Transformation: Flat Beer and Meatloaf = MacGyver Mac n' Cheese by Denise Sakaki

seattle food photographer and art director, denise sakaki

seattle food photographer and art director, denise sakaki

"Waste nothing..." Denise Sakaki

I once again was totally "Food-Struck" (aka found myself in awe of an amazing food creation) when I saw what Denise Sakaki had done with leftover beer and meatloaf the other day.  

Denise took the beer, that went flat, along with leftover meatloaf, and transformed it into "MacGyver Mac n' Cheese" that also included crushed Ritz Crackers, kale and squash "so it's totally healthy." ;-) 

I love Denise's philosophy on "waste nothing" so asked her for a few words on this. 

Denise Sakaki, Seattle

My dad refuses to throw any leftover food out. It could be the smallest nibble but he'll cover it with plastic wrap and store it in the fridge to add to some mish-mash lunch made up of four other meals. I think that's where the notion of "waste not" became drilled into my head. And I really enjoy the challenge of working with what we've got instead of buying more ingredients. You hear the statistics of food waste and I don't want to be part of that cycle. 

You hear the statistics of food waste and I don’t want to be part of that cycle.
— Denise Sakaki
"Beer that's gone flat is a soup or sauce base, kale starting to wilt is a nice bitter green that can mix with anything, and our freezer is a storage bin for things like crushed crackers to be used as breadcrumbs." Denise Sakaki | Seattle

When I look at ingredients I look at what their role could be in a dish - beer that's gone flat is a soup or sauce base, kale starting to wilt is a nice bitter green that can mix with anything, and our freezer is a storage bin for things like crushed crackers to be used as breadcrumbs. We're blessed with the luxury of choice in what we can make and eat, I'm more interested with narrowing the options and having make-do meals that work with what we have. It's rarely fancy but that doesn't mean it's not tasty.

Denise Sakaki | Seattle

MacGyver Mac n' Cheese

Here's what went into the MacGyver Mac n' Cheese - Sorry there's no exact measurements, I literally threw it together. Kale leaves, washed, de-stemmed and chopped. One serving of leftover meatloaf, crumbled, half of a roasted Spaghetti Squash, one box of Rigatoni cooked al dente, flat Beer and maybe a pint's worth Whole Milk, Half-and-Half, Butter and Flour (for the roux), Mozzarella Cheese, Cheddar Cheese, Cream Cheese and crushed butter crackers for topping.

And it doesn't stop there.... Beer Cheddar Soup

Denise posted today about "Beer for breakfast." She made Beer Cheddar Soup "with the last bit of PostDoc beer, beef broth made last weekend, plenty of sharp cheddar, onions and yam, and the pretzels from the snack stadium project."

Thank you for talking with us again Denise! You can find her on Twitter: @WasabiPrime and her Blog Wasabi Prime. Our earlier feature on Denise can be read here.