Monday, August 17, 2009

Exploring the possibilities of mediocrity

After making a tomato pie last week, I also made a quiche (I had an extra frozen pie crust, because they sell them in twos). It had lots of tomatoes in it (had a bunch of those left, too). It was OK.

I also started a "use up all the stuff in my cupboards and freezer" project. Because I had ground turkey and corn tortillas in the freezer (I got a package of about a million corn tortillas from a woman at work whose husband works for a tortilla company), and beans, green chiles and a can of green enchilada sauce in my cupboards, I made an enchilada casserole. It was OK.

The good part is that these things have provided me with stuff to carry to work for lunch every day. The bad part is that they've ensured my lunch is nothing to really look forward to. But it's cheap.

So I'm open to ideas for things to make for less-boring lunches. Bonus points if the ingredients are already in my cupboard or freezer. Extra bonus if it's something outlandishly easy to make. And I've already thought of pb&j sandwiches ...

4 comments:

santos. said...

what's in your cupboard and freezer?

Lisa B. said...

As far as human food in the freezer, there are more corn tortillas, more ground turkey and some ice cream. The rest of the space is taken up by meat and bones for the dogs. In the cupboards are beans (some pinto, kidney and garbanzo), a few assorted other vehetables, assorted soups, corn meal, flour, couscous, whole wheat pasta ... um, I'm sure there's something I'm missing, but I'm not at home right now.

The cupboard/freezer requirement isn't as important as the fact that I don't want to go invest in a bunch of specialty ingredients. I want to make stuff out of easily available stuff. part of what puts me off cooking is that so many recipes seem to require a huge investment in ingredients. Then I start thinking "Wow, Lean Cuisine is on sale ... it would be way cheaper to eat that for a week ..."

santos. said...

the first thing i thought of when you mentioned all the corn tortillas you have was chilaquiles, which use stale corn tortillas, and it's totally something you can change up. the basic ingredients are some sort of bean (canned is totally fine), canned stock or broth, and some sort of premade salsa, along with some chiles.

heat up some oil until it's hot but not smoking in a frying pan that can accommodate a whole tortilla. fry tortillas on both sides for 10-20 seconds so they are a little crisp, set them aside. then just mix the beans and broth together in a saucepan, heat and stir. you can use canned whole beans (black and pinto are typical), but refried beans are fine. the amount of broth is up to you--if you want a soupy dish, add more, if you want something a little chunkier, add less. for one can of beans, 1/2 cup of broth is a good place to start. add chiles. that's kinda it for the sauce, unless you want to add the salsa at this point because that's cool. you can either make a casserole by layering the tortillas with the bean mix, salsa, and some cheese, then bake it at 350˚F for 20 minutes. or, you can have it as a soup or stew thing with the tortillas on the side or you can cut the tortillas into strips before you fry them and add them to the stew. top with cheese and sour cream or crema.

you can use all sorts of canned beans, add any protein, along with any canned and frozen veggies to stretch it out. you can also have them sort of dry or do them soupy, sauté some onion and garlic beforehand, or use canned chipotles in adobo sauce instead of jalapeños. i used to do them with scrambled eggs for breakfast, or use feta cheese and fresh tomatoes as a topping. so anyway. there are a lot of options!

i'll have to think about what else you can do....

Lisa B. said...

Chilaquiles! Yes, that sounds wonderful! I always like those when I get them in restaurants, so it makes sense for me to try them at home. Sounds easy enough for me, too!