If you’ve been reading this blog for longer than 2 weeks, you will probably have picked up on the fact that I often enjoy the challenge of using up what I already have on hand instead of just constantly buying new food. So, every few months or so, I get the urge to do a complete pantry, fridge, and freezer inventory whereby I pull everything out, asses, and then either dispose or re-home my findings. It’s a good way for me to see what I have, what I need, and what needs to be used up relatively quickly.
It’s also a good way for me to procrastinate from doing my laundry or cleaning out my car, both of which need to be done but neither of which you want to hear about.
During my last inventory session, I unearthed a package of ground bison in the freezer and a can of pizza sauce in the pantry. I knew I could build a meal out of those two ingredients without having to run to the store, which is always a bonus since a certain manager at a local grocery store sees me so often he now calls me “trouble”.
So much for ever being incognito, huh?
I pulled out a few zucchini, some cheese, and an onion from the fridge along with some frozen red peppers, and got cooking. Since it was almost midnight, I knew I had to work quickly so as to not wake M up.
Using up what you already have and making a quick and delicious meal? A good thing indeed.
Zucchini, red onion, garlic, red peppers, ground bison, cheese, pizza sauce, Italian seasoning
Wash and halve a few zucchini’s lengthwise, like so:
If need be, cut a small slice off of the bottom of each half so that the zucchini sits nicely. Mine were ok, and I couldn’t be bothered to make them perfect so I didn’t. Use a spoon to hollow out the zucchini, but leave a 1/4″ border or so for stability, and because zucchini is delicious.
Give the zucchini innards a rough chop, and set them aside.
Next, chop up a red onion, while trying not to cry.
I found a bag of frozen red pepper strips in my freezer, so I chopped up a few handfuls of those too.
Throw all of the veggies into a pan with a drizzle of olive oil, and saute for a few minutes. Add a few cloves of minced garlic too, for good measure. If you have any veggies that are knocking on deaths door, this would be a great way to use them up.
Surely I am not the only one that ever has vegetables go bad in their fridge.
When the veggies have started to soften, add the ground bison. If you don’t have any ground bison, try ground beef, or turkey, or chicken, or pork. This is all about using up what you have, folks!
However, if you aren’t familiar with ground bison and would like a reason to be, you should give it a try – it’s fabulous! Check out this post where I talk about some of it’s attributes, or just take my word for it.
Since bison is extremely lean, it doesn’t give off much fat (i.e. probably no need to drain the meat). Open up a can of pizza sauce, or tomato sauce, or diced tomatoes, or whatever you find in your pantry, and add it to the skillet.
Next, a healthy sprinkling of Italian seasoning. If you don’t have any of that in your posession, give a few good shakes or basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme, or whatever sounds good to you.
Give it a stir, and reduce the heat to low. Let the meat mixture simmer for about 20 minutes or so to allow the flavours to all blend together in a way that’s just magical.
I heard that said on TV once, although I’m not sure if it’s true or not.
Once the meat has thickened up like this…
…taste it for seasonings, and add more of whatever it needs. I debated adding some cooked quinoa to the filling, but decided against dirtying another pot. If you have any leftover grains already cooked in your fridge, now would be a good time to use them up. It would also stretch the meat a little further, which is never a bad thing.
Grab the zucchini boats and put them on a baking sheet, and then fill with the meat mixture.
Sprinkle liberally with cheese, because cheese makes everything better.
Sing with me now…mozzarella and cheddar!
Up close and personal, just the way I like it:
After about 20 mins at 350-degrees, dinner was served!
And I didn’t care that it was 11:48pm; I dug right in!
Yummm…these bison-stuffed zucchini boats feel both healthy and decadent at the same time, which I will never complain about. M and I both loved these (“These are fantastic!” he proclaimed the next day) and fought over who could have the last one.
He won, by the way. I figured it was only fair to let him win since he often puts up with me cooking in the wee hours of the morning.
Please contain your jealousy.
Until next time…