What do you make for dinner, when you “don’t have anything” in the house?
You know what I’m talking about. You need to make something for dinner, but you haven’t planned anything, the fridge is looking pretty bare, and you don’t want to go to the store. There must be something you can make from basics you have in your fridge, pantry and freezer, right?
Quiches (usually made crustless) are a good way to use up odds and ends in the fridge, as long as I have the eggs and dairy for them.
Something else I’ve made several times (to rave reviews at the Schumer household) has been the Crispy Black Bean Tacos with Feta and Cabbage Slaw. I usually keep some small flour and/or corn tortillas in the freezer, and almost always have canned beans in the pantry and feta cheese in the fridge. I don’t usually have cabbage on hand, but these are super when made with Broccoli Slaw, which I do normally have. And I’ve started keeping some dried Cilantro as well – it’s a really poor substitute for fresh, but at least it adds a bit of the flavor.
And Pumpkin Bean Soup is quick and easy.
But hands down, our favorite “Meal from Nothing” is Clam Linguine. It’s a very forgiving recipe that’s easy to modify to suit your taste. I ALWAYS have a few cans of clams in the pantry, just for this.
12-16 oz linguine, spaghetti, etc.
2 (6.5 oz) cans minced and/or chopped clams, undrained*
1/4 cup dry white wine, optional*
1/4 cup olive oil OR butter, or a mixture of the two.
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic (the stuff in a jar is handy – 1/8 tsp. garlic powder works in a pinch)
1 Tablespoon dried or 3 Tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried or 1/2 Tablespoon fresh chopped basil, optional
salt and pepper to taste
* If you’re using wine, you may want to only use the juice from one can of clams instead of both, especially if you’re using 12 oz of pasta instead of 16. You can always drain the broth from one can into a cup, and then add it to the pasta later if it needs it.
Cook pasta according to package directions, and drain. Combine remaining ingredients in a saucepan, heat over medium heat until boiling. Serve warm over pasta.
If you have some nice crusty bread to dip into the broth, so much the better.
Once upon a time, I had a list of some basic staples to keep on hand for recipes like this, and a list of recipes to go with it. Sadly, I lost it somewhere along the way. Maybe I should try to rebuild it.
How about you? Do you have a “go to” meal when the cupboard is looking pretty bare?