The Retro Mom

Bringing your grandmother's comfort food out of her recipe box and into your gluten-free kitchen

What Am I Supposed To Do With All Of This Food???

Food blogging and Lego have something in common. You sometimes end up with extra pieces, and you need to figure out how to use them.

So begins my weekly “clean out” of the fridge. Sometimes it’s a bit scary.

No, not for the obvious mystery-tupperware-container-that-every-parent-seems-to-find-in-their-frig reason. But because of the what-am-I-going-to-do-with-all-of-this reason.

How do you use up frozen broccoli, beets, tomatos, pepperoni, red onion and garbanzo beans?

Not together, that’s for darn sure.

Sometimes, going without a recipe and going by taste instead yields some pretty tasty results.

Trust your instincts and use The Force.

Sorry, watching Star Wars.

If you are a person that feels more comfortable with a written recipe – this is a wonderful way to explore mixing ingredients as you would like them. Really. It’s fun! Not like going to the dentist “fun” or winning the lottery “fun”. Somewhere in-between those two options for fun.

And sometimes, when you are eating gluten-free/allergen-free you find yourself with bits and pieces, and need to know how to make them work together.

How about, say, a pasta salad? That’s fun!


Let’s see what we have here……..

pasta salad

Ready in 10 minutes. Good.

Using leftovers. Better.

Pasta. Awesome.

I just boiled pasta and after draining and rinsing it under cold water (which gluten-free pasta needs), sprinkled a bunch of balsamic vinegar on the warm pasta. The pasta welcomes it! Then I tossed in what seemed to go with pasta. Pepperoni, chopped red onion, cherry tomatoes, and a liberal dose of dried oregano and garlic powder. Not the leftover beets. No. By then my pasta salad had cooled down and was ready to eat. I could have chilled it until dinnertime, but it smelled so good that I ate half of it right there…… food blogger….can’t wait sometimes. A girl’s gotta eat.


Frozen broccoli. Uh, wow. Tough one. I wasn’t going to boil it. So………how about a salad!

Wait, I already did a salad.

How about a salad!

I had raisins, red onion, and broccoli.

Time for that salad. Everyone knows that salad. There are many variations on the theme. Bacon, broccoli, red onion, raisins, mayo, etc. You know, that salad.

That salad became this salad:


My version of that salad.

So my broccoli sat out in a bowl, patiently awaiting my attention,  for about 30 minutes and was pretty well-thawed by the time I had made the previous pasta salad.

I had chopped up red onion and tomatoes left over from the pasta salad, so in they went with the broccoli and became the best of friends! I had raisins in the pantry and balsamic vinegar and honey in the spice cabinet.

OK Susi, stop. Raisins? Vinegar? Broccoli? Back the salad truck up. (beepbeepbeepbeep)

Go with me here.

I threw a handful of raisins into some balsamic vinegar, and some honey and mixed it all up and let it sit for about 15 minutes.

Then I mixed both camps all together and WHAMMO!

“That” salad became a lighter, more feasible reality.

Salad and reality in the same sentence? It’s late and I’m watching “Whose Line Is It Anyway” now.


Beets. Beets. Beets?

Who eats beets?


But, I wanted cold food. Not hot. No cooking. It’s a food-blogger-on-a-Saturday-morning-thing. I “clocked out” on Friday and now just want some food. If Chipotle were open for breakfast, that’s where I would be.

But I digress.


And cold beets at that – eh, at best they are “iffy” right out of the refrigerator.

How about this…..


I had leftover tri-color quinoa from my Brainless Monday Meal (TM) post, and oranges, sooooooo………………

I chopped up those beets like no one’s business. I let the quinoa sit out for a few minutes to become acclimated to it’s surroundings. Meanwhile, I squeezed the juice out of two oranges, added a splurb of raw honey and stirred in some balsamic vinegar and a few cranks of colored peppercorns.

I tossed all of the ingredients together and put it into a Crate and Barrel martini glass.

Isn’t that how you all eat quinoa and beets?

Maybe you should. Use any occasion to eat out of fancy dishes – don’t hide them away until Thanksgiving. It makes everyday snacks & meals so much nicer to use a little something pretty, really. And with salads this colorful, wouldn’t you want to see them?

So there you have it, leftover city. You can’t live there, there are no permanent homes but you can visit anytime you like.

You may not have these ingredients in your frig, but think about what you can do with what you have! Salsa, cheese, celery, kale, bananas, onions, tomatos, cold cuts – whatever!

Oh, and the beans? They became Cilantro Hummus…..coming soon soon in a special dippy post. Wait….

Just go with what seems to good together TO YOU!

And remember to:


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