Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Zero-waste week: Day One


The first day of our use-it-or-lose it cooking project brought an ear infection for Chloe and homemade ravioli for dinner.

After rushing around to meet my two Monday article deadlines and bring Chloe to the doctor, I finally finished my work and headed to the kitchen. It was about 4:00 pm, which left me plenty of time to make homemade ravioli.

As I’ve written before, making homemade ravioli isn’t particularly difficult, but it is rather time consuming, mostly because you have to let the pasta dough rest twice in between kneading it and rolling it out.

The rolled-out dough.

I used that time, though, to make the ravioli filling, which consisted of what was left of an already opened tub of ricotta cheese (about 2 cups), some grated Parmesan cheese (I used the rest of a half-used block for about 1 cup of grated cheese), about 10 fresh sage leaves (about 1 teaspoon, chiffonade), and the rest of a box of baby spinach, chopped (about a cup unchopped).

The filling

I stuffed the ravioli, sticking the edges of the dough together with an egg wash (a beaten egg with a teaspoon or two of water). Then, I placed them on a baking sheet in the fridge to firm up while we waited for Brian to get home. They weren’t gorgeous, but they tasted good.

The finished product, before cooking

Digging into the fridge also revealed two packages of long-forgotten chicken sausage, which I must have bought in bulk because of a sale (lesson learned!). Happily, the use-by date was still six weeks away, so I threw those into the oven, too.

Brian, inspired by the week’s mission, whipped up some homemade garlic bread out of hamburger buns that surely would’ve gone stale otherwise (I had to buy 6 buns for a 4-pack of Chloe’s veggie burgers). Brian softened some butter in the microwave, spread it on each of the bun halves, sprinkled them with garlic powder, and crisped them up in the toaster oven.

Yum! It was a feast that didn’t feel like we were eating leftovers at all.

Now, I realize that many people don’t have the time or inclination to spend 90 minutes making homemade ravioli. But that ricotta filling could have easily gone into stuffed shells, lasagna, or baked ziti. And spending a couple of hours on a Sunday doing meal prep for the week using what’s on hand is not only doable for anyone; it’s also a weeknight time saver.

Oh, and in case you're wondering, "what the hell is chiffonade?," this is how the hell to do it:

Stack the leaves, roll them up, and slice into thin ribbons.

10 comments:

  1. Love this! Wish I could be so creative in the kitchen!

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    1. There's a really cool website that can help you out! You just enter the ingredients you have on hand and it will generate recipes for you: http://www.supercook.com/#/recipes/All%2520recipes

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  2. Sounds delicious. I have some ricotta in my fridge too. Hmmm.

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    1. Maybe you can whip up a filling for GF stuffed shells!

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  3. Thanks for the website link! I'm always looking for ideas for my mix matched ingredients!

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    1. It's not easy! Share your ideas when you get them!

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  4. A meal fit for a king! Sounds delish! Friday nights have become leftover night around here. I just warm everything up that we may have left from meals during the week and we dine away! The idea of throwing away perfectly good food horrifies me and I'm definitely trying to get better at utilizing everything! Thanks for the inspiration! Those raviolis look delish!

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    1. Love the Friday leftover night idea! You could make it into a party! We used to call it "Smörgåsbord" night when I was a kid. :-)

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  5. I have tried your recipe last night and it was the most delicious ravioli I had ever eat! I think that this is the best idea to transform the leftovers into something delicious and to reduce the waste at your home to minimum. Thank you a lot for this idea!

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    1. Wow! That's so great to hear! I'm glad they were a hit. Thanks for reading and commenting.

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