For those who know me, I love my Garbage Pans. That’s right: I eat my garbage… well, sort of. Almost every week I end up throwing together a pan of whatever looks like it’s about to get funky (not-so) fresh in my fridge and whip it into excellence. Here, is how I eat my garbage…-ish.
First, let’s talk about exactly what I’m talkin’ about. I’m talkin’ about eating the stuff that is about to get weird in your fridge. Like, the next day is literally one day too long and you need to eat this food before there’s no possible way you could stomach it without a follow-up episode on the porcelain throne. No one wants that.
This is usually goin’ down with my veggies. That second bag of sweet peppers I got on sale and the second bag of spinach that I consistently convince myself to buy with the determination to go through before it gets slimy. Well, this is what I do with those almost bombs of food poisoning waiting to happen.
Here is how a typical Garbage Pan (this time it’s a pot, I know) starts. You can see the sliced sweet peppers that I bought just because they were BOGO, a coarsely chopped onion out of the vast onion collection that I end up cultivating because I think I need onions every time I’m at the store, a glob of garlic because, even though it’s not going bad, everyone loves garlic (I love garlic), and a glug of olive oil. Saute this with some salt and pepper to taste on medium-high until your onions start to get transparent around the edges.
Time to add some additional crap to the pot that I was about to end up throwing away. I added around five heaping tablespoons of the of crushed tomatoes that I just had to open because I was going to make chili. So, before this stuff started to look hairy, I threw it in and continued to saute.
Remember the pre-slime spinach I mentioned? That’s where a handful of that iron rich goodness gets thrown in the pan. It adds a beautiful green coloration, a unique texture, and really just a little bit of freshness to every dish. Also, I needed to eat it before it started to look like canned spinach. As your spinach wilts in the pan, it’s time to throw in any other spices that you’d like to zezz up your dish with. I’m talkin’ red pepper, more garlic powder, maybe some onion flakes, parsley. This time I kept it Italian.
Here’s where if you’re not really familiar with cooking with spinach you might get weirded out. Yes, that’s nutmeg I’m adding. After going out on the world-wide web and learning how to make other more advanced, culinarily crafted dishes, it was brought to my attention the power of nutmeg and what it can do to a dish that contains leafy greens. The job of the nutmeg is to help bring out the freshness of your greens and bring the flavor forward, instead of it being drowned out by all the other deliciousness in the pan. Very Important Note: With nutmeg, a little goes a long way. Be careful. Don’t go over board. You can’t undo that.
Now that I have sautéed my pan to perfection, I have one last thing I added: pesto. This stuff has been in my fridge forever and I’m not really sure when it actually goes bad or what it will look and smell like when it actually happens, so I’ve just been throwing it into stuff until that day becomes very apparent. Think pesto is expensive? It’s not if you shop at an Aldi or anything other bargain grocery store. It’s out there and it’s not going to break your bank. Toss it in the cart. It’s good on everything.
Speaking of good on everything, let’s talk about eggs. ❤ I put eggs on just about everything (just like I do with my garlic). Burgers, pasta, that avocado toast that everyone would make fun of me for eating, chili, soups, salads, you name it, I may have put an egg on it. Thus, I put an egg on it. I like my eggs sunny side up, but no egg boogers. Egg boogers are gross. So, as my little eggies are frying in another pan on the side, I throw a lid on and it helps toast those boogers up so that the egg is truly edible. Some salt and pepper and you’ve got the perfect topper for any meal.
After it’s all said and done, I have to do what I always do: I plate. I love to make my food look gourmet, even when it’s not. Like I’m being treated with a fine dining meal even when I’ve only cooked up everything in front of me because it was all about to go bad. After putting the garbage concoction on the plate, I top it with the eggs and some hot sauce. This picture consisted of the top of an old farm desk I spruced up with Old English, a $2 plate I thrifted, and me standing on a chair hanging over the top of my plate trying to snap a snazzy picture before the food got cold. Throw in some photo editing, make your colors pop, and VWAHLAH! It’s like I spent way too much time and money on this photo and it really only took me walking into another room and standing on a chair like a dork. I know it’s not just me out there doing this though. I see you out there other foodie fanatics. I get you.
So, this is the story of my Garbage Pan. How I take what is literally about to be thrown in the garbage and make it something delicious, nutritious, and money conscious! Because, no one likes to throw away (sort of still) good food.
I hope this inspires you to salvage those little carrots in the back of your fridge that are starting to get wrinkly! May your kitchen creativity know no bounds.