Saturday, May 23, 2009

Refrigerator Inspiration

Last night, like a lot of nights, I didn't exactly have a plan for dinner. What I had was ingredients in the refrigerator. Some were leftovers--not really enough to just heat and eat again, but not mini enough to throw away. So it was a Refrigerator Inspiration night.

Here's what we had in the leftover department:
~ 1/4 lb. grilled salmon (stored in a bit of yummy lime/garlic vinaigrette)
a handful of grilled onions,
a couple of servings of steamed green beans,
~ 1 1/2 cups of mashed potatoes (low-fat)
more leftover lime/garlic vinaigrette

What we added to complete the meal:

1 red bell pepper, chopped
6 ounces of crimini mushrooms, sliced
1 ripe tomato, sliced
salt and pepper.
3/4 cup fat-free half & half (adds substance without fat)
1 Tblsp flour
1 tblsp red pepper olive oil**
Last, a generous handful of fresh dill from the front butterfly garden, pictured above**


I keep a small jar of olive oil in the pantry to which I've added a healthy dose of red pepper flakes. The flakes mellow out & the oil picks up a tang--not enough to really heat up a dish but it adds a nice spike.
OK, the dill isn't a basic unless you grow it. But I planted a single little dill plant last year for the black swallowtails (dill, along with parsley, fennel, and carrot, is a host for black swallowtail caterpillars). The dill got overgrown by other plants and I forgot about it. Protected from the blistering summer sun, it prospered and reseeded--prolifically, as you see. Now I'm thinning it out. This dill is almost sweet with a minty, slight cinnamony flavor. It makes everything better, which is good since we have so much of it...

Here's what we did:

Put the oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and sauteed the mushrooms and red bell pepper. Next we sprinkled with flour, salt and pepper and stirred to cook until the flour was slightly browned. Added the FF half & half and stirred to mix, then added the lime/garlic viniagrette, maybe 3 tbsp, from the leftover salmon. Cooked on medium heat for a couple of minutes and added the grilled onions. In a couple of minutes it had thickened to sauce consistency so we added the salmon (took the skin off and flaked it first) and snipped dill and turned the heat down to low. Stirred gently to mix, then took off of the heat and covered while we heated the mashed potatoes. And sliced the tomato, added it to the green beans, sprinkled lightly with salt and pepper and drizzled with vinaigrette.

Dinner was on the table about 20 minutes after we started and, oh man, it was good. Grilled Salmon and Onions, Sauteed Mushrooms and Red Bell Pepper in a Dill Cream Sauce over Mashed Potatoes. Side salad of Green Beans and Tomatoes drizzled with a little more Lime/Garlic Vinaigrette. Low-fat, lots of vegetables, healthy.

A little glass of Estancia Chardonnay went well with the food and didn't break the bank. The wine offered pears, citrusy fruit, grassy notes and an underlying toast to complement the flavors in the main dish.

My husband and my budget thanked me. And no restaurant in town served our meal last night--we couldn't have gotten those tastes anywhere else. Refrigerator Inspiration strikes again.

1 comment:

  1. Buck likes to say that our leftovers are "better than most people's first-overs." Clearly, it's that way at your house!

    The dill is beautiful. I'll send you our favorite recipe for shrimp with capers and dill via email.


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