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Thursday, March 8, 2012

A note on keeping the kitchen clean and orderly

Today I used up some odds and ends in my fridge, you know the sorts of things that take up room in the fridge but you don't want to throw out?

For instance last night there was a small package of Sweet Chili sauce I received in the mail as a sample. I added it into my stir fry. Today I made Russian dressing, so I took the dozen or so sad little dill pickle chips floating around in the bottom of the pickle jar and chopped them up for the dressing instead of using pickle relish. I had some leftover chicken pieces I needed to use up after I made my Apricot chicken. I placed the pieces in a gallon size Ziploc bag and sprinkled the pieces generously with BBQ rub. I had an allllmost empty bottle of ketchup. I opened it up, placed a little water in it and swooshed it around. I squirted that all over the chicken in the bag, then I added a squirt of mustard and a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce. I also took a tablespoon of pickle juice from my now empty jar and added that to the chicken, sealed the top and shook the heck out of it all. Now my chicken is defrosting in the bottom of the refrigerator and marinating in an almost effortless and almost free BBQ sauce. I will broil the pieces on Saturday for either lunch or dinner.

I save everything. Leftover pieces of vegetables, like onion tops, carrot ends, the woody stems of asparagus, bell pepper tops, mushroom stems, or anything really get placed into ziploc bags in the freezer to be used for veggie broths, the cooking water for potatoes get saved in the freezer to make potato bread or to add to a potato soup base. Bones from roasted chickens or from bone-in roasts get saved for stock. Shrimp and lobster shells make a great fish stock too! Bacon drippings get saved in a jar in the fridge to sauté vegetables. Even a few tablespoons of leftover spaghetti sauce gets saved to go on a homemade pizza or to use as a dipping sauce. Label everything though or you might find yourself defrosting something just to figure out of it is a fish stock or chicken stock, you know?

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