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Cleaning Out Your Refrigerator & Pantry

The extremely cold temperatures on the east coast may have you hiding away in your house. All that time indoors (or maybe the inability to head to the grocery stores) may eventually inspire you to eat your way through your refrigerator and pantry. However, when you take this task on you often don't have all the ingredients you need to completely follow a recipe. This is when you need to get creative. There are a number of things that you can throw together for breakfast, lunch and dinner with whatever you have on hand. Here are a couple ideas that I came up with to get you started on the path to a successful meal with the odds and ends you have in your home. Hash A hash is great for breakfast with a few eggs thrown on top or even enjoy it for dinner. If you don't have meat, make it vegetarian. Here are some ingredients you could use in your hash: - Vegetables like onion, peppers, celery and carrots - Root Vegetables like potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, turnips, and beets - Any protein even something like canned chicken would work - Fresh or dried herbs like thyme, sage or rosemary - Fruits like apples, pears, or even dried fruit like apricots - Add flavor with garlic, mustard and vinegar If the meat you are using isn't already cooked, start by doing this. You can sear it, bake it or braise it depending on the cut of meat. Now on to the root vegetables. If you are using potatoes, you make want to parboil them before making the hash. Saute the onions in a skillet. Then go on to add your veggies and cook them down. Now add your meat and start to build your flavors with the herbs and other ingredients you have chosen. Let it all saute together until everything is cooked through. Here are some hash recipes to inspire you: Country Hash Mexican Chorizo Hash Stuffing Hash Pot Pie Who said pot pies have to be chicken, veggies and gravy. I love putting all sorts of different ingredients in my pot pies. In fact, one of my favorites is chicken, tomato, sour cream and pesto. Here are some things you might want to put in your pot pie: - Any protein can be used again. Even fish could be used in a pot pie - Can or frozen veggies of any kind - Your flavors can come from pesto, herbs, ketchup, mustard, or hot peppers - Your base can be stock, cream, milk, sour cream or cream cheese - Any fresh veggies that you have can be added to the mix - Your crust can be pie crust, puff pastry, pizza dough, croissant dough, or even crushed up crackers Brown your protein first, then pull it out of the pan. Next cook through all of your vegetables. Put your meat back in the pan and start to build your flavors with your spices, herbs and condiments. Now add your base and let it cook down for about 10 minutes. If you are putting a crust on the top and the bottom make sure you blind bake the bottom crust before filling it. Once you put the filling in, top it with your crust or puff pastry and bake. Here are some pot pie recipes to inspire you: Mushroom Pot Pie Turkey and Smoked Gouda Pie Pizza Pot Pie

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