Same ingredients, two different meals

24 Mar

The other night I had an idea for a recipe.  I quickly wrote it down and headed out to the store to get the few items I would need.  While at the store I must have been a little too excited, as I often get, and bought more of each ingredient than I needed.  After making my dinner I still had plenty left to make another dish the following night.

I used this opportunity to challenge myself into creating something different while still using the same main ingredients.  I think that this is a common thing that people run in to when cooking.  They find that they often buy the same things from the store and in turn make and eat the same dishes night after night.   Trying a new food, spice or preparation method can be a great way to breathe new life into those same ingredients in your pantry and refrigerator.

The ingredients I used for these dishes are very basic and can be found anywhere.  The basis for both of these is white beans, zucchini, tomatoes and some herbs and spices for flavor.

Here was the first meal….

Zucchini White Bean Casserole

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1 large zucchini

1 1/2 tomatoes, diced

1 1/2 cup white beans

2 large leaves rainbow chard

2 tbsp dijon mustard

1 tbsp red wine vinegar

garlic powder

fresh thyme and marjoram

sea salt and pepper to taste

~  Slice the zucchini lengthwise into thin strips and place in the bottom of a baking dish

~  In a bowl, combine the white beans, mustard, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Mash the beans with the back of a wooden spoon or potato masher (I left the mixture a little bit chunky, but you can do it to your desired consistency). Spread the bean mixture evenly over the zucchini slices

~  Remove the steam from the rainbow chard leaves and lay them over the white bean mixture

~  Dice the tomatoes and mix them together with the vinegar, salt, pepper and fresh herbs. Pour the mixture and spread evenly over the chard leaves

~  Bake at 375 for 25 min

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The next night, I used the same ingredients but prepared them in a similar way, however the different presentation of the ingredients made it feel completely new and fresh.  Here is what I came up with.

Italian Stuffed Zucchini

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1 large zucchini

1 1/2 tomatoes, diced

1 1/2 cup white beans

2 large leaves rainbow chard, chopped

2 tbsp dijon mustard

garlic powder

fresh thyme and marjoram

sea salt and pepper to taste

~  Slice the zucchini in half then down the middle lengthwise. Scoop out the middle of each piece with a spoon. Set aside the insides of the zucchini for later

~  Chop the insides of the zucchini and place them into a bowl with the remainder of the ingredients

~  Place the mixture into a pan a saute on med/ low for a few minutes, until fragrant

~  Fill the zucchini shells with the mixture and bake at 375 for 25-30 min

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So the next time you find yourself staring in the pantry at the same ingredients, try branching out and preparing them in a different way to bring some creativity and variety into your life.

Eat healthy, live fully and love others.

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