It’s one of those nights. You’re exhausted from work, have virtually nothing in the refrigerator and absolutely no motivation to go to the grocery store. Here’s the contents of my refrigerator right now: shredded rotisserie chicken that is at least 2 weeks old (not edible at this point, but I’m going to let the culprit throw it out), some arugula that needs to be used or thrown out, leftover basmati rice, half an avocado, 3 radishes, 1 mango, a package of mint, a quarter of a bunch of cilantro, several condiments, orange vinaigrette leftover from making Arugula, Watermelon and Feta Salad, lunch meat (no bread), prepackaged, pre-sliced scallions (that cost twice as much as unsliced scallions but the store was out and I needed them) and a block of parmesan cheese. It’s not much to go with, especially considering the questionable chicken. So what in the world can I do with all of this (or at least some of this)? Well let’s look at the major players: rice is a good start, produce should be utilized, and I have that leftover vinaigrette….
So I tossed the rice together with the remaining arugula, diced up pieces of the half of an avacado I had, half of the mango, some mint and cilantro leaves, and the remaining orange vinaigrette. The chicken would have been a nice addition if I hadn’t thought it might kill me. If I had any sliced almonds or maybe some cashews that would have gone well with it for a little crunch. I pulled some Tomato Basil Soup out of the freezer, zapped it in the microwave and voilà: we have dinner.
Sometimes it’s just a matter of thinking a little outside of the box. Rice is used in cold salads, so it wasn’t a great leap to think of dressing it up with the lettuce and herbs that needed to be used. The orange vinaigrette is light and not over powering, but even an Italian vinaigrette would have worked (though maybe not with the cilantro). I also could have added in the radishes, but I wasn’t in the mood. If I had thought about it at the time, there is almost always frozen shrimp in my freezer and they take all of 3 minutes to defrost under cold running water. The possibilities are only limited by the contents of your refrigerator and pantry. I think a lot of people are afraid to venture out beyond the recipe box, but really, what’s the worst that could happen (other than burning down your house)? If the food ends up tasting horrible at lease you know what not to do next time and you can always order pizza at that point.