Monday, April 23, 2007

Eating the Pantry

First, let me introduce myself. I am Katie, and I over-grocery-shop. (Hi, Katie!) I love to grocery shop. I love making lists and picking items out and coming home to make whatever dish I've been thinking about all day. I am Katie, and I have a problem. More on this later.

This past weekend, we emptied out our pantry, freezer, and spices cabinet. We took stock of what we had, and then we put it all back. A few items were left out, stray things like the box of hamburger helper and the mix to make beer bread (like from those parties), the boxes of Kraft macaroni and cheese, yadda yadda, you get the point. Stray foods... things we used to eat way back when.

I also went though my piles of recipes - either printed from the internet or ripped from a magazine and never tried... I had piles. Big piles. Hidden under the oversized chair in the living room big. I think I kept a stack a fifth the size... of recipes I KNEW I'd try.

What accomplishing both these tasks means is that we can try to live off what we have. I need to tame my grocery store beast, and live out of the pantry and freezer. I know I can do it. I know, because as I was going through my stacks, I found this recipe for risotto - and all I needed to get was the italian sausage. It was fate. And fate was tasty.

Tomato and Sausage Risotto

1 (28 ounces) diced tomatoes, in juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 pound sweet or hot Italian sausage, casings removed
1 small onion, finely chopped
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 cup Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 (10 to 14 ounces) flat-leaf spinach, washed well, tough stems removed, chopped (about 7 Cups)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving (optional)
2 tablespoons butter

In a small saucepan, combine tomatoes (with their juice) and 3 cups water. Bring just to a simmer; keep warm over low heat.

In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium. Add sausage and onion; season with salt and pepper. Cook, breaking up sausage with a spoon, until sausage is opaque and onion has softened, 3 to 5 minutes.

Add rice; cook, stirring until well coated, 1 to 2 minutes. Add wine; cook, stirring until absorbed, about 1 minute.

Add about 2 cups hot tomato mixture to rice; simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until absorbed, 4 to 5 minutes. Continue adding tomato mixture, 1 cup at a time, waiting for one cup to be absorbed before adding the next, stirring occasionally, until rice is creamy and just tender, about 25 minutes total (you may not have to use all the liquid).

Remove pan from heat. Stir in spinach, Parmesan, and butter; season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately (risotto will thicken as it cools), and sprinkle with additional Parmesan, if desired.


Deborah said...

I went through a coupon clipping stage, but what I realized after about a month is that coupons come out for the same items over and over again. I have some items in my food storage that I will never have to buy again! I have probably 40 cans of soup, and we rarely eat canned soup!! I guess I'll be good when the next food drive comes around. Needless to say, I gave up coupon clipping and filling our pantry with un-needed items!

Brooke said...

Hi Katie...reading your blog and your profile is weirdly like reading an article about myself!! And we started our blogs about the same time too!! Scary :) Anyway, congrats on a great blog!

sandi @ the whistlestop cafe said...

We must be seperated at birth! I have a pantry full of things that look good, 10 cans of black beans, and just as many of rotel.
Wanna come by for some sweet tea and a black bean salsa?

Peabody said...

I'm horrible at this too. I buy WAY more food than 2 people will ever eat.

Katie B. said...

Deborah - I had a bit of a coupon addiction a few years back. One of my favorite parts of the weekend was getting the Sunday paper, and I would carefully clip out every single coupon I thought I could use. Problem was, I never remembered to take them with me to the grocery store!! Now that we don't get the paper, I don't clip coupons, and its probably better this way. :)

Brooke - Holy cow! You're right - we started our blogs very close together! I'm with ya on the whole healthy eating stuff, sometimes I think I only go to the gym so I can eat what I'd like! Great blog - I've added you to my Google Reader!

Sandi - I only wish my pantry was like yours! Ours had super-old (expired, even) Hamburger Helper and Kraft Macaroni and Cheese and croutons! Not so useful! I can't wait to refill it with beans and canned tomatoes and the like.

Peabody - Ha! We should form a support-group... Over-Grocery Shoppers Anonymous. I mean, really, there are worse things we could be doing. Our critics should shush up and eat! :)

Little Foodie said...

We're very much the same. It's a standing joke between my friends and family that I get insecure if the cupboards are anywhere near half full / half empty. They don't say that of course when they turn up unannounced and I'm able to cook them something tasty.. Love your blog. I'm new to blogging too. It's becoming addictive. Amanda