I don’t know about you, but most days, you’ll find my pantry chock full of stuff.  Yet somehow, I still find an excuse to go to the grocery store to buy even more stuff.  The madness had to end. The other day, I made a decision to use what I had until I absolutely could not function in the kitchen any longer.  I’ve done fairly well but I can see where I’ll get tripped up.  While I have plenty of nonperishable food staples like rice and beans, I have fewer, and use more of, fresh/frozen foods.  I will need to make a trip to the farmers market this weekend to stock up on some delicious fruits and veggies.  Until then, I will be creating dishes that satisfy my hunger and help empty the pantry.

Meal #1: Vegetarian Tacos

I am a Mexican food fanatic and since tacos are one of the easiest meals to prepare, I decided to give this one a go.  For the meat, I used Progresso Cannellini Beans.  First I drained and rinsed them.  Then, in a shallow dish, I mashed the beans with a fork.  I added a large spoonful of taco seasoning from the bulk container I got at Sam’s Club and a little water. After mixing it up, I microwaved the mixture for about a minute.  Then I spooned it on to a hard corn shell, topped it with cheese and put it under the broiler for 2 minutes.  I put some chopped tomatoes and spinach leaves on top and voila! Lunch is served.  Spinach leaves have the same flavor and texture as lettuce (to me anyway) so I figured, why not? Spinach has more nutritional bang for it’s buck. I’m going to start using spinach leaves for everything.  Hey, maybe I can grow some in my garden next year!

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Meal #2: Pad Thai

This meal was a bit tougher to generate solely from my pantry.  I did have to purchase the shrimp and bean sprouts especially for it but the rest of the ingredients came from what I already had on hand.  I prepared rice noodles as directed on the package.  In a large skillet, I saute’d shrimp, sliced zucchini, bean sprouts, scrambled egg and green onion.  When it was fully cooked, I added the prepacked sauce (next time I’m making it from scratch) and noodles.  I stirred to coat.  Before serving, I topped it with scallions and crushed peanuts. I served it with a lime.  Delicious and nutritious!! I actually made it for a friend who’d never had Pad Thai before and she loved it!

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