Saturday, August 7, 2010

Suzy Goes Creative

A side result of our very hectic week was a surplus of nearly every food imaginable. We had stocked up on snacks and basics so that we wouldn't have to run to the grocery store. Friends and family brought copious amounts of food for the potluck supper and for snacking around the house or back at the motel. Leftovers from the motel returned to our kitchen (bags of grapes, half a gallon of milk, bottled water, and a few other goodies).

There was sliced cheese and there was cubed cheese along with cubed ham and cubed salami and sliced lunch meat.

When we bought three trays of Subway sandwiches for our party, Subway provided scads of individual serving packets of mustard, mayonnaise, olive oil and red wine vinegar, which, of course, no one used. And about a dozen of the sandwiches, now quite soggy, were left behind.

From WalMart we bought a condiment tray to go with the hamburgers and other goodies Grandson Jason grilled. So we had what seemed to be a ton of very thinly sliced red onions, thinly sliced tomatoes, slices of red, yellow and green bell peppers, plus dill pickle slices, olives and a few little pepperoncinis.

Granddaughter Renee made a wonderful pasta salad with grape tomatoes, but there were lots of the tomatoes left over. And we had some of our own besides, both grape tomatoes and regular tomatoes.

We needed fruit for breakfasts, so we had bought two cantaloupes, bananas, "cutie" mandarin oranges, and nectarines. More leftovers.

Here we sat, two of us, with a kitchen stuffed with food, most of which was edging near the far end of its shelf life. Suzy had to get creative! And I helped a little bit.

The easy part was bagging up some of the cheese and lunch meat to put in the freezer. The best part of that was that our daughters did that for us before they left!

We had eaten half of the top layer of the wedding cake; the other half Suzy wrapped and froze.

We stripped the meat from the old sandwiches. Some of the meat, along with some of the leftover cheese made it into one of my famous omelets (famous here at our home, at least).

One banana had to be tossed out (the ONLY casualty from the whole affair!), and three more went into a loaf of Suzy's delightful banana bread.

Suzy's biggest contribution was making spaghetti sauce. Usually she will take a jar of a nice bottled sauce from Safeway, brown up some meat, add some red wine and lots of good seasonings to produce a fine sauce. This week, Suzy chopped up tomatoes and bell peppers and onion slices.

I had to get "artsy" with the chopped peppers.

And the chopped tomatoes.

She browned a pound of sliced up smoked sausage we had bought "just in case" then added the onions and sauteed them together with chopped garlic.

Can you smell the onions cooking?
Those were dumped into a big Dutch oven to simmer slowly. Into the skillet went the chopped bell pepper to be sauteed in olive oil and spices (Suzy's special mixture of eight herbs and spices, including rosemary from our own garden). As that process neared completion, in went the chopped fresh tomatoes. When that mixture was heated, it was added to the simmering pot of sausage, onions and garlic.

To complete the sauce, Suzy added two cans of tomatoes and three cans of tomato sauce; the cans were rinsed with red wine which, of course, was added to the sauce. Oh yeah, in the refrigerator we found the leftover pepperoncinis and a half jar of chunky salsa -- into the mix! The mix simmered for about two hours, producing a gallon of marvelous spaghetti sauce.

We allowed the sauce to age overnight in the refrigerator, heated some for dinner Friday night. Heavenly! The remainder will be poured into freezer bags and frozen for future use.

What about those packets of vinegar, mayo, mustard, etc.? Today, Suzy snipped them open and added the contents to our household supply.

What did I do to help in all of this? I opened cans, took pictures, washed the dishes, and took out the garbage. Otherwise, I stayed out of the way during all the chop chop chopping.

We are fixed for food for the long haul during this part of ... Our Life on Wheels.


  1. What I want to know is this: what about the leftover Jelly Bellies? Oh, maybe there weren't any of those leftover.

    Seriously, that simmering sauce looked scrumptious. You were creative with the leftovers and with the photos. Glad to hear that you won't be starving any time soon!

  2. A happy belated anniversary to you! Looks like you had a grand celebration! JoAnn & Doug

  3. That sauce Suzy was cookin' up ...I have room in my freezer for that...Again...congrats!!!!

  4. We'll be over for dinner tomorrow night as long as you serve some of that spaghetti sauce on top of something! Looks terrific.

    You are a clever couple, aren't you!!??

  5. I could almost smell that spaghetti sauce simmering all the way up here on Vancouver Island - it looked absolutely terrific. Kudos to the photographer for making it look as good as I'm sure it is too!

    Sounds like a pretty good "waste not, want not" job you and Suzy have done there - congrats!

    p.s. yes, you did send me the recipe for Cowboy Cookies - thanks!

  6. Waste not, want not, and I can smell that spaghetti sauce all the way here in MO. Boy I wish I could have tasted it, My Italian Grandmother used to do the same thing any meat or chicken item left went into the sauce, boy those were the days, of course raising 4 boys Donna & I varey seldom had leftovers of nay kind. Be safe out there. Sam & Donna.

  7. Wow! I can almost smell the garlic and onions cooking and taste the spaghetti sauce! Glad you were so creative in using up leftovers.


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