冷蔵庫の食材使い切りチャレンジ!Empty Fridge Challenge: Last Day

This is it: the very last day of the “empty fridge challenge”! Today I came up with a good way to use up the leftover gyoza filling, AND I finished up all the frozen meat in the freezer.
It was a pretty exciting day for me today!

After spending a long time thinking about what to do with this leftover gyoza filling, it dawned on me that it is made with practically the same kinds of ingredients as okonomiyaki. Of course, okonomiyaki doesn’t usually contain ingredients like ginger, myoga, mitsuba or lotus root, but okonomiyaki DOES contain cabbage, and lots of it!

All I had to do in order to make the okonomiyaki batter was add some egg, flour, dashi broth, salt, and one more extra special ingredient to the gyoza filling.  

The extra special ingredient is mountain yam! There are lots of recipes for okonomiyaki batter that don’t require grated mountain yam, but I’ve never made okonomiyaki without it. That’s why I made a special trip to the store just for mountain yam, (breaking the no shopping rule once again . . . )

Since I had some extra cabbage in the fridge, I added that to increase the volume a bit.

The easy part is pouring the batter into the pan and forming it into a nice, round shape . . .

The hard part is flipping it over! This time was not so bad because I only used enough batter for one person AND because I cheated and used a plate to help flip it over.  

This is what it looked like before I added all the toppings. (This is the healthy version!)

For toppings, I spread okonomiyaki sauce over the entire surface, then squeezed on mayonnaise, followed by a sprinkle of green seaweed flakes and bonito flakes. (This is the not so healthy, but tasty version!)

The last bit of meat that I had in the freezer to use up was four slices of uncured ham. Usually you can eat uncured ham without cooking it, but these had been in the freezer for a while, so I decided to panfry them instead (just in case!) 

I rolled up the uncured ham with some shishito peppers and enoki mushrooms, then fried them in one teaspoon of mayonnaise. Once they turned a nice brown color, I added one teaspoon each of sake and soy sauce, put the lid on, and steam-fried them until the shishito peppers were cooked through. 

Making okonomiyaki or gyoza takes a bit of work, and I would normally only make these dishes on the weekend, when I can enjoy eating them together with my family. When I eat lunch alone on the weekdays, I usually make something simple or just buy lunch from the grocery store! 

The “empty fridge challenge” inspired me to put in the extra effort to use up the ingredients I already have before going out and buying more. Plus, I was able to create new variations on familiar recipes. If you have leftover meat accumulating in your freezer, or you want to try adding new ingredients to familiar recipes, I recommend swearing off the supermarket for a few days. I’m sure you’ll come up with delicious new recipes one after the other! 


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