Foodie Friday- Skillet Supper

Meat and Greens

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.

Buttery Ranch Brussel Sprouts with Mushrooms and Onions
Buttery Ranch Brussel Sprouts with Mushrooms and Onions

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

Foodie Friday- Leftover Saute

Last Friday I told you guys that I had joined a pantry challenge.  I managed to only grab a gallon of milk mid-week, but I do have a few things I have to grab before I pick the kiddos up.  Most of them are requests from the kids.

  • Orange juice-they were fighting colds for whatever reason last time they were home, and prefer juice to Vitamin C tabs
  • Pudding- chocolate, vanilla, and lemon…. we already have vanilla, so I will grab the other two
  • Tortillas
  • Cheese
  • Honey Bunches of Oats (this will only happen if it is on sale, they have raisin bran, and he will make quesadillas which will work out cheaper)
  • Veggies
  • Vinegar
  • Potatoes

I use vinegar as my principle cleaning agent, so this is actually more for laundry and cleaning than cooking. Mash was requested by my girl child, apparently she doesn’t remember having it a couple weeks ago when she requested it last time, so I need potatoes for that.  At the store I am going to they mark down produce on Tuesdays and Fridays, so I will see what I can find to add some fresh veggies to the plan for the week.  Cheese and tortillas are on the list every time.  Mainly because my son is going to turn into a quesadilla any moment.  He will have a couple for breakfast before walking out the door (even though he could have cereal or any number of other things at school), and then turn around and want that for both after school snack and as a bedtime snack if he isn’t digging into the ice cream.

In case you didn’t know, I think pretty much any mother can tell you that you don’t go into a store hungry.  Or with kids if you can help it.  I do break that last one because after a few years of monthly grocery shops without kids I realized my kids hadn’t actually been in a store in over a year. But I still only take them occasionally.  My goal for today is to make it in and out for less than $25.  This is somewhat arbitrary, but in order to not have to play whack-a-mole with my budget, that is the goal.  I also try to see how fast I can get in and out because the longer you are in, generally the more you spend.  So I just fixed myself what I am calling Leftover Saute to get my belly full, and then I will head out.

Sometimes lunch can be a bunch of stuff thrown in a pan with some seasonings and turn out awesome.

Leftover Saute

1 leftover turnip (diced, but I also took the little sprouting tops off and added those)

1 leftover chicken thigh (skin removed, cut into pieces- skin saved)

1/2 leftover medium onion- diced

2 spiralized carrots- cores were eaten for breakfast this morning, and sprials saved in a bowl of water

2 small kale leaves- fresh from the garden…  is it leftover considering the kale was leftover from last year?

4ish garlic leaves? stalks?  it was the soft tops, not scapes, and not the cloves….

4 spearmint leaves- also picked from the garden today….  the rest of the bunch will probably be dried and used in my morning smoothies

I cut up the chicken into the skillet, put the skin in the toaster oven for 5ish minutes, and then cut the onion and turnip.  I did add a pinch of Pink Himalayan salt, and chicken fat leftover from cooking chicken thighs…  I honestly don’t know if this is schmaltz….  which I understand to be rendered chicken fat, but that is what I have been calling it for ease of labelling.  I used to use bacon grease in these type applications, but am avoiding pork these days.  Anyway,  once those were all melding well I tossed in the lightly squeezed out carrot spirals, and went to pick the stuff from the garden. It just didn’t have enough color.  I did cut those into strips and tossed them in, and basically just let it get good and wilted.  Top with the chicken skin. Then nom, nom, nom…..  why do I automatically see pacman when I use that term?

~Going Green Mom