“I’m Going To Use Up Everything” Dinner

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Everyone should have at least one “I’m Going To Use Up Everything In My Pantry” dinner in their repertoire. The best part is, you don’t even need a recipe.

I’m usually pretty good about using up ingredients but there are definitely weeks when I look around and see a head of kale going bad in the fridge or sweet potatoes hanging out in the cupboard. I have grand plans to do something ambitious with them, like make a frittata, tacos, or another time-consuming dish, but it doesn’t happen.

Cue, “I’m Going To Use Up Everything In My Pantry” dinners. They often involve steaming or roasting, but they don’t have to. They usually involve using up everything, but they don’t have to do that, either.

My favorite kind of meal is one with lots of textures and flavors. For my using-up dinner, I usually start with a grain or seed base and then go from there. I like quinoa a lot but you could use bulgur, couscous, or another grain.

Then I start thinking about sautéing and roasting. I preheat the oven to 400 degrees. I line two baking sheets with parchment paper and spread sweet potatoes on one and chickpeas on another. I toss them with olive oil and a generous amount of salt and pop the baking sheets in the oven.

While that’s roasting, I focus on my extras, like kale or poached eggs. I have my quinoa simmering in one pot so I get out another and poach an egg.

Once the grains are about cooked, I take off the lid and throw in some torn kale or spinach leaves. I replace the lid and let the mixture cook like a pilaf. It’s one of my favorite kitchen tricks.

The worst part about this dinner is waiting for the sweet potatoes and chickpeas to be done, so I would suggest popping them in the oven as early as possible. Get that step out of the way first so by the time the other ingredients are done cooking, you can take them out of the oven and pop them in the bowl. Squeeze some lemon juice or lime on top and you have a delicious, one-bowl meal.

I’m getting really hungry writing about this, which probably means I need to make one of these bowls again soon. I’m not going to give you a recipe because I don’t use one, and because I basically just told you everything that I do, anyway.

I would *highly* recommend this dish for hectic weeks, cold winter nights, or whenever you need something quick and filling. It makes you feel like you accomplished a lot even if all you did was use up everything in your pantry. I guess when you think about it, that is an accomplishment.

Here’s a song I’ve been jamming out to lately. I’d forgotten about it until the other day when someone mentioned it to me. I love Josh Rouse.

About Emily Wasserman

Hi! My name is Emily and I'm a writer based in St. Louis. If I was stranded on an island and could request three items of food, they would be avocados, Halloumi and chocolate croissants.
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