Growing up, Mom made something she would call Skillet Supper. Usually it was a way to use up leftovers, or maybe just throw something together really quick with shelf stable ingredients. I find myself questioning now, what makes something a skillet supper? When I started this job we would have a Saute of the Day in the employee dining room and the buffet. In a lot of ways those were similar to the things we had growing up. Maybe it would have some pasta or some rice. Maybe some veggies or some sauce. Maybe it would have some beans or maybe the beans were what got thrown in so it would have some sauce. If you look at them from the point of view that Skillet Supper is something done to use up leftovers and a saute basically got prepped as needed and is a coherent mix of things that could be chosen from it starts sounding like a capsule wardrobe…. And that doesn’t sound appetizing. Obviously I need more sleep before I try writing these things.
Anyway, if you have a fairly standard set of things you wind up with for leftovers, and you keep some basic foods in the pantry, you have a wide array of options for your next Skillet Supper…. And if it was standard-ish on what you had you could maybe have a base set of sautes you could schedule into your meal plan rather than the way I learned to do Skillet Suppers with a hope and a prayer that they would turn out yummy.
If you have been on my Instagram for very long you probably realize that I do this a fair bit with odds and ends I got from marked down produce. Mom would often throw chili beans or baked beans in the pan with some rice…. Maybe mushrooms if my brother was gone that night. Back then I was a vegetarian, so I honestly don’t know if they ever had meat in them, and if she added that it was at the end(after mine was pulled out). My guess is that she started with beans and rice so that there was a complete protein and then didn’t worry about meat.
What the kids and I have done the last few years that would fit this concept of a formula of ingredients would be Meat and Greens. The meat we start with might be pepperoni, or salami, or pork chops (I am making this for the first time this year tonight with chicken, previously we would often use pepperoni, but it also has pork and wouldn’t be in our normal choices now). Julienne some onion, and toss that in. I used to also use butter with the meat and onions as well. Tonight I am using rendered chicken fat. Throw in some cut up root veggies. Carrots, turnips, potatoes, sweet potatoes are all good. After that stuff is all heated up and most of the way cooked through you toss the stems of your greens in, and then a minute or two later (or whenever you get them cut down) you add the strips of kale, collards, turnip greens, swiss chard, or whatever other greens you have on hand to the pan and let them get wilted down. Salt/Pepper as desired and serve.
The other night I didn’t have the kids and I made one that was a take on my Buttery Ranch Brussel Sprouts that I had been working on as an alternative to the Bacon and Brussels recipe that got my kids to finally eat Brussel sprouts that weren’t coated in some sort of yellow sludge out of a box. I did the Brussel sprouts the way I had been, but then tossed in mushrooms and onions to go with it. This did change the flavor quite a bit, but that very well may have been because I used way more mushrooms than I probably should have.
You might notice a trend that I don’t really have the rice, beans, or pasta in there like my Mom did. Over the years I have occasionally made things that could fall in the Skillet Supper category with these ingredients, and my kids just really don’t care for them. Now maybe I should have listened to them sooner, but we are eating a lot less rice these days, and pasta pretty much went away with the gluten free thing. We will still have the occasional bit of pasta with spaghetti sauce, but since it just isn’t the same and for the last few years I hadn’t been able to find a GF spaghetti I liked, we went with Penne pasta and the little spirally one whose name I don’t remember. I don’t know if this was because of the urging from so many doctors to go paleo, or if we just quit fixing that type of stuff, and maybe it was both. Either way, I know that I feel better the less I eat grains…. processed or not. I still do, but if I can pair meat and veg and be satisfied, that is usually our best bet. And if I am just feeding me I will often just take one thing and cook it somehow, and eat that.
Wishing you the best of luck in your hope and pray supper experiments,
~Going Green Mom