Dinner: Making Something Out of Nothing

Have you ever opened your pantry door (and your fridge) and wondered what you were going to make for dinner because nothing was leaping out at you?  (I guess food leaping out of the pantry would be bad anyway.)  That was me last night so I thought if I shared with you my thought process you may be motivated to try to make something out of nothing for your next dinner.

To start with I considered what I had.  I had stopped by a veggie stand earlier in the day and bought some really great looking green and yellow peppers along with corn on the cob.  I decided to have some of the fresh peppers chopped with Blue Cheese Dressing for dip and to boil the corn on the cob.  I also knew I had some brown rice to use up.  (If I didn’t have the fresh veggies I probably would have gone into the freezer and used broccoli or peas and steamed them.)

Then I got to the hard part…what to do about protein?  Keith and I had both been working hard in the yard and we needed protein.  As I perused the shelves, I noticed a small can of black bean soup, maybe big enough for one person.  But, I realized, I can stretch that can of soup into plenty for two people and serve it over the rice.  I grabbed the can of soup, an extra can of black beans, and an extra can of diced tomatoes.

I sauteed one onion and 1/2 each of the green and yellow pepper.  When they were soft I added the soup, beans, and 1/2 can of diced tomatoes.  I added some spicy season salt and simmered to blend the flavors.  I decided to serve it over the rice so I thickened it a bit with some cornstarch.

As I had been finishing my yardwork earlier I noticed one of our apple trees still had a few apples on it.  I picked four that looked relatively good (but they still had some suspicious spots on them) and brought them inside.  I knew I had a gluten-free pie crust in the freezer so I pulled that out and my original plan was to fold the pie crust on itself and bake it so it would be more like a turnover.  When I started working with the crust it was obvious it was too fragile for that so I left the crust on the cookie sheet, sliced up the apples (after peeling, coring, and cutting out all the bad spots), mixed the apples with some sugar, cinnamon, gluten-free flour, and apple pie spice, then poured them onto the flat pie crust. 

I used a spatula to push up the edges of the crust to make an edge and then dotted the top with a few dollops of butter then baked it at 350 until the apples were soft.  What a yummy dessert!

Hopefully the next time you are standing, uninspired, in front of your pantry try to think of how you can stretch what you already have and make something out of nothing for dinner.  The results can be very tasty!

Donna Copeland is an Independent Shaklee Distributor who enjoys cooking and experimenting with food.  One of Donna’s favorite meals-on-the-go is Shaklee’s Cinch Shake, vanilla with frozen strawberries blended in and soy milk.  You can see more at: www.DonnaCopeland.MyShaklee.com  Donna is paid by Shaklee for products purchased through her or her site.

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