Please tell me I am not the only one who has a gap between the day or two before a big grocery shopping trip and having to think about the dinner meal that needs to be cooked with what’s still left. It happens in our house on a semi regular basis because we rarely have leftovers left for those kind of days. So, creativity has to play a part in making what I can with the random ingredients I still have.
It reminds me of the segment on the radio show, The Splendid Table, where people call in and try to see if the show’s host can come up with a winning meal with several random ingredients.
Because I can’t quite pull something out of thin air, I usually google a recipe for what I wish I could make if I really had all the necessary ingredients. Then, I modify it a little (or a lot) and it turns into… well something else. However, last night, it turned into something spectacular! It was so good I had to write it down so I didn’t forget it. It is not precise enough to be called a real recipe yet, but I will tell the story of how my version of taco pasta came into being.
The recipe I found online called for ground beef (I had some in the freezer), small pasta shells (I had less than 1/2 box of mini bow tie, onion (didn’t have one), garlic (used garlic powder), 1 can of diced tomatoes (this I had), taco seasoning (I had some but needed to finish off part of a packet of enchilada seasoning), cream cheese (none on hand but I had 2 slices of American cheese), sour cream (none), fresh cilantro (only had dried), salt and pepper (yes).
So here’s what I did. I defrosted and browned the beef in a while the noodles boiled. After the beef was cooked, I drained it and added garlic powder, the can of diced tomatoes with the juice, and the enchilada seasoning. I added the drained noodles to the pan and heated everything. Next, I added my two slices of cheese, cilantro, and salt and pepper. It ended up with a thin/medium tomato-ey sauce that with just a slight hint of cheesy flavor. It was surprisingly good. Oh yes, I forgot to mention I shook in some taco seasoning at the end to give it a little more flavor.
It was really fun to make dinner out of what I had and to put ingredients together into something tasty. Maybe my listening to The Splendid Table while I do dishes is paying off. It’s fun to be creative in the kitchen. I want to hear stories of how you all are creative in the kitchen with what you have on hand.