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Help Me Use Up. . .

I have some canned goods that need used up, but looking for something bedsides just throwing in some spices and warming them up.
The players are:
field peas
baby butter beans
great northern beans
canned spinach (I KNOW)
canned asparagus

I can't imagine buying canned spinach or asparagus (pre-marriage goods from the husband), but surely there's some way we can get them into an edible or even appealing dish? Thanks in advance! This is my first Chowhound post after lots of free advice. :)

P.S.--We are trying to avoid sugar and white stuff (experimenting with "slow carb"), but we can't be too picky with this lineup!

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  1. I would toss the spinach and asparagus. Life is too short.

    With the beans, I would make a hearty soup, perhaps adding a ham hock or some other pork product, plus some fresh green beans and tomato. Could keep you in lunches for a week!

    1. Through them all together with a healthy dose of Italian dressing and call it a salad.

      1. Crikey! I hate canned asparagus like Indiana Jones hates snakes. I would think of rinsing it thoroughly in cold water, draining, and using it and the very well drained spinach in a frittata. I would consider adding chunks of ham to it to add texture.

        There's a good looking recipe for the beans/peas here:

        4 Replies
        1. re: pinehurst

          What Pinehurst said. Or macerate in the blender and use as part of a a sauce in which to serve a bean dish over rice. Onions sauteed in olive oil with just about any vegetable and a can of beans, thicken, with tomato paste, makes a good weeknight dinner served over rice or noodles.

          1. re: AdinaA

            Cream of Asparagus Soup? Has to be better than the Campbells version.

            While we're at it, someone I know keeps leaving boxes of canned and dry goods on my front porch. Since I can't work right now due to hubby's illness, it is a nice gesture even though I am far from starving. I will donate most in May to the Post office drive, as I did last year. But that's a long time away, so in the meanwhile, how about brainstorming on these, I have at least a dozen of each:

            Pear Halves
            Generic Beef Stew
            Generic Spaghetti-Os
            Canned Corn (I have plenty of fresh local in my freezer)
            Cut Green Beans
            Cheap Chicken Noodle Soup

            By next spring, I'll have to alert my mailman to send a separate truck to pick it all up!

            Just looking at this list, I myself would say re-donate it to some poor soul. There is also oatmeal, peanut butter and jelly, rice, pasta, canned pinto beans and so on, which I could use regularly if desired. Also buttermilk pancake mix, which I should start using as fry coating. Never thought I'd know what it was like to go to a food pantry (not that I have to go, thank goodness! This is overstock from Hurricane Sandy). Anyway, you think you're so clever with creating something out of nothing, but I have to admit it's not all that. Maybe I should make some humble pie!

            1. re: coll

              Canned pear halves are good with cottage cheese & a bit of shredded cheddar. Add an English muffin & call it lunch.

              They're also good in a gingerbread upsidedown cake like this one (or a much-simplified version using a boxed gingerbread mix can be made quickly).

              Canned corn is fine in a hot corn parmesean dip like the one at this site - if the corn is plain add your own diced red/green bell pepper.


              1. re: MidwesternerTT

                Thanks for the links, they are both right up my alley. Especially with the holidays coming up!

        2. I would use the beans and peas in a hearty, minestrone-type soup. I have never used canned spinach, but if the texture resembles thawed frozen spinach, you can throw it in the same soup or use in lasagna or other pasta dishes (whole wheat pasta, if you are whole-grains-only)

          1. Make a cassoulet type stew with the beans. Donate the spinach and asparagus unless you like green slime.

            1. I find no difference between canned and frozen spinach in a rice pilaf that's a copy of the one a local restaurant is known for. Saute rice and orzo in butter until turning brown, add chopped onion and cook until it is soft and translucent. Then add chicken broth and drained spinach, cover, and cook until rice and orzo are done.

              Use the beans in a mixed-bean salad of the "three-bean" type, which includes green and wax beans, onion, pimento, garlic, oil, and vinegar.

              Drain and simmer the peas and asparagus in chicken broth,
              puree, stir in some curry powder, and cream, to taste.

              1. I would use the beans in either a bean salad or soup. The canned spinach and asparagus, I would set aside for the mail delivery person to pick up for their annual food drive.

                2 Replies
                1. re: MrsJonesey

                  That's cruel - folks who use the foodshelf need GOOD food.

                2. The beans are easy, good suggestions here already (soup, stew)... add some of the spinach. You could also make a hummus style dip with either of the beans too.

                  I would quick pickle the asparagus.

                  1. I think pureeing the asparagus and including it in soup would be best use.

                    You could make this dip, which is better reheated the 2nd day, and is fine with low-fat /no fat versions of mayo and cream cheese. But I made a note to use fresh asparagus next time - the tough texture of the canned spears was unattractive.


                    1. This old fashioned cold pea salad is tasty

                      Cold Pea Salad

                      1 can peas, refrigerated
                      2 hardboiled eggs
                      1 stalk celery, chopped
                      cheese cubes

                      1 Tablespoon mayonnaise, pickle juice or pickle relish juice, & milk (to thin) – mix dressing in separate bowl to right consistency, then add to pea salad.

                      1. The beans and field peas could go into a three bean chili, with or without meat. Or into a white chicken chili.
                        I agree with others here about pureeing the asparagus or spinach into a creamed soup. Or you could rinse the spinach well, chop it up and include it in a sausage tortellini soup.

                        1. whiz them up in a food pro with some cheese and herbs and fry them in balls as fritters. everything tastes good fried.

                          1. Butter beans are one of my favorite veggie patties/crumbles ingredients and I think most of those ingredients (with the exception of the asparagus) could make for some tasty veggie cutlet add-ins.

                            1. I've admittedly never had canned spinach but I bet it would be good in saag paneer: if the issue is it's been boiled to death, that recipe calls for cooking the spinach down quite a lot. Depending how you feel about it, it might be worth mixing some of the canned with fresh spinach.

                              Another option is to drown it all in hot pepper and tomato sauce. You won't be able to taste it at all. Enchiladas or a casserole, maybe?

                              You could probably make a perfectly tasty 3-bean salad with the beans. I think I've had that with canned beans before and liked it fine.

                              1. Spinach only needs a few minutes to cook and canning continues to cook the contents so canned spinach is over cooked but I agree with others to use in a soup. It can be pureed and used with or as the primary liquid to cook rice and boxed pasta; add it to the ingredients to make fresh pasta or gnocchi. Whip it with mashed potatoes or add it to a pasta sauce (spinach alfredo with parmesan sounds good). Chicken or veggie spinach pot pie; use in the sauce.

                                I dislike canned asparagus; it turns to mush so puree it and use pretty much like the spinach suggestions. I live in the south; we love our beans. Field peas usually get used simmered in a pot with your choice of stock, a piece of smoked meat like ham hock, neck bones or smoked turkey parts...seasonings and maybe quartered potatoes added to it and served with cornbread. Same with the Northern beans except with those, once cooked, you can puree it with the cooking juices for a smoother delicious bowl of soup or eat as is.

                                Mmmm....I'm wanting to make a pot of beans now....