There is no sense in leaving a head of lettuce or a bowl of leftover lentil soup hanging around while we're out of town. So for at least a week before a trip, we stop grocery shopping and start pretending meal time is an episode of "Chopped: The Empty-the-Refrigerator Edition."
The fact that we keep our pantry stocked with good basics (whole grain starches, spices, asian sauces, nuts, and frozen vegetables) makes this game a little easier than it could be. We're not talking about frat-house bare fridge, where the leftovers include only beer, a couple of packets of ketchup, and a half-eaten pizza crust.
We have a bit more to work with.
So we ate some meals that were tasty but certainly wouldn't land our kitchen on the cover of Food and Wine magazine. There was a rice caserole built from leftover veggies, salsa, and a chunk of cheddar. There were several "creative" salads.
Those airline packets are the perfect amount to garnish a serving of pad thai. With the packet still sealed, smash the peanuts with a rolling pin. Open packet. Pour perfectly crushed peanuts over pad thai.
What creative use-what-you've-got meals have you cooked up lately?