Using recent sale items for meals

It’s a dilemma I’ve mentioned before … I don’t know how much of this blog to devote to entirely personal stuff, and how much to keep entirely instructional and objective. I landed on 80% instructional/20% personal, and only personal stuff entirely relevant to the instructional stuff. I guess I crossed the line a little bit when I was explaining medical and other challenges our family had, but really, that related to the instructional side because I had practical experience with stockpiling and emergency usage instead of just theoretical.

I’m about to do that again a bit, because of course the next logical step from stockpiling food and chasing deals is being able to make practical usage of them. I’m kind of a salvage cook … little of this, little of that, and I rarely really follow a recipe beyond inspiration. I guess that’s why I’m more of a cook than a baker – baking requires exact proportions, precise technique, and strict repetition. Since I buy things at the lowest price and that might mean a variation in style, brand, and to some degree, content of the ingredients, I rarely bake anything that can’t be planned for well in advance.

I can start posting some of my salvage cooking recipes – using things that were very recently in sales in stores and at great prices so you probably have plenty of them.

This recipe was inspired by the latest issue of All You magazine, but again, I use recipes as inspiration so I didn’t follow it exactly.

1 lb sausage (raw, in a roll)
Penne pasta – about 1/3 box dry
4 cloves fresh garlic (if using garlic from a jar, use only the equivalent of one clove)
1 can diced tomatoes (I used the kind that was seasoned with garlic, basil and oregano)
Handful of fresh basil and oregano from my windowsill (plants were on clearance at Lowe’s a few weeks ago)
Bag of baby spinach (Fresh Express was just BOGO at Bi-Lo)
1/2 block shredded mozzarella cheese (Southern Home brand recently BOGO at Bi-Lo
Grated parmesan to sprinkle over when you serve it

Boil the pasta in salted water, drain. Cook sausage until it is in small crumbles. Add minced garlic, minced herbs, can of tomatoes, and other fresh vegetables you are trying to use up – I added some fresh corn that I cut off the cob, some sliced squash, some diced fresh peppers. Cook to tenderness, add pasta and stir, add spinach and cook until spinach wilts. Slice or shred the mozzarella cheese, shut the heat off the burner, put the cheese on top, and cover and let sit for 5 minutes or until cheese melts. Makes about 4-6 servings, depending on how much extra vegetable bulk you add. When I served it on the table, I let everyone put what they wanted as far as Parmesan and hot sauce. Turned out to be a really filling, but not really heavy, Italian-style dish. Cost was less than $1/serving.

As I’m coming up with new recipes, I enter them in my recipe database so I can organize them by the main ingredient (usually meat) that is on sale. This one relies also on some fresh stuff, but substitutions could be permitted.

I decided on Cook’N. One bonus you should know about – when you go to their website, sign up for their newsletter before you buy the software! You will get an email that gives you a code for 20% off! I’m always looking for the best price and getting this bonus before I had bought it makes a difference.

Cook’N recipe organizer software with bonus 20% off, directly from the software manufacturer.

If you would prefer to buy it from Amazon instead, maybe you have other things you want to buy, here’s a link to get it at a discount from Amazon with free shipping:

Cook’n Recipe Organizer Version 10

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