What’s Hiding in Your Freezer?

Have you peeked into your freezer or deep freeze, lately? If you are like me, no matter how organized you try to keep it, things will hide away from you. You mgiht be surprised at the wonderful potential that’s hiding in there, too.

Burger patties are good for more than just burgers. Whether they are beef, turkey or veggie, they can always be cooked up and made into wraps for a quick meal. Simply cook the patties in your preferred method, slice them up, and wrap them in tortillas with wil lettuce, guacamole, pico de gallo and shredded cheddar or pepper jack cheese. With the side of beans and rice, you have a quick and hearty meal.

With the colder weather imminent, soups and stews are always a good meal plan. A variety of meats and veggies that are likely hanging out in your freezer can be utilised towhip up lovely dishes such as chicken noodle soup and beef stew.

Chili if also a great way to warm up your family and meats may be mixed in this dish traditionally made fromt he poorest cuts of beef. Diced or ground venison, lamb, fowl, pork, and beef are all great starts for a big pot of chili. Have onion and chili powder? You’ve got the start to an awesome one pot dinner.

Frozen tortellini, tortelloni, ravioli, and other pasts provide a basis for numerous dishes including traditional pastas with sauce, pasta bakes (layered like lasagne but with different pasts varieties), and even soups. Chicken broth and three cheese tortellini with a bit of garlic and spinach turns into a lovely soup that’s a fun twist on chicken noodle.

Frozen meatballs on hand? Stuff them into bell peppers with a bit of pasta sauce (tomato based or Alfredo), top with cheese and bake. Serve with a small side of pasta and a green salad for a convenient meal.

For a quick side to many of these menu choices, try this:

Romaine Salad with Apples and Walnuts
Prep time: 10 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients:
1 bag Romaine lettuce
1 apple
3 oz Swiss cheese
1/4 cup walnut pieces
1 tbsp fresh chives, rough chopped
Your favorite vinaigrette, for serving

Wash and core the apple. Cut into 1/4 inch slices.

Dice cheese into 1/4 inch cubes.

Toss the lettuce into a large salad bowl. Add apples, cheese, walnuts and dressing. Toss to distribute dressing.

Sprinkle chives on top and serve.

 

Enjoy!

–Ann Cathey

Culver’s – The Woodlands, Texas

While I prefer to write about independent eateries, some chains just have to creep in and be talked about. One of those is Culver’s.

We have encountered this lovely, somewhat upscale burger joint in several locations, including Conroe and the Woodlands. They actually have locations in several US States. It is consistent across the board. The decor, the friendly employees, the frozen yogurt, the quality and flavor of their food – this place has it down. It offers a’la carte items, baskets, dinners, kids’ meals, snack packs, along with a nice variety of drinks and desserts.

Culver’s is the home of the “Butter Burger” and “Fresh Frozen Custard”. They are rightfully proud of their very tasty products. From the “Fried Cheese Curds” all the way across the menu, everything is fresh and delicious. They offer a Reuben sandwich, which can be hard to find outside of a deli. Their fries are thick and crinkle cut, offering a delectable crunch as well as a hearty potato flavor.

DSC_0157On our most recent visit, my partner-in-chow ordered the fish sandwich. They call it the North Atlantic Cod Fish Sandwich. It also comes in a plate version. When first confronted by the sandwich, he wondered how he would get a bit of fish in each bite. it turns out that if you squash the sandwich like you would a tall hamburger that the crispy crust will crack and the meat will flatten out to fill the bun nicely. After that, it was a matter of biting, chewing, moaning, and swallowing, repeating as long as there was sandwich left to bite into. I took this is a favorable sign.

DSC_0159I was able to sneak in a bite before it was all gone. The fish itself has a very light, clean flavor. The breading has a nice crunch, offering a complimentary set of flavor.I may have to order that sandwich next time we are in just to have the pleasure of those flavors again.

Personally, I appreciate their Reuben sandwich a great deal. This is, for me, a comfort food. While not as magnificently built as the Reubens found in various delis, it is crammed full of flavor and of a satisfying size. If you think you want more out of your sandwich, the folks at Culver’s will happily double stuff the darned thing.

DSC_0160I mentioned that they do dinner size portions earlier. We had a few friends along with us and one of them ordered the fried chicken dinner. It comes with a load of chicken, a potato side (he chose fries), and a veggie side (he went for the green beans), and a dinner roll. These dinner plates include fried chicken, roast beef, fish, shrimp and chopped steak among the offerings.

DSC_0158The Culver’s website offers a plethora of information for diners, not just a menu and their locations. They list nutritional information, ingredients, and high on my list, an allergy warning.They also have information available on their sustainability practices for those who prefer an informed, responsible restaurant.

Excellent food and a hometown atmosphere will lead us back to Culver’s again and again. The more we run across it in our travels, the more delighted we are with it’s consistency and outstanding menu.

On the 1-5 scale, Culver’s gets:
Cleanliness – 5
Service – 5
Quality of food – 5
Flavor – 5
Pricing – Moderate
Overall experience – 5

-Ann Cathey