ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Never let empty baking pans go to waste

Updated on March 19, 2013

Rahm was right

Even though a person may not like all of the political sniping that goes on in Washington, D.C., it does not hurt to pay attention to some of the more useful attitudes that are displayed there. For example, Rahm Emmanuel, erstwhile chief of staff to the president, had this to say about good crises (and I paraphrase here) - “Never let one of them go to waste.” I used Emmanuel's thinking about crises, applying it to my discovery of several empty baking pans in the clutter of my little workroom.

Obviously, they were to be used to bake something – but what?

Hit the books

Lacking immediate insight into what should be baked in those baking pans, I turned to my favorite picture books for some clues. Irma Rombauer's “Joy of Cooking” was at hand, so it was the first of them to be scanned for inspiration. Unfortunately, my copy of her masterful cookbook was getting on in years. The illustrations within were all little line drawings, mostly of things like empty cooking pots, spoons, de-feathered chickens, and a cabbage or two. In a crisis like an empty baking pan crisis, better images were needed. Without running on here about all of the book reading exercises that followed the Rombauer book disappointment, it can be stated that this important research wound up with recourse to the Internet. There, I thought, I might find some full-color pictures of bake-worthy foods. And so it went.

There are color photos on the Internet

Chancing upon an Internet-borne scheme that bragged of being the finest of the finest ways by which to cook tender, meaty, spicy, and moist skinned and boneless chicken breasts, my stomach began a wonderful conversation with my brain. Aha. Even the photograph shown on the screen looked tender, meaty, spicy, and moist. I could taste the taste and smell the spices. The colors were perfect – golden brown, softly yellow, creamy white stuff running down the sides of those little pieces of chicken. It was very bake-worthy. Sure enough. Well, that was good for one of those empty pans, for there was a package of eight chicken breasts sitting right there in our refrigerator. Reading the cooking instructions quickly told me that we owned the other several ingredients – a jug of mayonnaise, black pepper, garlic powder, Parmesan cheese, and seasoning salt. 45 minutes in the oven. I could taste it already.

This Internet thing is wonderful for both inspirations for cooking stuff and for the instructions on how to actually do it. So, I kept on looking for more solutions to the empty baking pan situation. Yes. People should never allow empty baking pans to be wasted in idleness.

That Internet does not know everything, after all

I did not find inspiration. Stuck with two more empty baking pans, I turned to my mentor and boss, my bride of several years. Asking her what she had last baked in an empty baking pan was the perfect question. She told me (as if I did not remember without having to ask), “oatmeal-crusted chopped date bars.” I could see those oatmeal-date bars in my memory as delightfully colored and delicious as they had been when, earlier, I had made a perfect hog of myself, gorging on the things. That sort of crunchy and sweet, completely good-for-you concoction was an absolutely perfect item to be baked. But I had two big baking pans to fill. Also, I had no dates to chop up. What did I have that might work?

Line up the supplies

Aha. There were several plastic bags in the big storage container that were filled with dried fruit – some little dried cherries, some dried blueberries, and some dried and sweetened cranberries. Having seen those with my own eyes, I looked into the refrigerator to see what might be hiding in there, hiding, but suitable to be a part of prevention of the wasting of empty baking pans. There was a little plastic jar that held some leftover crushed pineapple. There were several sticks of margarine (in case lots of fat was called for). Milk was also there, but I didn't know if any were needed.

If you don't know, ask the boss

So I asked the real boss of our little kitchen, “How did you make that oatmeal crust on those chopped date bars you put together the other day?” She handed me a copy of the recipe. “I knew you were going to ask about the crust, so I wrote it down for you.” (You can see why she is the boss.)

Double or nothing, right?

She had used one baking pan for her oatmeal-date things, but I had two empty pans to be filled (plus the third pan that was to become the emergency empty pan to hold those chicken breasts). Nothing to it. I would simply take her crust formula and multiply everything in it by two. Pardon this pun, but that seemed to me to be a real piece of cake.

Cut in, cut out, cut up?

Part of her instructions for making the crust did tell me to “cut in” (whatever that means) three big sticks of butter or margarine. We had enough of that stuff, but the idea of chopping on blocks of fat in a bowl of oatmeal, flour, and brown sugar did not seem to be an entirely efficient or acceptable use of my time. I pulled up a jug of cooking oil to replace the solid fat. That just seemed like it would be a whole lot faster and a bunch easier on the muscles, too.

Don't need a messy spill, do we?

When the crust stuff was all mixed and ready, it truly filled the mixing bowl almost to the brim. I was happy about nixing the fat bars in favor of mixing in the cooking oil. That probably prevented overflowing the mixing bowl and spilling flour, oatmeal, and sugar all over the counter top. Into each of the two pans went a bottom crust layer. Each crust layer sat there at pan bottom waiting for me to do something about the need to spread a filling layer on top of it.

Once dry, but now wet again

In went the now-moistened dried fruit – the cherries, the blueberries, and the cranberries, all mixed with that small amount of crushed pineapple that I had found in the refrigerator earlier.

No olfactory fatigue in the kitchen now

Then, on top of the fruit, went the balance of the oatmeal crust mixture. On went the oven. In went all three of the once-empty baking pans, and off I went to play with our little doggie, drink some coffee, watch the news on the TV, and practice looking important in the event I might achieve being discovered today. The bell rang. Time to turn off the oven. My goodness, the kitchen smelled so good it almost brought tears to my eyes. No. It was the garlic and the seasoning salt, but it was a decent thought to believe that tears-in-the-eyes could be caused by some sort of olfactory emotional reaction, now, was it not so?

Baked chicken breasts fill one pan that was once empty. Wonderful chicken with spicy, rich flavor. Quite a find, this one was
Baked chicken breasts fill one pan that was once empty. Wonderful chicken with spicy, rich flavor. Quite a find, this one was | Source
One of two once empty baking pans that now hold some super-good fruit-filled bars. All this needs is to cut them out of the pan
One of two once empty baking pans that now hold some super-good fruit-filled bars. All this needs is to cut them out of the pan | Source
Now, THAT is one wing-ding of a fruit-filled. oatmeal-crusted hunk of eating pleasure
Now, THAT is one wing-ding of a fruit-filled. oatmeal-crusted hunk of eating pleasure | Source

OK – I am stingy, but here's what you can do

Take a look at the photos I stuck in here with this expository piece. They tend to make a person's tongue hang out, just wishing for a bite of something good – something baked- and three empty baking pans saved from the ignominy of being wasted.

I understand that many readers who have devoted valuable time and effort in studying this article will be annoyed that it is I who am in charge of those no longer empty baking pans – that I have retained everything in them to my own benefit – that you don't have anything of them other than the thought of how good everything tastes and how nourishing all of it is.

I have a solution for you in your misery.

Now it's your turn

Get some empty baking pans. Don't let them go to waste. Put something into them and bake the daylights out of it. Get your revenge on me for having caused you any misery. Tell me what you did. Cause me the pain of just having to imagine how good it would taste – if only I could grab some of it.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)