Are You Cooking Scrappy Yet?

Are You Cooking Scrappy Yet?

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Are You Cooking Scrappy Yet?

When our isolation experience began, cooking was an adventure, a bit like camping meals. 

In the beginning, camping meals are planned and delicious, but eventually this changes.  Quantities of popular food items dwindle, menus adjust and the chef’s reputation weakens.

Being in shut-down mode is not as much fun as camping, but camping ingenuity sets the stage for fun, even under the stress of Covid19.  What do I mean? 

Our supplies may not be 50 miles away, but our experience bears similarities to camping, as the typical grocery store stroll gives way to computer orders and abbreviated trips. 

So how do we condense grocery store trips and conserve resources?  Cook scrappy and think outside the box.  There is an actual Cooking Scrappy cookbook, but this type of cooking is not a new idea, just ask anyone who lived through the thirties!

Here are some ideas to get our creative juices flowing and on our way to cooking scrappy.

  1.  Take stock of your current resources.  What forgotten items are in your pantry, freezer, or refrigerator?  How could you pair ingredients to tantalize your patrons (i.e. family members)?  How many meals can you really make with what you already have?
  2.  Make enough for 1-2 meals only.   I know this sounds counter-intuitive, but leftovers are sometimes challenging to use and now is not the time to waste food.  On the other hand, if you have a definite leftover plan, leftovers can be very convenient.
  3.  Implement a leftover strategy to avoid finding hairy green items in the back of your refrigerator.

-Utilize leftovers in 1-2 days.

- Regularly peruse the refrigerator, scouting out any forgotten items.

-The food safety rule is: reheat a food once (i.e. only reheat just enough to eat at one sitting).

-Re-purpose leftovers in soup, casseroles, and omelets.

  1. Keep an eye on fresh produce.

-Sort them every couple of days. 

-Use ripening or deteriorating items first.

         -Cut out bad spots, use as fresh, roasted, or cooked.

         -Freeze it if you can’t use it prior to spoilage.

-If broccoli heads turn yellow, it is not bad, just wilting. You may cut

    this off and still find plenty to like about it.

         -Extend your vegetable supply with frozen vegetables.

-For a crispier texture, heat the pan prior to adding vegetables. 

-Make new selections based on items that store well and pair with many dishes.  Think root vegetables (e.g. radishes, turnips, kohlrabi, carrots), hearty stock (celery, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, winter squash, onions, garlic, peppers).

-Concerning greens, sort through bagged lettuce/spinach, discard

bad leaves, wash or trim off others.

-Spinach past its prime works in omelets, casseroles, or soups.

-Freeze 1 cup portions of good spinach for smoothies.

My guess is you are already doing some scrappy cooking.  As we dive deep into this experience, I say let’s look on the bright side and pretend we are camping in the National Forest! J

I did some scrappy cooking myself this past week.  Get a load of this crazy main dish!

Pesto Skillet Lunch

(Pair this with a low or high carb Alfredo dish. cooked scrappy, of course!)

2 oz frozen pepperoni
3 boiled eggs, peeled, chopped
¼ c. chopped black olives
1 can green beans
2-3 T last year’s frozen garden pesto


Heat pepperoni and olives.  Set aside.

Heat drained green beans, add pesto and eggs, heating through.


Questions?  Reach out to me, Mary Lou Block, RDN. 


Mary Lou Block
Registered Dietician