Life is full of challenges, whether they come to you naturally along the way, or are self-imposed. This is about both. I have been emotionally challenged this past week and am still riding the waves of grief. It has been a difficult time in the family. My son’s 3-year old duck hunting, fun loving, ball chasing, beautiful yellow Lab passed away, very quickly, from Lyme disease complications. This is an awful thing that is spreading across the country affecting pets and humans. Please be vigilant with your tick checks. He was my precious 4-legged, furry grandog and I loved my time dog sitting. I’m sorry, but I just had to say something about this. Since the theme of my blog is respect – respect for family, friends and food, I am paying my respects to Owen, the Lab.
Now on to something that seems so insignificant right now. Before the loss of Owen, it seemed like the right thing to talk about. Yes, I know I sound grumpy, but it has been dark and rainy for 4 straight days and we all need some sunshine right about now.
My most recent vacation was over and I had the vacation blues. I was tired from the long drive and frustrated with chores to do at home, like laundry and grocery shopping. I took a look around and thought to myself, don’t be wasteful, there must be something that could be made with food already in the house. So, I challenged myself to use expired and ready to expire ingredients. It was fun to do at the time, and I challenge you to try it. Mother grew up in the Depression era and often cautioned me about my “wastefulness.”
After a quick survey of my fridge, cupboards and counters, I realized what I had on hand and decided to make Spinach-Feta Mini Pies with my mini-pie baker. The pie-baker was glaring at me from the counter, because I had not used it since Christmas-when I got it as a gift. Here is the recipe with notes about the expired ingredients.
Garlic cloves- very close to expiration-almost mooshy-green sproutings
Baby spinach – expired but not mooshy
White wine – does not have time to expire in my house
Lemon- very close to mooshy-not moldy
Scallions – green part was icky, bulb part ok
Sour Cream & Feta crumbles – expired but saw no mold
Pre-made pie crusts – expired by a month, but ok
Garlic – few cloves, finely chopped
Spinach – 4-6 cups
Onion – 1 slice-finely chopped
White wine – about ½ cup
Lemon – thick slice
Scallions – 3
Feta cheese crumbles
Chipotle sauce or your favorite hot sauce – a few drops
Pre-made & rolled pie dough brought to room temp-2 rolls
Drizzle olive oil in bottom of pot and heat
Dump in finely chopped garlic and onion slice – brown it up
Add white wine and bubble it up
Add spinach to pot. Using tongs, lift around pot until gently wilted. Turn off heat during this process.
Place wilted spinach in colander to drain and squeeze fresh lemon juice over wilted spinach – let drain…pick out lemon seeds* Slice up scallions.
Place drained spinach in mixing bowl, add scallions, spoonful of sour cream, few drops of hot sauce and some feta crumbles. Save some crumbles to put on top of baked mini pies.
Cut the room temp pie dough into round shapes to fit the mini-pie baker.
Place the dough rounds in the mini-pie maker and fill with the spinach mixture. The mixture should not be too liquidy. Bake for 10 minutes. The special mini-pie lifter is quite helpful and keeps the fragile crust from breaking.
This will make approximately 8 single crust mini-pies and you will be using 1 box or 2 rolls of the pre-made & rolled pie dough.
Other optional ingredients to throw in the spinach mix: mushroom pieces, toasted pine nuts, or almonds slivers.
*Lemon juice TIP-squeeze juice in your clean hand and it will catch seeds-I forget to do it that way and have to pick out the seeds sometimes.
Shared some with the office – they said… “tasted good”- but I really didn’t tell them about using my expired ingredients. Guess they know now.
Respecting the food-eating the sad-face “flop”
OK, enough of this sadness. Lets pick things up for you. Here is a challenge-see the picture below. If you are the FIRST one to tell me what “it” is, within the first 24-hours this blog is posted, by emailing me firstname.lastname@example.org, I will personally send you the item. I will contact you by email, let you know if you are the winner and request a mailing address. The time on your email will be considered the official time.
What is it???