Minimalist Cooking

When you are down to the last few veggies in your produce drawer and the bare essentials in your pantry, you can still make a healthy meal. Here are some tips:


1. Use leftovers wisely.

Leftovers from last night’s roasted chicken can easily become today’s enchiladas, fajitas, or chicken and ginger soup. And remember, you don’t need a lot of meat to make a delicious meat dish. Meat aside, don’t overlook the power of the mighty bean! Roll some leftover rice or vegetables, a few beans of choice and a dollop of salsa in a tortilla. Place face down in a baking pan and top with salsa and a light sprinkle of cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.


2. Eggs are your friend.

Eggs can serve as a hearty base for just about anything. To make the delicious—and super easy—frittata pictured above, simply beat 4 eggs with 1/2 cup milk. Pour into a greased baking dish. Add salt, pepper and chopped veggies of your choice. This frittata features 1/2 red pepper and a few dire-looking scallions. After baking at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes, top with any fresh herbs you may have, or give it an added sprinkle of salt and pepper.


3. Leftover Soup!

Have just a little of this and a little of that? Saute some garlic in a large pot and toss in the veggies from your fridge. Don’t worry if it’s just one stalk of celery, two carrots and a few cherry tomatoes. Garlic makes anything come alive! Add some mushroom seasoning and water to the pot and bring to a boil. Then scour your pantry or fridge for something starchy. Do you have leftover sweet potatoes? Dice and add them to the soup. Rice is another perfect addition. If you don’t have anything starchy to add, check your freezer for a small piece of fish. Dice the fish and dip it in a mixture of sweet potato starch (or cornstarch) and water. When the soup water is boiling, carefully drop in the coated fish. The fish will only take about 1 minute to cook.

4. Look outside the bun.
Frozen veggie burgers are chock full of veggies and delicious grains. Don’t have a bun? No problem. Make a sloppy joe by crumbling a few patties in a pan and mixing with barbecue sauce. Heat until warmed through. Serve on an english muffin, toast, or over rice. Veggie burgers are versatile in other ways, too. Make a veggie fajita by slicing firm patties into strips and warming through. Serve with roasted carrots, peppers, or whatever veggies you have on hand. Top with a dollop of salsa and a sprinkle of cheese.