Over the past two weeks almost every meal that I’ve planned has been built around some unused pantry item. I’m trying to use as much of our food up as possible before we move. The hassle of carting around pantry items from our apartment to my in-laws house then finally to our new parsonage is one I would like to avoid. [smile]
I’ve been really surprised at how many meals I’ve been able to come up with. Full disclosure– I am not a fan of stocking a pantry. [gasp… smile] Perhaps my imagination of your reaction to that is a bit over dramatic, but I think I’m probably in minority here. Most people I know seem to keep quite a bit of canned or boxed food on hand. I appreciate the convenience of having what you need on hand, but I’ve found that if I keep too much on hand inevitably one or more items never get used. Plus I really prefer to cook as many things as I can from scratch. Working with fresh veggies is my favorite!
Even though I try not to keep too much extra food around, I still have enough things like rice or canned veggies to build a couple of meals last week. One of my most successful eat as much from the pantry as possible nights was what I’ve decided to christen “Frazier Fiesta Night.” It was such a good meal that I’m already planning on recreating it when we move into “The Parsonage.” Caleb also gave it the husband’s seal of approval. I think it was the dessert that put it over the top! [smile] So without further ado the menu followed by recipes. Hope you feel inspired to celebrate a belated Cinco de Mayo with a fiesta night of your own!
Mexican Rice (a la a boxed Rice-A- Roni mix and can of tomatoes from the pantry)
Spicy black beans (canned beans mixed with a can of Rotel both from the pantry)
Veggie Fajitas (recipe below)
Salsa, guacamole, chips and whole wheat tortillas
Dessert Nachos (picture above, recipe below)
Veggie Fajitas: 1 medium zucchini, 1/2 onion, 2 bell peppers (yellow or red recommended), 1 cup frozen broccoli and cauliflower, 1/2 cup fresh carrots, cumin, chili powder, 1 tbsp olive oil, and 2 cloves garlic smashed
Preheat oven to 450. Cut up the vegetables into long strips appropriate for fajita stuffing. [smile] Add vegetables, smashed garlic and olive oil to an oven safe dish. Mix to evenly coat vegetable with oil. Add cumin and chili powder about 2 or 3 teaspoons. I just eyed the distribution of the spices, but you could always add more later if needed. Roast for 35-40 minutes until the carrots are appropriately “soft crisp.” Serve with whole wheat tortillas and your favorite fajita toppings.
Dessert Nachos: 2 whole wheat tortillas, sugar, cinnamon, 1 tbsp butter melted, 1 1/2 cup fresh berries, 1 small lime, 1/2 cup chocolate chips, 2 tbsp half and half, whipped topping
Chop up your berries. I used raspberries and strawberries because I love eating them together! Add a teaspoon of sugar to the berries along with the juice of a small lime to make a sort of “salsa.” Set aside so flavors can get to know each other. Preheat oven to 350. Spread melted butter on tortillas then top with sugar and cinnamon to taste. Use a pizza cutter to slice tortillas into 6 or 8 “chips.” Place on ungreased cookie sheet and bake 8-12 minutes. Watch while baking to prevent burning. Remove from oven and set aside to cool. While waiting for the chips to cool, melt chocolate chips with half and half. You could do this in the microwave or on the stove top. If you choose the stove top, make sure you stir almost constantly so the chocolate doesn’t burn.
Now for assembly: Scatter chips on plate. Top with fruit salsa, melted chocolate and whipped cream. Enjoy.
(Recipe adapted from Our Best Bites.)