Sunday, March 18

Chopped: The Empty Refrigerator Edition

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Before travel, Hubby and I try to eat everything in the fridge.

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.

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And this week's winner was tofu pad thai that used up our last egg, an old carrot, and a lonely lime. We had no bean sprouts, but we did have crushed peanuts, thanks to my inability to say no when a Delta flight attendant offers a snack. (Yes, I have a plentiful supply of airline peanuts in my pantry.)

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?

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