Monday, January 3, 2011

Creative Cooking with Pantry Raid

We found a new show to watch on Netflix called Pantry Raid.  In this show, the accomplished executive chef, Michael Schulson, shows cooking-challenged moms how to make amazing meals with just what they have in their kitchens.  He comes up with some amazing dishes using some pretty creative ingredients like...

Clam and corn chowder using the broth of canned creamy chicken and vegetable soup
Stealing the cheese off of leftover pizza to top chicken parmesan
Mixing ground turkey and chorizo to make a filling for calzones

So, being stuck in a cooking rut but inspired by the show, I pulled off a great dinner tonight.  It was simple and similar to meals I've cooked in the past but different, also.

My freezer is stocked with almost nothing but pork right now.  I'm not a huge fan of pork, especially when it is the only thing I have to work with.  I pulled out some country-style ribs.  Usually, I toss these in the crockpot with a bottle of store-bought barbeque sauce and call it good enough.  The only problem was that I didn't have any barbeque sauce.  So, I went snooping around to see what I could find and ended up modifying this recipe.  Instead of marinating the ribs overnight in the rub, I rubbed the ribs in the spices and then seared them quickly in a little oil.  I placed them in the crockpot and made the sauce.  I didn't have dried mustard so I used prepared.  I didn't have time to simmer the sauce for an hour so I just brought it to a boil.  Then I poured it over the ribs and turned the crockpot on high for about 4 hours before turning it down because they were ready a bit too early.

For a side, I made potato salad.  Instead of grabbing the russets and boiling them like I usually do, I pulled out some red potatoes and baked them.  It never occurred to me to baked the potatoes before.  After hard boiling some eggs, I pushed the whites through a colander like the chef suggested.  Then I pushed the yolks through a colander into a separate bowl.  I then mixed the yolks with some spicy brown mustard, ranch dressing, mayo, and finely diced onion.  Once the potatoes were cool enough to cut up, I did so and mixed them with the eggs and yolk mixture.  The results were a pretty good potato salad quite unlike the usual mushy kind.

Finally, for a vegetable side, Scott brought home some cucumber so I whipped up this cucumber salad which turned out pretty good.

Then to round it all out, I baked up a batch of brownies with some crushed mint oreos added in and topped them with a sweetened chocolate ganache frosting.  Yum!

I hate it when I'm in a cooking rut.  Pantry Raid is proving to be helpful in getting out of one.  Two thumbs up for this show!

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Twisted Cinderella said...

Prince Charming says some of my best meals are the ones I have to be creative with because of lack of ingredients.