Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Pantry Challenge Update- Day 11

The last 2 nights I've made two of the most rockin' dinners I've made in a while (if I do say so myself...and I do).  How ironic that by not grocery shopping my dinners have improved!  Perhaps this points to a bit too much of a dependence on a neverending supply of tofu, pasta, and nutritional yeast?

Both last night and tonight I arrived home at 5pm and started dinner.  By the time the kids were done with homework, the food was ready to serve.  Maybe an hour?  Of course, there was plenty of time on Facebook and reading blogs included in that time, too.

Last night we had a Mexican lasagna of sorts.  I've found all sorts of things I didn't know I had in our fridge and pantry.  Like month-expired corn tortillas that had no mold on them.  These became the "pasta" for the lasagna.  Another package of tofu was in the back of the drawer in the fridge, so that became a tofu ricotta type thing with lots of lime juice.  Rehydrated TVP with tons of spices became taco "meat".  And I made a quick sauce in the food processor with indoor ripened garden tomatoes, a few stray green onions, and a damaged green pepper that was free from the co-op.  After layering this all together with a little bit of leftover kidney beans, I baked it for 30 minutes at 350F.  It was amazing!

Tonight I really doubted my abilities to make a nutritious and half-way tasty meal.  We're out of any whole grains except cornmeal and a little brown rice flour I found in an unlabeled baggie on the baking shelf (yay!).  We have no tofu, tempeh, or soaked beans.  And the garlic supply is dangerously low.  Only one head left.  

Here's what I made:  
  • Polenta with a chopped garlic clove to season it.  Somehow this was totally delicious.  Maybe just lightly browning the garlic in oil before adding the polenta and water did the trick?  And lots of salt. 
  • Tomato and pepper sauce with leftover taco TVP, indoor ripened cherry tomatoes, damaged red and green bell peppers, garlic simmered forever on the stovetop.  I also did the classic money-saving technique of adding water to the little bit of leftover ketchup in the bottle and adding that to the sauce.  Plus, a splash of balsamic vinegar.  
  • Chocolate chip, pecan, and shredded coconut cookies made with that "discovered" rice flour
I'd give you a recipe for these, but that totally defeats the purpose and spirit of these pieced together meals.  So go forth and cook from your pantries!*

**Note: every so often I mistype pantry challenge and type panty challenge.  I wonder what a blog about a panty challenge would look like?


beastmomma said...

Looks like you are doing great. That is very impressive!

Anonymous said...

Hahahhaha, panty challenge... wow.
And that dinner looks so yummy! Polenta is amazingly tasty

pavotrouge said...

ew... not changing your panties for a week?!

Anonymous said...

Wow! It sounds like you pulled some really great meals out of the bag! Very impressive >:o)
*chortles at panty challenge*

Alice (in Veganland) said...

I'm going to try that polenta thing with garlic. I never know what to do with polenta and don't even like it that much, but I'm trying to save some money by buying only the minimum fresh produce and using up the stuff in my pantry! Not exactly a pantry challenge but not a panty challenge either! ;-)

Ricki said...

Thanks so much for your sweet comment on my blog! Seems like there are dozens of new blogs to read every day, so it's easy to get lost in the shuffle :)

I've seen your comments on other blogs and stopped by to read in the past, but you've now motivated me to update that Google Reader (with your blog now on it, of course!). Thanks for reading. I can't wait to go through your archives!

PS I love what you've done with the pantry challenge. Hmm. Panty challenge? I'd say my challenge is fitting into them after gaining weight over the holidays! ;)

allularpunk said...

you are still doing so well. that's really awesome :) your dinners sounds delicious! and my particular panty challenge right now is not getting them in a twist over all this holiday cooking i must do. wait! you get to go grocery shopping today, right? i can only imagine how exciting that will be for you! enjoy your thanksgiving.