Turn pantry offerings into satisfying accidental dinner

March 29, 2019

I am claiming a war on the food I watch spoil before we’ve had time to use it. This weekend was full of recipes that cleared the pantry and cleaned out the fridge. I love the accidental masterpieces I stumbled upon when the main goal was to feed us but clear out food that would otherwise go to waste.

We buy bountiful bags full of fresh produce or items we refrigerate, like buttermilk and cheese. Then there are the half-used boxes of pasta loitering on the shelf just waiting to be used. We complain about eating out too much, then vow to eat at home more often to save ourselves from too much fat and salt and the overeating that tends to follow when we’re enjoying the luxury of being served oversize portions.

I run to the store to get several days of supplies to remedy the restaurant urges, only to be surprised our schedule becomes so crazy we can’t use the food I’ve bought.

I thought my life was supposed to slow down once the kids were raised. What I didn’t realize is how much they’ll still need you when they’re out on their own. A few weeks ago, I was walking around with my head down almost crying over the loss of being needed. This week, we’ve been traveling to see one, taking phone calls from another who is sick with food poisoning, watching yet another’s game a few states over then settling in on a lazy Sunday that turned into several of our babies coming to eat whatever I decided to cook.

Little did they know I cleaned out several items I was about to pitch in the garbage. I think Chayton was close to figuring it out when I handed over half a bag of granola and a small package of carefully wrapped crackers for his dessert because I was sure he was still hungry after I fed him.

I have felt very needed this week, so my heart is full. I’m exceptionally pleased with myself as I answered the call of waste in my house with this beautiful dish. It’s different but delicious in such a tangy and hearty manner. The salami added a unique depth to the rolled-up pasta.

I didn’t expect I would add this dish to my regular rotation. The only thing I’d change is add fresh basil and maybe even pesto but alas, I was out and not going to run to the store for it.

But oh how sweet this new dish is. I am more than happy to venture out beyond another trip to the grocery store when the outcome presents itself like this.

8 lasagna sections boiled according to the package

1 jar sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil

1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup cheddar cheese

5 slices salami, cut up

1/2 cup mozzarella cheese

3 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup buttermilk

1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

1/8 teaspoon powdered garlic

In a food processor, place the 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, tomatoes, salami and cheddar cheese. Spoon this mixture onto each lasagna noodle and roll up. Place in a small glass Pyrex dish, tall side up. Repeat until all of the noodles are used. In a small saucepan, melt the butter. Shake in the powdered garlic. Add in the buttermilk. Bring to boil. Add in the Parmesan cheese and stir until smooth. Pour over the rolled lasagna. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.

Place under a broiler until cheese is melted. Serve.

Janet McCormick is the author of “10-Minute Meals” and owner of Let’s Eat in Huntington. She lives in Lawrence County, Ohio. She can be reached at 304-654-2003 or www.10-minutemeals.com.