There are times when I open the fridge door and don't recognize a thing that's in there, or how it came to lay resting on the shelf. If I'm lucky, it's something that's not quite "off" yet, or is at the very least salvageable. On days where I don't win the shelf-life lottery, the resulting haul can be... interesting. Think blue, fuzzy creatures that I'd be tempted to teach the A-B-C's to, or the spontaneous liquification of items that to the naked eye looked perfectly solid.
So I try to keep that kind of thing to the barest of minimums, periodically using up, freezing or throwing out things that are nearing the end of their tasteful lives. That usually results in a batch of stock, or better yet a whole soup, that my mom can then take with her to work for lunch (she's trying more and more to eschew the convenient but not-so-great cans of salt). It's the perfect way to get rid of those things that don't look so great but still taste fine with a little cooking. If I'm really lucky, though, I'll find a wealth of ingredients that were forgotten but nowhere near "gone" - that's when I break out the saute pan and pasta pot and make myself something special!
I'm giving you a recipe for what I endearingly call my "Noodles with Fridge Guts" (but I'm changing the "official" name to something slightly tastier), however as the title implies you should simply use what you have hanging around. It's a great method not only for using up crap in the fridge, but is a wickedly-fast meal to put together too (as with most of the best pasta recipes!) and is going on it's merry way to both Marye's event "Real Food... Real Quick" and Ruth's brainchild Presto Pasta Nights (hosted by Mansi of Fun & Food Cafe) this week!
I added a spoonful of chipotle salsa to my initial saute of shallots, garlic, mushrooms, broccolli and tomatoes and I think that was the kicker for me. After a few nights of meals similar to this one, I actually had to go out and buy the ingredients to make it! If you don't need to go the gluten-free (or vegan) route, of course don't feel obligated, but I do recommend a good whole-grain kind of pasta to stand up to the chunkier veggie additions.
Pasta with Produce
1/2 tbsp sea salt
2 oz (uncooked) Orgran Gluten-Free Essential Fiber Rice & Corn Spirals (or your favourite short-cut pasta)
2 tbsp water
1 shallot, sliced thinly
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 oz broccoli, chopped
1 large cremini mushroom, sliced
1 plum tomato, chopped
1 tbsp spicy salsa
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp lemon-pepper seasoning
1 tbsp rice parmesan (or regular if you like)
- Bring a pot of water to a boil and add the sea salt.
- Add pasta and cook 6 minutes.
- Reserve 1/4 cup of the cooking water and drain (do not rinse).
- Meanwhile, in a saucepan, heat water over medium heat.
- Add shallot and saute until wilted, about 3 minutes.
- Add garlic, cook 1 minute longer.
- Stir in broccoli, mushroom, tomato, salsa and 2 tbsp of the reserved pasta water.
- Increase heat to medium-high and cover the pot.
- Cook 3 minutes.
- Uncover, stir in the oregano, lemon pepper and drained pasta, tossing well.
- Add parmesan and stir through, then pour into a bowl.
Total Fat: 2.4 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 217.8 mg
Total Carbs: 48.9 g
Dietary Fiber: 13.5 g
Protein: 11.3 g