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Waste Not, Eat Lots: Snowed-in Din-Din

The murderous Blizzard of 2011 prevented me from getting to the grocery store for a couple of days there, so I had to make do with what I had.

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Welcome again to Waste Not, Eat Lots! Wow, I can’t believe it’s been a whole week since we last ate together. Well, not much has changed.  In fact, many of the main ingredients from this week’s dish return to center stage this week. Get used to it.

Volume II: Snowed-in Din-Din

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The murderous Blizzard of 2011 prevented me from getting to the grocery store for a couple of days there, so I had to make do with what I had. Really, that’s what this column is all about, so that was no problem. However, usually my limited range of ingredients and strange combinations are self-imposed conditions; this time it was for real. Good thing practice makes perfect, because this was delicious.

1 box of Kraft macaroni & cheese
1 pound of ground turkey
1 can of black beans
chili powder
chopped basil (just the stuff from a spice rack, nothing fresh and/or fancy necessary)
salt, pepper, hot sauce, and cheese to taste

Start by browning the turkey in a frying pan. When pink starts to turn to brown, sprinkle on a healthy amount of both chili powder and basil. Salt and pepper couldn’t hurt. The end product here is a savory approximation of gourmet Italian sausage and easily steals the show as “most laborious and rewarding component of the meal.” Use a spatula to really break up the turkey so you get the smallest units of meat possible — it helps to have everything roughly the same size in the final product. It’s all about uniform bite distribution.

Meanwhile, boil the water and prepare the macaroni and cheese as directed by the box. Heat up the black beans any way you see fit; just be sure to drain the juice at some point. (Otherwise it stains everything brown and looks gross. Not to mention all that extra sodium, which, if you’re cooking for one, you probably do NOT need.)

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When everything looks to be eat-ready on its own, throw it all into the macaroni pot and stir well. Serve in a bowl and eat with either a fork or a spoon — your call! I’m a forker.

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If your lack of shame hasn’t gotten you into much trouble lately, I suggest you top the dish with some shredded cheese for that extra layer of winter warmth. Hot sauce only makes things better… As a matter of fact, I’d like to take the time to endorse what may be my new favorite hot sauce: Frank’s Red Hot! I’m generally a Tapatio man, having spent some formative culinary years (see: college) in Southern California, but I’ve been working with Frank’s for about a week now and I must say, it kicks ass. One of the most versatile condiments I’ve ever had the pleasure of putting on everything I eat. So far, it’s been great on eggs, beans and rice, and beans and macaroni. Like it says on the bottle — The perfect blend of flavor & heat. No kiddin’!


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