What do you make for supper when it’s 4:50 pm, there’s nothing thawed (and no ideas brewing because ZERO forethought), and everyone crashes through the door growling with hunger?
This was the situation I found myself in Friday last week. It wasn’t like I didn’t have food in the house. I spent 500 dollars several weeks back and we were still well-stocked with the four main starch bases: pasta, rice, bread, potatoes. However, we’d worked our way through most of the leftovers — the spaghetti and meatballs, the sausage lentil soup, the sweet potato and egg bake, the never-ending mojo pork, etc — and it seemed there were no readily-apparent and easily-accessible moving parts to glom onto.
Back and forth I paced, between fridge and pantry, fridge and pantry, what to make, what to make, what to make. People moaned. I studied the the pile of assorted veggies my daughter had brought home. People sighed. I opened kitchen cabinets and pondered. People headed for the showers. And then, whilst standing in front of the fridge and staring at the pile of cold baked sweet potatoes leftover from the previous night’s potato bar, I got an idea.
I slipped the potatoes out of their jackets and cut them into thick slices. I smacked two cast iron skillets on the stove and wacked in some butter and bacon grease. Once the fat melted, I arranged the potato slices in a single layer and salted them heavily. While they sizzled and browned (I flipped them once), I opened two cans of black beans into a kettle, added some cumin and smoked paprika (and maybe a couple other spices that I can’t remember), and set them on the stove to heat.
I sliced a couple of the green onions and a handful of radishes that my daughter had brought home and dumped them in a bowl with a chopped avocado (yay, it’s not rotten!), the juice of a half lime, and some salt. I plucked a few green leaves from a rotting bunch of cilantro and tossed them in. I stuck a spoon in the jug of salsa and another spoon in the almost-empty jar of sour cream, and I dug a container of leftover grated cheese out of the cheese drawer. Supper was ready.
What’s this? everyone wanted to know.
“Sweet potatoes with black beans and toppings,” I said. “Here’s how you eat it,” and I fixed a plate so they could see. “It’s like rice and beans but without the rice.”
No one thought much of the meal — it was food, it was good, the end — but I was enormously pleased with myself. It was so ordinary — leftovers and canned beans and a hodge-podge of random bits — and yet it was creative and healthy and original.
And to think, only a short time before I’d felt like there was “nothing” to eat, ha!
What rabbit-out-of-hat dinners have you made lately? Enchant me, please. It’ll still be at least a couple days before I’ll get to the grocery store…