A few weeks ago some great friends of mine challenged me to a 'no spending' week long challenge. It was just what I needed to rethink what we had on hand. During this challenge we were to use up what we had on hand in the house, find activities to do that didn't cost anything and find ways to curb those impulse buys. Really it wasn't too hard since we don't go out to a lot of places during the week anyway. But the meals were a bigger challenge for me. we were at the end of our 2 weeks and just before grocery shopping time and there wasn't much food left in the house (even the kids were complaining!), so I had to get creative. I was stumped one night for planning dinner so I started to REALLY dig though the pantry and freezer. Here is what I found:
2 frozen chicken breasts
1 small can sliced mushrooms
1 can italian diced tomatoes
and a heck of a lot of penne pasta!
OH what to do?
I got the penne cooking in boiling water- about 2 cups worth.
In a skillet I put about a 1 TBSP olive oil. I chopped the thawed chicken into small pieces (this appears to look like there's more in there!), added some seasoning from the cabinet (we have lots to chose from, this time I grabbed mrs. dash garlic & herb) and I threw a tsp of chopped garlic in the pan as well. We keep a jar of prechopped garlic on hand in the fridge too. When the chicken was about 1/2 way cooked in the skillet I added in the can of undrained tomatoes and the mushrooms and let it all simmer together until the chicken was done, about another 15 min.
Drain the penne pasta and placed it in a serving dish (9x13 pan worked great for this) and then poured the chicken mix over the top. Added some fresh grated Parmesan cheese to the top and VOLIA! dinner.
This turned out amazing! Pick any kind of pasta for it. If you don't have/like mushrooms, change it up with some fresh zucchini or peppers from the garden for shredded carrots (this hides them easier from the kids eyes!) or what ever else you have on hand. This one went right to the recipe book for us. The next time we make this I'll toast up some french bread or bread sticks to go with it!
So here's a challenge for you- what can you come up with for dinner that you already have on hand? I'm sure you have a lot in the pantry and freezer. Leave me a comment, I'd love to hear what you made. Some of our best recipes come from experiments.