Thursday, August 19, 2010

Left-Over Mania!!!

I only go to the grocery store twice a month. One biggish trip and one smallish trip to restock those things we use a lot of or that don't last too long.
The week before the grocery trip, I rummage through the fridge and cabinets, trying to use up every odd and end, every smidge of whatever that isn't big enough for a meal, but far too much to be tossed in the compost heap.

As I have posted before, my home-made hummus is a staple here. While rummaging in the fridge, I found about a half a cup in one of my little covered bowls in the fridge. Not enough for a meal, really (I was feeding myself, my son and out room mate). Further investigation turned up a half cup of leftover cooked rice, a bit of mozzarella cheese and in the cabinets, a can of artichoke hearts. Seriously, I didn't buy them, have no clue how they ended up in my pantry. One of those odd cans that somehow migrated into the relative safety of my those cans of jellied cranberry sauce that always show up.
Anyway...I ended up draining and dicing very fine the artichoke hearts, adding the rice, leftover hummus...and as a bonus, the black beans ---about a cup, that I found hiding behind the milk carton. I mashed up the black beans before adding, though. A smidge of olive oil for flavor and smoothness as I mixed it altogether, along with a dash of lemon juice and some fresh minced cilantro. Sprinkled the cheese on top and heated through. Served with tortillas cut in wedges for *dippers*. With a salad on the side, a lovely meal for a hot day! And--enough for three, as well.

I actually enjoy the week before grocery shopping. It's fun trying to figure out how to mix and match left overs and odds and ends to make meals. I watch the Food Network, and they have this show called "Chopped". If you have not seen it, it goes like this ; four chefs are each given a basket of ingredients to make a dish from. After their dishes are judged, the least successful dish is chopped and that chef is booted out and then it is on to the next course with another basket of mystery ingredients and so on.
I LOVE that show!
The ingredients in the basket can vary wildly. They may face an appetizer round with catfish, cherries, mustard greens and oatmeal. An entree round with maple syrup, mussels, bacon and sharp cheddar cheese.
And they HAVE to use every ingredient in the dish or be disqualified.

So, when that week before grocery shopping rolls around...I imagine myself on "Chopped". I work with whatever ingredients I find and see what I can make!
Fun challenge!

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