Fridge and Pantry Treasures

There are treasures hidden in the kitchen, you just have to get creative.

I feel like I'm always buying groceries, so I've been trying to use only the items in my pantry and fridge when cooking this week (no special trips to the store, no last minute stop at the bakery) and it's been easier than I thought.  Here are two meals I've made so far for the two of us with the food I already have in the house.

1)  Peppercorn Pork Loin with Lemon Couscous, Crispy Kale and Roasted Broccoli

1 18-20 oz. Pork Loin (I had a peppercorn-marinated one from Hormel)
4 servings Couscous (large kernel size)
Vegetable stock
1  Lemon
1 bunch Parsley
1.5 lb kale leaves (washed, stems removed and leaves ripped into bite-sized pieces)
Walnut Oil
1 head broccoli (washed and florets separated from main stem)
Olive Oil
4 cloves Garlic (peeled/smashed)
Garlic powder (to taste)
Kosher salt (to taste)

To Do:
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees and place pork loin in a shallow pan. Roast pork for about 30-40 minutes, or until juices run clear.  I like mine a little pink, so usually take it out at the 30-minute mark and let it rest for 5-10 minutes. I also added some roughly chopped carrots and onions to the roasting dish to add flavor.
  • In the meantime, toss your kale with some walnut oil, salt and garlic powder and place in even layer on a baking sheet.  Roast for 30 minutes or until leaves are crispy, but still chewy.
  • Toss the broccoli florets and 3 garlic cloves with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Place in a shallow pan and roast in the oven for about 40 minutes. 
  • Note: I put all three dishes in the oven together--and while the pork rested for a few minutes, I cranked up the oven to 450 so the broccoli and kale had a chance to caramelize a bit more.
  • Cook your couscous per the directions on the package, but use vegetable stock instead of water and add a garlic clove and 1/2 a lemon to the liquid.  When couscous is tender and ready to serve, remove garlic clove and lemon, then mix in a handful of chopped parsley, kosher salt, a tsp of butter, a few tsps of lemon juice and garlic powder to taste.
  • Slice pork and serve with a heaping portion of kale and broccoli and a mound of couscous.
  • Yum.

This next dish put the leftover couscous to use. No pics because Chris and I literally stood in the kitchen and ate it all gone.  (Spicy and creamy and oh-so-good!)

2) Pretty Peas Curry with Couscous

1 TBS Butter
1 tsp Cinnamon
2 tsp Kosher salt (plus more to taste)
1 TBS Curry powder
1 TBS Garlic powder
1 TBS Brown Sugar
2 TBS Tikka Paste
2 TBS tomato paste
1 15 oz. can chick peas (drained)
1 cup frozen or fresh green peas
1 cup vegetable stock
1/2 cup Crème fraîche (Alouette has a 7 oz. tub that's easy to find in the dairy section)
1 cup Leftover couscous
Rice/Naan for serving

To Do:
  • In a large pot, melt butter and stir in cinnamon, salt, curry powder, garlic powder, brown sugar and the Tikka and tomato pastes. Cook until fragrant.  
  • Stir in the chick peas and mix into spices.
  • Add stock and stir in the green peas. Heat to boiling, then lower heat immediately.
  • Simmer for about 5-10 minutes until peas are thawed/cooked, add the cooked couscous. 
  • Remove from heat and stir in 1/4 cup of crème fraîche.
  • Taste and adjust seasonings if needed. If too spicy, add more crème fraîche.
  • Serve over rice, or scoop up with toasted Naan.  Great with cubed chicken or tofu as well. 
  • Delish!

What tasty treasures are waiting in your pantry/fridge?