Waste Not

I’m sure you know the cliché – waste not, want not. In the past year of grocery shortages, the progression of food moving through my kitchen has felt different. I’m not sure I’ve wasted less food, but I’m acutely aware of how many orders it can take to get a replacement. That means I’m always looking for opportunities to use ingredients a different way so they don’t go to waste.

It seems like every time I buy a jar of almond stuffed olives or banana peppers for an event or recipe, I end up using only a fraction. They last a long time, but they’re not something I use in my everyday recipes. I have the same issue with baby artichoke hearts.

Perhaps the easiest way to use all of these is on pizza. I sometimes keep a gluten-free dairy-free cheese pizza in the freezer for convenience. With the almonds removed from the olives, any of those items makes an appropriate pizza topper.

With the right combination of other ingredients, they are a great addition to salads, flatbread, and chicken dishes. Olives add salt, peppers add heat, and artichoke hearts add a light lemony tang.

This week, my dilemma was what to do with artichoke hearts. After a quick survey of the refrigerator, I sliced some onion and red bell pepper into thin strips, rough chopped some white mushrooms and sautéed all of them in olive oil.

Once everything was tender, I added chopped baby artichoke hearts and kept heat cooking until they were warm. Seasoned with a bit of salt and pepper, the lemony top note of the artichokes added just that little somethin-somethin that took this combination to another level. It was delicious!

The following day, I used the leftovers in a chicken wrap by thinly slicing herbed chicken breasts, placing them on a gluten-free chickpea flour tortilla and topping with the onion, pepper, mushroom, artichoke mixture. I then rolled and heated it. I didn’t add cheese, but it’s an easy option if you like cheesy goodness.

After the wrap is warm, you can add some fresh leaf lettuce for contrasting cool crunch if you like that in your wraps. You may even like a drizzle of Ranch dressing on top.

The same idea can be used for a delicious fajita wrap using left-over steak or roast beef. Sprinkle the beef with garlic powder, cumin, and chili powder and slice thin. Heat in a skillet along with onion, pepper, mushroom, artichoke heart mixture until warm. While cooking, place corn tortillas over the mixture so that the steam generated in the skillet heats them.

Once everything is warm, assemble the wraps. Add a dollop of guacamole or some sliced avocado, a squeeze of lemon, cilantro, salsa, sour cream or Ranch dressing. Make it your own with whatever toppings you prefer.

The artichoke hearts are gone. I have avoided any guilt that would come with them going to waste. A new grocery order will arrive on my doorstep momentarily. And the whole cycle will begin again.

My plan is to waste not.

Cooking for One

Author: Cheri Thriver

Hello, Cheri Thriver here blogging about cooking, thriving, and the intersection of the two. I’ve been living a gluten-free lifestyle for over 15 years. I understand that it’s rarely a lack of knowledge or the availability of appropriate food that keeps us from making healthy choices. More often than not, it’s an emotional connection, previous trauma, or fear of social reprisal that keeps us stuck. My wish is that you’ll find something here that informs, entertains, or inspires you to change anything that needs to be changed for you to live fully and thrive.

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