Category Archives: Using up stuff

Cooking Ahead & My Insane Day

Well, I started that marinara before anything else. Added onion and basil to it while sipping my first coffee. I need to add some garlic, but mostly it just needs to cook.

Start marinara cooking. 7:30 a.m.

A shower.

Prep a batch of stewed tomatoes, set aside to cool. Prep batches of herb mix, using up the basil.

Clean up.

About then, things should be opening, and off I go.

Post office:mail book to customer.

Chocolate shop: hopefully sell a tray of books. (opens at 9)

Antique store:drop/pull stock. (opens at 10)

Staples:  shredding, pick up clam shell and 1’ square boxes, tape, and cards.

Market 1: for eggs, amongst other things.

Market 2: for ice cream, bread, and coffee.

Home! (Somewhere in here: run dishwasher when it gets full. Unpack dishwasher. Start reloading when making casserole, as needed.)

Put away groceries.

Start eggs boiling for casserole.

Print file for day job.

Prep potatoes, tomatoes, onion, etc. for casserole.

Put casserole in oven.

Edit printout. Write email.

Put now finished/cooled marinara and stewed tomatoes in freezer.

Make salad, etc. as needed for dinner.

Eat dinner.

Clean up.

And it got more insane and less productive. I left my wallet/phone at home, so had to return to the house. The 2nd thing I needed to do was buy gas, because I was on reserve about 2 miles from home. I got here, but the car “burped” on the hill home…

I’m waiting for DH’s zoom meeting to end, so I can ask him if the gas in the gas can can be used in my car? It did.

Italian Potato Cheese Casserole from The Vegetarian Epicure, book 2

2 lb potatoes, 6t butter, 1/2t salt and more to taste, 1.5 lb ripe tomatoes, pepper to taste, 1.5t basil/crushed, 2/3 lb mozzarella, 6 eggs/hard boiled, 2/3C parsley/chopped, 2/3C Parmesan/grated.

Boil potatoes til just tender, drain, peel, and cut into fairly thick slices. Melt butter, pour 2T into bottom of large shallow casserole. Arrange potato slices on bottom of pan in one layer and salt them. Slice tomatoes, arrange on top of potatoes. Sprinkle with salt & pepper and the crushed basil. Slice mozzarella in strips. Arrange strips on top of the tomatoes. Peel/coarsely chop eggs. Combine in a bowl with remaining butter, chopped parsley, salt and pepper. Mix throughly. Spread evenly over cheese. Sprinkle Parmesan on top and bake in preheated 350 degree oven, 25-30 minutes.

I’ve been making this so long I have all sorts of notes all over the page. The recipe specifies russet potatoes, I use whatever I have. I don’t always peel them. I don’t use as much butter. I use a butter wrapper to grease the bottom of the casserole and then melt 4T butter to go with the eggs. I only used 4 eggs this time. I made multiple layers because I was using up small potatoes. I don’t always use the parsley.

ORDER TO SAVE MONEY/TIME: Boil the eggs first, then the potatoes. I use filtered water, which I normally wouldn’t for eggs, but would for the potatoes. I do the eggs first…

This is a fall standard here. It’s economical when tomatoes are in season. I also make a potato-tomato soup and I’m interested in possibly making both up at the same time and then freezing them.

If I freeze this, I won’t include the eggs.

This Week

What I’ve done:

  • Bagged mint, cilantro, and lemon balm to dry.
  • Started the fruit for my annual jar of apricot jam. It has to sit for 12 hours. The jam is always gone by the end of July, but I love it, so I do it anyway! Done.
  • Make last batch of rhubarb sauce. Done, I thought. (See below.)
  • Prep cukes for refrigerator pickles. Done.

Last week:

  • I put basil aside and
  • Made the single jar of pickled basil stems I do. I use this recipe.

What I need to do?

  • Make another batch of rhubarb sauce with the last of the rhubarb from the yard. The recipe is mine: 1C sugar, 3/4C water. Bring water and sugar to a simmer. Stir occasionally, until there’s no feel of grit from the sugar remaining and it’s all one color, will be slightly cloudy. Add 3/4 to 1 1/4C chopped rhubarb. Continue simmering, stirring it continually until largest pieces are soft. Store in fridge or freezer. This takes about 1/2 hour, or less. Easy!
  • Make refrigerator pickles, the recipe I use is this oneThese have been started 7/6 10:35 a.m. all eaten 7/12. Maybe make a second batch next week?
  • Cull or dry the old greens.
  • The refrigerator could use a wipe down.
  • Make strawberry ice cream. The strawberries have been cut and washed. They molded. See food waste below. We have a lot of yummy vanilla ice cream, so I never got around to making the ice cream I intended to!
  • Try the other pie crust recipe.
  • Dry more mint and lemon balm.
  • Give away the extra radishes.
  • Put aside a batch of cilantro.
  • Add to the pickled stems.
  • Dry more parsley, cilantro, basil, etc.
  • Make some cilantro-lime salt with the excess cilantro. Recipe here.
  • Use the “found” rhubarb to add to the rhubarb sauce in the fridge.
  • Make garlic scape pesto.
  • Make basil pesto.
  • Make more garlic pesto or freeze the chopped scapes? I made some garlic scape/basil pesto with part of the batch. I used this recipe.


  • I tossed a small freezer container of Kohl Slaw, since I made more with fresh kohl rabi. We decided that we don’t really like it enough to store it, so I won’t make it again. And why should I keep a container from last year?
  • Last year’s dried parsley, since I have a little I dried this year. (Although not enough for the year, just to use.)*
  • A lemon which molded before I used it, sigh.*
  • Two small onions, I’d forgotten about, double sigh.*
  • The last cup of marinara.
  • The end of last year’s dried greens.*
  • Two batches of kale. The farms produce way more than I typically use!.*
  • Most of a bok choy (See kale).*
  • Most of a bunch of Swiss chard (See kale).*
  • Way too many raspberries didn’t get eaten and molded instead. Since I love them, any raspberry tossed is too much, but this was about 1/3 of a package.*  😦
  • Small carton of sour cream, unless I find a way to use it where it’s cooked. It’s out of date.
  • The old contents of the cilantro bottle from who knows when? (I marked it this time!)*
  • The bottoms and blooms of the garlic scapes.*
  • A pound of cleaned/cut strawberries.*

*To our compost heap, which at least has the virtue of not adding to the town’s landfill and we get to reuse the nutrients as fertilizer.