One of the goals, or intentions that I have set for myself for the new year is to de-clutter my home. I am sure that I am not the only person with that goal, as I ran across a website that offers a 52 week organized home plan. It seems very basic, and give you one small task to do Monday through Friday, with a larger task on Saturday and resting on Sunday. As with all new goals the first couple of days I was on track. I got off track a little bit on Thursday and Friday, so made up for it yesterday (Saturday). In fact, I went over and above! The first week of the de-clutter challenge was dealing with the kitchen. That is awesome, considering how much time I spend in the kitchen. By the end of yesterday, so far this year I have straightened out the top shelf of 4 of my kitchen cabinets, cleaned the outsides of those same cabinets, washed (de-funkified) the outside of the fridge, straightened out the pantry (cleaned thoroughly), and cleaned out the refrigerator (thoroughly). I have also cleaned out and de-cluttered my lazy susan. I am adding this de-cluttering system to a time management technique that I started using in 2011. It is called single-handling. If you have something in your hand, deal with it immediately, the right way, through completion. Don’t set it down in a pile on your desk or the table or move it to another location. If it is in your hand deal with it – once. I also read a quick little blurb about getting rid of 100 things in your house to help simplify your life. I didn’t read it all the way through, but every item I touch and everything I clean and de-clutter the thought of getting rid of 100 things creeps in…
With that windy introduction, it leads me right to the heart of the matter. My theme for cooking yesterday was centered around stuff that I found when I cleaned out my pantry and fridge! I found 8 boxes of flavored gelatin when I cleaned out my pantry. Old boxes. We are not huge gelatin eaters, and really don’t like it when turned into “salad” by adding some strange fruits or vegetables. With that being said, I also found a can of cranberry sauce in my pantry. I must have bought it last Thanksgiving (2010). It wasn’t expired and the can was in good shape, but we don’t eat that, either. So I decided to combine the cranberry gelatin I found with the cranberry sauce. I ended up topping it with some other leftover items from my fridge and pantry and turned it into a real crowd-pleaser! The youngest was a huge help in making the gelatin dish. She smashed the heck out of the cranberry sauce to make it smooth, and stirred like a maniac!
I also made a cauliflower dish that I had wanted to try for quite a while with some cauliflower that was looking somewhat desperate. The recipe, Oven-Roasted Cauliflower, came from one of my favorite healthy cooking sites, Skinnytaste.com.
Much of what I used yesterday was leftover from holiday cooking and baking. It needed to be used! Like the 2 opened, half-used packages of cream cheese, the cinnamon whipped topping, and the lemon. For the main dish, I went with one of my “old stand-by” recipes. My mother used to make something similar. I have made it a little bit healthier over the years, and my family seems to enjoy it.
The menu for yesterday’s evening meal was Meat patties in sauce, white rice, steamed broccoli, oven-roasted cauliflower and special cranberry gelatin. Everyone really seemed to enjoy most of the meal. Here are the recipes that I came up with for the gelatin, and my old stand-by.
Cranberry Gelatin with Cream Cheese Topping
1 box Cranberry Gelatin
2 cups boiling water
1 can cranberry sauce
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1/2 carton frozen whipped topping (I used special edition cinnamon)
In a bowl, mash the cranberry sauce until smooth. In a 9×13 glass dish pour the boiling water over the powdered gelatin. Stir briskly for 2 minutes, until completely dissolved. Add the cranberry sauce to the hot gelatin mixture. Stir until smooth. Refrigerate for several hours, until firm.
In a small bowl mix together the cream cheese, powdered sugar and whipped topping with an electric mixer. Beat until smooth and spreadable. Add more whipped topping if needed. Carefully spread the topping over the cooled gelatin. Return to the refrigerator for several hours to firm up.
Meat patties with Sauce
1 pound lean ground beef, or other lean ground meat
½ cup panko
1 egg white
Cream Soup, or Cream Soup Substitue
Milk (I use skim)
Mix ground meat, panko, egg white, and spices together in a glass or metal bowl with your hands until well combined. Form into patties and brown over medium heat in a skillet sprayed with non-stick spray. Turn patties over. In a small bowl, combine soup, milk and prepared mustard; mix thoroughly. Pour the soup mixture over the meat patties. Cover, and lower heat. Cook until patties are done, and soup has condensed and is bubbly. Serve with cooked rice or pasta.
What a great way to use some ingredients that needed to be used without discarding them! It was fabulous to make some progress on my goals as well as try some new dishes. I hope you are able to accomplish your goals this year, and enjoy cooking, baking and eating wonderful new things.