pm 
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Canned and frozen veggies have nearly the nutrition of fresh veggies, nothing to be ashamed of eating on a regular basis. I also keep frozen pureed herbs on hand (garlic, ginger, cilantro, basil, parsley). Frozen peas appear in dinner probably every other night. We eat out of the pantry and freezer A LOT. Everyone already mentioned the main variations on that theme. One that is very popular around here is curry - either curry paste + canned coconut milk + soy sauce + sugar + frozen peas/other frozen veg/potatoes/tofu or peanut butter + broth + curry powder, etc.


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 Post subject: Re: Meals you make when you run out of produce
PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2014 10:18 pm 
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This is exactly why I always have a few jars of marinara, pasta and some Field Roast on hand. You can throw in whatever sad produce you may have hanging on in the fridge & doctor it up with spices, dried herbs and garlic and call it a day. If you feel like cooking, but you're to that point, you can always make your own sauce or protein from scratch (or at least start with a jar of tomatoes).

You know how you get home from vacation and you're super tired and sick of eating heavy, rich restaurant food, and all you want is a metric fuck-ton of fresh veg, but it's 11pm and all of the stores are closed? That's how we were last night, but our fridge was bare. Jarred sauce, sad onions & a pepper that miraculously lasted 10 days, and we were surprisingly satisfied.

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 Post subject: Re: Meals you make when you run out of produce
PostPosted: Wed Jun 25, 2014 12:58 am 
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I am so unhelpful. I never run out of produce.

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 Post subject: Re: Meals you make when you run out of produce
PostPosted: Wed Jun 25, 2014 2:17 am 
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So many good ideas here! I usually at least have onions and potatoes left just before shopping day. Two staples are lentils with caramelised onions and rice, and potato latkes. Green split pea and tomato soup made with a bottle of passata is also really good.

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 Post subject: Re: Meals you make when you run out of produce
PostPosted: Wed Jun 25, 2014 4:42 am 
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My favorite frozen veggies to keep around are spinach (or kale if your grocery store is all fancy-like), broccoli, peas, and corn. Drizzle frozen broccoli with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and roast at about 400F for 25 minutes or so and it is a total game changer for making it edible. I also like to keep a few kinds of frozen potato things - tots, fries, and those things with the seasonings and sometimes extra veggies. Dried mushrooms are also great for adding a little something produce-y. Also good in a pinch are jarred (or frozen) artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, capers, giardiniera. Keep some dried bell peppers, garlic, and onions too.

Some of my favorite pantry-friendly meals:
- Forty Fart Chickpeas (AFR).. Use frozen broccoli and it's basically a pantry recipe.
- Revolutionary Spanish Omelet from VWAV: If you've got potatoes and onions, that's all it takes (red peppers come in a jar!).. If you don't have these, try another Spanish combination, like peas and sham.
- Mini crustless tofu quiches from fat free vegan. You can basically sub whatever veg, and I have been known to do things like rehydrated mushroom and sundried tomato.
- Breakfast for dinner: waffles or pancakes, veggie sausage (the vegan dad one doesn't contain anything very exotic), tofu scramble, etc.
- Tortilla strata from Vegan on the Cheap (this one also freezes well)
- Baked Ziti from Vegan on the Cheap (I use jarred sauce and cashew ricotta usually, and you can add some squeeze-dried defrosted frozen spinach
to make it extra nutritious
- A certain PPKer's soup recipe: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-XErUfUn5GUU/U ... ground.jpg (if you have lemon and onions)
- http://www.tastebook.com/recipes/325050 ... ecipe=true (you can use dried shiitakes and roasted frozen broc/carrots)

Also keep around lots of curry paste, simmer sauces, pasta sauce (or make a cashew bechamel in a pinch! throw in some frozen peas and carrots and broc or green beans and you've got pasta primavera!). In a pinch you can skip the veg and make these with tofu over rice (or even pantry-friendlier, with soy curls). Zatarain's mixes are good and you can usually add as much or as little extra produce as you want to them.


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 Post subject: Re: Meals you make when you run out of produce
PostPosted: Wed Jun 25, 2014 5:22 am 
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I'm also a fan of certain frozen veggies. I always have spinach, corn and peas in my freezer and since discovering Chocolate Cauliflower Cake, cauliflower as well. Jarred peppers and capers can make tomato based sauces a bit more life. The shop I work in does jars of creamed basil, it's amazing although no one can seem to get it anywhere else. It's just basil and oil but is a great cheap pesto substitute and is good for giving extra flavour to dishes. Would be easy enough to make and freeze. I always have a pack of sundried tomatoes on hand too.

A few pantry based dishes I make are:

Sundried tomato risotto - Just onion, garlic, sundried toms, risotto rice, stock and nooch. I like to fry up some sliced frozen sausage and stir it in. I reckon adding dried mushrooms would be great too.
Tomato & Basil soup - fry off some onion and diced carrot. Add tinned tomatoes and stock, simmer for 15 minutes. Stir in some jarred/frozen basil, add salt and it's ready
Cauliflower Alfredo - Frozen cauliflower works great here
Spinach & Chickpea Curry - Fry off some onion and garlic. Add curry paste and fry off. Add a tin of chickpeas, a tin of spinach and a little water. Simmer for 15 minutes and it's done. Chickpeas can be subbed for potato but will obviously have a longer cooking time
Chilli & Garlic Spaghetti - Make a nice chilli garlic oil and just stir it through some spaghetti. I add a splash of lemon juice too
Mushroom & Wild Rice Casserole I used to make this loads, reckon it would work with a mixture of frozen and dried mushrooms.
Potato cakes - a mix made with frozen spinach/corn/peas/grated carrot. Can add spices to give it more flavour
Rice and beans - this is great for just frying off a load of frozen/tinned veg, adding some cooked rice, tinned beans, tinned tomatoes and spices.
Curried veggies - tinned/frozen veg in coconut milk sauce with curry powder.

I'm sure I've made more in desperate times but this is all I can remember for now.


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