Some Stale Pasta

But still good.  This is a good way to get rid of old grapes as well. 
Chicken Salad
Makes about 9 cups

About 2 pounds of chicken breast
Better Than Bullion 
1 pound box of rotini
3 c. grapes, cut in half lengthwise, (scissors work great)

1 T. lemon juice
1 1/2 t. celery salt
1 1/2 c. mayonnaise
1/2 c. sour cream 
 Salt to taste
Cashews to taste

Put water in stock pot just enough to cover chicken.  Bring to boil.  Add a couple of teaspoons of Better Than Bullion and chicken.  Poach chicken for 45 min.  Drain and let cool.  Dice chicken to make 4 1/2 cups.  Cook pasta according to directions.  Drain.  Do not rinse.  Add a little oil or butter to keep it from sticking.  Combine the chicken, pasta and grapes

In a medium bowl, make the dressing by combining the lemon juice, celery salt, mayonnaise and sour cream.  Pour over chicken and mix in.  Salt to taste.  

The Challenge:

You know if you got rid of all of these condiments we never use we would actually have space in the refrigerator.  

First up, a half of a bottle of old peanut sauce added to the following recipeOr is the old turkey I am using first up?  Of course it's not a condiment but should turk ever play second fiddle? 

Spaghetti with Chicken and Thai Peanut Sauce

Serves 4

3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons lime juice (from about 2 limes)
1 tablespoon cooking oil, plus 1 tablespoon more if needed

4 cloves garlic, minced

3/4 teaspoon ground ginger

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 pound in all)

1/2 cup chunky peanut butter, preferably natural

1 cup canned low-sodium chicken broth or homemade stock

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon dried red-pepper flakes, or to taste

3/4 pound spaghetti

3 scallions including green tops, chopped

1/3 cup chopped peanuts (optional) 

  1. In a medium, shallow glass dish or stainless-steel pan, combine the 3 tablespoons soy sauce, the 2 tablespoons lime juice, 1 tablespoon of the oil, the garlic, and the ginger. Add the chicken; turn to coat. Let marinate at least 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium, stainless-steel saucepan, combine the remaining 1 teaspoon soy sauce and 2 teaspoons lime juice, the peanut butter, broth, sugar, salt, and red-pepper flakes. Pour the marinade from the chicken into the saucepan and bring just to a simmer over moderate heat, whisking until smooth.
  3. Heat a grill pan over moderate heat. Cook the chicken until browned and just done, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Remove the chicken from the pan and let it rest for 5 minutes. Cut crosswise into 1/4-inch slices. Alternatively, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a heavy frying pan. Cook and slice the chicken in the same way.
  4. In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the spaghetti until just done, about 12 minutes. Drain the pasta and toss with the peanut sauce, chicken, and scallions. Top with the chopped peanuts, if using. 
Calories per serving: 569

Angel Food Cake with Strawberry Buttercream Frosting

This is a perfect frosting for angel food cake and for a little girl turning 1.  Happy Birthday, Catherine.
Angel Food Cake


  • 10-12 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar


  1. Separate eggs; discard yolks or cover and refrigerate for another use. Measure egg whites, adding or removing whites as needed to equal 1-1/2 cups. Place in a mixing bowl; let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, sift confectioners' sugar and flour together three times; set aside. Add cream of tartar, extracts and salt to egg whites; beat on high speed. Gradually add sugar, beating until sugar is dissolved and stiff peaks form. Fold in flour mixture, 1/4 cup at a time. Gently spoon into an ungreased 10-in. tube pan. Cut through batter with a knife to remove air pockets. Bake at 350 degrees F for 40-45 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched. Immediately invert pan; cool completely before removing cake from pan.  Frost with strawberry frosting.  Refrigerate.


Nutritional Analysis: One slice equals 101 calories, trace fat (0 saturated fat), 0 cholesterol, 59 mg sodium, 23 g carbohydrate, 0 fiber, 3 g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 1-1/2 starch.

Strawberry Buttercream Frosting
This is an adaptation of Wilton's buttercream frosting

1 carton frozen strawberries with or without sugar, thawed 
4 c powered sugar
1/2 c butter at room temperature
1/2 Spectrum organic butter flavored shortening OR  1/2 butter at room temperature
1 t. vanilla

In large bowl, cream shortening and butter with electric mixer. Add vanilla. Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often. When all sugar has been mixed in, icing will appear dry. Add 1/2 cup of strawberries, using only the berries and draining the liquid.   Beat at medium speed until light and fluffy. Keep bowl covered with a damp cloth until ready to use. For best results, keep icing bowl in refrigerator when not in use. Refrigerated in an airtight container, this icing can be stored 2 weeks. Rewhip before using.  Adjust sugar/strawberry amount to desired consistency.


Leftovers: Tasty or Trash?

From The Wall Street Journal:
Want to turn leftovers into crowd pleasing meals? Sarah Nassauer gets a few tips from Tamar Adler, author of 'An Everlasting Meal,' on how to make the most out of every ingredient.
In Ondria Witt's kitchen, last night's roast chicken is tonight's enchiladas. Stale bread becomes bread pudding.
Just don't tell her husband. "I fear if I do he'll be like, 'No. I'll go get a pizza,' " says Ms. Witt, 29, a stay-at-home mother in Salisbury, N.C.
[LEFTOVERS] Photo illustration by Stephen Webster
An average U.S. family of four spends $500 to $2,000 each year on food that ends up in the garbage.
"I'd rather eat a spoonful of peanut butter than eat leftovers," says Sacha Witt, a 26-year-old classical bass trombone player who also does home repair work. Even so, Mr. Witt hates to think about all the leftovers that end up in the trash. "You're like, 'Oh man, how much money have I wasted?' "

The food we throw away is getting more attention, as prices continue to rise. Still, it's a challenge for home cooks to resist the temptation to eat out or order in. It's hard work using up all the food we have languishing in our refrigerators, freezers and pantries. And it takes creativity to prepare leftovers that will appeal to picky eaters.
But there is a reward for those who learn how. The average U.S. family of four spends from $500 to $2,000 a year on food they never eat, according to researchers' estimates.
Food is the second-largest component in the U.S. solid waste stream, after paper and paperboard. Once paper and paperboard are removed for recycling, food ends up as the largest component in U.S. landfills and incinerators, weighing in at 33 million tons in 2010, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
"People have started equating throwing food away with throwing away cash," says Steve Pawl, vice president of marketing for Rubbermaid, which along with Ziploc and Pyrex are introducing food-storage products aimed at concerns about food waste and leftovers.
Rubbermaid's Produce Saver container has a "fresh vent," which allows air to circulate, and a "crisp tray," which lifts produce away from moisture—features the company says extend the refrigerator life of produce.
Chefs and container makers are trying to get Americans to throw out less food by touting innovative ways to dress up leftovers, Sarah Nassauer reports on Lunch Break. Photo: Jeff Bush.

Life With Leftovers

Some experts' tips for dealing with leftovers are simple, while others are more challenging.

Store smarter. Immediately storing washed herbs and greens in an airtight container with damp paper towels in the refrigerator makes them last much longer.
Separate foods. Bananas, apples and pears give off ethylene, which ripens other fruits and vegetables stored near them.
Dress them up. Put leftovers in attractive glass jars to make them look more appetizing and visible, says Tamar Adler, author of "An Everlasting Meal."

Make soup. Meat bones or vegetables can make a stock and other leftovers (vegetables, meat, grains, pasta, etc.) can be added, with seasoning, to make soup.
Add eggs. Soft boil them as a topper for leftover sautéed greens, rice, soup or pasta, says Ms. Adler.
Cook more at once. Cook enough beans to have as a side dish one night, and then sauté with broccoli and parsnips for a stir fry the next night, says Michael Anthony, executive chef at Gramercy Tavern.

Go pesto. Sauté broccoli and cauliflower stalks, then blend in a food processor with a hard cheese like Parmesan, along with garlic and olive oil and perhaps any about-to-go-bad herbs and nuts to make pesto for pasta, a toast spread or a soup garnish, says Ms. Adler.

Why We Buy Too Much

It's counterintuitive: People tend to overestimate what they need at the store when they are well-stocked at home, research shows.

How Much We Throw Out

Vegetables are the most commonly wasted food in the average American home. Each home throws out $92 of fruits and vegetables a year.
Vegetables are the most commonly wasted food in U.S. homes, making up some 25% of avoidable waste, according to CleanMetrics Corp., a software firm that analyzes the environmental impact of products and businesses.
Without a well-researched shopping list, most grocery shoppers will naturally create food waste by overbuying, says Brian Wansink, professor of marketing at Cornell University's Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, who studies eating and shopping behavior.
People tend to overestimate what they need at the store when they are well-stocked at home, and to underestimate what they need when they don't have enough, he says.
"You have it in your mind that you have barbecue sauce," says Dr. Wansink. "But since you've been thinking about it, it must be because you need it," when in fact you have several bottles. In addition to the tendency to overbuy, people tend to stockpile. According to Dr. Wansink, about 93% of people say they have something in their kitchen three years or older, and when asked, they said they intend to hold on to the item.
A popular recipe on the Betty Crocker website is "Bottom of the Cereal Box Cookie," which uses the uneaten flakes and crumbs found in the boxes gathering dust in our cupboards.
People respond to recipes that transform leftovers so they "suddenly become something that people want," says Jennifer Kalinowski, assistant manager of the food content strategy group at Betty Crocker, which is owned by General Mills.
"Consumers have a tremendous guilt about wasting food," says Kelly M. Semrau, chief sustainability officer at S.C. Johnson & Son, which makes Ziploc products. In a Ziploc ad campaign, people buying food at the grocery store specifically to throw it away.
Ziploc research indicates that more people are buying meat in bulk to take advantage of discounts and club-store prices, yet the meat often goes to waste, Ms. Semrau says. Earlier this year, Ziploc introduced portion-size plastic bags to be inserted inside its freezer bags, to make freezing and storing large quantities of raw meat easier and more effective. Leftovers make up about 12% of the contents of refrigerator-freezers, Ziploc says.
In the U.K., food waste is a public concern and a rallying point for politicians and corporations, similar to the issue of childhood obesity in the U.S. In recent years, U.K. grocery stores have tested ways to discourage overbuying, including "buy one, get one later" promotions at chains like Sainsbury's  and Tesco.

Photo illustration by Stephen Webster; Getty Images (4)
Just over half of avoidable food and drink waste comes about because products weren't used in time, according to a 2009 report from the Waste & Resources Action Programme in the U.K. About 40% of this waste is made up of leftovers, categorized as "cooked, prepared or served too much."
In the U.S., fears about food-borne illness and confusion about product "sell-by" dates are to blame for some food waste. "I refuse to eat anything if it's on or past the expiration date," says Alexis Carscadden, a 27-year-old librarian at a Chicago culinary school. She buys only what she and her husband, a leftover hater, plan to eat within about 48 hours; she shops for groceries four or five times a week.
Busy Americans' love of eating out was sending the home-cooked meal into decline for years. The number of meals consumed in the home was declining in the U.S. until 2002 and then began to increase, according to NPD Group, a market research firm. Spending on restaurant and takeout meals, meanwhile, still makes up about half of food expenditures, the firm's data indicate.
Eating at home doesn't always mean cooking, says Harry Balzer, vice president at NPD. Some foods that are becoming more popular in home meals don't require cooking, such as yogurt and cheese "as a base dish" along with nuts, chips, and bars. "There is not a recession in the world that is going to make you want to cook more," Mr. Balzer says.
Leftovers have been a contentious issue for a long time. "A judicious use of leftover food is commendable provided the housewife knows how far her economical impulses may carry her without a family protest," cautioned the 1951 edition of "The Joy of Cooking." Later editions warned, "You have to watch leftovers for color. Sometimes they need freshening up." They recommend adding color-contrasting sauce, greens or pimento to dull green beans to make them look more appealing.
What does it take to be a great chef? Is it as simple as the number of taste buds on your tongue? Gail Monaghan weighs in on the mentality that makes good cooks into great chefs.
Chefs and authors are championing leftovers and elevating scraps like cauliflower stems, chicken livers and ginger peel to ingredient status. Last year, Ruth Reichl, editorial adviser to Gilt Taste, Gilt Groupe's food writing and sales website, and former editor in chief of Gourmet Magazine, helped develop a column called "Eats Shoots and Leaves," about cooking with things like corn silk and carrot greens.
The microwave oven, for all its convenience, may actually limit leftovers' horizons. "Before the microwave it wasn't so easy to reheat leftovers," says Ms. Reichl. "I think people used to think more creatively."
Eggs are useful for transforming leftovers, says Tamar Adler, author of "An Everlasting Meal, Cooking with Economy and Grace." A poached or soft-boiled egg on top of rice, soup, or tomato sauce makes a meal.
What Food Dates Really Mean

Expiration dates and "sell by" dates on food are often set by manufacturers and intended to guide grocers and shoppers about peak freshness—not as a safety gauge. The dates are generally not set by the federal government, with the exception of infant formula.

"After the date passes, while not of best quality, the product should still be safe if handled properly and kept at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below for the recommended storage times," says the U.S. Department of Agriculture website. Dating foods like eggs is required by some states.

The issue is getting more attention in the U.K., where reducing food waste has become a political flash point. The government there advised grocery stores last year to stop using "sell by" and "display until" dates to reduce avoidable food waste, saying the dates aren't an indicator of food safety.

"Give it a smell, look at it, maybe even taste it," before tossing food, suggests Jonathan Bloom, author of American Wasteland, a book about food waste. "We have fairly well-developed instincts as a species for knowing if something is good or not."
Write to Sarah Nassauer at

Winter Carrots and Lettuce

I planted carrot and lettuce seeds in the fall under some old windows after the frost.  The winter was so mild here I left them grow all winter.  I planted Danvers carrots which are shorter as my planter isn't very deep.  An even shorter carrot is Chantenay which I might try.

Two Week Old Shrimp

And I don't mean they are cute little bundles of joy that were only hatched two weeks ago.  No I don't.  These has been siting in the refrigerator for 4 years.  In shrimp years. 
Linguine with Shrimp Scampi
Serves 3
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt plus 1 1/2 teaspoons
  • 3/4 pound linguine
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic (4 cloves)
  • 1 pound large shrimp (about 16 shrimp), peeled and deveined, tails removed if desired
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 1/2 lemon, zest grated
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
  • 1/4 lemon, thinly sliced in half-rounds
  • 1/8 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes (optional)

Drizzle some oil in a large pot of boiling salted water, add 1 tablespoon of salt and the linguine, and cook for 7 to 10 minutes, or according to the directions on the package.

Meanwhile, in another large (12-inch), heavy-bottomed pan, melt the butter and olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the garlic. Saute for 1 minute. Be careful, the garlic burns easily! Add the shrimp, 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt, and the pepper and saute until the shrimp have just turned pink, about 5 minutes, stirring often. Remove from the heat, add the parsley, lemon zest, lemon juice, lemon slices, and red pepper flakes. Toss to combine.

When the pasta is done, drain the cooked linguine and then put it back in the pot. Immediately add the shrimp and sauce, toss well, and serve.

Slimy, Stinky Mushrooms

If you have never had these in your refrigerator then you belong in some kind of hall of fame.  But then if you never have had anything stinky in your refrigerator you wouldn't be coming to this site.  Unless you have some kind of twisted mind.  Oh wait, that's me.  
Cream of Mushroom Soup
Serves 4
  • 1 pound regular white mushrooms, cleaned, quartered or sliced
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbsp minced shallots
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon salt ( I recommend 1/2 t. salt)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch dissolved in 1 Tbsp water
  •  Minced parsley for garnish

    1 In a food processor, coarsely chop mushrooms and lemon juice.
    2 Melt butter in (4-5 quart) sauce pan and lightly sauté shallots on medium heat. Add mushrooms, thyme and bay leaf, sauté over moderate heat for 10-15 minutes, or until the liquid that is released from the mushrooms disappears.
    3 Add salt, pepper, cream and chicken stock and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
    4 Add cornstarch and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Correct seasoning and add more lemon juice to taste. Thin with milk if desired.
     Serve sprinkled with a little parsley.