Make room for Thanksgiving

As soon as we turn the calendar page to November, we cooking and hosting enthusiasts already begin to think Thanksgiving.  I’m hosting a “Friendsgiving” this weekend, celebrating our bountiful blessings with some of our closest friends.  But when I took a look in my fridge, I realized there wasn’t much room for what I had planned.

Clean out the fridge

I took stock of my fridge, freezer and pantry and got to brainstorming.  (sidebar…also beginning to question why I have things like cocktail onions and candy leftover from Easter still in there)

I uncovered a lonely frozen filet mignon.  Easy to make that the jumping off point for my dish.  It’s clearly not enough for more than one person though….best to keep digging.  I also discovered half a bag of frozen peas, a handful of fresh green beans, and some crescent rolls I forgot I’d bought.  First thing I thought of was a beef pot pie.  Easy comfort food.

I seasoned the beef with some onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper and seared it in a pan.  While that was cooking I sliced up some onion and garlic (two staples of any cook’s produce drawer) and I found some sliced mushrooms in the pantry, and reached for something else I always keep handy, beef broth.  This dish was starting to come together.

clean out the fridge filet

After I let the meat rest for a bit, I sliced it up into cubes.  Then, in the same pan that I seared the beef, I added a little olive oil and cooked the onions and garlic together.  Once they were sweating in there, I tossed in the green beans to soften a bit, and then the mushrooms.  (carrots would be good in here too, even asparagus if you have some of that sittin’ around)  I mixed the meat with the veggies, and added some peas.  Now, it was time to get to work on a sauce.

clean out the fridge veggies

I melted a couple of tablespoons of butter and added an equal amount of flour, and quickly whisked it together to create a roux.  Then I poured in, still whisking quickly, a few cups of beef broth.  I left it on the stove at a medium heat until it thickened up.  Then I seasoned it.  Use what you like, or what you’ve got.

clean out the fridge sauce

After I added the sauce to the meat and veggies it was time to get creative with my construction, since I didn’t have enough filling for a traditional pot pie or a standard pie crust.  I placed some baking cups in a cupcake tin, and opened up the crescent rolls.  I filled each baking cup with the meat/veggie mixture.  Then I rolled the triangle-shaped crescent rolls into a ball and flattened them out…making mini-pot pie crusts.  I baked my adorable little pot pies at 400 degrees for about 17 minutes.

mini beef pot pie mini beef pot pie2

By dinner time I had a nice meal, and bonus: by using up a couple of canned goods, a few items out of the freezer and the remainder of some of the veggies in my produce drawer, I created some much-needed space in my kitchen before I begin prep for “Friendsgiving!”

(Confession: the baking cups don’t help keep it together, only made clean-up easier.  This won’t be pretty when you attempt to scoop it out of the cupcake tins, but it’s still tasty.)

What have you unearthed in your fridge/freezer/pantry that you’d like to use up before the most important meal of the year?

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